DJ Purple spins a set for Volume #6 of The 312, 5 Magazine’s Chicago House Music mix and interview series with the DJs that keep the Chicago House scene on top.
DJ Purple is probably the most passionate House aficionado I know. From the moment he enters a dance floor, he is in it. Dancing up a storm, spinning one of his inspired sets or sharing House tunes with his fellow DJs, he emanates pure, infectious joy.
The interview picks up below the mix:
[toggle title=”DJ Purple Playlist – Click to Display” state=”closed”] Ron Carroll – “Chicago (My Kind Of Town)”
Wayne Williams – “There Was A Place” (Wayne and Terry In The Beginning Main)
“Oye Bien” (Cratebug Edit)
Guillotine + DJ Purple – “Funky Salsa”
Master C & J featuring Lugo Rosado – “Tonight” (Don’t make Me Wait Dub)
Jamie Lewis – “Cookys 7”
Terrance Parker featuring Tamara Debor – “Everybody Get Up” (DJ Mo Reese Everybody Get Up Dub)
Djed Presents Kimara Lovelace – “Luv Me Rite” (Pablo Martinez Remix)
Frankie Knuckles Presents Director’s Cut featuring Sybil – “Let Yourself Go” (Joey Negro Club Mix)
Convertion – “Let’s Do It” featuring Leroy Burgess [A Louie Vega Interpretation] (Louie Vega Dance Ritual Mix)
Being an army vet, where exactly did your travels take you and how did those places inform you about House music? I know England played a major part… (p.s. where are you originally from?)
I am actually an Air Force vet, but my ties to the Army come from being a JROTC cadet during my four years of high school at Lindblom, on the South Side of Chicago. I left home on Thanksgiving Day 1989 to ship out to boot camp. My assignments were to Biloxi MS, Cocoa Beach FL, London England, Fort Walton Beach FL, Salt Lake City (Provo) UT, and North Chicago IL, at Great Lakes Naval Station. As you alluded to, England was very pivotal for me. London was the place to be, hands down, and it reminded me so much of Chicago. At the other locations I just got creative and did some heavy networking to see if there was any appreciation for the music – occasionally I was pleasantly surprised.
When did you start DJing and were you always playing throughout your years of service or were there long bouts of taking a break?
I started in 1993 when I bought some gear from a guy who was ‘retiring’ from spinning. I taught myself how to mix and practiced for about 6 months then started making tapes and got a gig or two on-base. After I transferred to England in 1994 I got involved the local circuit. I definitely had my ‘droughts’ over the years but that never really affected me because I was busy making tapes through the week. By 2004 I had a total of 218 mixes spread across 119 tapes.
Sometimes I think people in Chicago are spoiled because we have so much House. You are one of the most passionate people I know when it comes to House music. Do you think it comes from not always being around it?
Absolutely! I just wanted to show my fellow GIs how we got down in Chicago. There were traces of House music around, but not at the level that I was accustomed to. Each year when I came home for my vacation time I would record mixes from WKKC and B96, hit the clubs, and get some records. My enthusiasm spiked in 1990 when my roommate’s friend brought over a newspaper – USA Today – and showed me an article titled, “House Music Builds on Its Funky Beat”. HOUSE MUSIC JUST GOT SOME NATIONAL ATTENTION. Seeing names like Frankie Knuckles, Byron Stingily, and Marshall Jefferson in print naturally made me stick my chest out! The same newspaper ran another article featuring House music the very next year!
I see you have some of your flyers on display at the Cultural Center’s Move Your Body Exhibit?
My connection to the Cultural Center is not the flyers, but the recent city-wide fest “Make Music Chicago” which was put on by Rush Hour Concerts. The Cultural Center was a venue location and DCASE afforded me the opportunity to spin a live set, which you have here. There will be an exhibit of a similar nature to “Move Your Body”, and it will be at the Harold Washington Library from August 7 – November 15. It is called “Raw Materials: Uncovering Chicago’s Historical Collections”, and that is where my flyers will be put on display.
What is the one most unforgettable moment you’ve ever had at a club?
At the risk of sounding like a “broken record” (pun intended), I must go back to England, where in 2001 my partner K. Pharaoh and I got the gig of our dreams: the world-renowned Ministry of Sound in London. This was about a month before my transfer from England after being there 7 years. There was just something about playing the penultimate gig in a country that provided numerous avenues for self-expression behind the decks. Our opening set at 12 midnight was before a packed house. SIMPLY AMAZING!
DJ Purple has an internet radio show called “Soul Revival” that runs on Saturdays from 10 AM – 12 Noon, at newagesoul.com. September will be his 9-year anniversary and homecoming celebration as he will be relocating back home to Chicago.