New mix of rare and vintage Acid House and an interview from Zernell, proprietor of Grimy Edits and Grimy Trax for 5 Magazine’s new mix and interview series.
The 5 Mag Mix is 5 Magazine’s signature DJ mix and interview series. In addition to sets from some of our favorite DJs in the House Music scene, we’ll also be publishing an interview asking them some of the finer points about what they do and why they do it.
Vol #1 was mixed by Kool Vibe; Vol #2, below, features Zernell, a Chicago transplant to Los Angeles renown for his labels Grimy Edits and Grimy Trax.
So tell me about you, records and the city of Chicago. What was your early life here in this city like? Give me an average week or weekend when you were just getting involved in the scene. Who were you inspired by?
In ’85, my boy, Bird got some SL-B100 turntables and a Numark mixer for Christmas. I would go over to his crib and practice spinning, trying to emulate what we heard on WBMX the night before.
At that time, I was in high school and we were really into dressing. It was a main part of the culture. To “Be House” you had to dress in the latest fashion and since we didn’t have a lot of money we would hit thrift stores up north to find gear for school and to sport at the parties on the weekends.
Some of my inspirations back then were the Hot Mix 5, and Ron Hardy.
Gene Hunt, one of my best friends, was a young cat out deejay-ing in the scene at that time, and he also inspired me. Sometimes we would hit two or three parties in a night. Spots like The Gentle Persuasion or The Hummingbird out south. Or Providence St. Mel and Resurrections on the Westside.
In Chicago we take DJing seriously, and it’s been a revelation to me to find out this isn’t true everywhere else. When & why did you decide to become a DJ yourself?
Being from Chicago and coming up in it, you just learned the right way to play. It amazes me how cats don’t use the pitch nowadays.
In ’87 I was in the booth at the Hyde Park Racketball Club and saw the reaction from the crowd when certain songs got played. It was then I decided I wanted to have that same type of reaction from playing records.
Grimy Edits launched in ’09, but these weren’t your first edits, were they?
Honestly, the 1st edits I did weren’t that good, (at least to me). I knew how I wanted them to sound and eventually I got them where I wanted them to be. Once I started sharing a few with other deejay friends and they started liking and playing them, I knew they were ready.
There was a HUGE explosion of disco edit labels a few years ago. And a crash a few years after that. Why do you think this happened and do you think it had any effect (good or bad) on you?
It had a positive effect because it allowed Grimy Edits to stand out as a quality music label.
Who do you look at as your peers, DJing and in terms of wax?
My DJ peers are Rahaan, Jamie 3:26 and Marcellus Pittman. As far as wax – man, it’s a lot of cats out here digging. I’m at the point now where I don’t care if it’s the rarest record. I care if it fits my style and how well it translates to the dance floor.
The run out on GRIME-001 reads “2 ALL MY DISCO MUTHA-FUCKERS KEEP DIGGIN”. Is this a motto?
Yes. I actually got the inspiration to put a message in the dead wax from Ron Hardy’s Sensation release.
Can you tell us about this set you did for us?
This mix came about first because I love Acid – always have since the ’80s. I notice there has been a resurgence of the sound and a lot of younger deejays are playing and creating the music without any knowledge of its origins or history. I Dropped Acid is my way of paying homage to the roots of Acid and Chicago House. Most of the tracks on the mix are unreleased or special remixed versions that never came out.
I see Paul Johnson and all of these guys with the Grimy snapbacks, where can I get some gear? And tell us about the next record you’re dropping.
Yeah, it’s pretty cool that the homey’s are repping Grimy! It’s also cool that it’s beginning to stand on it’s on and is not necessarily connected to the label or me anymore. You can get the gear at www.grimygear.com or contact me on the Grimy Edits or Grimy Gear fanpage on Facebook.
First off I wanna say thank you for the shout out about the Grimy Edits Vol. 8 release. It was mad crazy how that one sold out so fast.
The next Grimy! release is on Grimy Trax, the sister label of Grimy Edits. Grimy Trax Volume 2 features tracks by Chicago home grown artist DeJay Cease (THE FIXER) and BoogieNite (BOY OK). The release is on Orange Vinyl with a Blue label to show My Love for the Chicago Bears and it dropped 9/8/14, the start of football season.