LARRY HEARD with DANNY KRIVIT , FRANCK ROGER , NICK HOLDER in the Docks Glass Room (11 Polson), Sunday (September 2). $50, advance $35. www.thedocks.com. Rating: NNNNN
No one in his or her right mind would argue with Larry Heard's status as one of the key innovators and pioneers in underground dance music. So it's kind of cute that he speaks about his co-headliner Danny Krivit with such reverence.
"I've been to parties where he was playing, but I haven't played on the same bill before. That should be interesting, to say the least," Heard says from his Memphis home. "I'm sure he has quite the repertoire, much more than me. He's someone who's been a full-fledged DJ for a long, long time; I'd better have my pad and pen ready."
In case it seems he's being too self-deprecating, it should be pointed out that Heard's career has been based first and foremost on his soulful studio productions, and it's only in the past few years that he's done much DJing in public.
While Heard was laying down the early groundwork for house music in Chicago in the mid 80s, Krivit, on the other hand, was already a fairly established DJ in NYC and has always been better-known for his work behind the decks than in the recording studio. Though Heard has enjoyed his own more recent forays into the DJ booth, he's found that it's a demanding profession.
"It spun out of control for me, so in the past year I've started to reduce the number of DJ gigs I'll take on. You have the same number of hours in each day no matter what you're trying to accomplish, and it was taking time away from making music, which is my real focus and what I'm driven to do. It can be fun in small doses, but DJing was never really my target."
Talking with Heard, I can see why he's so closely associated with the mellow, introspective sounds that became known as deep house. Unlike many personalities in dance music, he's a relaxed, quiet guy who just wants to write some emotionally resonant music and doesn't care much for the excitement and drama of nightlife in the big city.
He relocated to Memphis over 10 years ago and isn't nostalgic about the life he left behind in Chicago.
"I'm a mellow person, so I definitely enjoy the peaceful aspects of it. It's calm, it's not as crowded as Chicago, and the cost of living is a bit cheaper down her, too. Takes a bit of the stress off your brain."