We promised a night of education, laughter and inspiration and we hope that’s what you got from 5 Magazine’s first moderated panel at the North Michigan Avenue Apple Store last Friday, June 12, 2015 in Chicago.

Chez Damier and Derrick Carter have a long history together, and the synchronicity between the two was electrifying. More than one person noted how they handled questions from the moderator and the crowd almost like they were tag-team DJing, moving back and forth and one setting up the other.

The talk started out with 5 Magazine editor-in-chief Czarina Mirani introducing Derrick and Chez, followed by Derrick walking us through some vintage photos blown up on the big screen behind them. The photos were all from Derrick, who was “holding the camera” and thus mostly featured Chez in an inadvertent send-up of This Is Your Life.

panel-tiyl-tmDerrick Carter narrating some classic photos. Photo by Tony Martin.

Chez Damier currently owns and operates one of the most thriving vinyl labels in House Music, Balance (and affiliated sublabels), and is well known for founding Prescription Records with Ron Trent in the 1990s. What is less known is that he was present when Derrick Carter and Luke Solomon founded their own seminal music label, Classic Music Company – and was, they told us, originally supposed to be one of the partners.

panel-1Czarina Mirani, Derrick Carter and Chez Damier. Photo by Apple.

There was a long discussion on the merits of “hustling” – local, global, and selective – and utilizing a full “eco-system for hustle” that doesn’t necessarily exist in Chicago these days, or even the whole of the United States. “Local hustling” mainly addressed the subject of entitlement and breaking through – making your own gig by throwing your own gig. Despite what TV teaches you, hustling never really ends – it just moves on to what Chez called “global hustling.” “I like to eat, so I have to work,” Derrick said.

Things really lit up when we got on the subject of DJing.

If there ever was a template for a dj…

Posted by Jason Moody Karlatiras on Friday, June 12, 2015


“I used to always say, if there was a template for a DJ, [Derrick Carter] would be it for me,” Chez said (video by Jason Moody Karlatiras – thanks!) “I’ve known him forever and he’s always inspired me because I was always on the other end. I was on the administrative end or the creative or behind-the-curtains. So watching him on the front lines was quite motivating.

“Before I started to come up on the front line myself – you have to go to the people who made it happen and made it work. He was a great example of not only being a great template for DJing, but his attitude was always cool. He was always approachable.”

As Derrick noted later, that attitude can be expressed succinctly as, “Don’t be an ass.”

Here's another outtake from the Chicago House Pioneers conversation at the Mac store on Michigan Ave." Be good at your job. " – Derrick Carter

Posted by Jason Moody Karlatiras on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

“When I’m playing and when it’s going just right, you feel unstoppable. You know you can do anything if it comes to it. Right now I could drop a John Cougar Mellencamp track and people would go ‘Ooooh, he just dropped that “Jack & Diane” over that acid track!’

“I don’t have much fearlessness in my life in general. There are a lot of things I’m afraid of! But if you put me in that situation and I get those planets aligning and these plates all spinning, I feel fearless, as if I can do anything.”

Some of the best parts were the audience questions. What piece of gear does Derrick consider most essential when creating music? “My computer.”

panel-3-tmAudience Q&A. Photo by Tony Martin.

In the end, Mazi Namvar – aka Audio Soul Project, of Fresh Meat Records and an Apple employee that linked everyone from 5 Magazine and Apple together for this – played some records to bring us out.

maziPhoto by Apple.

Thanks to everyone that RSVP’d and came out for this; to Chez Damier and Derrick Carter; to Tony Martin for the photos & and Jason for the video clips; and to Jennifer, Megan, Mazi and everyone at Apple for having us! There’s more to come and an announcement of our next date at the North Michigan Avenue Apple Store coming – stay tuned!