GARAGE416 Friday (January 11) Rating: NNNNN
STACY KIDD spinning as part of GARAGE416 with KAJE, Blueprint and Moreno at Roxy Blu (12 Brant), Friday (January 11). $12 advance, more at the door. www.garage416.com
Ask most DJs what inspired them to pursue a career in dance music and they'll talk about experiencing a set by a legendary mixer -- usually at a similarly mythical club.
Chicago-based house producer and DJ Stacy Kidd's story isn't quite as glamorous.
"I used to go to clubs... well, not really clubs -- sock hops and parties at school," he explains from his Windy City hangout. "I was into the music but I wasn't a DJ, so I'd go home and try to mix with my tape deck and one turntable, using the pause button.
"Once I got the other turntable, I started giving people my mix tapes, trying to get myself into one of these sock hops."
Since those humble beginnings in the late 80s, Kidd has gone on to prove himself a versatile producer and DJ, with releases on such notable labels as Peacefrog, Riviera and Moody. His co-production, Thank You, with seminal New Jersey DJ Tony Humpries on the Yellorange label, wound up being licensed five times. However, like many aspiring DJs, the young Stacy Kidd wasn't an immediate success.
"Here in Chicago we don't stick together that much. Most people aren't willing to help. If you're a producer on the way up in New York, people always seem to be willing to give you a leg up, but in Chicago it's the opposite. I had to go all the way to France to get some respect here at home."
His break came through meeting Paul Johnson, with whom he collaborated on several releases that subsequently introduced him to the much larger European market.
"Paul took me under his wing, brought me to different places and introduced me to the right people. He was working with Peacefrog over in London and he hooked me up with a Stevie Wonder remix, Think Of You. That was my first record that came out in the club scene, and it really opened a lot of doors for me."
Unlike producers who choose to focus on very particular aspects of dance music, Kidd is known for recording in a variety of styles, from mellow jazz house to bumpin' funky house.
"I work with a lot of labels and I produce in different styles. Every label is different. Yellorange is more of a soulful and vocal-oriented label; Riviera is more into the filtered disco style.
"All those elements go into my DJ mixes, so I produce like that, too."