Kerri Chandler

I love Kerri! We Love Kerri! How can you not love Kerri! He’s been pounding out tough house beats for over thirty years with an assortment of styles crossing darkness with lightness. he’s released some monumental releases such as ‘Bar A Thym,’ ‘Atmosphere,’ ‘So Let The Wind Come,’ ‘Drink On Me,’ ‘Hallelujah’ and the list goes on. This is another interview that we’ve been chasing for quite a while and I was lucky enough to track down Kerri when he played at the outstanding inaugural Scottish Soulful Weekender. After over thirty years of music I get the impression that Kerri still loves our music and his enthusiasm is something that I warmed to. We also asked some of our friends to name their favourite Kerri Chandler release. Interview by Roual Galloway

You’re from Orange, New Jersey. When were you first introduced to music?

The funny thing is I’ve always grown up with DJs and music. My father and uncle were DJs, so I’m kind of following the family business. I started warming up for my Dad when I was 13 at his place, which was called the Rally Racket Club. It was like a tennis place or something that was transformed every weekend into a discotheque with all the gear, lights and everything. That was it. My Dad would put a crate down and would pass me records where I would just mix them. I’d have to go home early at around 10.30 or 11 o’clock and I hated that.

Do you remember what year that was?

It was back in the 70s, from the mid 70s up until about 79.

What were you playing at that time?

It was disco, with stuff like Surface, who would play there live, also Sharon Redd and Prelude, the Kool and the Gang guys were there. It was electric, but really nice.

Was it fairly big venue?

Yes, it was a big space and absolutely infamous. It was a really good learning ground and I learned a lot there.

At this point were you musically gifted?

What happened was that my grandparents made me take up classical piano and I started that at 9. I also learned to play the bass at the same time around 12 to 13. I was actually out doing jazz gigs with Count Basie’s band and stuff. It was an interesting time for me. I don’t know how I fell into a lot of it but I really took to it like it was a different language for me, but I really enjoyed it. I don’t know whether it was because I was a kid and I had to prove something to the adults that I could actually do what I was doing so they would take me seriously. That’s what I think it was – so all through my teenage years I always had to do that much better to compete against the adults. That’s what did it, because I wanted them to take me just as seriously as they took each other. I had to be that much better.

You were obviously heavily involved with music whilst DJing and playing out at an early age – when did you actually make the transition to releasing records?

[It was through] Meekaaeel Muhammas, one of the writers for Kool and the Gang – I went to his studio in East Orange called Four Bits. There was a place called House of Music where they all did their recordings out of. I saw it and I said, ‘that’s what I wanted to do for a living.’ I didn’t care what I was going to earn but this is what I wanted to do. Meekaaeel was a really good friend of my Dad and he kind of took me under his wing at the time. He was like ‘you’re like a second son to me, why don’t you come in to learn, and if you need any help with anything just go ahead and do it.’ So I became an intern at the studio and then became another intern at another studio. I just absorbed everything and learned all the gear. Anything I could possibly do I would do. I was also DJing at the weekends. I’d go back and do odd jobs or whatever. I’d buy as much gear as I could get my hands on and learn that. I found myself doing a lot of edits of songs that I would play at the weekends. It kind of started from there. Then what happened was that people were coming in from the street and I’d have to do session work. They would just come into the studio and make a record. They didn’t know what to do. I was like ‘where is your producer? Who are you bringing into play?’ I found myself making tracks all the time. That’s what happened. Then eventually a couple of people that I got really close to, I started working with and [also] a couple of singers that I really liked. I then made some things to play in the club that I liked. Then the next thing I know is that Tony Humphries got a hold of one of the tracks, this was around ’88. The first one he got was ‘Superlover,’ then ‘Get It Off,’ ‘Drink On Me’ and then ‘My My Lover.’ Then after that the pace kept going and I didn’t want to let the momentum stop. Everything kind of fell into place around 1989. Then in 1990 everything went crazy and I thought that I had to start a record label myself. That’s when I started Madhouse in 1991. It’s been an ongoing thing ever since and I just want to keep the momentum going for as long as I can.

