Awakenings Easter Thursday
Thu Apr 9
DJ Pierre is the quintessential dance producer. With his finger on the pulse of today's underground house scene, he is shaping the present and laying the ground work for the future. Pierre is currently laying down tracks for his forthcoming full-length opus and in the midst of starting his own underground dance label.
My music is the center of my world says the beat master "Once I get the vibe going, I can't stop. It's an intense feeling, fusing the rhythm and beats in an underground groove that makes the dance floor shake and people move. It's a very spiritual evolution for me -- one that I take very seriously."
More than just a producers' producer, Pierre is the unconventional king of the hard-core house mixers and a visionary. One of the original producers of the 80's Chicago scene. Pierre fuses together scorching acid grooves with pulsating beats, laden with the sultry vocal samples "I'm more or less a minority type producer," he says "I make music for a very select group of people. It's not for the masses. It's for people who really know their music. If you just get into dance music, you probably won't be into my tracks. Someone has to be deeper into house to get my music."
Over the past 10 years, DJ Pierre has created a niche for himself in a genre that sees its players change continually, most being forgotten more than remembered. Moreover, his name has become synonymous with some very provocative and influential sounds. Pierre has produced more than 50 house anthems ranging from Phuture's "Acid Trax", "The Creator" and "Your Old Friend" to Photon Inc.'s "Generate Power" and "Give A Little Love". He also scored well with Joint Venture's "Masterblaster" and his own "Muzik Set You Free." As a remixer, he's hit gold by reinventing more than two dozen infectious grooves including, Phuture's "Spirit," RuPaul's "A Shade Shady," The Pet Shop Boys "I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind Of Thing" and Urban Soul's "Sex On My Mind." He hit number one on the Billboard Dance chart with Midi Rain's "Shine."
His talent doesn't stop there either. Pierre has also co-written some club classics including Juliet Robert's international romp. "I Want You" and "Shout," with the dynamite vocal power of Sabrina Pope. With "Jesus On My Mind" released on Twisted America Records, Pierre managed to mix his two favorite passions- hard-edged house sounds and religion, and along the way he stirred up a little controversy. "I'm definitely not afraid to speak my mind. I believe in God and I'm not ashamed. Jesus is on a lot of people's mind. But in dance, no one expresses that. I'm the type to write what I think about" he says. "A couple of labels didn't want to touch it because of the religious aspect. They were afraid to have a song that expresses religion so bluntly, which is silly. But Twisted loved it and embraced it."
Growing up in a suburb of Chicago, DJ Pierre was a master whiz at fixings things, be it transistor radios, televisions or the Christmas lights on a family tree "I always thought I'd be into electronics. I was seven years old and really good with doing stuff like that--fixing people's watches, putting lights in people's radios. I had no training, just a lot of curiosity", he says. "I've always been able to figure out on my own and learn by the experiences of doing things myself."
It was that curiosity that led to his fascination with electronic instruments-keyboards, drum machines and programming. In 1986, influenced by his father and uncle, both of whom were musicians (his uncle played with Duke Ellington), DJ Pierre started getting into the music vibe. Practicing in his parents' basement, he started playing tracks. "The thing was, I was into this Italian House and Spanky, who I hung with, said, 'they don't listen to that anymore'", he recalls. "I was from the suburbs and he'd be going into Chicago, then coming back and telling me what people were listening to. He's been telling me that the stuff I was listening to was about to die out. I didn't really know about what was going on. But I caught on pretty quick... and Spanky then put together this group Phuture and we began to create this totally new sound that everyone else soon caught on to."
Pierre became immersed in the underground world, learning the ins and outs of the Chicago House scene. Soon he was spinning at parties and Chicago clubs. By the late 1980's, Pierre was considered to be one of the best DJ's in the area and he was being lauded for his on-the-cusp acid house sounds and his def remixes.
"I just started messon' around and the next thing I knew, I was pumping out these killer acid tracks," he says "Spanky had already made up the drum beat. I just started turning the knobs and improvising. It was some of the best work I'd ever done."
After a brief stint with Jive Records in Chicago, Pierre headed to New York in 1990. He hooked up with Strictly Rhythm Records in 1991 and burned up the dance floors with Photon Inc.'s "Generate Power," a project he calls his "second coming."
Since then he has become one of the most in-demand producers and DJ's. He's constantly sought after Europe, playing regularly in Germany, the UK, Italy and France. And he's a staple at the clubs in New York City. In the next few months, Pierre plans to launch his own house music label, along with an R&B one. He'll also continue his successful work with Twisted America Records, Strictly Rhythm and the other handful of labels with whom he has become synonymous. And he only expects the pace to continue getting faster, both in his work. With LaVette, who co-writes most of his material, he hopes to focus more on vocal tracks, as well as the house sound for which he has become famous.
"House is always going to be here. There is always going to be some form of underground dance music. It's not going to snuff out. People will always have a need to express themselves," he says "I get a really spiritual vibe from what I do. With the right beat, the right flow, I get a hypnotic feeling from the music I produce. I could be doing something more commercial, but then it wouldn't be true."