Chicago Underground is a new regular feature in 5 Magazine, in which we’ll be featuring Chicago producers and giving away a free download of one of their tracks so you can check out their sound for yourself! This month we’re featuring the owner of Kstarke Records, Kevin Starke, with a free download from his new Acid House EP 151.


Preview: Kevin Starke: “151” (Kstarke’s Version)

Free Download


How long have you had Kstarke Records?

I’ve had my store over 4 years and I’m grateful to all who helped and supported me along the way such as guys like yourself (5 Magazine & Co).


Why did you decide to open a record store?

Every DJ wishes at one point for a record store of their own. I was one of those guys that when I was told I should work in a store said, “I wanna have my own store!” Of course everyone said I’d never get one, I’m crazy, blah blah. Now those same people say “I knew you could do it!!” I’m the type of guy who would rather try and fail than wonder “What if?” for the rest of my life.

It all started with me selling online and out of my house. Myself and three friends built everything in the store. Most people work in a record store, learn the biz a little. Not me! I went in blindly and learned along the way. I’m still learning and I never wanna stop. I look at my mistakes and gains and try to learn from them.


Congratulations on putting out your first release! What took you so long?

Thank you! That’s another dream every aspiring DJ has too! I have to thank three guys: Specter, Tevo Howard and Crosstalk Distro. They all helped to get this to happen. I was going for that old school sound I grew up with: simple drum beats and a TB-303 Acid House sound!

I was never known for making music but we sold out the first run, so we pressed more and sold out again! Being a little narcissistic I Googled myself. I saw it made at least a few top ten playlists of DJs in Europe and Japan.

I have to admit, this isn’t really the first record I put out. I have worked very closely with Jackmaster Hater – too close. I have more projects coming out really soon.


What are some of the most popular items in your store?

The most popular item would be the vinyl itself. I’m known for having hard-to-find, rare, out-of-print stuff. I specialize in old school House, Italo and rare Disco 12 inches. I do carry new House but in small quantities. I really wanna get this straight though: I’m not a dance record store. I have just as much killer classic rock, metal, and punk. I have a pretty solid soul and jazz section and we also carry gospel, reggae, world, blues, and hip hop. We carry 12″, LPs and a ton of 45s. Gramaphone is a dance music record store – I’m a record store that has a good dance music selection. That is not a diss to Gramaphone either – they’re a great store. Without them, there never would have been a me.


Where do you see the future of music in terms of vinyl, CDs and digital music?

I still think there is a huge future with vinyl. More and more stuff is being re-issued and even being exclusive with “vinyl only” releases. A lot of new music is also being issued on vinyl with a free digital download included. Dance music has suffered a little more than other genres because DJs don’t wanna carry vinyl around the world to every gig.

If you are a DJ though and all you buy is dance music 12 inches, then to me you are a very limited, closed-minded DJ. You should study as much music as you can. If I look at a collection and I see a DJ has jazz, soul, blues, rock, gospel, latin, and other things, I know he or she is someone worth listening to. Someone who is really into music is gonna have CDs, records, mp3s – the whole nine yards because they really wanna hear it any way they can.

Me being a vinyl junkie, as long as the world turns, so will my turntable…