Updated: Jun 10, 2021
CHICAGO <> LOS ANGELES
Frankie Knuckles’s euphoric cocktail of disco, R&B and futuristic sounds at The Warehouse and then the Power Plant. Ron Hardy’s eclectic mix of disco, soul, gospel, acid and European electronic cuts at The Music Box. Larry Heard’s first shades of deep. Dj Pierre. Adonis. Steve Hurley. Chip E. The list of groundbreaking artists, venues and sounds at the dawn of House music goes on. Many have imagined what it must have felt like to be in the Windy City at the dawn of this era, but few truly experienced the pioneers in the first wave.
Zernell was there. His coming of age coincided with the rise of House music in Chicago and its seminal dj’s. Inspired by the musical experimentation bubbling up throughout his home city, Zernell picked up the decks for the first time at age 14. He never looked back; from then on it was a love affair. Little did he know that House music would inspire future generations for decades and DJing would be his full time career well past the millennium.
Despite today’s focus on image and marketing, Zernell remains authentic, impervious to trend. Making his mark across the world through his DJing and music, one can find Chicago at the very center of everything Zernell does. Zernell plays house music as someone who lived it, not imagination. He continues to provide his own unique twists to the classics. His Grimy edits imprint showcases Zernell’s raw touch and skills as a producer; his DJ sets demonstrate his ability to recontextualize the past and connect it to modern dance music. Having gained notoriety for his craft over the years, Zernell holds down a monthly residency at NTS Radio, broadcasted from a studio in his adopted home of Los Angeles.
When we put him on the calendar for our OVER&OVER series in December I asked him if he’d be interested in doing a midweek release since Christmas lands on a Friday in 2020. Zernell schooled me to the fact that Christmas was one of the best dance nights in Chicago, where people would dance all night to Ronnie and Frankie and whoever else was throwing down. He wanted to honor that legacy of old school Chicago with his mix.
At some point on the 25th, pop this mix on a pair of speakers, crank up the volume and give yourself the gift of a Chicago Christmas dance party. Expect an hour of soul infused disco & house music to groove you into the transcendent. You won’t regret it.