As I spend this month reflecting on my fifth anniversary as a professional DJ/promoter, I wonder where it all started. Where did I get that bug for dance music that "turned me out" and made these beats a serious obsession? Every artist has that one inspiring moment when it's clear what their passion and path might be, so as I reflected back I had to ask my peers, mentors and inspirations what their big WOW moments were with dance music that turned them from passive music listeners into true fans on their path to destiny.
For House master DJ Milty Evans, it was obviously the start of Chicago House itself that did it for him. "It was Chip E 's 'Time to Jack' with 'It's House' on the B-side in 1985. In its rawness the true essence of underground music is put right in your face."
For many gay kids who came up in the '70s, the answer is the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, as told by Circuit Mom Production's king of nightlife DJ Matthew Harvat. "I was in 7th grade when it came out and was absolutely mesmerized by the whole sound. If I had to pick one song, it would be The Trampps' 'Disco Inferno.' It gives you everythingdrums, horns, bass line, a killer bridge and chorus. In my humble opinion, still the best 10-minute dance song ever recorded. "
A master at creating a great disco remix, Mark Picchiotti goes both ways: Rock and Disco. "I danced to Doobie Brothers' 'What a Fool Believes' as well as Taste of Honey's 'Boogie Oogie Oogie.' They both turned me out!"
The '70s weren't the only era to spawn great DJs. Greg Haus got his groove on via the fine synths of Vince Clarke and is still spinning the cuts today at Berlin. "When I first heard 'Don't Go' by Yaz ( Yazoo in the UK ) it blew me away. Vince Clarke's production mixed with Alison Moyet's powerful vocal is synth-pop perfection. The entire Upstairs at Eric's album runs the gamut of soulful, emotional, danceable, and even experimental. It was a revolutionary electronic masterpiece and a huge influence on me."
And my partner in crime DJ Voxbox ( Berlin, Smart Bar, Neo ) was wooed by the gay community's biggest pied piper. "'Holiday' by Madonna. I was bouncing on the trampoline to it at six years old. Soooooo gay."
I myself, while being very into disco in the '70s, really got turned out in college by the likes of Deee-Lite, Inner City and Front 242 in the St. Louis gay club scene. I still play those classics today and I'm still seeing a new generation inspired by our past inspirations as well.