1. INTRODUCE YOURSELF, WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION
Hello! My name is Marcus Mixx & I’ve been making House music since 1987. I get my vibes & inspirations from any & everywhere. Since I grew up in a very diverse middle class setting here in Chicago, I love all forms & styles of music. When I record a lot of times it’s a blend of different flavors of sounds. Up until around 2013, I was drinking heavily everyday & that played a big factor too. I love to experiment & play around with sounds & effects regardless of where they’re based from. I do also get pushed by classic House tracks from the 1980’s & ’90’s as well.
2. CHICAGO HOUSE MUSIC SCENE PAST/PRESENT
I was very fortunate to be able to witness the planting of the seeds of House not from the very beginning, i.e., the original Frankie & Ronnie days in their venues. For one, I was in my early teens & I’d heard tons of rumors about it being a “Gay” thing only. But, when I starting finding out about their mixtapes in the streets & the whole concept of mixing songs together & never stopping the music @ parties, I got hooked very fast. I eventually didn’t care if my peers didn’t like the “Gay” aspect of it, because, the music was so outstanding & it took me over. As the years went on & was djing small parties & gigs, as well as, going to the big events 2 hours ahead of time just to meet & beg a lot of the legends in the making of House to let me open up for them for free. Back then, I was willing to carry their records in & out of their car, by them drinks, food, hang posters, pass out plggers, etc.
It was an amazing experience to beat & bang crowds of people that I’ve never met before. Very powerful & meaningful. Lastly, it was mega awesum to have some of the big boys play my records & seeing all of the folks jackin’ & slammin’ to them. That really helped sell my vinyl in the early stages. It was so pure & unstained by today’s commercialization of House. But, even today, House is mainly in my veins & arteries than any other form of music.
3. I HEARD FROM MIKE HUCKABY (DEEP TRANSPORTATION – DETROIT) THAT SEVERAL DETROIT DJS MOVED TO CHICAGO WITH THEIR CAR ALMOST EVERY WEEK TO LISTEN TO CHICAGO’S LEGENDARY WBMX AM & FM. TALK ABOUT THIS RADIO AND THE INCREDIBLE MUSIC SHARED ON THEIR RADIO SHOWS.
When WBMX started letting dj’s mix live on the air (& then on tape), it was the one & only thing to do get prepared for on Friday & Saturday nights regardless of the weather! The Hot Mix Five was perfect too, because, of the diverse styles & songs played by the different jocks. Some would scratch vinyl a little, some would blend right @ the breaks, some would remix two records for five minutes, some would play only the top club stuff, etc. Even in the most racist areas @ the time when it was warm/hot, every bodies car windows were down & crankin’ up WMBX & The Hot Mix Five. @ the beach, the parks, the neighborhoods, even the rival gangs would pump & push the sounds for a while & forget about the bull crap of fighting all of the time! I also noticed that in the clubs. WBMX ran the city for a long wonderful time & even people who hated R&B, slow jams & rap during the regular week, would definetly tune in on Fridays & Saturdays! People also recorded those mixes to whomp on boom boxes & cars, as well as, trade them around & make copies. People from outside of Chicago would pay & beg to get Hot Mix Five tapes.
4. RON HARDY AND MUSIC BOX, THE KEY, THE ONLY GODFATHER OF HOUSE MUSIC
Ron Hardy was not only a House music legend, but, he was really cool to me & he always played my test pressing as soon as i gave them to him in the clubs. I was very lucky to have him give his input & suggestions on a couple of my most popular tracks. He always liked the deepest versions of my music & I paid him for his advise & gave him mixing credits for them all with his permission. I never went to the original Music Box in the early days, due to be underage & not ever being in a “Gay” atmosphere. Once again, name calling back then to a high school kid was redundant like it is now. But, when I turned 18, I was taken over by his style & knowledge of what it took to please & romance a House crowd!
