WBTH: Interview with Craig Alexander

CRAIG ALEXANDERCraig Alexander 1992

 

 

 

 

 

When did you get started in the DJ industry and how did you get introduced to it?
I got my start in 1983 my neighbor Tim King who was older than I was could be heard mixing every day after school in his basement. I started going over his house regularly and the rest is where we are at today.

What makes your style of DJing unique?
I’m energetic and fearless I will play anything I feel is a cut. Don’t follow the norm or crowd pleasers I’m me that’s how I got out there by being me.

What do you do when you are not DJing?
I’m a husband to my lovely wife Jessica, Father to Craig Jr. & Leah, And General Manager for 7-Eleven Corporation and music producer.

Other than House music what type of music do you listen to?
Jazz, Neo Soul, Gospel especially.

What was one of your most memorable nights here in the USA and overseas?
Here in the U.S. when Glenn Underground & I played Summer Dance in Grant Park the crowd was unreal and it was a momentous night for us here at home. Overseas would be playing Tresor from 1a-9a was an epic night in my career crowd was amazing.

Where is your most favorite venues here in the USA and overseas?
Favorite of all time & present in the USA: The Shelter (NYC), Medusa’s (Chicago), Reactor (Chicago), TV Lounge (Detroit)/ Overseas: Rex Club (Paris), Yellow (Tokyo), Tresor (Berlin).

Craig Alexander 7How do you think the fans/crowds have caught on to the house head music?
I don’t care for the word “House Head” I think it limits reach of where the music really is. That word stagnates the music to just my age and up it doesn’t leave room for growth for the future. Because “House Music” fans have definitely caught on worldwide and left the “House Heads” with the top 50 house songs of the Millennium. While the House Music catalogue of the world is growing daily.

 

Educationally if someone wanted to get into your type of DJing what should they do educationally (such as school) and should they have someone mentor them into the industry?
Mentoring is the only way I think I wasn’t taught this I learned from hands on experience and hustling to get my tapes out and investing myself by throwing my own parties once the tapes circulated so school can help with the production side but not so much the DJing side although Columbia did have courses taught by Charles Matlock at one point. After 32 years and counting paying attention is your best bet I would find a mentor.

Craig Alexander 2Craig Alexander 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At your current level of DJing could you make a living at DJing and not work another job; and have you felt you reached that point in your career to do just that…DJing?
I could have but not now because I didn’t make that choice in the beginning when a lot of my friends did there where ups and downs to doing that I had a financially stable job with benefits and stock. I still was able to leave the country when needed for gigs so then it was cool. Now I sometimes regret not jumping in with both feet.

In your career as a DJ who has made an impact on your life and career?
Who do you think is your mentor as a DJ? Dj Rush & Glenn Underground both made and impact in my career by them being the seasoned vets they are they both help get me out there Rush internationally and Glenn musically .

What are some of the most memorable things that you have learned as a DJing when it comes to picking the music and keeping the crowd interested in what they are listening to?
Do you because doing you got you here. Play your box don’t worry about what Tom, Dick & Harry are playing. Be UNIQUE!

What are some of the things do you prepare to for a night of DJing?
Relax and pick out my arsenal.

We all know that in the history of House music Frankie Knuckles opened the door for many DJs what did he do to influence you and what has his passing at such an early age done for you mentally in regards to your career in DJing?
He influenced me by being him he was a personal friend so it was more than just about the music. He was a kind caring person that was on top of that passionate about the music. I had Frankie that called to see how I was doing after surgery besides the Frankie that beat House of Blues. So his loss was big musically and personally. I had no personal mentor that took me under their wing but I was highly influenced by Frankie Knuckles, Ron Hardy & Lee Collins who doesn’t get as much noise made about him but should.

Craig Alexander 8What do you think is the future of house music is? And what do you think you will be and contribute in that history?
I’ve never stopped contributing so myself and any of my peers who continue to make music are the future. There are so many genres though that’s where it separates the masses. I personally feel sometimes my age group will miss the future being too stuck in the past.

 

What is some of your upcoming events that you have here in the USA and overseas?
I have a few private events and nothing scheduled overseas due to passport issues beyond my control. But we working on that.

As a DJ how involved do you get into the set up the equipment and what are some of the pitfalls of equipment set up?
I do none of that stuff never have everything needs to be setup when I arrive. When I go out of town my contract rider contains basically what equipment I want and they provide it and I just do a sound check when I arrive.

Can you walk us through a normal day of setting up equipment and doing sound check, what is expected and what are you as a DJ are you looking for?
Well as far as sound check I look for clarity of the speakers and acoustics of the room. The bass should be heavy and the mids and highs crisp.

When you arrange a club event or any event do you do all of your own setting up or do you use sound engineers to help set up?
I use a sound man I don’t even own equipment any longer.

House music is unique in its genre why do you think it has such an impact on the fans and what has been deemed “HouseHeads” the people that listen to the music?
That is a commercial term which I try not to associate with because I’m far beyond being a house head I have a PhD in this game. So my musical palate and understanding surpass what most “HouseHeads” would deem house. Most HouseHeads attend the Chosen Few Picnic or other highly publicized radio/TV events and we never see them again thus allowing those dj’s to stay in their 1 hour dj slot playing the top 100 Chicago house jams of all time limiting the future of House Music especially in Chicago.
In closing I would like to say thank you for taking the time to do this interview and do you have anything special to say to everyone reading this interview? And also please I hope you will come back and spend some more time with us telling us about some of your other events coming up?
Thank you for asking me to do the interview it was my pleasure. Ask me back anytime and in closing I would like to say…House music is so much bigger than Chicago and the picnic which I enjoy both but I wish the people the stamp that name on their heads would broaden their horizons to see what we grew up on really turned into worldwide. Let’s call it Life Beyond Bad Luck!!!!

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