Chicago DJ and electronic music pioneer Nathaniel Pierre Jones, better known as DJ Pierre, helped develop the sub genre of music known as acid house while a member of the group Phuture. Their ’87 EP Acid Tracks is generally considered the first acid house recording. He’s going to be in Ferndale this weekend, and it’s not every day that you get to see a musician who genuinely created something new. We had a chat with the man to find out what we can expect …
1. You’re known as an originator of acid house — are you proud of those formative years in the ’80s?
Oh, yeah, of course. I believe that the career that I have now, I might not have if it wasn’t for the whole acid house scene. It’s funny — when things are actually happening, it’s not as large as it is now. You’re doing something and you make something, but you don’t realize how special it is. When we did it, we realized that we’d never heard anything else out there like it, but we didn’t imagine it becoming its own sound in the scene. As that progressed, it just kept snow-balling as the years went by. Now, I can say, “Wow.” But then, I was just excited that we had made something that people liked and loved.
2. Do you enjoy performing in Detroit?
Oh, yeah, definitely. Detroit, for me, we go back to the Music Institute days. I used to drive five hours just to go there and check out the scene.
3. You’re known for house music, but are you a fan of Detroit techno?
Oh, yeah. I remember when I started hearing people talk about techno in the ‘90s from Europe, and they would play it for me and I was like, “Huh? This isn’t techno. What the hell is that?” I’m used to Detroit techno. It’s funny, because now it’s prefaced as “Detroit techno.” To be honest, I think that it should just be “techno,” because once you label it as “Detroit techno,” it sounds like it’s not the original techno. The other stuff should be labeled as “whatever techno” — “German techno,” “European techno,” whatever. That takes some of the originality out of where it came from. It’s like the way they label the music EDM now here in America. If they label it EDM, that means that, as far as Americans see it, it originated in Europe, because EDM came over from Europe. Wait a minute, that stuff came from Chicago, and it came out of Detroit. When we throw around that new term, we’re actually giving up the origins. We’re giving it to them. So I don’t flow with the new terms and stuff. I’m a big fan of Derrick May, Jeff Mills, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, and I think one of the greatest songs ever made was “Strings of Life” [by Derrick May’s Rhythim Is Rhythim].
4. What can we expect from your set?
You know what? I’m gonna be dropping a few different genres. A little house music, maybe a little techno, a little acid house, and we’ll sort the vibe out a little bit. See where it goes.
5. What’s next, after this show?
So many things. I’m going across Europe, I’ve got Ibiza, I’ve got Australia at the Sydney Opera House — all sorts of stuff.
DJ Pierre plays with Mykel Waters at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 2, at Grasshopper Underground, 22757 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-298-0330..
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