Your productions can be quite varied, but you’re most recognisable for your deep chord, almost metallic sounding hooks. Were you trying to be different to what was coming out of New Jersey when you first started out?

Absolutely, nobody was really experimenting. We all come from a gospel background. It’s all churchy and everything, but I was fascinated with synthesizers, equipment, Kraftwerk and weird stuff. When samplers first came out nobody knew what they were meant to do. They’d sample a voice that could go der, der, der derder. I was like, ‘there’s way more to these things, let’s add some drums and do this.’ I found different [things] to make them do things that nobody else was trying to get them to do. I found ways of making really nasty assed chords, things that I could sample that weren’t midi. I was like ‘this is really cool.’ I found myself ripping things off old disco records, taking pieces, chopping stuff, just being crazy and being as creative as I can with all this new gear. That’s what it was.

Is there a secret to how you got those sounds?

It just sounded fun to me. It just sounded something different that I could really hear on the floor. Every time that I would play my stuff I would tweak it. I would watch how people would react to it on the floor. That was my key and I would go back to the studio and do it again. I found myself going back and forth to the studio too often before I decided that I was going to build a studio just like a club. When I really started doing Madhouse I built a club and I put all my equipment in a little room. It looked like a Ministry of Sound down there. There were literally stacks of speakers, lighting and everything else so I could really feel like what it would feel like in a club as I’m making club records. To me that was the most essential thing in me making dance music. That’s what they key is, and to this day I still do that. It’s not as big as it used to be, but I still have a hell of a stack in my studio. They just tower over everything. I’ve been collecting gear for so long. I got really lucky and I found this really amazing 108 channel Neve desk. When I finally got my place I said ‘that’s it, I’m really going to have some fun and go all out to do exactly what I love doing.’ To me I’m a gear nut and it’s always been one of those things that I have to learn everything. I’ve never changed because I’ve always wanted to know everything.

Do you read the manuals?

Sometimes I have to read them, because some of them are a bit crazy.

When you first started out there was nothing digital and everything was analogue. Have you made the move across to digital yet?

Honestly to God I think you need both. It makes things much easier, especially if you’re tracking. I like tracking live people with instruments so I need all the inputs and things. Sometimes I’ll do tracks internally but when I want a big full round sound that’s when I start using live things.

You hooked up quite early at Madhouse with Champion – how did that relationship come about?

Madhouse came about because I had a meeting with Mel Medalie because he’d picked ‘My My Lover’ as a license. I met him and he was just like really cool. He saw me as this really ambitious kid, who was like really to try some new things and he just kind of took me under his wing and said ‘let’s go.’ I was like ‘OK cool.’ I learned a lot from him. I told him what I wanted to do and he was just all for it. I was just happy. I listened to him very closely, he introduced me to a lot of people that were really doing very well like Stock, Aitken and Waterman and stuff. He took me to their studio to check them out. He’s got a really good ear for songs, arrangements and things. He just doesn’t stop. His track record is unbelievable. He knew everybody early on somehow. Even to this day he did Dido and Faithless. He’s incredible.

At that point you’ve already said that you were really productive and you were aiming to make as many tracks as possible…

What it was – and he’s another weird thing about it – I was always a very quiet person and at the time I was going out with this woman called Tracey and we were about to get married. Then somebody killed her and they left her for dead behind the Zanzibar of all places on her birthday of all days. She was really into house and at the time – I was doing hip hop. A friend was like ‘you should really start doing some house because you’d be good at it.’ I was like ‘I’m not really sure what I could do with it but I’ll give it a try.’ For some reason it just jumped off. It just never looked back and I just kept going and going. That was my way to get things off my mind. It was just a release for everything that I had to say. I would say it in a record. If I ever had to force a record I would never ever do that. It was everything that was my life. Every one of my records has a real story behind it, for example with ‘Drink On Me’ was about a regular event in Club America. The Berger Brothers owned three clubs in Newark with the Zanzibar, Club 88 and Club America where I was. During the night there’d be these super VIP shirt and tie kind of people. Then there’d be the real dancers that would throw talcum powder on the floor. There were two levels to the club. What would happen was that the VIP people [would] come down and take a look at the dancers like they were zoo animals. The dancers couldn’t really do their thing and have fun. All the VIP wanted to do was to look at them as if they were crazy and walk around with their drink. Me and Tailegg, another dancer, came up an idea that whenever I played this record it would be free drinks. A red light would also come on. I played ‘Drink On me’ and you’d see all these people running back upstairs to get their free drinks, whilst leaving the dancers to do their thing. That’s the story behind ‘Drink On Me.’

