The Godfather of House
Frankie Knuckles is the founding member of Dance music’s hall of Fame. Known as one of the world’s Greatest DJ’s and re-mixers who has played in the worlds’ most famous clubs; the Warehouse, Paradise Garage, Sound Factory, Roxy, Ministry of Sound. He’s a living legend idolized by gay and straight dance music lovers alike. Today he is better known as The Godfather of House and it is widely accepted that his style of DJing, selection and the appeal of the Warehouse, which gave house music its name. Adam Lowe poses the questions.
Frankie, you’ve been on the scene for a very long time. Indeed, you’re often credited with starting the house scene in NYC. In your opinion, how has house music changed since the 80s? What new changes do you particularly like?
Technology has made it easier for anyone to make House Music now. Correction, technology has made it easier for anyone to make House Tracks. Credible House Music tends to be more song oriented. However, with the advent of the current technology I like the idea of DJs all over the world being on the same page (musically) and, the convenience of not having to schlepp my entire vinyl collection around the globe.
You’ve also DJed at innumerable venues over the years. Where was your favourite gig? Where would be your dream gig in the future?
My favourites gigs were obviously the lengthy residencies I held at clubs like; Continental Baths, NYC (1972-1976), Us Studio TheWarehouse, Chicago (1977 – 1983), Sound Factory Bar, NYC (1991-1997). My dream gig would have a DJ booth that has the look and feel of my living room and, the dance floor would be open-air on a beach like Ku-Da-Tah in Bali with lush tropical breezes and beautiful people, families and their children enjoying the atmosphere and the music.
If you were just starting out now as a new DJ, who would be your 21st Century influences and why?
There are a few… Danny Krivit (because of his history and incredible record collection), The Shapeshifters (because of their vast technical expertise and romantic sensibility for great songs), Frankie Feliciano (because of his deep emotional approach to production) and the list goes on.
Do you think house music is more commercially viable in Europe than the States? Why do you think this might be (or not)?
House Music is more commercially viable in Europe. As a matter of fact, it’s more commercially viable practically everywhere else in the world. House Music in the USA is more like the bastard stepchild of the music business. Why? In Europe there’s a great desire and sensibility for dance music with great energy and passion. The rest of the world follows The UK & Europe when it comes to commercially viable dance music.
How has the download revolution changed modern music? Has it changed the way people DJ?
Absolutely! It’s made it easier for me to carry a greater part of my record collection without the weightiness of 2 full bags of vinyl. For those laptop DJs all they have to do is show up, plug and play. And again, the technology has basically put every DJ around the world on the same page musically, making it possible for audiences that don’t travel to be on point with all the new songs and tracks.