Revelations - In Conversation with Jamie Principle (FoH2017)
When I was in Chicago I was lucky enough to sit down with Jamie Principle. Sat in a little park somewhere in the Loop on an unseasonably warm day in November we get into spiritualism, the legacy of Frankie Knuckles, and the future of house music.
FOH: Well that's the thing I want to understand, where does that spiritualism come in? And what's the point of it being in the music?
JP: Well for me it's kind of different, I don't know for everybody else because I was raised in a spiritual household. Faith was Baptist. And a lot of my upbringing and growing up I really believed in spirituality. But during the time that I was writing, a lot of things I was discovering with myself went against what you're taught, Christianity-wise. So it was the... for me Baby Wants To Ride was talking about my own internal struggles. And especially dealing with; I was with someone I really loved and cared about and she was like... opening up this whole door for me as far as dealing with love and sexuality and stuff like that. Because I never dealt with that when I was younger. So I guess it just came out in the music. Even like for Your Love I loved her so much I wrote a song for her. And technically it's just my... I guess it my homage to her. And it was just supposed to be for her, I wasn't never going to release it. It was just something I wanted to do for her. So for me everything that I was writing during that time was basically dealing with my life.
FOH: According to you, who's the Godfather of house?
JP: As far as I'm concerned I have to say Frankie. Because Frankie was kind of like... I can only answer this for me. Frankie as far as how I feel, he put a stamp on the music. And he was innovative in playing things that were out of the norm. And I think everybody in Chicago put that stamp on him. Frankie never put that stamp on himself, everybody else did. And I think a lot of people get upset because a lot of people were like saying "well house isn't about one person" and stuff like that. But I feel like for me if it wasn't for Frankie I wouldn't have known anything about house. If it wasn't for Frankie and how he played music and the things that he did I don't think house would be where it is. If it wasn't Frankie and him deconstructing Your Love it would have never been heard. I give credit where credit is due. And everybody else can... I've never considered myself– because some people say "you could be considered"– and I say no. I consider myself a musician and an artist and I'm Frankie's protégé. I look at it from a musician aspect but I was never a DJ, I was never in the scene at the beginning, and Frankie was there at the beginning before it was even called anything. And then everybody was trying to play the records he was playing. So as far as I'm concerned it's a no brainer for me.
FOH: That kind of brings me around to my last big proper question. Speaking of things being unfinished; where is left for house music to go now? Because a lot of people have been quite pessimistic about it.
JP: I'm not. You know, if personally, i think if London and the UK didn't embrace it, I would have been kind of sceptical. I would probably feel the same way. But I feel like it's the limit. Because it's always changing, and it's always... like sometimes I like listening to stuff that's Trax, and then sometimes I like listening to stuff that's dubby, but then sometimes I like listening to stuff that has vocals. I think it all has it's purpose. The only thing that I'm scare of is that I think the artists are getting lost in the whole mix of everything. House is not just a DJ culture. It's an artist culture. And that embraces singers, DJs, people who do art. It's like hip hop to me. But I don't think we see it like that. I think we try to say... like we make all these different genres and it separates us. It's almost like segregation in house. And I don't think it should be like that. Because when we first started, when we were doing music here we were doing one thing. But Frankie and the DJs here were playing everything. They were playing new wave, they were playing r’n’b, they we playing stuff that was coming out of London. It was like a melting pot. And I think now it's been separated. And I don't know if EDM did because they had to put it under some type of title. And I like some EDM songs. To me it's all dance music. I just wish it wasn't segregated.