HOUSE MUSIC ORIGINS






It all started in Chicago’s Southside in 1977, when a new kind of club opened. This new Chicago club called The Warehouse gave House music its name. Frankie Knuckles, who opened The Warehouse, mixed old disco classics and new Eurobeat pop. It was at this legendary club where many of the experiments were tried. It was also where Acid House got its start.
House was the first direct descendant of disco. In comparison with disco, House was "deeper", "rawer", and more designed to make people dance. Disco had already produced the first records to be aimed specifically at DJs with extended 12" versions that included long percussion breaks for mixing purposes. The early 80s proved a vital turning point.
ISinnamon’s "Thanks To You", D-Train’s "You're The One For Me", and The Peech Boys "Don’t Make Me Wait", a record that has been continually sampled over the last decade, took things in a different direction with their sparse, synthesised sounds that introduced dub effects and drop-outs that had never been heard before.
House music did not have its origins just in American music. The popularity of European music, specifically English electronic pop like Depeche Mode and Soft Cell and the earlier, more disco-based sounds of Giorgio Moroder, Klein & MBO, as well as Italian productions, they all gave rise to House music.
ITwo clubs, the already mentioned Chicago’s Warehouse and New York’s Paradise Garage, which promoted European music, had at the same time broken the barriers of race and sexual preference (for House music was in part targeted at the gay community). Before The Warehouse opened, there had been clubs strictly designed to segregate race. However,
IThe Warehouse did not make any difference between Blacks, Hispanics, or Whites; the main interest was simply music. And the music was as diverse as the clients.


People who influenced House


Frankie Knuckles


One of the leading DJs at that time was New York born Frankie Knuckles, also called the Godfather of House. Indeed, he was more than a DJ; he was an architect of sound, who experimented with sounds and thus added a new dimension to the art of mixing. In fact, he took the raw material of the disco he spun and added pre-programmed drum tracks to create a constant 4/4 tempo.
I He played eight to ten hours a night, and the dancers came home exhausted. Thanks to him The Warehouse was regarded as the most atmospheric place in Chicago. The uniqueness of this club lay in a simple mixing of old Philly classics by Harold Melvin, Billy Paul and The O’Jays with disco hits like Martin Circus’ "Disco Circus" and imported European pop music by synthesiser groups like Kraftwerk and Telex.
Frankie said, "When we first opened in 1977, I was playing a lot of the East Coast records, the Philly stuff, Salsoul. By ‘80/81, when that stuff was all over with, I started working a lot of the soul that was coming out.
II had to re-construct the records to work for my dancefloor, to keep the dancefloor happy, as there was no dance music coming out! I’d take the existing songs, change the tempo, layer different bits of percussion over them, to make them more conductive for the dancefloor."

Larry Levan


Frankie’s friend Larry Levan was a black teenager from Brooklyn like Frankie. In fact, it was Larry who first suggested opening The Warehouse in Chicago. However, things took a different turn, and in the end Larry Levan spun in New York’s Paradise Garage. Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles were indeed two very important figures in the development of House music and the modern dance scene.
I Perhaps there would have been no fame for the two without the producer, DJ and devoted lover of dance and music, David Mancuso, and his dance parties for gays called Loft parties. "The Loft" was a house party intended for a very black and a very gay crowd.
Larry and Frankie attended the Loft parties regularly. It was not only a place of joy but also a place where they became acquainted for the first time with the techniques of House music. Mancuso taught them about creating a perfect House music: about sound, lighting, production, music and DJ techniques.


Ron Hardy


By the mid 80s House had emerged in Chicago as a fully developed musical genre through the efforts of Knuckles and those inspired by him like DJ Ron Hardy of Music Box fame. Ron Hardy was another DJ from the gay scene. The sounds they produced differed in that the basis of Knuckle’s sound was still disco, whereas Hardy was the DJ that chose the rawest and wildest rhythm tracks he could find.
Besides Frankie Knuckles, Larry Levan, and Ron Hardy, there were other important figures in the development of House music such as Steve "Silk" Hurley, DJ Pierre, Larry Heard, Adonis, Marshall Jefferson and Farley "Jackmaster" Funk, who was a Chicago DJ and producer, as well as a creator of the first international House hit, "Love Can’t Turn Around". DJ Pierre, on the other hand, contributed to the development of Acid House. As a result, a track called "Acid Trax" was produced.

