THUMP Mix: Chrissy

Like most of the world’s best DJs, Chrissy has a soft spot for the past. At Smart Bar, the hallowed hall where the Chicago-based artist has been a resident for the last three years, he’s often captained a dancefloor whose booking focus pays homage to the queer roots of disco and classic house, while keeping a foot firmly tapping into the future-facing sounds.

As a producer, he’s followed suit, as one of the first to play footwork outside of the US under the past guise of Chrissy Murderbot. After nixing the “murderbot” around 2012 to make tracks solely as Chrissy, he’s honed in on a ethos of making effective dancefloor tracks that blend classic disco, floor filling house, and dashes of Hi-NRG and acidic Italo. Chrissy mixed a bit of all those past descriptors with tinges of glittery-pop earlier this year with the help Hawley, a singer and fellow Kansas native with whom he released Chrissy & Hawley on The Nite Owl Diner label he runs with Alex Burkat.

Currently, in addition to the strenuous workload mentioned above, the artist has been focusing on a new effort: The Nite Owl Diner’s new sister label Cool Ranch. In addition to being the best Doritos flavor (feel free to @ me), the label is a space for Chrissy to expand on what he calls “fun, disco-ey Chicago house. He kicked the label off with the likes of “We Ain’t Goin Nowhere,” an ecstatic filter-disco-house jam that doesn’t take itself too seriously but also could rescue just about any dancefloor you set it off in. Number two on the label is on the way, and is keeping up with similar, lovable themes.

Busier than ever, Chrissy is next up on our THUMP Mix series with an hour of tracks that find him in fine form. We also had a chat with the artist about nostalgia, his new music, and a recent after-hours experience in Portland that didn’t quite feel real.

THUMP: How are we meant to enjoy the mix? What’s the perfect setting?
Chrissy: Rip it off Soundcloud and put it on a USB drive (make the filename something like “jackin_banger_1644MASTER.mp3”) and go to the coolest nightclub wherever you live and hand the USB drive to the DJ and be like “hi will you pleeeease play my new track it just got signed to [pick a record label you think will impress the DJ] and it would work really well with your set, trust me” and then when they put it on it’s like “SIKE it’s this other guy’s mix neener neener!!!” Extra points if I’m the DJ you pull that trick on!

Is synesthesia a real thing and if so, what color is this mix?
Every mix I have ever done is pink or purple, except for the rainbow colored ones (and a yellow one I did during my happy hardcore years).

Was there any specific concept to the mix?
I really just wanted to show my personality and who I am and the music I am passionate about, you know?

Do you have a favorite moment on the mix?
I like the part in the middle where it slows down and Erasure comes in. I know it’s not like “cool” or whatever to drop some obvious pop tune in the middle of a mixtape without even beat-matching it, but anyone who doesn’t think “Chains of Love” is the banger to end all bangers is a joyless grouch who probably wouldn’t like me anyway so ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Tell mw a bit about the new Cool Ranch label. How does it differ from what you’ve put out over the years with Alex Burkat at Nite Owl Diner? Can you share what’s coming up on the label?
Cool Ranch is really just an outlet for some fun, disco-ey Chicago house that I’ve been working on. Alex and I like to keep The Nite Owl Diner as a space for other artists besides just ourselves, so it made sense to start a separate thing for this series of my own singles. Alex hasn’t actually done a release on Nite Owl Diner yet, so the next Nite Owl record is gonna be his EP (finally!), and the third Cool Ranch single will be two tracks from me, plus remixes from Nautiluss and Paul Johnson (!!!!!!).

Both your tracks and mixes seem to toy with nostalgia in interesting ways. How do you think nostalgia fits into today’s dance music scene? Does there seem to be a larger focus on dipping into the past now versus different years in your opinion?
I think nostalgia has always been a big component of our dance music culture. Look at how many 1970s disco acts referenced the Harlem Renaissance and the Jazz Age, or how Bobby Orlando or The B-52s were playing on 1950s beach party vibes in the 1980s, or how ’90s rave and jungle producers used samples of reggae, or soul, or even children’s TV shows to evoke certain moods in their records. To me, the name of the game is knowing and respecting that history while also looking forward and building on it to do cool new futuristic stuff.

You’ve long been associated with Chicago and Smart Bar. How has your relationship to those places changed as you’ve traveled the world and achieved different success on a larger scale?
Chicago is amazing. I wasn’t raised here (I moved here about 10 years ago), but it’s definitely the place where I became an adult, and being here has done a lot to develop my skills as a DJ and performer. I’ve been a resident DJ at Smart Bar for about 3 years now, and I think my relationship with it is similar to the other residents who tour a lot; basically we all adore the place, and we play whenever they have an opening for us that fits with our schedule.

