April 08 2019

Going Deeper with Sadar Bahar

New York-Le Bain
NY selector Sonny Daze and Chicago DJ extraordinaire Sadar Bahar sat down for a chat before they share the DJ booth at Le Bain, on Saturday night, April 13th.
SONNY DAZE: When I was 18, I discovered your Sunday night party called 'Soul in the Hole' at Slick’s Lounge on Chicago’s North side where I had my first residence as an aspiring DJ, opening up on Saturday nights. I was amazed by the energy that filled the room and how much people were there for the music alone. When you and your partner Lee Collins first sat down and thought up Soul in the Hole what was your vision?

SADAR BAHAR: Basically we were just trying to preserve the Soul, because a lot of people started going elsewhere. They started playing a more electronic type of music. This was in the early 80’s before the music of House and Techno were titled as such. We wanted to keep the older music going, a lot of stuff we used to hear that never got too familiar... So we looked for the more obscure records and as we started doing that, it became something like a habit, a sickness... Where everyone tried to play deeper than the next person. We based it off of saving the good music.  

One thing I always know is that when I come hear you play, I'm going to hear songs I won’t know or that I rarely ever hear and as a DJ and record collector you can’t find some of these records anywhere. With you not only spending decades spinning, but also going out and experiencing dance culture as a party goer, who where some of the first people to influence you to become involved in the world of music?  

It definitely had to be DJ Charles Breckenridge, one of the people that got me started in the DJ game. I was also inspired by Steve Silk Hurley and Eric Taylor who were doing their thing around the corner from me in Pill Hill (a neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side), so that was getting our attention. Byron Brain, Farley [Jackmaster Funk] was doing his radio mixes in Eric Taylor’s basement. We had a lot of DJ’s we had a chance to meet that were older than us. Chico Frye of Dungeon sounds was in the neighborhood.  Every other block you would find a DJ group. Everyone in Pill Hill was heavy into it. It became really competitive and some of the guys started sounding the same. They started to make a basic beat the party sets, where you don’t have really go super deep.  Which was cool as well. 
"To me, music is a sickness, because once you get bit you can’t really get out of it."
So some of these first events that got you in to DJ’ing where happening at people’s homes?

Yeah, People throwing party’s and Farley and others were on the radio, so we got a chance to hear a lot of good music. A lot of us were too young to go hear Frankie [Knuckles] at the Warehouse, so when Farley would hear stuff played there he would play it on WBMX.  A lot of us only could see Frankie at his 4th of July party and Thanksgiving party, he also did loft parties. Every time I saw him, he came real hardcore you know. Playing all the sing along songs that people knew but he also played a lot of stuff people didn’t know. Frankie always mixed it up. 

You’ve travelled all around the world and meet thousands of people of partying and socializing. How would you compare todays dance music culture to the times when you first started going out?

Back then, it seemed like everybody was tighter together as it was mostly black people. Now it seems everyone is partying. It’s not as exclusive as it us to be, but I think it’s a good thing because more people bring different energies and they bring their thing to the party. It's real cool that you get to meet these different people and different energy on the dance floor... Some of these young cats are even DJ’ing. It really helps keep the culture going. I really like what’s going on today with music. 
The Standard
The Standard
"Understand that the party is a part of life."
We all have our story about our connection to music. What does music mean to you?

To me... Man, it’s a lifestyle. You know, it's not something you plan when you are a kid getting into it. I never thought I’d be doing this for a living paying all my bills off it.  You know when you start loving the music it captures you. I call it a “sickness” because once you get bit you can’t really get out of it. You’ll always want to keep hitting the records stores, you’ll always find records you don’t have, so you could never have everything. It's just a nonstop battle with yourself. There is so much music out there that we all have heard and that people want to hear. So it's like a constant dig and search for the music that you love.  

What is the most inspiring part of being able to share music with people all around the world?

I think just seeing people’s faces. When you get to the party and you see some of them crying, some of them sitting there smiling looking so happy. It makes you feel good. When you sit back thinking about all the hours you spend by yourself going through crates, digging to find something. But then you see the response from the people! It makes it all worth it. It makes you happy you took the time out to try to make them feel good. Y’all work together! It’s a give and take from both sides.

Is there a message you would like to share with your supporters, fans, and lovers of music out there?

Everybody enjoy your life and have fun. Understand that the party is a part of life. You go to have somewhere to go let your hair down and relax and let loose that energy that you have pent up inside. Party have a good time and “Keep your soul in the hole”!

On Saturday, April 13th,
Le Bain presents Sadar Bahar
alongside Sonny Daze
The Standard, High Line | 10pm