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The creators of House music





There have been various views of who is the inventor of House music. For example, Leonard Remix RRoy asserted that he had given birth to House in May 1981. LRRoy was a remarkable and much respected DJ. He also claimed that he had invented the term "House music" in the spring of 1981.
A person who regarded himself as a creator of House music in March of 1985 was Chip E. Yet, there remains a third founder, for he produced "Love Can’t Turn Around", one of the biggest selling "House" records. His name is Farley "Jackmaster" Funk.
In fact, this big House "cross-over" hit was written, produced and arranged by Jesse Saunders. Jesse, however, did not call himself the creator of House music, but rather used the term "originator", which did not mean that he had invented or created the genre of House music.
By "originator" he meant that he "started and/or fused a sound with a lot of different ingredients". Generally speaking, one can say, that there was not just one creator or inventor; on the contrary, House music evolved through the means of collaborative efforts of a few people like Frankie Knuckles, Vince Lawrence, Farley "Jackmaster" Funk, as well as the promoters and labels that made easy the distribution of early House.
The original disco-mixer Walter Gibbons, a white DJ, had a new and immediate impact on the development of Chicago House music. His independent 12" record called "Set It Off" immediately became an underground club anthem. The "Set It Off" sound was primitive House, haunting, repetitive beats ideal for mixing and extending.

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The roots of House music




House music was created in and by the African American community. Musically, House music evolved in Chicago and New York from African-American musical traditions like gospel, soul, jazz and funk as well as Latin salsa. Spiritually and aesthetically, it developed in the U.S. out of the need of oppressed people, African Americans, gays and Latinos, to build a community through dance , and later in the UK,
IOut of the need of young people dissatisfied with the meaningless materialism of Thatcher’s England, to build an alternative community of music and dance via Acid House. From a different point of view, House music in the U.S. was associated with black people, with gay clubs, basically with things that white America would not even acknowledge.
IHouse was just perceived as "gay" music for blacks and thus scorned by whites, although its aim was to unify people of all races, backgrounds and sexual orientations. According to Frankie Knuckles, many people could not and still cannot deal with the fact that House music started in gay clubs. Thus, narrow-mindedness, racism, and even corporate music politics played an important role in preventing House music from flourishing in the U.S. in the eighties.
IHouse music had its origins in gospel, soul and funk rather than in commercial disco music. Furthermore, Chicago jazz, blues and soul had an immense influence on the creation of House music.
IThere were significant Midwestern musical influences that led to the creation of the Chicago flavour of House music. No doubt, the Midwest had its own tradition of African American music. Thus, blues and jazz presented a part of the mix. To sum up, the soul music produced in Chicago, Detroit and Memphis certainly had an impact on Chicago house.
In the early seventies the DJs’ tools began to improve as the market for dance music began to expand. Yet, the beginnings were hard, for there were only two types of records available, 45s and 33 1/3 LPs, which had "A" sides and "B" sides, and different songs were recorded on both sides. A record which allowed more creativity, namely 12" dance mixes specifically intended for DJs, had not yet appeared on the market.
IDJs had to manage without basic equipment such as DJ mixers or headphones. What is more, the turntables ran only at two speeds, 45 RPMs and 33 1/3 RPMs. It was impossible to vary the speed, so the turntable moved continuously. In practice, it could be described as follows: DJs started to play one record.


IThen they took it off the turntable, prepared another record, put this one on and played it. In reality, "putting on and taking off" the record cannot be called mixing. As expected, DJs needed time to change the vinyl disc and thus dancers had to wait between the records.
There was, however, one way that helped DJs overcome these technical problems. This method was called slip-cueing. The main part of the trick consisted in a duplication of records. In other words, the record collection needed to be copied. DJs had two good turntables at their disposal. They rigged the two tables with a switch into the amplifier so they could move from one to the other.
IThen they put the same recording on each turntable, to try to extend the mix somehow. The least DJs could do was play the same record twice in pretty rapid succession, which was better than making the dancer wait until they changed the record. Instead of playing the record twice, there was yet another possibility, namely to build the mix by isolating various instrumental, vocal and drum segments and extend them by jumping from record to record.
This technique was probably invented - or at least given currency - by DJ Francis Grosso and widely used by radio station DJs. It required much practice with individual recordings, great agility, and nerves of steel. Great turntablists of the seventies like Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash developed such techniques into an art form.

The success of House in the U.K.