One of the tracks that I like from that time is the Lil Justin ‘Our Baby’ track because it’s just really raw and simple…

(Kerri laughs)…that was fun. Dee Dee Brave’s son is Lil Justin and what happened was, he must have been about 4 years old, he just kept saying ‘I want to go into the booth.’ I said ‘what are you going to do?’ He said ‘just let me into the booth, I just want to do something.’ I put on something really simple and he just kept singing silly little 4 year old things. I was like ‘let’s just do it and make a track out of it.’ I was kind of trying to explain to him how it all worked and he just had a ball. He’s like my son and it was great fun. I was originally going to release it as a B side but it turned out to be the better one. The other side was called ‘Trace,’ which was about Tracey because I’d been thinking about her that day.

When you first came over to the UK were you surprised at how big the scene was?

Oh completely. I had no idea what it was like. As a matter of fact the first time I came to London to play was at Ministry of Sound in 1991 and it was a shock to me to walk into a place that I’d never been to before. I was getting ready to play and I was like ‘this looks just like the Paradise Garage’. I was like ‘this is sick.’ The minute that I put my first record on, I was a bit nervous because I didn’t know what’s going to happen here but it was just easy sailing. I was so happy. I was like ‘I cannot let this feeling go it’s just amazing.’ I was with Dee Dee because we were dating at the time and her song was on Top of the Pops. I was really like ‘what the fuck is going on? I need to stay here’ because it was crazy. That was it. I was really really hooked. I was like ‘this is exactly what I want to do’ and I was just so happy that it started taking off.

Was that round about the time that you met Dennis (Ferrer)?

Dennis is a whole other animal. Here’s a funny story about Dennis. I knew Dennis from buying gear. He used to work at a store called Rogue Music. I must have met him a round ’93. I’d go to the store and I’d say ‘what’s new in here?’ I’d pick up old analogue gear such as old EQ’s or whatever. I said ‘what’s new today? What’s come in?’ He’d be like ‘we’ve got this and this.’ I’d take one or two home. Then one day around ’95 and he said ‘I have this demo that I want you to check out of something I did.’ He put this cassette in and I was like ‘it’s a bit heavy, but it’s kind of cool.’ I suggested that he popped by the studio and maybe we could remix this thing. He was like ‘cool, where do you live?’ I said ‘I live in Union City off of Bergenline. Do you know where that is?’ ‘Yes I know where that is because I live on Bergenline.’ He was like ‘what’s the cross street because I live on 19th?’ I was like ‘you’re kidding, because I live on 14th.’ Then one day he came by and he just didn’t leave. He literally came to my house/my studio and he just didn’t go home. He just stayed, kept listening and learning. Every gig he went on he’d come with me to listen and watch. He came over to London a couple of more times with me. There was a time when I went to Boston that I played some place, but I can’t remember exactly where it was. It was a really amazing place and I played one of Kenny Bobien’s tracks ‘Why We Sing’ and he just stood there and he had tears in his eyes. He literally cried because he was feeling it hard. He was like ‘I really want to do this.’ I took him under my wing and taught him everything I knew and there you have Dennis

Did Jerome (Sydenham) live with you then?

