June 11 2016

Zernell Gets Grimy

New York-Le Bain
We chat with Los Angeles DJ Zernell, the mastermind behind the Grimy Edits, before he puts his record bags down in Le Bain's booth on Friday, June 17th.
LE BAIN: Regarding the definition of house in the early days, you said "Disco was a big part of it, but so were acid tracks, italo, and some punk rock songs. Anything you can dance to was considered house music.” That’s the house party we want to have! 
ZERNELL: That's the type of vibe I'm gonna bring to you guys in New York. Disco, acid, italo and house. New wave, no wave and post-punk band music got major play in Chicago's early house scene. Groups like Emerald, Sapphire and Gold (ESG) as well as Telex, The Clash, and James Chance. I always have joints like these in my bag. It's a part of my history and I like to craft sets that encompass all of house, from the roots to new joints that haven't been released yet. 
"Disconnect" from Grimy Edits Vol. 3

You learned about music and DJing at the Muzic Box in Chicago, the seminal club of Ron Hardy, who seemed to have been a very kind, humble, and generous person. 
Besides your DJ skills, are there any life lessons you have learned from him?
As far as life lessons from Ronnie...I got a couple funny stories, not so much life lessons. I recently pulled out a few of Ron's personal old reel-to-reel tapes. There are a lot of disco edits on them that haven't been released. Maybe I'll play a couple of them during my set with you guys.
"Sometimes I would dress preppy and sometimes I would dress jack."
You’re a mastermind of disco edits, and a record digger looking for “raw tunes that deserve to be heard.” What’s your criteria? 
When I dig for tunes, it's always in the mind frame of how that record will fit with my sound, and how it will translate to the dance floor. Over the years, my style and taste in tunes has matured, but I've always gravitated to stuff that's not the norm. 
"What!" from Grimy Edits Vol. 6
Another thing you said about your early days of house in Chicago is: “We were really into dressing. It was a main part of the culture. To 'be house,' you had to dress in the latest fashion.” That’s something that might have been lostthe fashion side of house.
Living in LA now and seeing the younger generation of party-goers express themselves with fashion and embrace the club kid scene is kind of cool. 

Could you describe your favorite outfit in the late 80s?
I had a couple different styles I would rock in the '80s. Sometimes I would dress preppy and sometimes I would dress jack. My favorite preppy fit was a pair of black or brown penny loafers with a nickel in the slot, some argyle socks with straight-legged Levi's corduroy jeans, a turtleneck or Izod shirt, and V-neck sweater. My jack outfit was a pair of Lottos or Diadoras, some Marithe Francois Girbaud Jeans, a leather Coach belt with the tag, a Polo or Coca-Cola sweatshirt, and a Barbara Bates bomber jacket with Python trim. I wasn't fortunate enough to have a leather Larry Hope hat, but a few of my friends were.
Mike Huckaby's "Baseline 313"

Could you share with us three of your signature tunes this summer?

Wow only 3? There is some really good music out now, it's hard to pull just three tracks!

Mike Huckaby's "Baseline 313." It's Mike Huckaby, what more do you need to say? Floorplan's "Never Grow Old." I've been rocking this all over the globe, and I don't see myself putting it down anytime soon! Soul Clap's "See Some Light (Ruff Work It Dub 1, White Label)." I love the stomp of this track. It works for all types of crowds and the dancers go nuts with this one. It has a lot of dramatic elements for dance expression. 

On Friday, June 17th, Le Bain presents Zernell (Grimy Edits, Los Angeles) & Duane Harriott
Doors open at 10pm | The Standard, High Line

Header Artwork by Mark Antoni Friedhoff