House music first came to England in the late eighties via the party island of Ibiza. In the summer of 1986 three House records appeared in the top ten: Farley’s "Jackmaster" Funk "Love Can’t Turn Around", Raze’s "Jack The Groove", and Steve "Silk" Hurley’s "Jack Your Body". It is said that House music was popularised by the British who invented Acid House and then brought this modified version of House back to the United States.
IAcid House was perceived differently and that was probably one of the reasons why it attracted the attention of the mainstream. In this way, House music became acceptable dance music also for white folks.

Acid House


In reality, Acid House had already started in Chicago in 1985. DJ Pierre and some friends pushed a button on their Roland 303 and found that that Acid sound was already in it. They produced a track called "Acid Trax" which, they allege, was stolen by Ron Hardy and delivered as "Ron Hardy’s Acid Trax".
IAs Pierre once said, "Phuture was me and two other guys, Spanky and Herbert J. We had this Roland 303, which was a bassline machine, and we were trying to figure out how to use it. When we switched it on, that acid sound was already in it and we liked the sound of it so we decided to add some drums and make a track with it. We gave it to Ron Hardy who started playing it straight away. In fact, the first time he played it, he played it four times in one night!
Ihe first time people were like, ‘what the fuck is it?’ but by the fourth they loved it. Then I started to hear that Ron was playing some new thing they were calling ‘Ron Hardy’s Acid Trax’, and everybody thought it was something he’d made himself. Eventually we found out that it was our track so we called it ‘Acid Trax’. I think we may have made it as early as 1985, but Ron was playing it for a long time before it came out."
IThere have been various explanations for the term ‘Acid’. The most popular was that acid used to be put in the water at the Music Box. Pierre though, emphasises that Phuture was always anti-drugs, and cites a track about a cocaine nightmare,
I"Your only friend" that was on the same EP as "Acid Trax". "Acid Trax" came out in 1986 but did not prove to be successful outside Chicago. The first Acid track to make it to vinyl was called "I’ve Lost Control" which was made by Adonis and Marshall Jefferson.

Much of the basis behind the current state of DJing and electronic dance music came from the first generations of raves. Starting with a Roland TB-303 in Chicago, growing to undergrounds in the UK, and creating all manner of subgenres along the way, the story of the rave scene and the DJs who built it is fascinating. Check out the full story inside, including an exclusive interview with the father of acid house, DJ Pierre.
Raves began as an underground movement, where a group of like-minded people would get together and dance (in an enhanced state of consciousness) to all types of electronic music. Raves created a magical environment where people could dance for hours.
Rave was founded on groundbreaking electronica and innovative DJs, but the scene encompassed more than just that. Laser lights, fashion and open-minded attitudes helped to build and spread the scene. It was only natural that a movement so magical would grow to epic proportions.

Early Origins: Acid House Parties


Chicago in the mid-to-late 1980s was the birth place of house music. After years of ‘jacking’ a new sound emerged: acid house. The sound of acid house was created on the Roland TB-303, a bass line generator.
The machine could sculpt sounds using an array of buttons and switches. The company only produced 20,000 units and by 1985 could be found in second-hand shops for bargain prices. The young Nathan Jones (DJ Pierre) found one and used the 303 in an unconventional way to produce the squelchy sound of acid house.
This new sound began with a record produced by Phuture, a group founded by DJ Pierre, Earl “Spanky” Smith Jr., and Herbert “Herb J” Jackson. Newly turned on to the unique sounds of the TB-303, the trio released a demo of ‘Acid Tracks’.
DJ Ron Hardy played the track at the famous Chicago club Music Box; he reportedly once played it four times during a set before the crowd responded favorably. After numerous spins, it became a dance floor sensation. ‘Acid Tracks’ became the defining sound for the new acid house sound coming out of Chicago.
DJ Pierre: It found us! This machine had been around for years […] before we got to it no one actually tweaked the knobs and used it the way we did. It was created to simulate a bass guitar. It was not created to do what it did when we got a hold of it. I was at my homie Jasper G’s house and I heard a bass line and I wanted to know what machine he used to make the bassline. I loved the texture of it. I was excited when I heard it.
He showed it to me and there it was…the 303. I said to my friend Spanky, who is the other member of our group Phuture, “Yo…we have to get that!” He found it a second hand shop for 40 bucks. Describe the acid house club scene in Chicago in the late 80’s – where were the parties, who were the DJs, what was the experience like?
DJ Pierre: The scene was created after Acid Trax was released. It didn’t exist before then. Other artists like Tyree Cooper, Fast Eddie, Armando and Marshall Jefferson followed up with classics of their own. Chicago is funny because there was not one particular scene for a style of house. House was just House and you heard everything mixed up in a DJ set. [..]
The scene took off in Europe and Acid House is credited for the start of the rave scene in London. It was so big and filled with so much energy that the Queen herself called acid house by name and banned it.
DJ Pierre: Drum machines like 808s and 909s and of course 1200s were used for vinyl. We would use GLI and Urei mixers as well.
What are some other important acid house tracks (from the 1980’s) that we should all listen to?
DJ Pierre: “Acid Trax” because it is the beginning. “151” by Armando. “Land of Confusion” by Armando. “We Are Phuture” by PHUTURE.