Jerome was with me way before Dennis. Here’s a funny story about Jerome. Jerome was around at the very very beginning. Jerome used to be the A and R over at Atlantic. When I met him he was in Brooklyn around ‘88/89 and we’ve been very close since. The first day I met him was the funniest shit in the world. I went into his office to meet him and we had the exact same shit on with a turtle neck, jeans and shoes. My friend was looking me and said ‘who’s that’ and I replied ‘that’s my cousin.’ They were like ‘you’re exactly the same’ and we just hit it off. He was signing everything to Atlantic because he was Merlin Bobb’s assistant. He signed a lot of the stuff I was doing. I was kind of getting on with the house stuff. I was the kind of in house producer at the time for Atlantic. That’s how I met Jerome.

Do you still work with Jerome?

Jerome is actually living in Berlin. I saw him about three weeks ago. When we do see each other we pick up where we left off. He’s one of my best friends alongside Dennis. They’re like my brothers. We call each other when we can. We’re both travelling a lot and sometimes we run into each other in different places. The last place we saw each other, nobody told me so it was a big surprise. I was like ‘who’s playing first, who’s warming up for me?’ When he walked through the door I was like ‘no fucking way.’ We just did the whole night together. It happens all the time. I miss him a lot when I’m in the States, but then again I’m never in the States either.

Travelling is obviously an important part of your life. Do you miss home?

Absolutely, but there’s a really strange balance that I’m trying to keep, but it’s been a really really busy summer for me. Me being away from the studio is almost like missing my right hand in a way because I’m so used to both with a studio mind and a club mind. I’ve been trying to work on the road but I’m a spoiled brat because of all the madness in my studio… because I’m so used to it. I’ve been trying to get all the stuff going around my head into a laptop. What I’ve been doing now is preparing things on my laptop and then when I get home I mix them. Then I come back out and get some ideas basically. It’s taken some getting used to. Then this summer I’d already been told that I had to go over and move to the UK because I had a lot of dates coming up.

This summer you’ve been a resident at DC10. Are we now expecting a different sound from Kerri?

I didn’t have to change a thing that I was doing. It was almost like everything has gone back full circle again. Everything sounds like 1991 again. If this is 2011 it sounds like 1991 to me. This is the third cycle. I’m noticing that the kids have learned how to programme their music again with their machines against all the gear that we had to use. They’re learning it the same way so it sounds kind of similar. It’s just a little bit more aggressive because of the tones they use. I think it’s because they’ve figured out how to do vocals and then it’s easy as pie after that, but I haven’t had to do anything else different. All the songs I’ve made like ‘Track One’ – I can play it there and it’s like nothing else has happened, like I did it yesterday. ‘Hallelujah’ is the same thing. I’ve played the instrumental there and it doesn’t make a difference.

You’re one of the very few artists that have been able to keep relevance across over twenty years. For example ‘Bar A Thym’ was a massive record that crossed over to all the different house genre scenes. How do you do it?

The thing about is that it’s no different to when I first started. That’s no difference to the chord and tones that I used in ‘My My Lover,’ it’s just another year. I was talking to Radio Slave and he said the same thing about ‘Oh Baby.’ ‘That’s my favourite shit. You’ve gotta make some stuff like that for me.’ I was like ‘Ok that’s simple.’ I can remember what I did and the exactly same tones. I’m not going to change anything that I’ve ever done. It’s just that I can play it again the same way and they take it as it’s new. I’m fine with it. It’s like even the way that I DJ because I play everything. I love everything. Even at the Scottish Soulful Weekender here I get the chance to play eclectic. I can play disco, soulful, deep and get the chance to play whatever I feel like doing. That’s what I get to do at DC10. The reason that I said that I wanted to give it a try was because I didn’t believe that Ibiza could be any different way! I was like ‘it’s tough, it’s techy, it’s this.’ Then they hired Tony Humphries and I was like ‘they’ve hired Tony Humphries for DC10, what the fuck? So I met the owners and they explained to me how the club worked. They don’t ever get anybody commercial ever. They can’t even buy their way in. They would never ever do that. There’s no VIP bar. There’s no crazy lighting system, just red lights. That caught me right away, red lights, just a sound system, a couple of turntables, no freaky effects or anything like that. It’s just a room full of great people and I said ‘that’s fine, I’ll give it a go.’ They explained it to me and they told me about the music. They showed me all the stuff they had from Paradise Garage and things. I was like ‘OK.’ They told me the line up of the DJs and I got to meet them. We were like this. Me, Dyed and all them are like family now. I can’t even imagine not being around these guys now. It’s like everyone’s egging each other one and we’re all sending each other music. We’ve all started remixing each other’s stuff. To me it was like a no brainer, so simple. It just all fell into the same place and we all respect each other’s stuff. It’s just like it’s no different.

