A Throwback to When Kerri Chandler Reminded the Crowd House Ain't EDM

Mar 15, 2023

Ana Monroy Yglesias

3 min read

Kerri Chandler is true house legend, and has been putting out timeless, soulful house records since 1990, bringing his joyous sound and positive energy to clubs around the world.

On his stellar 2022 album Spaces and Places, he honored 24 of his favorite clubs around the world, recording each song in a hallowed rave space. "Dirty [Rex]" was a tribute to Paris' Rex Club and features Rex regular and friend of Chandler, French producer DJ Deep, along with his son. Laurent Garnier opened the iconic Parisian club in 1992. It played an important role in bringing American house music heavy-weights to Europe as the sound gained popularity across the pond in the '90s.

Rex Club, Paris, France

Rex has remained one of the city's oldest and longest-running house and techno venues, and Chandler has continued to bring his soulful sound there over the years. But in 2013, at the peak of the global EDM explosion, he decided to give the kids a lesson after a clubber requested EDM during his set.

"I'm gonna take y'all motherf***ers back to when we started in this b*tch…If you don't want New York, get the f*** out," Chandler announced to the crowd, even offering to give people their money back, out of his pocket, if they didn't want the real deal. "You ready for some deep shit? All you commercial motherf***ers get the fuck out."

The "Atmosphere" producer is typically calm and laid back behind the decks, but that night he, rightfully so, felt the need to draw a line in the sand. He'd already been in the game for a long time, and he never chased trends to try to stay fresh. He was one of the architects of a sound that had inspired these new superstar DJs, but a lot of fans didn't know that.

“I guess I was a little bit bold that night,” he told The Guardian in 2022. “This girl comes up to me and says, ‘Do I have any EDM?’ I didn’t know what EDM was. I was like, I’m sorry, I don’t do drugs. Then she said, you know, like David Guetta or – I can’t remember their name, those three guys from Sweden [Swedish House Mafia]. And I just stopped the music. And I was like, look, anybody who wants to hear this EDM shit gotta go. I’m not playing any of that. By the time I landed home, my phone was on fire.”

His rant went viral, and the message was received. He hasn't gotten any requests since.

As The Guardian aptly put it, "At that time, there were more white producers selling out stadiums than you could shake a glitter cannon at." And there still are. The highest-paid DJ lists continue to be topped by white men, other than Steve Aoki.

However, Chandler tells The Guardian that he's never felt overlooked for his contributions to the culture. “I’ve never gone starving in my life,” he told them. “I’ve turned down more work than I could get. Honestly, thank God for that.”

We are beyond grateful for Kerri Chandler and all he continues to give to house music.

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