The world hasn’t forgotten Frankie Knuckles, who devastatingly passed away on March 31st 2014, after complications with diabetes
To celebrate the great man’s life on the one year anniversary of his death , Defected Records have re-released an interview with Knuckles by label boss and self-proclaimed “house music enthusiast”, Simon Dunmore.
Filmed in 2011, their chat covers the past, present and future of Frankie Knuckles sound defining career.
It begins with Frankie talking about his early introductions to music. As a child, he would sketch as his sister played her stereo, pairing sound and image to a backdrop of Wes Montgomery and Sergio Mendes.
His first job was in New York’s disco club, The Gallery, where he arranged fruit and blew up balloons. Quite why clubs these days have neither fruit nor balloons remains a mystery.
His reasoning for taking up DJing in the first place is aspirational, if not slightly surprising: “I’m in high school, there’s things I want. I want to look cute, I want to look fabulous, just like everyone else”. Preach.
According to music journalist Sheryl Garratt, nights that Frankie played would involve all clubbers being handed a tab of acid before entry and the periodic stopping of all music half way through the night, when the exhaust fans would be turned on and Knuckles would play the sound of a train approaching. People in the audience would apparently go running into walls.
When Frankie Knuckles and Satashi Tomeiie met, they couldn’t talk directly with one another, instead having to use a translator. After a series of back and forth's after Knuckles insisted they work together, Tomeiie came up with a sample that was to become the co-produced and now seminal “Tears”.
After a period of disenchantment with house music, it was “Blind” by Hercules and Love Affair that enticed Frankie Knuckles back. Not able to commit himself to recording due to illness, the group waited nine months for him to recover and released it as an official remix with the single.
At 15.59, Frankie Knuckles has the cutest laugh in the history of dance music.
RIP FRANKIE KNUCKLES.