Has it been a good summer?

It’s been an incredible summer. I played the normal Mondays and I’ve played with Tanya. It’s the same thing. It’s absolutely incredible how many come down from everywhere. This year I haven’t done anything different to other years. It’s like a new generation of kids coming and listening. Some of the tracks I’m playing are older than them. Like I’ve been playing Murk stuff and that’s been going off really well. I’d been nailing the living shit out of ‘Amame’ and then all of a sudden it’s like massive.

How many more Linda EPs will there be?

This is so funny because the last one was actually supposed to be the last one in 2010. She told me ‘not to call it the ‘Last Thing For Linda,’ please don’t do that it’s too depressing. Just call it something else and we’ll figure out another name.’ I said ‘OK fine. What do you want to call it?’ She was like ‘Linda 2010.’ I said ‘fine.’ It could go on forever because as long as she wants me to do them I’ll keep on doing them for her. Linda is like a second mum to me. I met her and Mel at exactly the same time. She was doing her distribution with Downtown. All of the titles that I’ve done for her all have meanings. They’re all inside jokes for all of us.

What’s Linda doing these days?

She’s doing the same thing with distribution for Downtown 161 and 304. For a minute she actually had Vinyl Mania up in her office and they used to do these open weeks where Charlie would go open up to people wanting to go and buy records from Vinyl Mania in the office. Linda’s the best, she’s hardcore = there’s no bullshit with Linda.

You did an album for DJ Deep? How did you put that together?

That was fun. It started with an experiment one day. I’m an engineer and a crazy person. I’ve got all these video games and I started with Sega ‘s Dreamcast because my daughter went to play this game. I didn’t set my Dreamcast up and if you let it die you have to set it all up when you turn it on again. I hit these buttons and I heard this sound. I was like ‘what the fuck, that’s the coolest damn sound I’ve ever heard.’ I kept going back to the sound because it was dope. I was like ‘I’ve gotta sample that.’ Then I made a track out of two chords from the Sega. I was just joking around with it and it took me all of 20 minutes to do. Cyrille called me because we talk all the time. He was like what are you doing?’ ‘I’m messing around with this video game because I sampled these chords and you’ve got to hear the things because it’s the craziest thing I’ve ever made. I’m having so much fun doing this shit.’ He said that it was cool and that I should keep going with it. I have a ton of video games like Colecovision, Atari, Timex Sinclair and all these weird games. I kept finding sounds and started to play with them. I just found myself making all these new tracks from these sounds that I found by just sampling them. I wanted to go as far as I could go with making these sounds musical instead of computerized bleeps. I just kept going. I was having so much fun and the next thing I knew I had all these tracks. I was pulling out Speak and Spells, Kids shit and 2XLs. Then I went to Ebay and I was buying shit because it was like an obsession. When I was first finished it had become a concept around computer games. I told Cyrille that I had an album worth of stuff so I sent them all to him. He was like ‘this is really different, let’s go for it.’ So I tweaked them down a bit. After the album came out they picked it up in Japan and there’s another set of different versions for there. I then did a tour of Japan. When I did the live show I did this thing based around the film ‘Minority Report,’ where I did this hologram DJ table thing way before all this IPOD touch thing came about. I built it like the old school game tables and I flew it over to Paris and the other one I built I flew it over to Japan. It was just being crazy and I recorded two live albums. One album I did in Japan where I micked the whole room and I did the same thing in Paris. That to me was the most fun where I did everything all at once with all the gear and all of the music I had. I pushed my engineering skills as far as I could. That was it. Even after the album I made up even more of them so there’d be 1.0. After a while I was like ‘this getting out of control’ so I just stopped, now I’m going too far.

