Wednesday, September 1, 2010

LSD Magazine Interviews - Jesse Saunders (Issue 2)

Its not often your given a chance to have a personal one to one with some of the heroes we grow up respecting. Some of you may already know I have an online magazine which i produce alongside one of the Spiral Tribe organisers Siruis23. Our magazine is mainly geared for street art graffiti but as well traveled lads our interests are pretty broad and this is reflected in the many other aspects of life also presented in the magazine. We decided to dedicate an entire issue to Acid House because of its importance in the history of Great Britain. Siruis23 and I took great pleasure in interviewing the heroes of the late eighties so without further delay we present the first in a series of excerpts taken from LSD Magazine  BE SURE TO JOIN OUR NEW FACEBOOK  PAGE Classof88....

And it all started here....Pure legend, Jesse Saunders made the first ever house record in 1984 and has never looked back, throwing all his energy, love and positivity into the movement he played such a seminal role in creating. DJ, sublime innovator, driving, force, inspirational ambassador and sparkling ball of energy, Jesse spoke to us - 

What were your early influences both musically and personally and how did they lead to house music? 

I took all kinds of instrument lessons from the early age of 5…from trumpet to piano and recorder (flute) to drums. My favorite tunes were anything with a heart and soul-from classic rock to R&B, I loved the melodies and the grooves! That’s what led to the foundation of House Music! My favorite groups and influences were Earth Wind & Fire, Heatwave, Fleetwood Mac, America, The Beatles, Chicago, Human League, The Bangles and Bob Marley! 

What does DJing mean to you? 

DJing is an ART! You don’t just learn how to beat match-Anyone can do that! You have to understand and read your crowd and immediately interpret where you want and need to take them…through the highs and lows and buildups. You can’t just pound them over the head with hard beats, or lull them to sleep with soft beats. It should be a musical journey through all kinds of emotions and sounds. There’s no better high than seeing a crowd react and anticipate to your every move.

What was the creative atmosphere like in early 80’s Chicago?

In the early 80s there wasn’t much of a creative atmosphere except for New Wave. My friend and I used to go to The Exit and Neo’s which were underground clubs for the New Wave bands. I was playing at the Playground and would always play a NEW Wave set mixed in with Disco Classics and Electro tracks coming from Europe. It wasn’t until I decided to make ON & ON that things started heating up creatively. ON & ON was released in January of 1984 to overwhelming response. Then other DJs saw what I was doing and tried to copy it. The 1st DJ I made a record for was Farley. He actually tried to sing on it! LOL.

Where did the beats and the vibe for On and On come from? 

I made the beats on my Roland TR-808 and played all the instruments and effects on a Poly 61. The bass-line came from a Roland TB-303. I recorded it all on a Tascam 4 track cassette recorder in my bedroom. 

Were you aware of what was being created back in 1984 – could you even have dreamt of the possibilities.

Of course not! How could I? I just wanted to make a record. I still to this day cannot believe the magnitude of what I created. 

What was it about house music that made it a medium for so many different styles and grooves? 

It’s that 4 on the floor pounding beat that gets into your soul! You can put anything musically on top and you still have the drive! 

Can you give us an insight into the soul and the power of house music? 

House is a feeling. If you can’t feel it, you don’t understand, but when you do, it stays with you for life!

What did the Immense commercial success of Love Cant Turn Around with Farley mean for the direction of house music? 

The funny thing about that is it wasn’t Farley that made Love Can’t Turn Around! It was Darryl Pandy’s vocals and my production! I remember touring in the UK in 1986 and while DJing at the Virgin Megastore I see the video come up on the TV. I was like WHAT THE FUCK????? I had no idea there was a video. They did all of that behind my back. Our agreement was that the record was released as Farley Jackmaster Funk & Jesse Saunders. So it’s still dumbfounds me that Farley gets all the credit, but I get all the Publishing so no worries! LOL. 

How do you feel about the intense cultural shift house created – what was it that made so many people loving and free? 

It’s like Woodstock in 1969. I have to thank the Brits for that feeling cuz you guys started the Rave culture which was based on love, sex and drugs (we could have left the drugs out, but oh well…)! People want to feel good, dance and love each other. It’s a natural human characteristic. House provides the love and freedom in the music for all! 



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