What have been some of your more surreal moments as an artist as of late?
Recently I was playing an after hours in Portland at some sort of quasi-legal sex club and it was like 6AM and a guy got up on all fours on the DJ table and right as I’m about to be like “Hey, get off my table mister I’m tryna work here!” his friend stuck a butt plug in him like six inches from away my face. The surreal part is that it was a shape of butt plug I had never even seen before!

What’s next for you?
More Cool Ranch releases, more Nite Owl Diner releases, trying to finalize details for a European tour in October, and hopefully Asia in November. Hopefully more shows everywhere!

We Need to Talk About the Queer Community's Meth and GHB Epidemic

Anthony “aCe” Pabey is a Chicago-based DJ, producer, rapper who co-founded Men’s Room—a queer sex-positive dance party that takes place in iconic leather bars, defunct porn theaters, and other venues around the city. Last month, Pabey joined us for a roundtable discussion on the state of gay nightlife in the US, where he first shared his growing concerns over the widespread use of drugs like crystal meth and GHB in queer communities.

Per the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in the space of one year, from 2014 to 2015, meth use rose from 5.7 to 6.4 percent amongst people aged 26 and older, and from 3 to 3.3 percent amongst those aged 18 to 25. Meanwhile, in London, meth users who inject the drug while having sex jumped from 20 percent in 2011 to 80 percent in 2012, according to LGBT drug-and-alcohol support service Antidote. In response to this growing problem, hookup apps like Grindr and Scruff have gone so far as to ban words associated with drug use, such has “meth” and “party.”

GHB is also a substance that Pabey has noticed becoming increasingly visible in the scene. Research on GHB use in America is slim, but a recent VICE article described the substance (along with meth and mephedrone) as part of the “lifeblood” of chemsex parties—drug-fueled group sex sessions often organized on gay dating apps. In 2015, Buzzfeed reported that emergency room doctors in San Francisco have been encountering the drug with increasing regularity, particularly amongst gay professionals. According to the same report, the number of deaths from the drug in London more than doubled from 2011 to 2015.

Below, Pabey opens up about the problem of hard drug abuse in the gay community, and explores its relationship to contemporary hookup culture.—Michelle Lhooq

Photo by Matt Desouza

Anthony “aCe” Pabey: The queer community is facing an epidemic that no one is really talking about: the widespread use of hardcore drugs like meth and GHB in connection to sex and partying. These substances are becoming increasingly accepted as the norm in the daily lives of many of my friends in Chicago—where I DJ and throw parties—as well as across the country.

Hookup apps are where I personally have encountered the most people suffering from addiction to these drugs. Every time I log onto them, I am asked multiple times if I “parTy” or “pNp”—code words for doing meth and/or GHB while fucking. This interaction occurs so often that no one bats an eye. We ignore this person and move on as if they don’t exist, ignoring the lives of those who suffer from addiction—if we aren’t addicts ourselves.

Our nonchalant attitude towards addiction is just as detrimental as the drugs themselves.

But in the late-90s and early-2000s, to me, it felt like these drugs were not as prevalent in gay nightlife, with the exception of the circuit party scene, where queens would make annual pilgrimages to multiple US cities for these large-scale, multi-day events. These drugs—along with some imodium, so you don’t shit all weekend— would fuel the afterhours and orgies that accompanied these circuit parties. This was at a time when many queer people were living in fear from the AIDS crisis. I truly believe many gay and queer people turned to heavy drug use to deal with that fear.

Now, in 2017, the circuit party legacy is a fading memory like a Queer as Folk episode. Hardcore drug use has become less about marathon parties and long weekends, instead thriving in the hookup culture of daily queer lives. With advancements in medicine such as PrEP, for today’s young queer generation, the fear of HIV has almost disappeared, resulting in people being more willing to engage in hookup culture and drug-fueled chemsex parties.

MDMA and ketamine are the drugs that people in the underground are most comfortable talking about, thanks to articles about how these substances can treat people with PTSD. Even the medical community is now rallying around these drugs.

We have moved away from the notion of community, collective preservation, and protection.

But nobody wants to talk about how hardcore drugs are destroying our community. These drugs are still taboo and frowned upon by the majority of American society, but their use is not a secret on the apps, where code words like the capital T (for “Tina,” meaning meth) are hanging in the air constantly.

The epidemic I speak of is not simply about addiction or heavy drug use. Rather, it is the result of a complex system of queer human interactions, contemporary hookup culture, and technology’s effect on the ways we treat and view each other. Our nonchalant attitude towards people suffering from addiction is just as detrimental as the drugs themselves.