Obviously technology is important part of your career and you’re heavily involved with Pioneer…

…I‘ve helped design a lot of gear and equipment. I’m in the back being silent about it all, but I tweak a lot of their stuff. I meet a lot of their engineers to suggest this or that change. I put my two cents in all of the time.

So what’s for 2012?

I’m just going to have the best time that I can for everybody that I care about. I’m going to try and get round to see everybody that I’ve missed. I’m going to start seeing a lot of the singers again and go into the studio with them again. It’ll be me going back to my roots almost. I’ll be listening to all the stuff that I’ve been playing out and working on new things. Mel wants me to do ‘A Basement, A Redlight and A Feelin 3.’ He said that if you do it now there’s exactly ten years between all of them. That’s kind of weird, so I might as well do it.

You’re obviously a workaholic…

…I might need to slow down because I’m getting older because I’m feeling it. The one thing that used to kill me all the time was doing rum and coke like crazy. Not cocaine because I’ve never done that. My Dad told me, because they were like druggies back in the day, ‘do me a favour. Whatever you do don’t do any drugs because you’ll love it to the point where you’ll destroy everything that you’ve worked for. Trust me we have an addiction problem in our family and you won’t do anything halfway. I know how you’ll be so don’t do it. You’ll enjoy it too much.’ So I was like ‘OK you’re right.’ So I haven’t done any to this day. I may have a joint once in a while because there are people around like in Ladbroke Grove with certain friends. Being in a studio with somebody smoking has already got me fucked up so just give me the damn thing. That’s as far as I’ve ever done. I can’t say that I’ve done it for health reasons but I’ve absolutely stopped drinking anything. I think because it was in my rider because of Jerome, Glenlivet 12 year single malt. I would always have it because I’m not going to let it go to waste, so I switched. I was like ‘I hope it’s not me with a crutch trying to make sure that I’m drinking to give me confidence’ and I found out that it was just habit, so I put water in. It’s the same difference. It’s me having to grab something in between mixes.

Have you ever considered putting together a 70s disco themed concept album with a modern twist?

Do you know what’s really funny is that I had this talk with Meekaaeel, who I hadn’t seen in years, finally came to the studio and he brought some stuff for me. We started to mess around with some stuff and he has all these interesting multitracks and that was technically one of the projects that we were talking about doing together. Literally two days ago he emailed me and said he’s got all these things for me, like some Bernard Edwards and stuff. I’m helping him but he’s helping me at the same time.

What I like about your music is that it can be dark, mysterious and broody!

So do I. I love chords that can choke you the fuck up, but I’ve always loved deep assed basslines and beats. To me that was always at the rhythm. I don’t know why because people don’t always remember but we’re making dance music. I still love the idea of something really gritty and moody over really nice rhythm sections. That’s just the best way to kind of put it. It’s something that just gets you driving and when you hear another tone that chokes you up here like some tone in the Rhodes or something simple. Something like ‘where the hell did that sound come from? What is that? What the hell made that? What machine is that?’ I love that. If I can sit listening to a record and I can’t figure out what the fuck machine is that, that’s when I know people are doing something different. You’re not going to turn on a module and hear some simple piano, but when there’s something like ‘goddamit let’s tweak that bassline because that’s the crazies shit I’ve ever heard,’ that’s something really cool. That’s why I used to love hearing Mr Fingers with tones and things he used were so different. Little Louis’ stuff was so different. I like that. I’ve seen that, not so much in the soulful part of it, because it’s always jazz based. I love soulful music, don’t get me wrong, jazz rhythm and chords to me are like the most amazing eclectic thing that you can do. To dance to it you’ve got to be a real dancer. You’ve gotta figure out where the changes are. I can’t say that I’ve ever toned anything down but for me it’s always been about the breakdown and that’s how I’ve always based my music. Even as a kid I was always like ‘I can’t wait to get to the breakdown.’ Everyone’s living for the breakdown. All my music is like a long and dubby breakdown. I love dubby music, with time delays, saturated mad sounds and crazy things. To me that’s the essence of dance music. My favourite track that I’ve produced like that is ‘Ladbroke Grove.’ I got to really play games with tones on that. I learned how to do sub tones like the reggae boys, they taught me their little tricks. I went in and watched them whilst they were mastering things. So everyone started to ask me ‘where did you get those basslines and those sounds? I was like ‘I learned it from these reggae dudes’ and you would not believe where some of these tones come from, such as a little stupid Casio and some dumb shit. You’d think that it was some monster assed synth or something. I’d be like ‘it’s a PPS 330 or a little Yamaha.’ To me that was fascinating.

