Ever Heard of Larry Heard?
The Pioneer of Deep House
Born in the South Side of Chicago into a working class family, Larry Heard has since gone on to be considered the pioneer of the Deep House music genre. Heard, also known as Mr Finger’s was a prominent figure in the 1980s Chicago house music scene. He pioneered the Chicago House music scene and encouraged other producers to experiment with the mood and tempo of their music. His style is often described as combining the futurism of house with the lush, soulful sounds of disco. His style has had an immense influence on the house music we hear today.
"It's All About Feeling"
Born in 1960 in Chatham, a working class part of Chicago, to parents who loved big bands and soul, Heard began his career as a drummer, often drumming covers and prog rock. He states that he felt his creativity was stifled and that drumming didn’t allow him to fully express his creativity. Lucky for Heard, during the late 1970s, Chicago was undergoing a huge music genre shift. A shift which would allow Heard realise his full potential. The ‘Death of Disco’ was rippling throughout the city. The night of July 12th 1979, came to be known as ‘Disco Demolition Day’. This now infamous night saw 20,000 disco records demolished during a Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers baseball game. ‘Disco Sucks’ banners filled the stadium and the night drew huge media attention.
The use of the word ‘Sucks’ made it clear that the banner promoted social prejudice. With it’s intentional homophobic slur, it tried to take away the solice, comfort and liberation fans found in disco. This forced the LGBTQ+black and latino communities to find a new source of hedonism. By this time, Disco had become a genre played at wedding ceremonies and had lost the debauchery it once epitomised. In New York, this movement is said to have led to the birth of Hip-Hop, in Chicago on the other hand, this paved the way for the birth of House Music.
“Thinking isn’t the biggest requirement, it’s more about feeling”
206 South Jefferson Street, Chicago, the location of the warehouse club, and the birth place of House. Founded as a members-only gay club, the club became a new heart beat for the city, providing a new form of debauchery and sound for free thinkers!
Heard had a huge contribution to the growing house music scene that was taking over Chicago at the time. He provided a deeper, moodier feeling to the sound that was coming from the Chicago underground. After hearing Heard’s ‘Mystery Of Love’ tune which was released in 1986, you can hear him attempting to burst out of a musical framework and pave his own way. The beat from ‘Mystery of Love’ was recently used by Kanye West for his track ‘Fade’!
"I’m engrossed in life and interacting with other people"
By his own admission Heard is a re-active producer rather than a pro-active producer. He bounces off of what others enjoy from his music and knows how to listen to his crowds. Early on in his carrier he’d produce using two desk cassette tapes, “you’d play one pass on one machine, then play it back, playing the next line on top of it over and over” It just goes to show that a pioneer doesn’t need state of the art technology. Why not give a listen to this old school master!
Check out the Vinyl from the Al Mathew’s collection that we have available to purchase on our website! The It ‘On Top of the World’ album, released in 1990, the album contains the track ‘Rainforest Serenade’! Happy listening
The Pasta Haters