Part of that nonchalant attitude comes from dating apps. For one thing, the apps are notorious for normalizing “sexual racism.” It’s common for people to wear their hate, ignorance, or ill-advised notions of gender and race on their sleeves—by specifying things like “no fems, no fats, no Asians” in their profiles. Preferences on a dating app profile have become the new, cynical version of the gay “hanky code.

This discriminatory atmosphere has only allowed the epidemic to spread. We fail to recognize that the epidemic of hardcore drug use among the queer community is fueled by the rate at which we write off other human beings. We have moved away from the notion of community, collective preservation, and protection. It sometimes feels like we have forgotten about all the victims and survivors of the AIDS epidemic—the heroes of the 80s and 90s who fought for you to be proud.

In order for us to take steps towards addressing this epidemic, I ask you to first reprogram yourself out of the dehumanizing effect of technology and information overload, and find empathy. Put yourself into an addict’s shoes, and think critically about how this person has come to this point in their lives, instead of writing them off as another messy queen. Understand that for some people, addiction is a lifelong battle, or stems from family issues, or is a coping mechanism for racism, misogyny, and transphobia.

Examine how you interact with other human beings. Do you care about other humans’ suffering? When you see someone on the floor G’ing out, are you that person who helps to get this person up? Are you here to have uncomfortable conversations with friends and strangers?

Call and visit with your friends, lovers, and ex-lovers. Stop just texting them. Intimate human interaction and contact is the beginning of change and healing.

We are in an epidemic. How will you address it?

So Drove Enlists CupcakKe, Kreayshawn, and TT The Artist for Debut Song

After making genre-hopping club music for several years as Schwarz, the Los Angeles producer has shared his debut single under the alias So Drove, which features Chicago’s CuppcakKe (who released her excellent sophomore LP Queen Elizabitch this spring), Bay Area’s Kreayshawn, and Baltimore’s TT The Artist.

“Get Ya Shine On” sees him complementing the three MCs’ resilient verses with a glistening, opulent beat, resulting in a West Coast-style posse cut that never flags in energy or vigour. Over email, the producer told THUMP how the song came together.

“This track is like the culmination of so many things I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I’m a huge CupcakKe stan, and I was able to get her verse on the track first, before there was a concept or anything. Once I got her verse, I worked on it just a bit more and was able to finish it all together with Kreayshawn and TT in LA. It’s nice the internet lets you collaborate long distance with people really easily, but it was special being there in person working on the track with them.”

Listen to “Get Ya Shine On” (with original artwork by TT) below.

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This Museum Exhibit Will Teach You About "the Night Disco Died"

On July 12, 1979, thousands of disco records were destroyed at Chicago’s Comiskey Stadium in an infamous event known as Disco Demolition Night. Now, an exhibit chronicling the events of that night, titled “Disco Demolition: The Night Disco Died,” has been put on display at Chicago’s Elmhurst History Museum, where it is scheduled to run through October 8.

Per the museum website, the exhibit is based on Chicago journalist Dave Hoekstra’s book of the same name. The book was written alongside Steve Dahl, the local radio disc jockey who instigated the incident after the station he was working at switched musical formats. The event was originally planned as a baseball promotion to take place between a White Sox double-header, but it quickly got out of hand as tens of thousands more fans than expected showed up to the venue and rushed the field once Dahl blew up the first records. Hoekstra last year gathered an oral history of the Disco Demolition Night for Chicago Magazine.

The exhibit is curated by Lance Tawzer, reports the Chicago Tribune, and includes various memorabilia from that time period, such as the uniform White Sox catcher Mike Colbern wore that day, a “Disco Sucks” belt owned by Dahl, and a framed letter from White Sox promotions worker Mike Veeck apologizing to an unhappy fan.

Last year, Comedy Central series Drunk History reenacted the events of the Disco Demolition in an episode with narration from an increasingly inebriated Bob Odenkirk. Earlier this year, we spoke with a representative of the Library of Congress, which recently hosted a month-long “Bibliodiscotheque” series dedicated to disco culture.

Larry Heard Talks Us Through the Making of "Can You Feel It"

Thirty-one years ago now, an improvisatory musician from Chicago inadvertently changed the course of the world forever. Armed with a synthesizer, a drum machine and a cassette deck, Larry Heard laid down “Can You Feel It,” a Ron Hardy approved house record that still sounds as fresh today as it must have done during the Reagan years.

