Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. Art world dropout turned deejay. I’ve been buying and playing records for years, but that’s been my primary focus since 2012. I am currently on staff at Gramaphone Records in Chicago, a 45 year old independently (gay) owned record store that I describe to family members as “the Harvard of dance music shops.” I also help facilitate a few parties in Chicago, most notably the roving Men’s Room party, as well as Savages and Queen!, which are both at Smart Bar. And often times I am found behind the decks with my buddy Harry (as Harry & JPEG).
How has living in Chicago affected your music? My taste in music has been fully shaped by this city. Upon moving here as a teenager in 2001 to attend Loyola University, I took up a radio show at WLUW. Here, I transitioned from a Southern Illinois nu-metal head (lol) into some sort of indy / post-punk kid. Digging through the catalog at the radio station turned me on to influential acts like Talking Heads, Brian Eno, Kraftwerk, and Devo but it also exposed me to contemporary stuff, like the DFA label. Around this time I started visiting Gramaphone with friends; we would go and smoke cigs and listen to records at one of the many listening stations. I started to really get into Italo disco and 80’s Chicago house. Michael Serafini, Gramaphone’s current owner, my boss, didn’t even own the store back then, but he was on staff. He would pick out records for me, and ring me up, and see what I bought. He’s responsible for giving me my first big gig which was at Queen!, and has since kept me around, which says a lot.
Check out a recent mix here.
What kinds of things are influencing your music right now? I find so much inspiration in the songs & sounds that were produced pre-internet. I found Carmen’s “Time to Move” at the store today. I was unaware of this before, and it kinda blew me away.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? My goal is to start releasing music in 2015: my own productions, tracks made in conjunction with Harry, as well as other projects, like new material for the Banjee Report crew.
In terms of parties…
There’s a Men’s Room on January 31st at the infamous Bijou Theater, with Serafini upstairs in the Sling Room, and Banjee Report downstairs, taking over the theater. All are welcome to attend.
My new monthly at Smart Bar, Savages, just recently kicked off. The next one is St. Valentine’s Day with Brawther, Bell Boys, and Harry & JPEG. Check out the posters, they’re really rad. We’ve commissioned Nolan Hendrickson from New York to do the artwork.
This next year at Gramaphone we are gearing up for a string of releases, as we continue to exclusively press and distribute records. GRAMAPHONE 002 just went live, a new EP by Garrett David, the store’s house buyer.
If you were a drink, what drink would you be? Alcoholic: Manhattan or Negroni. Non: sparkling water with a few wedges of fresh lemon or ginseng oolong.
How did your interest in music begin? Tap dancing as a preschooler at Grace Anne Martin’s School of Dance in Roodhouse, IL. Also playing saxophone grade five through senior year of high school.
What other musicians/bands are you interested in right now? There’s waaaaayyy too much content to keep up with these days, but in terms of contemporary labels I’ve gravitated toward recent releases by: The Very Polish Cut-Outs, Soo Wavey Records, Sex Tags, Fachwerk, Power House, & Peoples Potential Unlimited.
Who would you ideally like to collaborate with? Ron Hardy.
What do you want a viewer to walk away with after hearing your music? A good time.
What’s your absolute favorite place in the city/the world to be? Pretty much any place where I can have a drink and ki w/ friends. Tropical or European destinations preferred. Legal edibles encouraged.
Most embarrassing moment on stage? We blew the power about six times when The Carry Nation played the Bijou Theater last April. The electricity has since undergone a facelift.
What were you like in high school? “Most Talented” slash stoner twink.
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your music? I am infinitely grateful to be an up-and-coming queer deejay who lives and works in the birthplace of house music and to be able to receive feedback from the folks that were here for its genesis.