What synth did you use for ‘Bar a Thym’ then?

That was simple. I have a JX8P and they did a re-issue of plug ins. When I found out what the plug ins where supposed to be I went to pull it out of one of my synths and plugged it back in. I then took my JX8P and started messing round with my controller because I had a box for it. That was it. That’s all that is: a micro controller, something called the deadus sound or something, but the one on the plug in has drums behind it. I was like ‘I know what to do,’ so I put it back into my JX8P and that was it. I just kept messing with the sliders and recorded a midi map of it. The funny thing was the reason that it started morphing and doing all these funny things is because I didn’t know whether I wanted the sound to be a certain way. Originally I left it straight, but I was like ‘I want it lower. I want it deeper.’ I was like ‘that’s too deep, no one’s going to get that, I want to take it higher.’ That was too aggressive, so I kept going up and down with it. Even with the title there’s a theme behind it. It’s an actual place in France called Bar a Thym where Dennis and I had been invited to play at something called the Sunslice festival. There was an after party at this place called bar A Thym and they had a cowbell with a drumstick with Dennis and I doing a cowbell battle. That’s where all that shit came from. Dennis wanted to kick my ass at this cowbell battle because I was kicking his ass. He stood up on a chair banging a glass light with a drumstick. The first thing that came to mind was that he was going to break the thing. I was like ‘you win that’s kind of cool,’ but he hit it one too many times and the light shattered. That’s what I did in the record – it’s big explosion. The minute that happened I thought that we were in trouble, we’re going to get thrown out of here, but the whole bar erupted and went crazier. Even a bartender was throwing this bell around. It was like Dennis, Jerome, Jovonn, Blaze, Manoo, Franck Roger and me were all playing this after party. It was packed and crazy. That’s what i remember when I put the song together with all the sounds.

At the time ‘Bar A Thym’ was a monster record and crossed so many different scenes…

I was actually surprised about that part of it, but I was happy. It showed me that the genres could mesh somehow. It just clicked for me and I thought ‘I get it now.’ So I started listening to all these other DJs and I met a lot of them like Sasha and Digweed guys – we’re pretty close with what we’re doing, let’s have some fun. The more I talked to Dennis about it the more he started doing some odder shit. Then him and Jerome got together to make ‘Sandcastles’ and the rest is history.

Essential Kerri Chandler

I don’t know if 20 or 30 words will be enough. To this day Kerri has consistently remained a hero of mine. The deep of his spirit shines brilliantly thru every song and track he brings to life. I fell in love with Kerri’s sound with “GLORY TO GOD” back at Sound Factory in ’92. The man has been non-stop with some of the best music. ‘GLORY TO KERRI’!
Maximum Love Always, Frankie Knuckles

Grampa – I Love You – Mad House (1992)
Can´t beat this gem on Mad House, this used to be a major hit in our house nights back in the days in Finland. Lovely vox by grampa Chandler (I´m told so at least) and a BAD-ASS bassline – amazing vibe, listening to it right now with a tear of nostalgia in my eyes.. fullest respect. Sasse (Mood Music)

Kerri Chandler feat DeeDe Brave – My My Lover (Movin’ Records)

Why – The beats , the chords, The vocals. A deadly simple combination of unforgettable Jersey House. I would get very emotionally up hearing the track at Club Zanzibar (Newark New Jersey). Wow…..Jerome Sydenham (Ibidan)

