Q&A With Frankie Knuckles, the Godfather of House, at the Vagabond Saturday Night
If you've danced to anything with a four - to - the - floor beat anytime over the last 25 years or so, you've done so because DJ Frankie Knuckles made it possible. Yes, from his stints at Chicago's Warehouse (where the name of the music comes from, naturally), through his long residency at New York's Sound Factory, the legendary head-spinner has made house music his business.
These days the Grammy - winning Godfather prefers traveling the world to get his beats across, and to his credit counts drive - bys in virtually every city you can name on a map. This Saturday night, for the first time ever, the drive-by will be at Back Door Bamby at the Vagabond, so New Times reached out and asked the master to answer a few questions.
The full Q&A comes after the jump, with details about his gig.
New Times: What came first: the beat or the bass line?
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Frankie Knuckles: Depending on what you personally believe in, Creationism or Evolution, I'm gonna say "the beat" came first.
If a Martian were to land on your dance floor and asked you to define House Music -- what would you say?
would say that is everything that music is about. It's emotional story
telling in musical form. It's not just the rhythm and the beat. It's
also the song that's at the heart of it. Most good 'HOUSE DJ's will
thread one song into the next seamlessly creating a journey that would
read like a great epic novel (if it were put on paper).
When a kid comes up to you and says "I wanna be a DJ" -- what do you tell him?
smile first and if they ask for my help, I'd take them through the
rigors of what would help bring them closer. I wouldn't try to teach
them how to handle the equipment necessarily but I would teach them
about 'sound'. But more importantly I would teach them about music
appreciation. Not just dance music but all music but all music. It's
not enough to know what music you like personally but, it's essential
to why certain music turns you off.
Of all your many remixes, do you have a particular favorite?
No. I love all the work I've done.
Of all the many cities you've played, which do you dig most?
Personally, Melbourne, Australia. Professionally, Naples, Italy.
Of all the many DJs spinning today, who do you think is best at bringing down a house?
Danny Krivit is my personal favourite. But on a high energy level I'd have to say, The Shape-shifters.
How do you feel about being known as The Godfather of House?
I feel pretty good about it.
Frankie Knuckles spins Saturday Night, April 25 at Back Door Bamby at the Vagabond,