Under a variety of monikers, most notably Mr. Fingers, the softly-spoken producer and DJ has been a pivotal part of a scene that dominated Chicago, then America, and then the world. Heard, like Marshall Jefferson, Frankie Knuckles, or DJ Pierre can comfortably lay claim to have reshaped the sound of what became the future. Early house records like Heard’s own “Washing Machine,” or the utterly-excoriating “No Way Back” by Adonis, still have the power to stun listeners and drive clubs wild. They sound alien and beautiful, simultaneously ingrained within us and so unlike everything that followed. And few sound as beautiful, or as alien, as “Can You Feel It.”

“That’s what you aim for, that’s what anyone who makes music aims for,” Heard tells me over Skype. He’s talking about the fact that the B-side to his second ever single is still beloved by dance music diehards the world over. Following on from 1985’s spookily sparse Mystery of Love 12″ which was released on his own Alleviated Music imprint, the Washing Machine release saw him sign to Trax Records, a label that alongside D.J. International was one of the cornerstones of the then nascent house scene. This, of course, was before house had been sucked into the greater dance music machine and become the highly commercial monster it is today. There were no huge festivals, no branded tie-ins, no Zac Efron-starring Hollywood movies.

Like any emerging cultural scene, Chicago house was predicated on personal connections. Though Heard admits that he wouldn’t describe everyone in the city during the mid-80s as “best buddies,” there was enough of a support network that ensured young producers’ work was heard by older DJs. The most important thing was, as he says, “getting it to Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles and Wayne Williams and people like that around town, people synonymous with party events.” That’s not to say that mere proximity was a surefire indicator of success. “I didn’t start off knowing Frankie Knuckles; I was just another bright-eyed kid coming up to him with a record,” Heard tells me. “I’m sure he had that multiple times a day, every day.” Knuckles doubtlessly did have to sift through a seemingly endless cache of cassette demos on a daily basis, but few could have been as fascinating as the song that went on to make Larry Heard’s name a global concern.

Listened to three decades on, “Can You Feel It,” feels truly revolutionary. Built around a gloriously gooey six note bassline, there’s little more to it than a flatteringly propulsive percussion track and a few icy-blue pads that introduce an undulating sense of warmth to a track that’s otherwise as tough as a steelworker’s boots. It is that simplicity and sense of spatial awareness that means it’s not dated a jot since initial release, and goes some way to explaining why, every few years, young producers decide to step into a time machine and try and make records just like it. And that’s understandable—a work of art so pristine in its purpose, so immaculately conceived and delivered, will always be a desirous object.

During the course of our chat, it became apparent that “Can You Feel It,” wasn’t the result of months of hard labour. One of the most beguiling and beautiful pieces of music made in the late 20th century didn’t involve backbreaking workshops and endless brain-wracking. “I used a Roland Juno-60 and a TR-909 drum machine. That’s all the gear used on the song,” he says. “I had two cassette decks—there were no digital recorders or even multi-track recorders—and I did one take, one pass, on one tape, then ran it back to the other one, played some other parts by hand that I wanted to add, and that was pretty much the recording process. It wasn’t exactly the Beatles.”

Speaking about it in 2017, ahead of a live performance at this year’s edition of Sunfall, the London-based festival that takes place in mid-August, Heard seems genuinely delighted that the track still gets such a reaction to this very day. There must, I asked, have been a noticeable difference in how audiences react, not just to “Can You Feel It,” but his other material, and house at large. “People raise families and stop going out, young people come in, so there’s a turnover,” he says, a fact he claims generates a level of freshness, meaning that “the old heads who know the songs are getting excited for the thousandth time and the young ones hearing stuff for the first time and getting excited, too.”

The average festival isn’t quite a democratic utopia, though, and not just because of the crushing price of the average on-site snack. “Festivals illustrate how every generation wants to be different from the one before it,” Heard says before adding, “but it’s evident that people are the same no matter what the year is—you’re seeing reactions now you saw 30 years ago.” Sure, the context may have changed wildly from the genre’s inception—the parched fields of South London are a far cry from the sweaty intimacy of Chicago’s numerous legendary nightspots—for Heard, there’s still a touch of the Music Box everywhere he plays. “Same response, different people. People who swear up and down they’re are nothing like each other.”

Gallery-goers are still over-awed by massive Mark Rothko paintings; readers still find themselves in 19th century France every time they crack open the worn, yellowing pages of Madame Bovary, and clubbers still believe they’ve entered a whole new world whenever anyone, anywhere, brings in the unmistakable sound of “Can You Feel It,” Larry Heard’s one take Chicago house wonder.

