But what really makes a party "come alive" is the music. It always comes down to the music, and that's where a good DJ comes in. The DJ has to get the party started...AND keep it going until it's time for everyone to leave!
For nearly 40 years, Frankie Knuckles, otherwise known as "The Godfather of House Music," has been making people "party hard" whether he's working the boards at a club, a concert or with his numerous musical compilations. Knuckles is legendary for the effortless way he gets people to "dance like there's no tomorrow."
In this interview, Frankie Knuckles shares the secret of what really makes for a good DJ...and it's not necessarily the equipment!
A. I can't say that it was a conscious decision in the beginning. I was in high school and needed a job. A close friend offered me a job using his records. I didn't take it serious. I thought it was a quick way to make some money to help with school.
It was only 2 days a week (Monday and Tuesday nights.) I did the job for 3 months and was fired. There was no attendance and the club wasn't making money. So, I was invited to play at another club that gave me the flexibility to stretch out and learn my craft. It was a very tough 3 years trying to complete high school and work as a DJ.
Q2. Explain the "Art of DJing and remixing?" How does a good DJ put their "personal spin" on their work?
A. The "Art of DJing" is the ability to seamlessly blend one song to another while perfectly making sense of the songs you're putting together, matching beats and keeping the music in key. It's the art of storytelling through recorded music. Like reading a good book, playing the right songs one after the other, a story is being told taking the listener/dancer on a journey filled with emotion and adventure.
Q3. This question seems fairly obvious but should kids know how to play music or be familiar with various music genres? Why?
A. Music is so very important. Music reaches people in such an important way that no other medium does. Musical sounds affect every emotion. And when songs filled with meaningful lyrics and beautiful melodies are heard, they can sometimes evoke tears or chills. Plus, music can help chronicle where you were in your life and sometimes bring back important memories.
A. Play music for them at an early age. Play lots of music. Some of everything. Not just what you like. Surround them with it all the time. You'll be surprised how the sensibilities of simple melodies and lyrics embeds itself into their subconscious.
Q5. You're known as "The Godfather of House Music" having been at this for 40 years. What achievement(s) are you most proud of and why?
A. Being embraced by the people of Chicago is one. Winning the first Grammy as "Remixer of the Year," the countless professional artists that I've had the pleasure to work with and just the longevity.
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