5. FRANKIE KNUCKLES “WAREHOUSE”
Frankie, just like Ronnie was so fuckin’ great to me! He was more open & fun in a sense that he would sometimes joke around. I have a great sense of humor too, but, when I first met him & was next to him, I was shaking like a little kid. One time I asked him could I carry some of the records from the he came into the a venue. he said “O.K.!” As I was stuggling carrying 2 rates he said “If you drop my records, I’m gonna kill you!” I then got really nervous & he started laughing with his friends & said “I’m not worried about you doing anything bad!” – “Thank you!” He, like Ronnie had a unique style of spinnin’, but, Frankie took it way beyond belief some nights by playing The Doors, Zepplen, Pink Floyd & everybody in the club might pause for a second in the beginning of hearing something like that way of out left field, but, we all jacked up up even harder & truly loved whatever he played! He was like a big teddy bear & I didn’t care who saw me drooling of this god with a small g! Simply the best!
6. HOW ITALO-DISCO INFLUENCED CHICAGO HOUSE MUSIC
The Italo Disco & Italian House was very influential in so many ways! One key factor was the simple fact that it was Italian based.
7. WHEN EUROPEAN, ITALIAN SOUND APPEAR IN US CHICAGO RECORD STORES
Tons of DJ’s & House heads really liked the fact that House music was getting so popular around the globe & that the sounds from Italy were adding more bricks to the foundation that started in Chicago. Also, a lot of those songs were getting tons of regular rotation & play on commercial & college radio, because, of the vocals & the easy mid & final breaks. We would remix the hell out them sometimes use them to recharge the crowds. The various tempos of a lot of those tracks also played a big card & drum beats that weren’t always your typical “Four on four” pace.
8. YOUR MUSIC EXPERIENCE DRUM MACHINES, SYNTHESIZERS, SEQUENCERS
I first had hands on experiences with drum machines, synths & sequencers thru L.I.A.M/Gitano Camero @ Head Studios. In the beginning, he only had a 707 & he never used it. His studio (Head Studio) was mainly recording rock & metal so the bands would use real drum kits. When he patched in a beat for me when I recorded my first song “I Wanna House”, he thought that I was nuts. Not only the simply foot, but, why so damn loud & thick. After my first session with him, he insisted that I keep my money & come back for free the following week so that he could learn more about House! I left him a cassette tape of one of my mixes & when we saw each other again, he was a hooked Househead. We played around with his synths & sequencers by adding lots of flange, distortion & whatever else the booze called for. These days, I mainly record on my MacBook, but, the digital versions of those components are just as cool to play around with.
9. LOST LABELS: Missing Dog Records, Missing Records (I Wanna House!)
The labels that I started mainly with LIAM weren’t taken seriously by us, especially me, because, I was getting most of the pub, praise & money for all that was going on. I didn’t focus on building a brand/solid label, mainly because, it was more like a hobby. Even though I’d get orders from the landmark Chicago record stores & distributers, I’d just party the money away & release more stuff @ unknown times & schedules. Even though we recorded scores of other really good House songs that are in the range of “The Spell” to “T.A.P.”, I was doing so many other things, like promoting parties, drinking, DJing, drinking, being with babes, drinking, & so on! I also never went to to any of the founders of House like TRAX & DL International Records, even though they wanted some of my material. I really regret not building up one of the labels that I started & let go so quickly! Pure laziness & of course the booze! All I wanted & needed was to party!
10. ENLIGHTEN US ON YOUR DREAM PROJECT
Well, currently, I’m living out a dream project in a way, because, I’m making music for “TRAX Records” & “Let’s Pet Puppies Records” in Chicago & “WakeUp! Music Group” out of Miami. There are a lot of big House & Nu House legends like Matt Warren, Screamin’ Rachael, Joe Smooth & more that I’m not only recording with, but remixing & also making music videos. My dream project would be to continue to work with old & new skoolers in House without all of the negative crap that usually comes about. It’s too much fun & money for all who want to be “In Da House”!
Marcus Mixx Shannon intw. 06.2019 Family House.