House Legend Farley “Jackmaster” Funk Donating Birthday Proceeds to a Chicago College

Chicago house music legend Farley “Jackmaster” Funk will do more than celebrate his 55th birthday today. He also plans on giving back to his community.

The birthday celebrations will kick off tonight at a curious spot, Chicago State University, starting at 8pm. Ramonski Love, a DJ from local radio station V103, will also be in attendance.

According to an announcement yesterday for the event, 25% of the proceeds from tonight’s birthday party will be donated to Chicago State University’s music department. The university recently announced a new music major, Commercial Music and Technology, which also reportedly piqued the DJ’s interest.

The university has faced scrutiny in recent years for budget shortfalls, mismanagement, and accreditation issues.

Tickets for the event may be purchased here. In 2015, we spoke to Farley “Jackmaster” Funk about bringing house music to the UK.

Teklife's Sirr Tmo Shares Forceful Footwork Remix of Khallee

Hyperdub and Teklife affiliate Sirr Tmo today shared a vaporous remix of Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based crooner Khallee‘s “Black Car.” The original R&B song feels like it’s moving at several tempos at once; this footwork version ups the ante by inundating the mix with rolling, ghostly subs. The track doesn’t follow a linear compositional logic as much as it drifts through space. It’s grounded, though, by Tmo’s intuitive sense of force.

Khallee told THUMP over email about how he connected with Sirr Tmo. “I sent him the EP with intentions of getting a different Chicago perspective on the tracks, and he chose ‘Black Car.’ His remix is perfect because it just reminds me of some high speed chase out of somewhere,” he said. “The song is a reminder of not getting too hung up on things that might be checkpoints, and not hanging at the rest stop for too long in a metaphorical sense.” 

Khallee’s Troll EP features the original version of “Black Car,” and it was released on April 3. He will play a record release party this evening in Brooklyn at the Halcyon record store.

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The 10 Best Cities For Partying In The USA

What makes a city fun to party in? The answer, of course, is complicatedthere is no straightforward formula that determines what makes one metropolis more lit than another. However, there are factorslike local drinking laws, public transport, and number of nightclubsthat have a huge impact on a city’s nightlife, helping to determine whether it flourishes or flounders.

In this *extremely* scientific study, we crunched the numbers for dozens of cities in America, based on factors that we think significantly shapes local party scenes. Below is our ranking of the top ten best cities for partying in the USA, along with the criteria we used to judge them. Feel free to boast or bitch in the comments.Michelle Lhooq

1. New York City

Raw score: 6.6
Last call: 4 AM
How late you can buy beer on Friday night: 24 HRS
# of dance parties on an average Friday**: 22
# of bars, music venues, and clubs*: 1291
Population: 8,426,743
Clubs per capita: 0.00015
% of people between 21 and 34: 11.75
Uber/Lyft or taxi-style app?: YES
When public transportation ends on Friday night: 24 HRS
Gender-neutral bathroom policy+: YES
Classic track: Royal House (Todd Terry) – “Can You Party”

2. New Orleans

Raw score: 4.7
Last call: 24 HRS
How late you can buy beer on Friday night: 24 HRS
# of dance parties on an average Friday**: 3
# of bars, music venues, and clubs*: 51
Population: 376, 738
Clubs per capita: 0.00013
% of people between 21 and 34:
Uber/Lyft or taxi-style app?: 12.2%
When public transportation ends on Friday night: 24 HRS
Gender-neutral bathroom policy+: NO
Classic track: Big Freedia – “N.O. Bounce”

3. Los Angeles

Raw score: 4.4
Last call: 2 AM
How late you can buy beer on Friday night: 2 AM
# of parties on an average Friday**: 19
# of bars, music venues, and clubs*: 622
Population: 3,900,794
Clubs per capita: 0.00015
% of people between 21 and 34: 12.05
Uber/Lyft or taxi-style app?: YES
When public transportation ends on Friday night: 3 AM
Gender-neutral bathroom policy+: YES
Classic track: Flying Lotus – “Do the Astral Plane”

4. Chicago

Raw score: 4
Last call: 4 AM
How late you can buy beer on Friday night: 24 HRS
# of parties on an average Friday**: 8
# of bars, music venues, and clubs*: 270
Population: 2,717,534
Clubs per capita: 0.00009
% of people between 21 and 34: 12.95
Uber/Lyft or taxi-style app?: YES
When public transportation ends on Friday night: 24 HRS
Gender-neutral bathroom policy+: YES
Classic Track: Frankie Knuckles and Jamie Principle – “Baby Wants to Ride”

