“I don’t go into the studio and decide ‘I’m going to make a song’. Every song I’ve done has something to it. You can pick any song that I’ve ever done and there is a reason behind it. Otherwise I don’t make them. I wouldn't know how to just make a song, I have to live something before I make something. That’s just how it is, everything is like that.”
We had a chat with Kerri Chandler recently, ahead of the release of his compilation album Kaoz Theory. After speaking on the production process, Kerri went in depth on the story behind some of his tracks over the years.
‘Get It Off’
How I actually got started in house was someone murdered my girlfriend, and she used to love house music, I mean she really, really loved it, and at the time I was really into rap stuff. But my friend said “Kerri you need to try some house music, I think you’d be good at it” and I said, “I don’t know what I’m doing, I really don’t know, but Tracy loved it so maybe I should try some”. It seemed to like really release what she was feeling all the time inside, she’d dance her ass off, so I said “you know what, I’ll try some just to see what happens” and the first record I made was ‘Get It Off’.
That was my first house record, and it was short for “get it off of my mind” because somebody murdered her, and I was like “let me get this off of my mind, now is the time”. And there’s this scratch that goes through the record and that’s how it felt like my life was being taken out, she's gone and like someone ripped my life away, ripped my groove away.
There’s a part where it goes “you are so vicious”, and I was calling out to the guy that murdered her and I just could not get it off my mind 'Get it off, get it off, set it loose, set it loose." like set my mind loose and that’s how I started making tracks, and I said, “this is great, this is my release, this is how I can actually express myself a bit more”. And I just kept doing that with every record.
‘Drink On Me’
That was a call to the bartenders at this place I used to play at called Club Americas and there was two different kinds of people who would come into this club. It was really one of these infamous clubs, like Queen Latifah’s crew used to come down there with all these dancers, they were really badass. And then you’d get these wine bar, suit and tie people who would come by and try to pick up women.
There were three levels to the club; the DJ booth was up on top, there was the second level where you had the bar area, like a lounge/restaurant kind of thing and the dancefloor was on the ground floor but from the DJ booth you could see all three. What would happen was all these suit and tie type would just come down, walk on the dancefloor and just stand there and look at the dancers, like zoo animals.
What would happen was all these suit and tie type would just come down, walk on the dancefloor and just stand there and look at the dancers, like zoo animals. So what we made up, me and one of these dancers, Teulé, who is actually the guy singing on Drink On Me and we made this thing up where we’d call to the bartenders to give away free Sex on the Beach’s when I played the song. This big red light would come on and start spinning around, and ‘Drink On Me’ would come on, and you’d see all the suit and tie people run back upstairs to get free drinks as long as the song was playing, and they would leave all the dancers alone.
‘My My Lover’
That was my ex-girlfriend actually. You know we were just breaking up because she was a pain in the ass but we kinda still cared about each other.
'Turn Off The Lights (Who’s Afraid Of The Dark)’
There’s two ways I dealt with this, one is when I go out and DJ my favourite thing to do sometimes is close my eyes and just hear the music, so it’s dark, and let the music take over. My senses become a bit more aware and all I hear is music and I'm feeling stuff and I love when they do that in the club, when they turn the lights out, and everyone just does what they feel like, some people might be grope up a woman, some people might be doing things they shouldn't be doing in the dark but it's kind of cool when they do that 'cause everybody’s partying in the dark and it's like are you scared now that it's dark but when you turn back on the light you can kind catch everybody in the act.
So it’s almost like a call, same thing I did with ‘Drink On Me’, it’s a call to the light man in a way to say you know what let’s have some fun, turn off the lights, let’s see what happens. Turn off the lights a minute. Let's see who's afraid of the dark, let's let the music take over.
The second reason was, I have an 11 year old and he likes to play hide and seek in the dark. He’ll run around the house or the studio and he’ll turn off the lights, so I’m listening for him running around in the dark. His sister will come downstairs and she’s scared of the dark, and it’s funny, I’m listening out for them and he’s like laughing in the corner and I’ll try to catch him. It’s playful. So again it’s a part of my life. If I have a story, I’m gonna put it into the music.
There’s a sound in the song actually where he was running around, and there’s like a pipe in the basement and he hit the pipe, and I’m like “that’s a really cool sound, I like that, let’s mic this and put it into the song”. It sounds like there's a pipe in the beginning of the song and it goes all the way through the song and that's my son hitting the pipe and I recorded it and put it in the song because when we were playing around in the basement and it works so well with it.