Time Out Chicago
October 13-19, 2005
Humorous, outrageously dressed alter ego of house jock Cajmere
Chicago residencies: None, but I regularly play at Sound-Bar and Smartbar.
First gig ever: In Baltimore with the singer Dajae in the early ’90s, probably ’92 or ’93. It just happened. I really don’t have any idea on how I decided to dress up. I know that’s kind of lame, but that’s the truth.
Best gig ever: There isn’t one that stands out more than the other. I guess it’s when everyone is happy and everyone there thinks they’re at a good gig.
Worst gig ever: A bad gig is when I don’t play at all, I guess. When does that happen? As long as I’m performing, it’s a good gig.
Musical heroes: I really enjoy people like George Clinton when he was doing the Funkadelic and Parliament stuff. Prince, Sly Stone, Grace Jones and David Bowie. I love the ’70s, and I think back then it was more about the whole show. People aren’t used to those kinds of performances these days, outside of rock. It’s nowhere near the level it was once at.
Vice/drink of choice: That’s a hard one. Too many to say.
Favorite song: Anything by Stevie Wonder.His songs are very spiritual and I lovereligious songs.
Best thing about Chicago: The deep-dish pizza. I love it.
A second-generation house legend who grew up in the ’80s partying at the [now-defunct Chicago club] Muzic Box
Style: House and some downtempo
Chicago residencies: A rotating gig at Four on Tuesdays with Frique and Andrew Harris
First gig ever: At a club on North Broadway called Alcazar alongside Spencer Kincey, [a house DJ] also known as Gemini. The crowd was okay, but it was the place where I met my first true love.
Best gig ever: Two stick out. The first was at a birthday party for [DJ] Mark Farina in San Francisco in the mid-’90s. I was playing with Derrick Carter, and house music was pretty much running shit at that point. The second was at a party in L.A. called Dynagroove. I played with King Britt and could do no wrong.
Worst gig ever: I played a party in ’96 in New York where the decks skipped so much that I broke the record I was playing and threw it into the crowd. I never did that rock-star shit again.
Musical heroes: Both Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder because of their versatility and longevity.
Vice/drink of choice: Right now, I’d have to say EFFEN Black [vodka] and 7-Up. I also like Maker’s Mark and Coca-Cola in mass quantities.
Favorite song: Laughter
Best thing about Chicago: The winters build character, and the caliber of talent that lives here.
A pulse-pounding house DJ and founding member of the local all-female SuperJane Collective
Style: Chicago house
Chicago residencies: I play at Smartbar every month.
First gig ever: It was at the Artful Dodger in 1990. I was playing a mix-tape at a restaurant I was working at, a place called Espial [now-closed Lincoln Park spot], and this guy suggested I play some cuts over at the bar.
Best gig ever: I did a show at Club Arena in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2001 for this Woman’s Art Festival and the audience was 100 percent black. The interaction between the crowd and the DJ was definitely there. At moments there was chanting and people were hooting and hollering. The music was turned off at the end and the whole room gave me a round of applause. I was the first African-American woman to deejay in that venue, and it meant a lot.
Worst gig ever: I haven’t had a worst gig, but things often get difficult due to technical problems. Normally, when people look up at the booth, they think everything is your fault, when it’s normally the turntable, feedback or the monitors.
Musical heroes: Billie Holiday, Brian Eno and Chicago standards like Derrick Carter, Diz and Mark Farina. That’s where deejaying comes into play—you want to play your favorite stuff.
Vice/drink of choice: I’ve been a tequila drinker since college. Patrõn Silver usually gets me into trouble.
Favorite song: The Brothers Johnson’s version of “Strawberry Letter No. 23” reminds me of being little and spending my summer vacations at my grandparents’ house in Compton, California.
Best thing about Chicago: When the weather breaks in the spring and everyone is so excited that it isn’t cold anymore. The whole city’s energy changes.
Local jock who founded Kompute, a well-respected label for hard-edged house and techno
Style: House, techno, industrial, rock or even hip-hop
Chicago residencies: Kompute has a gig every third Friday at Lava.
First gig ever: I played at this place called the Half Moon Café when I was 19. It was an alternative, underage club and I had a residency there for a month or two before cops raided the place and I was kicked out.
Best gig ever: I love playing in Amsterdam and Montreal. At clubs in those cities, people are paying more attention to what’s going on musically, and the clubs have a good sound system and make sure you’re ready to do your job. American places can be dodgy.
Worst gig ever: I played in Iowa once and my girlfriend got a DUI leaving the venue. I had to stay for two days to get her out of jail.
Musical heroes: Traxx (see below) and Trancid. They care about the art of deejaying and don’t play the same records in the same order as everybody else.
Vice/drink of choice: I haven’t had a drink in five years, so I’d have to say coffee.
Favorite song: “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by the Rolling Stones. It’s aggressive, gets right to the point and tells you a good story.
Best thing about Chicago: Chicago is sick. It’s a metropolis, it’s on a beach and there’s actually a nightlife culture.
Tone B. Nimble
The turntable wizard of Chicago’s conscious rap crew All Natural
Style: I play a lot of hip-hop, but I’ll also play some soul, original breaks, some disco records. I’ll even play house records.
Chicago residencies: I do two different monthly events at Sonotheque—Dance to the Drummer’s DB and the Scion event.
First gig ever: It was probably a house party around ’87 or ’88, when I was going to Homewood-Flossmoor High School. Capital D [from All Natural] and myself used to deejay together. House parties were the start.
Best gig ever: I played at an outdoor party at Shelter [now-shuttered legendary nightclub] in ’92 or ’93. The vibe off the crowd was great. It was a very diverse group and they were there to party. Very seldom do I stick around at the party these days. But at that party I did. I stayed there all night and hung out.
Worst gig ever: When people ask for different genres than what I’m playing, especially at a popular club when there are a lot of tourists. When I’m playing Eric B. and Rakim and they ask for the Doors—it’s like apples and oranges.
Musical heroes: Musically, I like James Brown. He’s almost in a class by himself based on how much quality music he puts out.
Vice/drink of choice: I’ve been collecting sneakers for 15 years. I’m a consumer for sure. I have a couple hundred and keep the old ones in boxes. I like my Air Jordan 4s. There are people that have way more than that, but because I collect records, my collection of sneakers isn’t where it could be.
Favorite song: I like “Saturdays” by De La Soul, “Liquid Swords” by the GZA, “Just Hangin’ Out” by Main Source and “Water No Get Enemy” by Fela Kuti.
Best thing about Chicago: People might not know it, but it does have a great musical history. A lot of artists came from here. We have good lineage, so to speak.