5. Philadephia

Raw score: 3.2
Last call: 3 AM
How late you can buy beer on Friday night: 10 PM
# of parties on an average Friday**: 4
# of bars, music venues, and clubs*: 112
Population: 1,555,072
Clubs per capita: 0.00007
% of people between 21 and 34: 9.1
Uber/Lyft or taxi-style app?: YES
When public transportation ends on Friday night: 24 HRS
Gender-neutral bathroom policy+: YES
Classic track: DJ DWizz – “Get Em”

6. Miami

Raw score: 2.6
Last call: 5AM / 24 HRS
How late you can buy beer on Friday night: 24 HRS
# of parties on an average Friday**: 9
# of bars, music venues, and clubs*: 359
Population: 424, 632
Clubs per capita: 0.00084
% of people between 21 and 34: 10.8
Uber/Lyft or taxi-style app?: YES
When public transportation ends on Friday night: 12 AM
Gender-neutral bathroom policy+: NO
Classic track: 2 Live Crew – “We Want Some Pussy”

7. San Francisco

Raw score: 2.3
Last call: 2 AM
How late you can buy beer on Friday night: 2 AM
# of parties on an average Friday**: 9
# of bars, music venues, and clubs*: 328
Population: 840,763
Clubs per capita: 0.00039
% of people between 21 and 34: 14.2
Uber/Lyft or taxi-style app?: YES
When public transportation ends on Friday night: 1 AM
Gender-neutral bathroom policy+: YES
Classic track: Sylvester – “Do Ya Wanna Funk”

8. Houston

Raw score: 1.9
Last call: 2 AM
How late you can buy beer on Friday night: 12 AM
# of parties on an average Friday**: 5
# of bars, music venues, and clubs*: 87
Population: 2,217,708
Clubs per capita: 0.00003
% of people between 21 and 34: 12.3
Uber/Lyft or taxi-style app?: YES
When public transportation ends on Friday night: 3 AM
Gender-neutral bathroom policy+: NO
Classic track: DJ Screw – “June 27”

9. Denver

Raw score: 1.7
Last call: 2 AM
How late you can buy beer on Friday night: 12 AM
# of parties on an average Friday**: 3
# of bars, music venues, and clubs*: 79
Population: 649,654
Clubs per capita: 0.00012
% of people between 21 and 34: 13.9
Uber/Lyft or taxi-style app?: YES
When public transportation ends on Friday night: 3.30 AM
Gender-neutral bathroom policy+: YES
Classic track: Pretty Lights – “Finally Moving Remix”

10. Austin

Raw score: 1.5
Last call: 2 AM
How late you can buy beer on Friday night: 12 AM
# of parties on an average Friday**: 5
# of bars, music venues, and clubs*: 89
Population: 448,901
Clubs per capita: 0.00017
% of people between 21 and 34: 14.25
Uber/Lyft or taxi-style app?: NO
When public transportation ends on Friday night: 12:30 AM
Gender-neutral bathroom policy+: YES
Classic track: S U R V I V E – “To Light Alone I Bow”

*Per Resident Advisor

**Per Resident Advisor and/or local event listings (Eventbrite, Time Out)

+ Single-use stalls, excluding city halls and schools

Runners up:

11. Detroit

12. Boston

13. Austin

14. Atlanta

15. Baltimore

LCD Soundsystem To Headline Pitchfork Music Festival 2017

Photo by Ruvan Wijesooriya, courtesy of Amazon

Dance-rock luminaries LCD Soundsystem will headline Pitchfork Music Festival 2017 along with hip-hop pioneers A Tribe Called Quest and R&B auteur Solange, the festival announced today. The 12th annual edition of the festival will take place from July 1416 in Chicago’s Union Park.

Pitchfork will also partner with Solange’s label and platform Saint Heron to present a special event series featuring artists talks, poetry readings, jazz performances, film screenings, and an installation of contemporary art. These specially-curated events will take place in venues across Chicago from July 1316.

The headliners were announced by way of a two-hour Facebook live stream earlier today, which showed Chicago-based artist Shelby Rodeffer painting an advertisement for the festival featuring the artists’ names on a brick wall.

Tickets for the festival are available on TicketFly.

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Justin Cudmore Found Family In House Music—Now He’s Ready To Give Back To The Dancefloor

All photos courtesy of the artist.

Justin Cudmore speaks softly. It’s takes me by surprise at first, if only because the Brooklyn-based DJ and producer’s workor what little of it has made it out it to the world so faris primarily united by a sort of retro-tinged electricity. His 2016 debut record “Crystal,” released last year on Honey Soundsystem, barrels through squirmy 303 lines like an unhinged Acela train. And that aggressive streak doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon either. Later this month, he’ll release an EP called Forget It for New York’s underground techno mainstay The Bunker, and on it he’s stuffed four relentless tracks of spiraling vocal snippets, vacuum-sealed drums, and crimped acid earworms.

