PHIL WEEKS with HALI at Footwork (425 Adelaide West), Saturday (November 12). $10 before 11:30 pm, $15 after. 416-913-3488.
Listening to French house DJ/producer Phil Weeks's new mix CD, you'd guess it was late 90s Chicago long before Paris 2005. In a city known more for electro-influenced music these days, Weeks has somehow managed to make a name for himself with good old-fashioned dirty house music. There's a bit of scary acid funk, some allusions to hiphouse, some mangled loops and that familiar boompity-boomp shuffle.
Robsoul's Most Wanted compiles the highlights of the Robsoul catalogue, a label that Weeks started about five years ago, and features a few Chicago heavyweights, like Derrick Carter and DJ Sneak, in the track listing.
"The house scene in France right now is not as good as it was in the late 90s, when Chicago house was really big here. Things have changed. A lot of people have gone toward more white music, colder electro stuff," Weeks admits in a strong French accent.
"Five years ago I was also liking the electro thing, but now it's too much. Every song seems to have the same sounds, and there's so much of it. I like some of it, but too much came out all at the same time."
Despite the changing trends, he's not really complaining. The CD has already done well in Europe, and he gets booked to DJ all over the world. Even at home in Paris he has a successful residency and a growing following.
"It's not how it used to be, but it doesn't mean that there aren't good parties going on. I think a lot of people are coming back to house music, actually. Over the last year, I've been playing much more in France. I've had a lot of people come up asking, 'What is this music?' It sounds new to some of the younger people who weren't clubbing when it was everywhere."
He may have a point. While house is no longer the easy sell it was, that's also helping it recover from the over-saturation that occurred during its commercial peak, making it something that the new-new-wave can start to experience for itself.
Even though the sounds that Weeks is putting out on his label aren't exactly futuristic any more, the quality of the tracks is quite high, something that couldn't be said for much of the house that flooded the DJ shops back then.