How did acid house impact the rest of the rave scene that followed?

DJ Pierre: It gave birth to it. Because of the excitement and ‘high” at these acid house parties, the UK banned them. […] So you know how it is, if mainstream says “no!” then the general youth consciousness says “yes”! It went underground. The underground rave scene and secret parties paved the way for the commercial rave scene you see today. Acid house was behind that and the UK played a huge role.
Any advice for new school DJs and producers from your experience developing the acid house scene?
DJ Pierre: I always say study the history of the music you produce now. [..] In general, study the creators and founders. Studying the origin will give you a richer, more vibrant meaningful outcome. […] You will be inspired by listening to what came before to create your own vibe and feel.
In the late 1980s, Chicago’s house scene suffered a crackdown on events by the police. One of the only radio stations in Chicago, WBMX closed down, which meant house records were no longer heard on the radio. As a result, record sales began to slow down. However, the house and acid house scene was just starting to take off in the UK.


History of the Rave Scene: How DJs Built Modern Dance Music





London House Scene (Mid-late 1980s)



By 1987, house music was in full swing in the UK – tracks like Steve “Silk” Hurley’s “Jack Your Body” had climbed to the top of the charts. Acid house hadn’t really made a big impact, until a group of four DJs (Paul Oakenfold, Danny Rampling, Nicky Holloway and Johnny Walker) took a trip to Ibiza to visit the acclaimed club Amnesia. They heard the resident DJ Alfredo blending records in the ‘balearic’ style, which fused together funk, soul, dance and a few Chicago acid tracks.
When Danny returned to the UK, he threw an event to bring the spirit of Ibiza to the UK. ‘Shoom’ was held on December 5, 1987 in a fitness center in on Southwark Street. The party went all night; acid house blared on a sound-system provided by Carl Cox, and the crowd raved on the then-new drug ecstasy.
I supplied the sound system for the first two Shoom club nights. Danny asked me to come down because he knew I was already into the music.[…] This whole rare groove movement had lasted for years in London but it couldn’t really go any further, whereas house music pointed the way forward. – Carl Cox
The third Shoom flyer featured the smiley face that became the defining symbol of acid house. This period became known as the Second Summer of Love, a peaceful movement that similar to the Summer of Love in San Francisco.
It was all one love, everyone together. Anyone can dance all of a sudden, freedom of expression. Dress down, not up. Converse trainers, smiley T-shirts – a sort of tribalism took over. Everyone was happy to be the same. – Pete Tong


Nicky Holloway opened The Trip in London’s West End; the club heavily played acid house, and stayed open until 3 am. Party go-ers would spill out on the streets as the nights ended, which attracted police attention. These bursts of late night activity may have encouraged the UK’s strong anti-club laws, which made it difficult for promoters to put on events in clubs. As laws became more rigid, groups began to gather to dance inside warehouses and secret locations – early raves.
Organized by production companies, raves began to gain press attention. A popular fanzine called Boy’s Own was responsible for publishing the first article on acid house (written by Paul Oakenfold). Boy’s Own also held the first documented outdoor acid rave in 1988 (legend has it that a teenaged Norman Cook – aka Fatboy Slim – was turned onto house music during one of their parties).
Promotion groups Sunrise and Revolution in Progress (RIP) began to hold bigger events. Sunrise transformed the underground movement into large-scale dance events. The crew organized a massive campaign in Trafalgar Square called Freedom to Party, which eventually led to a change in the UK’s licensing laws, and venues were given the go-ahead to stay open all night.
There was quite a bit of reported psychedelic and club drug use at these all night events, which gave rise to negative media attention. Acid house was banned from radio, television and media outlets, but during the backlash, a credible UK acid house record managed to break into the mainstream. Produced by a mysterious artist called Humanoid, ‘Stakker Humanoid’ reached #17 on the UK charts in 1988.

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