March 06 2016

Boogie Down to Tim Zawada

New York-Le Bain
Razor-N-Tape brings Tim Zawada, one of Chicago's Boogie Munsters, to Le Bain Saturday, March 12. The music activist sits down for a chat before the big night.
LE BAIN: You introduce yourself as a "music guy from Chicago." What kind of music guy are you?
TIM ZAWADA: It's like an umbrella term—I'm just a casual guy running around in the scene. I DJ out quite a bit, I do the record labels, throw and host parties, curate music for non-party events, have a radio show, hang at the record stores, support other people's shows and events, buy tons of records, make some music, talk about music, etc.
Tim and his pup Tugboat

Tim and his pup Tugboat

Tell us about your two labels Tugboat Edits and Star Creature.
Tugboat is my pup—a 7-year-old dachshund. Tugboat Edits started in 2010 shortly after I got him. I actually suggested the name to Aaron Dae before they decided on Razor-N-Tape. I remember he kinda liked it but I grabbed it back to hog it myself. The dachshund body symbolized the style of edits I was doing at the time—slower, lower, stretched out a bit. Eventually the tunes made their way to wax. 

What is the one release on each label that makes you the most proud? 
For Tugboat Edits, I'm probably most proud of the first one I did. It's all tracks I did that are a little more than edits and it was the first record I did solo. For Star Creature, I'm also most proud of the first record with the homie E-Live. His stuff went from chillin' on the unknown Internet for years, to being pressed up and getting regular play at big funk nights like Funkmosphere and Sweater Funk. People still text video clips of DJs playing it all over. It was a great record to launch that label with.

E-Live's "Everybody" (Star Creature)
Aaron is telling us you play heavily in Chicago. What would you say is the most exciting thing happening in the club scene in Chicago right now?
I'm not too sure about the club scene, but good music is being heavily embraced in Chicago right now. Good and diverse selectors are getting work all over, and lots of hip and conceptual bars are realizing how important it is to set the vibe with tunes. When outsiders think of Chicago, they probably think "House House House" but there's really a ton more going on. Some of the biggest, most original, and authentic Chicago parties happening are Cumbia Sazo (featuring traditional and futuristic tropical music), Them Flavors (bringing a constant rotation of forward-thinking and yet-to-be-classified dance music), and Push Beats (rocking huge parties with down tempo Live PA artists).

You're part of Chicago's Boogie Munsters DJ squad.  What’s your own definition of "boogie?"
Boogie refers to a specific style and era of funk music. That particular style of funk was born out of rejecting the dance music that was being commercialized and played out at the time. Our crew applies that same mindset to the projects we work on.

Tim Zawada's "Full Modern Funk Megamix"
How did the DJ squad evolve since 2010?
Boogie Munsters' goal is to be one of the top crews in the city and beyond (as some of our crew has moved on to LA and Detroit), and incorporate all aspects of DJing—rocking parties, digging for new and old music, selecting and playing records others aren't, having turntable skills, making records, throwing parties, and supporting and including others DJs, musicians, and scenes. We believe in doing musical projects that move us, staying true to our city's musical history, and contributing more to push it forward. We want to work with other like-minded folks from all sides of the city so we can all do our own thing!

On Saturday, March 12th, Le Bain presents Razor-N-Tape featuring Tim Zawada and Aaron Dae. Doors open at 10pm. The Standard, High Line.