1. MY FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH K’ALEXI SHELBY WAS THROUGH THE RHYTHM BEAT LABEL WITH ALIASES: CLUB MCM, MIND CONTROL MUSIC. TELL US ABOUT THE BEGINNINGS OF YOUR YOUNG CAREER AS A PRODUCER AND DJ.
As far as my young career goes, I was very much so blessed day and as I am now to have started with the pioneers of this thing called “house” and what Chicago knows to be techno, I started off of the inside like drum machine and was making beach tracks, because that was all we made back then and was more than happy with just that. I don’t even think we understood how much the rhythm played a part in what we would come to be no now, about this thing of hours, but it definitely helped.
I find myself, even though today, looking for the perfect date always: the hunt continues.
2. CHICAGO HOUSE MUSIC SCENE. CHICAGO’S LEGENDARY WBMX AM & FM. TALK ABOUT THIS RADIO AND THE INCREDIBLE MUSIC SHARED ON THEIR RADIO SHOWS
BMX was at the tone of the type of music that was kool to play, but My mom would win these “dance contest” and she would bring me home the records. At first I just thought it was cool getting gifts for my mom, but before I know it, I ended up with quite the collection. But after losing my collection, over the years to flood damage, I would say about three times, that was it my heart couldn’t take being broken anymore, plus maturing and moving around, made it hard to keep up with such things. So, I was more than happy seeing my teacher/friend Big brother Frankie Knuckles Dj on a flash drive. I was all too amazed to see someone of his caliber doing such a thing and to know, that you can carry all that music on such a tiny thing, with all the information about the record that you needed. Technology, such a wonderful thing.
3. YOUR MUSIC EXPERIENCE DRUM MACHINES, SYNTHESIZERS, SEQUENCERS
Yes, then sonic drum machine well actually REAL Drums first and then the end sonic and then whatever drum machine that was that came before. The SP 12, then moving on to the whole road and family the 303 and the cast of others that would help shape my career. I think no drum machine to help me more than I would say: the 909 to 727 in the MPC 60.
4. RON HARDY AND MUSIC BOX, THE KEY, THE ONLY GODFATHER OF HOUSE MUSIC
He was definitely one of the godfathers, another one of my friends/big brothers, another one of my lucky encounters that I was blessed to even took the time tonight only listen to my little tracks, I was making but play them and play them, so well and so much, that people thought they were his. I miss him very much, I miss them both.
5. FRANKIE KNUCKLES “WAREHOUSE”
Big brother Frankie was then and now a big influence, but when I think of him, music isn’t really the first thing that comes to mind, his musical intellect Wasn’t doubtable, but I really just missed a genuine conversations, he and I, would have things happening in the singing out, but just life conversations.
6. HOW ITALO-DISCO INFLUENCED CHICAGO HOUSE MUSIC
There was a record store in Chicago downtown called “Imports” and they would have all the latest Italiano disco I know. What a joy it was to hear that style, even now, I enjoy a good Italian disco cut because of the skill and I imagine what a wonderful joy those sessions must’ve been.
7. WHEN EUROPEAN, ITALIAN SOUND APPEAR IN US CHICAGO RECORD STORES
As I said Import Records baby was undoubtably hands-down the best store for that type of music.
8. FROM THE SEMINAL LABELS OF THE 90S: D.J. INTERNATIONAL RECORDS, TRAX RECORDS, ACV .. HOW THE WAYS OF ENJOYING MUSIC HAVE CHANGED OVER TIME. TELL US ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH MODERN TECHNOLOGIES, SOFTWARE, NEW MACHINERY FOR MAKING MUSIC.
I didn’t catch Sean and fully give to digital for a while. I was really happy with regular pianos and drum machines or should I say life drumming until I realized how much I can get done by myself with everything going digital. I just made it easier for me being a kid back, then making noise they were later be turned into music dare I even say classics.
9. ONE YEAR OF PANDEMIC, SOCIAL DISTANCE ETC. HOW DO YOU THINK THE WORLD OF CLUBBING WILL CHANGE? THE DANCE?
I would hope they would weed out those people who were only in it for the money, but I see right now the jacking off positions being done, to keep those people in power. Sad, really how the people have become so into things of the moment, instead of thinking long-term. No one really cares anymore, it seems about how the record was made, where it came from and what else that artist have done. This is now and always has been, a culture those who don’t respect, that are doomed to fail.
