Welcome to 909rewind, a series from 909originals that explores the early musical careers of some of clubland’s biggest names, uncovering hidden gems and familiar classics from the archives.
Today (21 October) marks the 50th birthday of a true legend of the house scene, whose productions and remix work encompasses soul, jazz and disco influences, generally over a pumping 4/4… Derrick Carter.
Having spent his formative years behind the counter at some of Chicago’s leading record stores, Derrick Carter’s first release was the genre-bending Mood EP as part of Symbols & Instruments (alongside Chris Nazuka and Mark Farina), in 1989.
As Carter told DJ History’s Frank Broughton (archived on the Red Bull Music Academy website) some years ago, there was a coming together of styles in the Windy City at that time, which helped influence his early sound, as well as the growing house scene.
“There was really an alternative scene before it grew or congealed into this house thing,” he explained. “It was based more on alternative music. There was a lot of German electronic music that kids used to play. Then you’d start hearing some wild, homemade track that was really heavily disco-influenced.
“You’d hear loads of disco and then someone would play their rinky-dink jump track they made on a drum machine with the bassline from this one disco track that everyone knew. Then they would play some more disco and then something weird. The whole emerging house sound grew from that.”
By the mid-90s, Carter was the figurehead of the ‘second wave’ of Chicago DJs, alongside the likes of Cajmere and Felix Da Housecat, and formed the seminal Classic Recordings label alongside Luke Solomon in 1995, which would go on to showcase his idiosyncratic sound.
He would also garner a reputation as one of house music’s most sought-after remixers, lending his talents to acts as diverse as Seal, Röyksopp and The Beloved.
Commenting on his role as a custodian of Chicago’s house legacy, Carter told Fact Magazine in 2015, “I hate to be all “housemusichousemusichousemusic!” because it’s not like I’m one of those people who bang the drum, who go “I’m a house head” and all of that. I like music, I’m not a zealot.
“But when it comes to Chicago and its legacy as hometown for this shit, I think that it’s important to be able to connect those dots, and still have offerings that are quality and attract people. And we do. There are still people who care about it, and that’s why other things have come and gone and there’s still house music in the city.”
To mark his 50th birthday, 909originals has collected presents a number of essential Carter cuts, including both his own productions and some of his most iconic remixes.
Happy birthday Derrick! 🙂
[Main picture sourced from Discogs]