Q+A: 5 minutes with DJ Pierre
Originating from a known region of cultural innovation, DJ Pierre is a contributor to the development of the arts in Chicago, USA. That is to say, he is one of the godfathers of the Acid House genre. Prohibition aside, the American DJ helped define the genre through his participation in the House music group Phuture’s ‘86 record Acid Tracks. In fact, many define it as the project that birthed Acid House.
Blowing in from the windy city, DJ Pierre is set to grace the stage at TIMELESS Festival in March of this year, an event that will take place in Cape Town, South Africa. To mark the occasion, we asked him how he is getting ready to set the stage ablaze.
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
The arts chose me. But for me, it’s more about the art of creating. Period. I like to bring things to life. Anything floating around in my mind, I want to bring it forth and manifest it into reality. I also like to build and fix things. When I was 7, I used to repair my father’s old watches and whenever I fixed one he would let me have it. My mom also bought me science and chemistry books on how to make things, like mothers and elect magnets, or do chemistry experiments like how to make it rain in an artificial environment. (That experiment never worked; they lied. It only produced condensation so I was very annoyed at that).
In my teens, I would fix radios and TVs or put lights in people’s beat boxes that would flash to the beat of the music. But all the while I was doing this, I played the Clarinet in concert band, then in 8th grade, I moved to playing the drums and marching band because for me that was so much more exciting. Even then I had no idea that I wanted to make music or be a DJ. It wasn’t until I saw this guy doing it at a school dance that I caught the bug! For my birthday I asked for two turn tables and a mixer! And no they were not 12’s, but they were Technics direct drives! Anyway, from then on I totally fell in love with Djing, and I became very popular in my area.
Soon after that was when Spanky r.i.p. (my friend from the group Phuture) approached me in the school hallway to tell me about how he wanted to make House music and that he was going to get a drum machine and also that he wanted to start a group with me and his best friend at the time, Herbert J. I was still in Marching Band, Symphonic Winds, and a Jazz band playing all percussion instruments (We even performed in Canada that year for a competition and won like 13 trophies) but by then my heart was all about doing and making House music!
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
I’d have to say, that depends on what my inspiration is at the time. If I don’t have a melody in mind, I will simply go with my feelings and emotion on where I want to go creatively. Usually, I will start by creating a basic, rudimentary beat just to get some basic ideas and concepts down. Most of the time I like to start was a bassline and go from there by adding layers of melody parts on top while at the same time cultivating the beat and song structure as the production progresses.
What’s on your current playlist?
TECHNO! – ACID! – HOUSE MUSIC!
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
Well, I personally don’t consider myself to have any “fans” but just us all simply being fans and followers of this music. I want people to love and be fans of the music that I play and feel a sort of kindred spirit in that regard. It’s like a musical relationship that we are having with each other. You see, it goes both ways. We are family through music.
How are you prepping for your set at TIMELESS fest?
Well, through song selection and mixing style, I hope to bring a sense of togetherness through my set that can hopefully bring a sense of joyful excitement and energy! Something of inspiration that challenges us all away from hate, but pushes us to the higher frequencies of empathy and forgiveness and perhaps to reach even some higher levels such as healing, self-reflection, peace, love, and unity. I truly believe that all these things can be inspired through music IF our minds are all vibrating, dancing, and creating on that higher level frequency.
Which of your songs should festival-goers put on their ‘TIMELESS’ playlist?
‘We Are Phuture’ by Phuture.
Imagine you’re a festival goer. Do you rough it in a tent or glamp in luxury?
Well, if I were 18 or so I couldn’t see myself doing anything besides getting a tent!! That’s what it’s all about!
What one thing MUST you absolutely have with you on stage?
The vibe of being in the crowd!!
Break down the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
A new Phuture album!
Famous last words?
Not yet, too many years left!
Listen to DJ Pierre‘s album Wild Pitch: The Story:
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Image credit: TBC