Kerri Chandler – Oblivion – the beats, the sounds, the vibe and the voice that calls you to come back to music. getting real. Maayan Nidam

Risk Sound System “The sound is yours” Kerri Chandler instrumental rmx
So many Great Kerri Chandler tracks out there but this is the no 1 for me .Its got Kerri’s usual groove but the synth sounds really make this …amazing!! Dominic Cappello (Sub Club)

Kerri Chandler – Hexadecimal (Chord Version) (Deeply Rooted) – Kerris’ tracks never really leave my playlist, they just swap places now and again. At the moment the Chord Mix of Kerri’s Hexadecimal on Deeply Rooted House is currently getting most airplay. It is as classy as they come, it’s a hypnotic groove that never stops growing, but never really gives away to much!!!

Kerri Chandler – Thing for linda or atmosphere are probably my favourites – Song for linda, has super swingy beats that sound good anytime, and as a dj tool it gets you in our out of anything.Atmosphere original part one has a timeless deep, uplifting and anthemic vibe that just works every time Harri (Sub Club)

Lil’ Justin – Ah Baby – This is probably in my top ten house records of all time…The beats are super tough and it’s just a dope record. Stripped down, super sexy and totally new york sounding, it has that deep ass Kerri bass sound that just carries the track and even though it was made nearly 20 years ago “Ah Baby” still rocks the Panorama Bar. Radio Slave (Rekids)

Kerri Chandler & Michael Watford.Kerri’s Theme.Large Records… – too many too good ones to just pick one…however this was the first one that I really dropped in a bigger venue (1995 at E-Werk Berlin, when I played there with Cle & Westbam) seeing a techno-crowd going crazy to soulful house C-Rock (Motorcity Soul)

Kerri Chandler – Hallelujah – Where do I start? “Hallelujah”. I was hooked as soon as the bass dropped in. Kerri has a knack for producing a lot of funk in his tracks all the will keeping it musical and energetic. I really admire that. And he’s not afraid of using the kick. I still Bang this record when i can! He’s one of the few house producers whose productions have influenced my sound. Tedd Patterson (Cielo)

Kerri Chandler – Kong – Deeply Rooted House – Kerri is an all time hero of mine and such a big inspiration. His music is timeless and it’s a pretty impossible task to pick out one of his massive back catalogue but I would have to say that this is the track for me. Simple, groovy and hypnotic like good house music should be – Jordan Peak (Saved)

Teule – Drink On Me – His first record and it is easily his best, to me. Best use ever of Sylvester’s Over & Over and probably the first to lift it. Crazy essential. – Christian Rushhour

Kerri Chandler – Back To The Raw (Dark Instrumental) – A fine example of Kerri stripping everything back and getting locked in on the groove – Roual Galloway (Cinch)

Kerri Chandler-Sunset-Nitegrooves. – This is really an unfair question, since I can think of 20 off the top of my head. I’ll go with Sunset. A very unexpected hit for me. Kind of a hybrid of Metro area to Deep house. Does wonders on the floor, and for the Soul. You’ll have to dig hard ,but copies are out there. Doc Martin (Sublevel)
Kerri Chandler – Track 1 (Shelter)I guess my top Kerri track was Track 1 on the Atmosphere Ep/Shelter. That track followed me over the first couple of years in my house education period. It was played so many times by all my house heroes, DJ mates and of course by myself. Meat (Freebase)

Inspiration – Arnold Jarvis/Kerri Chandler – Freetown

is hands down my favorite Kerri record. Not quite so much for the record itself, although that is brilliant, but also for the memory that surrounds it. I was working at Freetown at the time (the label that released the record,) and I remember Sankey taking delivery of the song. He listened to it once. Rolled a massive joint, then listened again, and again, and again, and again. It was after about the 10th listen that it really sunk in. The record was perfect. But it wasn’t instant. It just drew you in…..and slowly became a Classic.
Luke Solomon (Classic)

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