DJ Craig Alexander
Gman: Where were you born and raised and how old are you now ?
Craig: Chicago,Il Southeast Side I am 31
Gman: How long have you been Djing\Producing and how did you get into it?
Craig: I have been Djing 17yrs/Producing 7 years. I got into djing hanging out with a guy named Tim King who lived next door to me he had a pair of marble tables that were off the hook. The fascination with those led to me wanting to DJ. He was actually the first that took me to the Box in 85' a guy named Donziell who was a bouncer there lived on the next block so would let us in. Then I would hook up after school at Steve Price's and we would have mix off's it was a long time before I acquired my own tables so thanks Steve! I got into producing around the time Ron Trent & DJ Rush got on the scene. They both played at the Reactor back in 91' and it was picking up where the Box left off. Rush & I became real good friends & I taught myself to make tracks with his drum machines.
Gman: How would you classify your style of djing ?
Craig: Cut after cut, no breaks, no resting, can't sit down til the lights come on.
Gman: I know its hard but what would be your ten favorite records of all time?
- Daybreak-Everybody Get Off (Leroy Burgess rips this cut to shreds)
- Sylvia Striplin-Toybox
- Chris & Cosey-Gardens of the pure (I think alot of people are sleep on this I heard it on a Ron tape first)
- Logg-Dancing into the stars (Get outta my way Dance floor here I come)
- Bebe Winans-Thank You -Maw Remixes (it's not from back in the day but it sure get you in the spirit)
- Bunny Sigler-By the way you dance
- Sylvester-Over & Over
- Black Ivory-Walking Downtown on Saturday Night
- Two Tons of Fun-Do you wanna boogie huh
- Lil Louis presents Black Magic-Freedom
Gman: House is a very comprehensive term; what is your personal definition of house music?
Craig: Music that makes your body move without any thought. The rhythms provided under the term
annihilate you with beats that only a fool would ignore.
Gman: Who are some of the DJ's past and present that you respect and have influenced you the most?
Lee ks Lee)
Gman: Who are some of the house artists\producers that you are feeling right now?
Masters at Work
Gman: Are ,or were there any artists, that are not considered to be house, that have inspired you? For example: Flavio likes to collect Beatles memorabilia.
Craig: Walter Hawkins (I was playing gospel way before it was house, my boys use to think I was crazy)
Gman: Please tell us about one of your most memorable nights at a club, where you were the DJ and also when you were just part of the crowd.
Craig: When I played Tresor in Berlin I played 5 hours & the crowd never got tired. The place was soo hot I almost fainted I actually have some of it on video, but I kept the cuts rolling like Pirelli's
Gman: Most memorable moment in a crowd?
Craig: When Louis first beat Blackout at the Bismarck. It got pitch black & sirens started blaring & that track came in & everybody just lost it. You had to be there to know what i'm talkin bout. (Picture(R): Lil Louis and Craig in Switzerland)
Gman: If you were fortunate enough to hear Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles at some of the historic clubs in Chicago please give a short commentary on what it was like to experience them live? If you actually deejayed with them let us know about that too.
Craig: Ron was an entity the way he beat a party could raise the dead. Hardcore disco tunes, Unreleased versions of shit that have yet to be released we called em "Ronnie's Versions", Perfect edits of the reel to reel typical Hardy set. Unbelievable. I used to do alternate Sundays up at AKA's in 91' and Jamie 3:26(Jamie Lust back then and crew did the other Sunday) we packed em in every Sunday. Frankie was more subtle to me he would beat but it was a more glamorized set. Ron was get down raunchy I don't care if my Zodiacs get messed up type of vibe.
Gman: Please comment on the current house scene in Chicago (clubs and radio)?
Craig: It needs prayer. Bless those true believers in the music who still strive to get Chicago's Club owner's to realize "THIS IS OUR HOUSE & OUR HOUSE MUSIC" Hardly nobody I know from back in the day has any residencies in Chicago That's a problem we all must fix.
Gman: A reoccurring comment I hear from some folks, is that Chicago has not progressed with their house music like New York has Please comment on this.