But sitting in a charming coffee shop a short stroll from his Bushwick apartment on a cool January morning, he chooses his words strategically. He says that despite his smart-mouthed, acidic tracks, he’s always felt more like the “quiet kid in the corner,” an observermore party student than party starter. He sips a bottle of Mexican Coke, and explains that his path to the stereotypically party-ready realms of the New York house and techno scene was born from something a little more thoughtfulthe endpoint of a humble, patient search for community, acceptance, and self-confidence.

Stream “Forget It” exclusively above, courtesy of The Bunker New York.

Growing up Springfield, Illinois, a three-hour drive from Chicago, Cudmore gravitated more towards unusual music as a kid, listening to the weirdest cassettes and CDs he could find in his parent’s house. “I was always just a weird kid,” he admits. “Grasping for whatever caught my ear; disco, stuff with beats, loops.” He was a drummer when he was younger, playing in marching band and jazz bands at school, before he started experimenting with laptop production, making what he describes as rudimentary filter house, none of which he ever officially put out into the world.

He eventually moved an hour and a half northeast to Champaign to attend college at the University of Illinois, where his burgeoning interest in electronic music would really blossom. It was the heydey of the blog house movement then, so Cudmore and his friends spent their nights dancing to the day glo strains of that microgenre, and eventually friendships with seasoned ravers helped school him and his peers about turntable culture and vinyl. Soon after they started throwing their own parties at a local bar.

Around the same time, Cudmore and his pals were making frequent trips to Chicago, where they fell in love with the internationally regarded house music haven Smart Bar. It was here he met Steve Mizek, who helps run local Chicago labels Argot and Tasteful Nudes labels, and is revered for founding influential 2000s dance blog, Little White Earbuds, where Cudmore eventually joined the team to help out with ad sales and periodically lent his talents to mixing their monthly podcast series.

Cudmore playing at Fourth World in Brooklyn in 2016.

In a city beaming with dance music history and open-minded personalities, Cudmore came into his own, finding a comforting embrace in the creative underground. “I guess when I found my community, I didn’t even realize how special it was,” Cudmore says about his early days going to Smart Bar’s weekly queer party Dollar Disconow known as Queen!which is still DJ’d weekly by Gramaphone head Michael Serafini, as well as other core members of the Chicago house scene like Derrick Carter and Garrett David.

In college, he’d had struggles dealing with his sexuality and he had a hard time coming out to his parents, but he found solace at the club with a contingent of gay, lesbian, and trans people. It was the first time he felt comfortable dancing with another man in public. “Finding that space in Chicago that let me feel comfortable was, thinking back, invaluable and very cool,” he says. “Just being there with that kind of music always struck me as super special. That’s so important, now more than ever.”

While the comforting grasp of Chicago was pivotal to Cudmore’s progression, in 2013 he’d pack up his bags and move to New York with his boyfriend Jordan, who accepted a job in the city. Like many, the first few months of adapting to the the unforgiving grit of New York wasn’t easy. “I remember when I got to the city I wasn’t feeling it,” he says. “After six months I wanted to leave.”

But soon, luckily, he’d form a kinship with a couple luminaries of the Brooklyn house and techno undergroundmost notably, Detroit natives Bryan Kasenic (of the Bunker) and Mike Servito, who would eventually become an important mentor and friend.

HOT Mix: Mike Servito (left), Justin Cudmore (middle), and Gunnar Haslam (right) at Movement 2016 in Detroit.

“There was a point when I started playing music for doesn’t know what all the techniques are in the studio,” says Cudmore. “But he knows what he wants to hear and what should happen,” he continues. “He has an amazing ear and I trust it.” After finishing the remix, and eventually inviting Gunnar Haslam to lay down a third mix of the track, Servito helped get the record into the hands of San Francisco’s Honey Soundsystem. Because of Cudmore’s infectious original, and flips from his two pals, the EP turned out to be one the biggest dancefloor records of 2016, making top tracks of the year lists for this very publication and Resident Advisor.

The release also swiftly sold out its initial pressing and will currently run you up to $71 on Discogsa rarity for a new release by a relatively unknown artist. All in all, the record helped put Cudmore on the map. Following the drop, the trio of Cudmore, Servito, and Haslam began playing collaborative all-night sets together under the guise of HOT MIX on dancefloors ranging from Brooklyn nightclubs to neighboring festivals like Sustain-Release.

