If you're an outspoken house-music fan, you probably know this scenario all too well. You get all excited about a new banger, and some former devotee — soured by the genre's perceived stagnancy — informs you that house has flatlined. In a weak moment, you might lean into that doubt, considering that, well, it's not 1999 anymore. Dance charts aren't currently inundated with top tracks by glittering studio whizzes like Basement Jaxx, Cassius and Stardust. But two lovely ladies who, during that time in house history, comprised two-thirds of the Windy City's all-girl DJ crew, SuperJane, are still at it and are better than ever. Now in their late 20s, DJ Colette and DJ Heather have grown out of their phatpants and into their roles — whether they recognize it or not — as longtime ambassadors of the genre. They're two very notable (and yeah, cute) reasons why house music hasn't laid down for a disco dirt nap.
After recharging their own batteries following a flight in from New York, Colette and Heather — on tour supporting their double-disc mix CD, House of Om (Om, 2006) — met Remix in Minneapolis to feed their record bags. From Colette's wide-eyed reaction to Vital Vinyl — the city's last-standing dance-music shop — it's not only house music that's lacking deserved attention, but records in general.
“These kinds of stores are becoming scarce in the U.S., so it's always a treat to visit one,” she says soberly. “There just aren't a lot of vinyl records shops anymore. Even in L.A., I knew of six record shops, and now I know of two. Even though house is a broad genre, it's still a specialty item, and to find a store like this that caters to it and has many new releases, as well as a great back catalog, is rare.”
She and Heather enthusiastically dig for more than an hour through the small store's neatly stocked bins, altogether buying 15 records, which they nearly align to a miracle. “I used to buy 20 records a week, and now I'm lucky if I find four in one week,” Colette confesses.
Hours later, the ladies use those records to turn a local club into a barometer-busting sweatbox as frenzied fans mash up against the DJ booth the entire night. It appears house isn't dead — it's just hiding.
Heather's records: CHRIS CARRIER & HECTOR MORALEZ
“Sorry James” (Robsoul)
The track that does it for me from the 12-inch is “Dissology;” it's murder on a sweet system. It's got a powerful bottom with a hint of Hawtin and lot of boompty. It got a great response at a late-night set at Fabric recently.
“Flip Flop” (Headstone)
The house legend and ultrareliable beatmaker hooks up the arsenal once again! This is the definition of a true Chicago house record that pulses with Latin disco-jazz cut-up flavor. It's an older compilation of releases. Kidd's records are always crowd pleasing and guaranteed floor-fillers. It's kind of a go-to record for that instantaneous party feeling. I'd probably play this in the middle of my set, during a more chunky section of the mix.
GARCY NOISE PRESENTS DAVOMAT
“Vending Machine (Robot Karate Remix)” (Justified Cause)
Dallas-based nomad Brett Johnson and Barcelona's Bradley “Tres Manos” Telleria rework the original “Vending Machine” with sick results that make you crave candy like a pothead. It's a crazy record coming from the original, which was cool, but Brett and Tres Manos make it extra cool with this dirty, almost “wrong” sound. It's another take on the same theme, but they did it well. The vocal sample talks about wanting candy. I don't really eat that stuff anymore, but this track kinda makes me wanna get down with some Starbursts.
“Do You Wanna” (feat. Rob Mello) (Front Room)
I've been a fan of Jesse Rose's productions for over five years. He's from the UK and runs Front Room. In the past two years, people have been finally catching up to his records, which keep getting better. His production is dark but funky, and on this track, he joins forces with Mr. Mello for a tight, techy rubdown. It sounds amazing on a great system, so if I know a particular sound system is going to be great, I'll try to incorporate one of his records in my set.
TIEFSCHWARZ FEAT. TRACEY THORN
“Damage (Buick Project Remix)” (Fine)
My interest was immediately sparked when I read the label credits. Tiefschwarz has a great production history, and Tracey Thorn is an amazing vocalist, so I was attracted to the combination. Thorn breathes life into this moody soundtrack to a Detroit winter. This record is not necessarily something people would respond to instantaneously, but it's all about the placement.
Colette's records: ADONIS
“We're Rocking Down the House” (Trax)
I probably have three copies of this record, but I can't find any of them, so I bought it again — it's a house classic. I have doubles of almost all the records on Trax, and growing up in Chicago and being a fan of house music, it's a significant song from 1986. When you can make a song that's 20 years old still sound good and have an impact, that's pretty special. You can play records like this in Chicago, and the [crowd] loves it. But some towns aren't into the older stuff. As much as you want to share and educate your crowd, sometimes they're just not up for it.
MARCUS ENOCHSON FEAT. CHRIS LONG
“Crazy Pitch” (Flygaric Tracks)
I really dug the “Rulers of the Deep” mix on this hip-house record. I love the throwback style of the track; it's really dirty and funky. It's not often that I enjoy a rap over a house song, but it's fun and kind of silly but cool at the same time. I played it in Minneapolis, and the crowd just loved it.
Vacant Obsessions (Drop Music)
I loooove Inland Knights. I have every record they've put out on Drop Music. Almost all the songs on these records I can play out, and they're so consistent. There are really great drums, really great bass lines and interesting flavors with keys. Some are deep and others are funky, but it maintains a good balance. Stand out tracks are definitely “Our Love” and “Out de Jam.”
Circus Company Vol. 4 (Circus Company)
I picked this one up for Vertex's “Sety” track, which is a minimal track with a lot of hotness. It's not a house record at all. This track would really be dependable on the crowd. Right now it's hard because Heather and I are tag-teaming, but when I have a chance to play a three-hour set, a record like this is really fun for me to put in toward the end. It's the perfect example of a record I'd like to sing over. It's really beautiful, and it has a lot of funk for a minimal track.
Bismarck Bass Anglers EP (Jackin' Tracks)
I'm a big fan of Joey Youngman and Jackin' Tracks, so this was an easy choice for me. All three tracks on this EP are dope and have incredible bass lines. Youngman is a 24-year-old guy from California who makes clean, bass-heavy tracks with really pretty tones on top. It's all about the moving bass lines, which, on a loud system, impact the crowd really well. Sometimes, when I'm writing a song, I test out the melodies over other records live while I'm in the process of writing to see how it feels performed live. I sing over the “Lunker of the Lake” track on this EP.