The 312 is 5 Magazine’s Chicago House Music podcast, featuring 100% real Chicago DJs playing real House Music around the city.
Dirty Lary is one of the most colorful characters in the industry, and his racy humor leaves an indelible mark. Many know him as the label head of Chicago’s Phunk Junk Records, which has been steadily producing an exceptional amount of music for some time. And unlike others who use their labels to showcase their own work, Lary wants to give other producers their shine.
The interview picks up below the mix:
The 312 Mix Vol 16 presents Dirty Lary
The 312 Interview with Dirty Lary
You have quite the amazing background. I didn’t know that you started out as a vocalist and lyricist.
Growing up I was always writing. Poems, lyrics, stories. I wanted to get my lyrics heard. Back then it was much harder to get with a label than it is these days. I had a decent voice but wanted to push it further so I took some vocal lessons. After that I started networking with producers such as Josh Collins and Tony Shayne. Eventually I was introduced to M.doc (Marc Williams) and he became a big influence in my path in music. After a lot of writing and a lot of recording, I started to do local shows. Two of my favorite gigs were when I opened up for Jessica Eve (of Who Da Funk) at Rive Gauche Night Club and when I opened up for Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock at Kustoms Night Club. Another great show was when M.doc flew me out to Las Vegas to perform at a music convention in 2002. I continued recording and performing till about 2004.
Why was there a gap in your career between that time and the time you launched Phunk Junk Records?
Well to be honest around 2005, I got sick of the industry. In 2006, I was in a near-fatal car accident. I shouldn’t be walking or even be alive. After recovering, I laid low for a while until 2008. That’s when I took a fresh new step back into the industry as a producer. Over a few years I spent a lot of time experimenting with different DAWs and sounds. Finally in January 2012 I launched my brainchild, Phunk Junk Records, Inc. I started the label to help unknown producers get their music out there. I worked with many labels when I was a performer, including one major label shortly. I saw and learned how they can drain an artist and crush their dreams, and I wanted to be the opposite.
How did you manage to accrue over 200 releases in that period of time and what style of music would you say categorizes your label?
I never thought I’d release 50 releases, let alone over 200. In the beginning, no one wanted to really sign with Phunk Junk because we were so new. No one wanted to receive promos from us. It was discouraging at first, but I’m not one to give up. Little by little I put some releases out and the word just spread. I started receiving demos from all over the world. Some of these cities I never even heard of before lol. A few of our releases made it onto Beatport charts and we had a track that gained support from Laidback Luke & Gina Turner. Originally we only released House and Techno, then branched off into the sub-genres such as Deep House, Tech House and even Progressive, Electro and Nu-Disco. Even had a Trance release or two. I truly hate genres at times because it’s ALL music.
A few years after launching Phunk Junk, you out of nowhere came out guns blazing gigging all over Chicago. How long have you been DJing and why only now?
Ready to laugh? I officially started DJing in April 2015. It was right around the time, Twitchin Skratch and I had a Techno track, ‘Bumps’, released on his label and it peaked at 76 on the the Beatport Top 100. People around here were hitting me up to book me for shows and I was like, (to myself), “I don’t DJ.” A friend of mine, D2A gave me lessons I kept practicing. I had the general idea since I already know song structure, so it wasn’t too hard to learn. My first gig was an afterhours party. After that I was invited to play Spybar on a Tuesday. Next thing I knew I was playing loft parties, afterhours and local places. I even got to travel to Milwaukee for a gig and also to Indianapolis. My favorite gig was Porn and Chicken at Evil Olive.
For those that know me, they know I’m all about good music and having fun. I don’t claim to be a great DJ but what I really pride myself in is in track selection.
Recently you put out a call for new producers to submit music for consideration with your label. What are some of the things you’re looking for?
I’m looking for originality. Don’t be scared to push the boundaries. When listening to a demo, these things cross my mind:
1. Is it DJ friendly and can I imagine certain DJ’s rocking this track out?
2. Is it very repetitive or does it change up at certain times?
3. If I was in the crowd and heard this song, would I keep dancing or take a break and go to the bar?
So for those of you out there, Phunk Junk always has its ears to lend. I love waking up and seeing demos in my email box. And I always try my best to respond with constructive criticism even if I don’t plan on signing that demo. I feel I owe it to the producer. They took the time to make the track and considered my label, so I can take a few minutes of my time to give personal feedback. Check out our official website at www.phunkjunk.com for info on submitting demos. Best of luck to all of you. I know how tough this industry is.
For booking or production, contact Lary at firstname.lastname@example.org