In which we get to know Garrett David, resident DJ at Queen! every Sunday at SmartBar. The twenty-two year old wunderkind has just released what may be the best slab of wax cut by a Chicago label this year – The Queen! Tracks on Stripped & Chewed.
Queen! – the residency – seemed to evolve out of a previous Sunday night where you and Michael Serafini were both residents. Where did the idea to start Queen! come from? and to market it as an LGBT-friendly night?
Michael and I worked together with Kid Color on SmartBar’s previous Sunday night, Dollar Disco. After that ended, we had the opportunity to start something new. Our idea was to build a fun atmosphere for anybody to be themselves.
Do you have a memory of what has been your (personal) favorite night at Queen! so far?
I would have to say the second time Frankie [Knuckles] played with us. Ten minutes after the doors opened, people were already running downstairs and jammin’ on speakers! When Frankie went on I packed up my stuff and saw an older man sitting by the edge. When I walked towards him he called me over and said he really loved all the music Michael and I had played earlier. He asked me to contact him to get a mix tape from us, so he wrote down his name and number and handed it to me.
I looked down at the paper and then back at him and was like, Holy shit! You are Robert Williams! I can’t describe the feeling that gave me, I was amazed I even had to opportunity to meet him. I left that night feeling so inspired that I feel it set the tone for the rest of my year.
What was the inspiration behind “That Queen! Track” off the EP? It certainly didn’t come from nowhere, so there’s gotta be something. Was Ralphi Rosario’s “Bardot Fever” an influence?
I have always been a fan of work reflecting your life and where you are at the moment and I wanted to make a record that spoke to me and all of the people involved with the night. Something for us all to remember.
“That Queen! Track” was sort of a homage to Ralphi & Byrd [Bardot]’s “Bardot Fever”. It was made utilizing vocals recorded with a tape recorder outside on the street, hanging out with the hosts. The result was fun and quirky and that’s just how I wanted to convey our night.
Was I high or did I notice a reference to “The Whistle Song” in “The Pressure” on The Queen! Tracks EP?
What, a guy can’t use a pan flute anymore?? Haha, just kidding. There may have been a little subconscious reference in there, not going to deny my love for “The Whistle Song”.
How would you describe your sound, or at least the kind of record that you’re aspiring to make? I’ve kind of thought it was similar to Alex Agore – you both make deep records, but there’s a kind of fun to it. It’s not this serious, brooding thing that’s en vogue in certain circles, which makes me think of Teutonic guys in severe turtlenecks.
I can’t really describe where I am at with my music, I wouldn’t limit the expectation of future work to what I have done with my debut EP. The Queen! Tracks is my take on what we do Sunday nights. Kind of like what I said earlier – I think that its very important for your work to reflect who you are as a person. I consider myself to not be such a “serious guy”, and often find this in records that I play and produce.
I think dance music should be about having fun, whether you are enjoying it or creating it. Keeping things light-hearted makes the process more enjoyable for me.
The graybeards in this scene like to beat the crap out of the next generation for piracy, but I believe vinyl as a medium would be dead without those under 30 buying it, at least in North America. As a producer, you’re working almost exclusively with vinyl. Why?
Quality control! If someone believed enough in the music to press it to wax, you know that there was certainly some heart behind it. With digital distributors releasing thousands of releases daily, it’s hard to find the gems amongst the clutter. When there are about 100 new records available a week, it’s a much easier system for me.
I’ve heard you’ve been working with so many cats – Balance or some affiliated label in the Stable of Chez, Four Play perhaps. True, untrue, and anything we should be looking out for? And how did you become so everywhere so quickly?
Chez has been a huge influence on my life. I met him in the inaugural stages of Queen! because for a short amount of time he too was a resident there. He has provided me with some great opportunities, one of which was a track included on his newest series Purpose By Design Vol. 2 titled “I Can’t Take it (Queen! Mix)”. I also have been making a lot of material with my roommate and best friend, Adam Rowe, under the moniker “The Bell Boys”. Very excited about this project and should have a 12″ announced very soon.
I’m just doing my thing! Trying to stay focused and pushin’ on!
Garrett David’s The Queen! Tracks EP is available on vinyl from Stripped & Chewed, and you can buy it locally at Gramaphone. Hit up Garrett David via soundcloud.com, facebook & twitter. Queen! – the residency – is every Sunday at SmartBar with rotating residents Garrett, Michael Serafini, Derrick Carter & Frankie Knuckles at 3730 N. Clark Street.