Note: The 5 Magazine DJ Series was a monthly CD series released in a limited edition from March 2007 to November 2008. We featured mixes from legends such as Frankie Knuckles, Gene Hunt and Terry Hunter to the next generation of hard-working Chicago House Music heroes, distributed for free on CD in the Chicago area.
If I had to name one young DJ that I’m setting my sights on as the next break-out star in Chicago – and by this I mean headlining Europe, being courted by pop stars looking for a new sound to reinvigorate their careers, the whole shebang – Andre Harris is right there at the top of the list. He’s the subject of the July edition of the 5 Magazine DJ Series, with a mix free for download at 5chicago.com/djseries and in limited promos around town.
He began spinning at age 12 at the usual run of talent shows, basement parties and school dances, but not for long. He earned his first residency at the infamous Rainbow Roller Rink at the age of 14. In the years since, he’s been a resident at Medusa’s, Elixer, SpyBar and Ohm and a frequent guest at Red Dog, Cairo, Smart Bar, Boom Boom Room and many others. After anchoring the upstairs room at Ohm for the first six months of its existence, Andre’s moved on to a new residency on Thursdays at Red Kiva (1108 W. Randolph, 10pm-2am, no cover) with Uncle Milty and Mladen.
DJ Andre Harris: 5 Magazine DJ Series
Andre’s also become a well-known producer, beginning in 1997 with “I Can’t Take It/Ain’t It a Groove,” released on Cajual. His track “What I Feel Inside,” out now on Large Records, is simply the best House Music tune of 2007 – I said it back in April in these pages, and still haven’t heard anything that’s topped it since then.
I asked Andre if his DJing style was based on bringing himself to the crowd or bringing the crowd to where he was at. “There are certain venues where you have to feel them out. When I was playing at Slick’s, I could just be myself and bring the crowd to me. I also played at SpyBar for five years, and that was definitely a crowd I needed to feel out and play a little harder for. I think you need to find me as a DJ, but I’m always aware of the dancefloor.”
“In my sets – especially when I’m playing longer, for three or four hours – I like to start from mellower material to the more chunky and aggressive. It’s about bringing them full circle – bring it up, let it explode, and bring it back down to where you started.”