10. ENLIGHTEN US ON YOUR DREAM PROJECT
To get my music in as many films and other visual projects as possible.
The goal has always been to reach and teach as many as possible. I have always been one with the music & the people & NEVER thought I was bigger than ether, I am forever a fan of the culture.
Be on the lookout for my new music & label “Blueprint Klassik”.
Oh What A Lil Smoke Can Do – K ‘Alexi Shelby AKa El Chocalata
1. Make Me Wanna – Marvin Gaye ( Mr K ‘Alexi Edit )
2. Trance Europe Express – Kraft Work ( Mr K ‘Alexi Edit )
3. I Need Somebody 2 Luv – Sylvester ( Mr K ‘Alexi Edit )
4. You Stepped Into My Life – Melba Moore ( Mr K ‘Alexi Edit )
5. My Hart Heat Begins 2 Beat ( Mr K ‘Alexi Edit )
6. Lady Bug -Bumble Bee Unlimited ( Mr K ‘Alexi Edit )
7. You Gonna make me Luv Somebody else – The Jones Girls ( Mr K ‘Alexi Edit )
8. We Got the Funk – Positive force ( Mr K ‘Alexi Edit )
9. Just An Illusion – Imagination ( Mr K ‘Alexi Edit )
10. I Got A Big Bee – Bumble Bee Unlimited ( Mr K ‘Alexi Edit )
11. Native new Yorker – Odyssey ( Mr K ‘Alexi Edit )
12. Run Away Luv – Loleatta Holloway
13. Miss Broadway – Belle Epoque ( Mr K ‘Alexi Edit )
14. Give Me Ya Love – Sylvia Stripling ( Mr K ‘Alexi Edit )
15. Body Heat – James Brown ( Mr K ‘Alexi Edit )
16. Sing Sing Sing – Charlie Calello Orchesta ( Mr K ‘Alexi Edit )
17. Miss You – Rolling Stones ( Mr K ‘Alexi Edit )
18. Shack Yo Tambourine – Universal Robot ( Mr K ‘Alexi Edit )
19. Last Song <3
Repress from essential Chicago house anthem by K-Alexi ! K-Alexi’s musical journey began at the young age of 12, when he befriended Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles while frequenting the Music Box and Warehouse. In high school, he began to write songs and hone his poetic craft. “I recognized I had a gift to say what I was thinking. I would study Prince and Marvin Gaye, figure out what they meant and put my spin on it. The power of the word. I was writing love notes for all my boys in high school and making a killing. I would know what to say and what they should do.” In 1987, Shelby’s first solo release, Risqué III’s “Essence of a Dream” b/w “Risqué Madness,” was to be cemented in Chicago dance history. He was accompanied in the studio by his cousin and production mentor, Mr. Lee. The track’s effortlessly propulsive house rhythms (courtesy of the Roland TR-727, TR-707, and TR-909), salsa-inflected bassline, and oneiric strings fuse magnificently with K’Alexi’s steamy, Prince-esque verse. Due to tight studio schedule times, his vocals were almost omitted. Says Shelby: “The session was coming to an end and I said I wanted to put the vocals on there. They said, ‘We got no time unless you can get your vocals right in one take’. I said, ‘Let it rip’ and went into the vocal booth…they just stood there with their mouths open. The look on their faces was priceless.” The B-side’s “Risqué Madness” is a tribute to Ron Hardy, DJ at the Music Box and one of K’Alexi’s formative influences. The track opens with Shelby’s processed voice announcing “I’d like to talk to you about escape. Let me take you away, away to a place where rhythm is life, and life is a never ending sound.” This introduction captures how he felt dancing to disco every week at the Music Box. Hardy was known for playing an edit of Kikrokos’ “Life is a Jungle,” in which he looped the track’s lysergic breakdown. Shelby utilizes the same delirious loop but builds upon it with additional percussion, melodies, samples from Hardy favorite “Let No Man Put Asunder” by First Choice, and manipulated vocals taken from The Madam’s “The Sensuous Black Woman”, a recording used often in early Chicago house DJ sets and recordings. Both sides of this record perfectly reflect the spirit of Chicago house music. The sleeve was designed by Eloise Leigh, and features a never-before-seen photo of a teenage Shelby taken at his high school, with a bold font evoking 80’s house music covers. Also included is a postcard with lyrics, an additional photo from the same session as the cover artwork, and liner notes from Shelby.