"Music Is Universal"
Catching Up With Chicago Legend, DJ Rashad

Alongside his regular partner in crime, Spinn, DJ Rashad has been instrumental in the creation, evolution and proliferation of Chicago juke music. Formally introduced to a record buying public through a track on Dance Mania back in 1998, he hit out at the rest of the world with his work on Planet Mu: his six track long Itz Not Right EP and then the Bangs & Works compilations that followed it. Rashad’s been incredibly successful in plying his trade across the globe unifying strains of his native juke and ghetto house with the people he plays alongside since. Now working closely with Kode9’s Hyperdub label on the release of his Rollin EP he’ll be stopping by Farringdon to play here for the very first time on the 8th March so ahead of that we sought to catch up with him to tap into his rich vein of positivity and bring you a sneak peak of his new EP.

What’s so patently obvious about Rashad’s music is simply how frenetic it is. His anything goes, mongrel like sampling aside; his tracks always feed off his chosen vocal snippets and he often uses them to inject a vivacious kind of never ending energy into his work. Coursing with a real supple kind of flex his new mutations - as evident on Rollin’ - feel as relevant now as his first work for Planet Mu did back in 2010, carving out a distinctly Chicago informed niche on the current landscape of club music.

Obviously juke and footwork has experienced a massive surge in popularity in the last couple of years. Is it weird for you seeing how far it’s come for you considering that you’ve been doing it for years?
No, actually I don't think it’s weird at all. Obviously, I am thrilled at the so call “surge” of juke and footwork and I am glad a part of that. I will continue to work at staying fresh and in sync with my audience.

Do you think the style still manages to maintain the same core principles even though it’s been exposed and opened up to so many more people since? And do you feel like the music has benefitted at all from that sort of bastardization?
The music gets fresher and it keeps evolving when others contributes their ideas and influences, so it can only go on and evolve. All the exposure does not make it illegitimate; in fact it elevates it because it reaches more people and hopefully brings pleasures to their listening.

Since touring Europe, do you think the exposure to different music and playing on different sorts of lineups has influenced your sound at all?
Absolutely. Music is universal and because we all reside on the same planet our thoughts and energy influence each other. Europe has opened up more of the world to me and made me realise a lot more how we all are the same and yet so different within the balance.

What made you want to work with Hyperdub? I mean obviously they’re open to a lot of different sounds etc. but what was it about them that made you want to sign?
I am a big fan of Hyperdub and the label is known for pushing the limits. You know, they set the bar and I’d like to think that my music does the same. I am blessed and honored to have the opportunity to work with this outstanding organization.

What else have you got coming up in the future?
I have several projects coming out with various artists. I plan to stay dedicated to my fans and music family by just going out and doing with the music what I feel which is staying open and not being afraid to let what I create come out.

DJ Rashad launches his Rollin EP on Friday 8th March at Hyperdub in Room One. The EP will be released on the 18th March via Hyperdub.

Photo: Ashes57

Friday 8th March

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