Frankie Knuckles and Marshall Jefferson. Green Velvet and DJ Heather. Trax and Dust Traxx. If you like electronic music and didn't know that Chicago is House City you've been living under a rock or had amnesia for the past 2 years. But Ol' Mama Disco begat two children to the modern dance era: house and techno. While the latter is more commonly associated with the city of Detroit, the entire Midwest shares a passion for pounding drums, and Chi-town is no exception.
For the past six years, two Windy City club production pillars have made sure the techno scene is properly represented: Koncept Promo's George Moreira and Meiotic's Marc Martin. But how easy is it to promote techno in such a house-and hip-hop-dominated city? "We have a very strong, loyal fan base," says Moreira. "That's something we're very grateful for." Martin concurs: "[Compared] to the respective scenes throughout the United States, [it's not out of line to say] that Chicago's got one of the strongest communities Stateside."
The communal strength is reflected in Koncept and Meiotic's close working relationship. The two run the bi-monthly Your Formula Life event at Tini Martini, which has featured DJs like Todd Sines, DJ Shift and bootymaster DJ Funk. And the word has spread far and wide. "We have kids regularly coming in from Iowa, Wisconsin and Detroit to check out our events," beams Moreira.
"It does seem like more electronic music enthusiasts--be it house, IDM or even the new dance rock kids--are discovering techno/house tracks," says Martin of the music's expanding fanbase. "People are finding out that these Kompakt, Perlon, Playhouse, Spectral and UR tracks are beautiful...I love that!"
Koncept and Meiotic's strong community has also helped them weather the ups and downs of nightlife--from The Station fire disaster in February 23 that killed 21 people to 9/11's effects on booking DJs to more mundane things. "We booked amazing three-deck DJ Cristian Varela from Spain [and he] became friendly with the club's attractive bartender, who challenged him to keep up with her in the shot department," relates Moreira. "When it was his turn to get on the decks, he played three records, [threw up] and proceeded to fall in and out of consciousness. We laughed about it after, but quite a few fans were left disappointed."
The disappointment doesn't seem to last long with their audiences. "Our crowd is so damn supportive," explains Martin. "It's [that] Midwestern soul--Chicago gets down!"