Jesse Saunders interview

Tell us about the idea behind your new album: Old Skool New Skool (Vol 2) and how you went about choosing which tracks to use?

The Old Skool New Skool compilation series are intended to bridge the gap between that old sound that started it all, and the new sound which incorporates new tools and sounds while supporting the foundation.  The tracks I choose always have an old school “feel” while contributing something new.

You are credited with producing/ releasing the first House record: On And On back in 1984.  What were the instruments used that defined that unique Chicago sound – was European music as important as American to you in forming the House sound?

The Electric Disco sound of Europe was very influential in forming my idea of the House Music sound. Songs like “Feel The Drive” by Doctor’s Cat were imbedded in my soul in the early 1908s.  The instruments used to create OP & ON were a Roland TR-808, Korg Poly 61 synthesizer and Roland TB-303.

What/who inspired you to begin Dj’ing and what were those early clubs like?

My brother Wayne Williams (currently VP of A&R at Sony Music) taught me how to DJ. I never had aspirations to be one prior to that. Sure, I had been making tapes from all the hottest records and blasting them on my Boom Box to everyone that would listen…and of course I edited songs to make “Disco Versions” that would emphasize the dynamic parts, but I never dreamed of being in front of thousands of people being the catalyst for their dance experience. But once I did, and I found I could make the crowd react to whatever I did, I was hooked!

How would you compare music/clubs now with back then – what are the positive/ negative changes that you have seen?

The NEGATIVE change is that people don’t go out to dance anymore, they go out to see who can pay the most for a Bottle.  The whole idea of Bottle service has ruined the club experience.  Clubs were created for dancing, not drinking.  The best clubs don’t even have alcohol; i.e. The Warehouse! I can’t find any positive changes in clubs in today’s culture.
The only place that still carries on the tradition of dancing your ass off all night long are EDM festivals such as my Annual Chosen Few House Music Reunion ( event that my brother Wayne, and our original DJ Crew produce in Chicago. It’s the the biggest PURE HOUSE MUSIC event in the world. We had over 50,000 House-Heads from all over the world in attendance.  We featured Frankie Knuckles and Ten City, as well as, myself, Terry Hunter, Alan King, Tony & Andre Hatchet (original Chosen Few members) and Wayne Williams, our founder. We also got massive live stream and TV coverage around the world.  Next year we will be even bigger and better.  I’m also planning a sister event in Las Vegas for September 2012!

More info: Stay tuned…

What can we expect from Jesse Saunders in 2012?

My Global House Show is celebrating 15 years as a Radio Show and to celebrate I will be doing the Global House Tour beginning in February 2012.

For more info:
My label Broken Records ( will continue to grow and support the Pure House Music Movement, and up and coming Producers and Artists to carry on the tradition of the world’s 1st House Music label, Jes Say Records!
My Music & Arts Society non-profit is expanding and teaching kids in the After-School programs the Artistic and Technical sides of being a DJ/Artist. We have just inked a deal with the National Urban League to teach their entrepreneurial programs in the arts in-conjunction with Wells Fargo who is financing it. This is by far the most rewarding of everything (…

listen/ buy ‘Old Skool New Skool (Vol 2)’


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