DJ BRUCE: You’ve been in LA for a while now. Los Angeles is going through a bit of a dance music boom. When you look up nowadays, what does your dance floor look like?
ZERNELL: To be honest, white kids in their mid to late twenties. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. It’s a whole new audience and fanbase that I get to bring into the fold of the scene that I love.
When it comes to dance music, Detroit, New York, and Berlin seem to be enjoying a new renaissance. Your hometown of Chicago, however, doesn’t seem to be rolling off of people’s tongues as easily. Even though Chicago-bred talent, history, and music is in no short supply. Why do you think that is?
I don’t know about that. I do know that there are some really talented producers young and old in Chicago putting out some amazing music. Also, there’s a gang of Chicago DJs getting booked all over the world, so the Chicago sound is still prevalent in the scene.
Along the same lines, a lot of these new scenes built off of old music attract younger and younger crowds–especially abroad. When you’re on the road, have the changing demographics influenced the way you approach a dance floor/pack your bag?
Not at all. Actually, it’s opened it up to where I can play some of the jams that were go-tos for me back in the day. Like I said, these young crowds and pop-up scenes are still experiencing what house is about and it gives us an opportunity to teach and share the roots and culture of house music.
Discogs Mix by Zernell Gillie (2015)
Chicago’s stamp on dance music goes way beyond the obvious. What is something that you experienced in your early DJ days that you felt was absolutely unique to a disc jock coming from Chicago?
Beating the EQ / ISO is uniquely Chicago.
On Saturday, November 11th, Le Bain presents DJ Palace
with special guest Zernell Gillie
The Standard, High Line | 10pm