Cudmore playing a Bunker party in Detroit at the Tangent Gallery in 2016.

Cudmore already has big plans for 2017. On February 10, he’ll release his highly anticipated follow up record Forget It on the Bunker, and he’s also plotting a spring release on Detroit’s famed Interdimensional Transmissions. Like “Crystal” did last year, the Bunker record been quietly tearing up Brooklyn dancefloors as a mysterious white label. Centered around an equally cheeky vocal sample and snaky acid line, the title track surely will evoke similar sensory responses to his previous release. “All these tracks were kind of made in the same year time span,” he said. “They’re very much a reflection of those three years partying in NYC, seeing Mike all the time, and all the artists that get presented at the Bunker. Also always going to Detroit for Movement, parties like No Way Back, 1515 Broadway, Old Miami. That’s how I learn about stuff, going back, listening.”

But even as he preps a few more incendiary tracks for release Cudmore’s mostly keeping his head down. He’s balancing his DJ schedule with odd jobs that have recently included production assistant gigs and driving around models in a vanwhich he cheekily describes as the “Bushwick hustle.” For a young artist who clearly knows his way around crafting bangers, Cudmore’s patience and humility feels uniquehe even says repeatedly he isn’t in a rush to transition to a career DJing and producing as a full-time thing, and will likely still be looking for day jobs.

Instead, he’s seemed more invested in continuing his tutelage in the scene, soaking up knowledge and experiences by those around him who had been doing it for longer. He also seemed fine just simply enjoying the friendship and support from those he’s grown close to. “Even since having difficulties coming out, my parents don’t really understand my life and my world,” he tells me. “It used to bother me, but I have my own family and support system now.”

Purchase ‘Forget It’ on Bandcamp.

David Garber is on Twitter

Nina Kraviz, Jane Fitz, And More Billed For Smartbar's Daphne 2017 Series

Nina Kraviz, by Paola Kudacki

Chicago nightclub Smartbar has shared the first wave of programming for its Daphne event series celebrating women and non-binary artists in electronic music.

Launched in 2015 as a tribute to British composer and electronic music pioneer Daphne Oram, who died in 2003, the third annual Daphne series of club nights and workshops is slated to take place throughout the month of March, which is Women’s History Month. So far, the revealed cast of DJ talent includes Heidi, Cassy, K Hand, DJ Heather, Nina Kraviz, Volvox, Honey Dijon, and recent THUMP interviewee Jane Fitz. Also featured are Elysia Crampton and Octo Octa, both of whom will perform live, as well as fast-rising star The Black Madonna, a Smartbar resident and its first-ever Creative Director.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Smartbar said that the series returns “in a time when music and activism are more linked than ever.” They added: “Women have been central part of the architecture Smartbar’s residents program for almost 20 yearslong before equality in dance music was a hot button topic. With the Daphne series, we hope to disprove the oft-cited “roadblocks” used to scapegoat gender disparities in dance lineups by showing that gender parity is not only possible, but it also requires no compromise in the quality or success of the club. We challenge our community to join us and even raise the bar.”

View the first-wave programming for Daphne 2017 below, and visit Smartbar’s website for scheduling and tickets.

Larry Heard Takes Detroit Producer Mandingo Far Into Deep Space On This New Remix

There’s a lot of music floating about in the world. There’s possibly too much music, actually. So how do you, dear reader, decide what’s worthy of your praise? How do you determine what needs to go straight to the top of your must-listen pile? There’s a few ways of doing that of course, but by far the most useful is to see if Larry Heard’s involved. If, by some magnificent stroke of luck, he is, then get whatever it is in your possession immediately.

Without Chicagoan Heard’s contributions, its quite possible that house as we know it today wouldn’t exist. That’s not journalistic hyperbole eitherHeard, a.k.a Mr Fingers, is as important as dance music producers get. Imagine a world without “Mystery of Love” or “Washing Machine” or “You’re Someone Special” or “Can You Feel It,” and what you’re imagining is an infinitely duller world. Heard is house royalty, and is rightly worshipped as such.

Which is why we’re absolutely ecstatic to be bringing you a world exclusive listen to a brand new remix by Heard himself. The big man’s been given free reign over Detroit producer Mandingo’s 2016 Rekids release “Universe II” for a fantastic 12″ dropping this week on the same imprint. Heard’s chunky, chewy, cosmically-attuned take on the track is a deep space roller destined to send discerning clubbers into a total tailspin over the next few weeks and months. If we still had a record bag, we’d tell you that it’d never leave ours. Oh, and the Melchior Productions remix on the other side of the record is a stunner too.

The Universe II remix package is out on Rekids on the 27th of January