Craig: New York Jocks/Producers have one thing that Chicago lacks and that's a family house environment there are an abundance of events going on in NY regularly based around house so 1st off the have a scene that still evolves people who frequented there legendary clubs back in the day so basically they kept there scene going. Naturally they would progress fasteing. Naturally they would progress faster than us. They support each other. Known Jock or Unknown Jock they still support. How many people from the Warehouse, PowerPlant days still party. they go out not to House Events unless Frankie shows up then they still don't know what he's playing because Frankie stayed in the game they didn't. So now we're all left here to try and hold the scene together with makeshift house people. I think people in NY probably have all the same responsibilities we have (jobs,families) but they still believe in the music (Clubs, Radio Stations included) and what it can do for them. House music is truly a spiritual thing and unfortunately a lot of folks don't believe in it anymore.
Gman: What about the ideal of House, where it is supposed to be one nation under a common love of the music, where Latin's, Blacks, Whites, Gays, Asians etc. can all party to bther in peace. Is the scene in Chicago achieving this or is there segregation in the clubs.
Craig: The Majority of Chicago clubs are frequented by Tourists and Yuppies who get special treatment because they spend the "BIG BUCKS" (Picture(R): Craig, Louie Vega and Glenn Underground)
Gman: Considering some of the problems that House is experiencing today in the US (Lack of radio air play, club politics, mass misunderstanding as to what house music is , etc) What do you see as a solution? What can be done to reach folks on a massive scale to let them know about the parties that are going on in Chicago now?
Craig: We need to open our own clubs, get more web sites up like yours (and link em), and the 30 and up people need to come on back out and start partying. We could use older wiser more knowledgeable househeads to help level our playing field.
Gman: If there is one thing you could tell us about the Chicago scene past or present that you thought no one knew what would that be?
Craig: My last name is not Alexander (Steve P. knows that though)
Gman: Was there a rivalry between the Southside, Westside and Northside DJ's back in the day?
Craig: I never went on the West Side personally I was a South Side,North Side kinda guy don't recall any rivalries though.
Gman: Now everyone may not be able to answer this but before Frankie and Ronnie started at their prospective clubs in Chicago and influenced what everybody else was playing, what were the clubs on the Southside, Westside and Northside like?
Craig: They were similar you had the Pleasure Dome on 75th, It's House on 71st, Jefferey Pub on 71st, Club Larays on Halsted & Belmont(Marshall's Now)
Gman: A lot of older heads in Chicago are not happy with the historical accounts of the Chicago House scene that have been printed recently. Interviews with key people who were part of the scene was not done. Any comments on this ?
Craig: They don't mention the fact that other Dj's help hold things together not just Ron & Frankie. Chicago became an icon of House Society because of all the jocks that believed in the music
Gman: If you have experience playing overseas what has been your favorite country to play in ? What country would you like to play ?
Craig: France was my favorite country/I wanna play Ibiza
Gman: As a producer what projects are you currently working on ?
Craig: Glenn Underground and I are working on several projects I've two projects coming out soon one on Spywire Records(Major Instinct) the other on High Octane(The way we were)old school tracks like Rush & I use to do
Gman: Where can people come and here you play these days?
A: Mexico City 10/20-Montreal 10/27-France 11/11
At my house if I have time people still come over and kik like at grandma's (Bluejay U Know What I'm Talkin Bout) I don't play too much in Chicago I don't have time for the politics. There's a world of people waiting to here cuts that appreciate what guys like us are doing. (Picture(R): Leroy Berguss, Craig and Patrick Adams)
Gman: Now what does the future hold for you ?
Craig: Studio work with Glenn Underground, Paul Johnson & Stacy Kidd
Gman: Personally I think the internet is the future of broadcast music\video. Soon a computer will be in every home like a radio or TV and bandwidth will increase to accommodate delivering it in higher quality. What are your thoughts on the internet presently as a means for DJ's and house music to get more exposure?
Craig: It's great I've gotten several gigs based on your web site alone. Thanks "G"
Gman: Any final comments or words of wisdom to share with the other heads out there ?
Craig: House music changed my life, because of what it does to and for you mentally, physically and spiritually.
Don't let it die it's still got a whole lot more lives to change.
Gman: How can people get a hold of you ?
Craig : firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for Bookings they can call 773-539-8568
Gman : Craig, Thank you for the interview and I wish all the best for you and your family
Craig : You're very much welcome. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to speak my views.