Glenn Underground 'Forgotten Art'
Recently we had opportunity to have the Chicago house legend tell us a bit about his past, present and future.
Most people don’t know that you worked for Trax Records before you were the Glenn Underground we know today. What did you do there and what knowledge did you pick up while in that environment?
Yea that place was a good learning curve (not always great but I learned greatly there). I’d crush all the vinyl in preparation for new music to be added to the the hockey puck like wax to be pressed into new music (no, its was not virgin vinyl lol). But from working there I got an early sense of the House Music business in what it should and shouldn’t be like, but most of all I was there and witnessed what made it briefly historical.
Tell us a bit about your musical training/background, where you come from, and how it was growing up?
Well, I grew up in Chicago, the Mecca of House Music, where I played House & Disco 1st as a DJ(circa 1984), but House music wasn’t was always my top influence though it was my foundation for wanting to become a producer. But my major influences are the Soul & R&B Soul but the ultimate influence is Fusion, Jazz Fusion, also Funk Fusion, because in any type of Fusion you can musically go anywhere from Soul to Disco and on to Jazz etc…As a musician: I play by ear. I cant read sheet music but am planning to take some theory classes and get a degree hopefully, but mainly what I am saying is that I am self taught and am heavily influenced by Mr. Fingers aka Larry Heard which in my book is one of the greatest to touch some ivorys
When and what was your first record released?
Wow can’t really remember the title but it was a Trax Record about the end of 1989, & it was something new (though I’ve been tracking since 1986-87) the label was testing out but it got lost in the archives lol!.
You had the pleasure of having Patrick Adams & Leroy Burgess in your studio. What was that experience like and how did it advance you as an artist & producer?
Patrick and Leroy are the tip of the mountain top for me because they bestowed on me their greatness and their experience in the creation of music and when it was my turn to play keys Pat said “Glenn your turn” and I remember being so nervous and Leroy said “boy just let it go and do it” and all of a sudden I was not scared anymore, and yes it made me a more polished musician as far as how I should create, but mainly I think all the time of Pat telling me a story of how music should be like a conversation that turns into a debate(argument) then it should calm back down and the vamp very deep insight for me.
How is this album different than your previous albums?
These last couple of LP’s just shows my maturity as an musician/artist, and it show’s that all things don’t have to be status quo musically today.
Tell us a bit about your studio set up?
I just downsized recently but it was a 56 track recording lab – 24 tracks digital and 32 analog.
Are you still using alot of analog gear?
Yes and no. I call it “digilog” now because I am still doing the analog/digital thing but I am mainly using a lot of my analog synths like the Moogs & Rhodes Piano etc..
Any up and coming musicians, producers, DJs you like?
Yes & they’re not really “House Musicians” but mainly more fusion. They are Quincy Nicholson(son of Anthony Nicholson) also a musician who is very great by the name of William Kurk out of Chicago. You guys should search him out very great cat
As one of the hardest working prolific producers in the industry we can figure out all the songs in your catalog, but how much unreleased music would you say is archived, and will we ever get to hear them?
Thousands and hopefully the world will get to hear them all and I am very real about the world hearing them because an artist should always share his artwork with the people so they can enjoy it as well.
You had a chance to do a remix for the classic song ‘Moscow Discow”. How did that come about?
Don’t really remember how it came about but it was a fun job and I learned a lot for their productions also
What piece of advice could you share for upcoming producers and DJs in regards to obtaining career longevity?
Be REAL all the time and be yourself