Born and raised in the western suburbs of the Windy City, Derrick L. Carter was enveloped by House music from its nascent beginnings. Derrick nurtured his love for House music working at legendary dance music specialty stores like Gramaphone, and slots at warehouse parties across Chicago. Derrick progressed to regular DJ stints at seminal clubs like Shelter, Foxy's and the Smart Bar. His early sets, whilst rooted in House, seamlessly incorporated old-school disco, soul and jazz, and he soon developed a trademark sound that rewrote the rulebook and would influence a new breed of Chicago DJ's.
This unique and innovative DJ style soon began to attract a loyal fan base, and it wasn't long before Derrick was DJing in every corner of the world. This prolific globetrotting soon earned him the reputation as the Ambassador for the new generation of Chicago house, following in the legendary footsteps of Frankie Knuckles, Marshall Jefferson and Ron Hardy. Derrick is blessed with an ungodly skill of being able to play the most unlikely records in a creative, unorthodox style, taking that trademark Chicago sound to a whole new level.
Derrick found a home away from home in Europe, especially in Britain where he's become a major celebrity among dance-music aficionados – the DJ's favourite DJ and the discerning House lovers DJ of choice. In 1996 Muzik magazine awarded Derrick the prestigious Best New DJ award, in recognition of his standing in the UK club community.
However, it's not just Derrick's deck-wizardry that has earned him so much respect. It's also his larger than life personality and affable character that endear people to him and ensures that the dancefloors are always packed when Derrick's in town. As Derrick says, "People come up to me and say, 'Man, I had the worst day. My girlfriend left me, I locked my keys in my car, but you turned me for two hours, and that made me able to get up in the morning.' That's the best thing going."
It was only natural that Derrick would take his infinite knowledge of the music he loved, and turn his hand to production. In 1988 Derrick, fellow DJ Mark Farina, and friend Chris Nazuka released an EP as the group Symbols & Instruments. The record had a strong influence on the burgeoning ambient techno movement in the UK. While it wasn't a commercial success, it established Derrick as an international figure in the dance-music underground.
Derrick released his first solo album under the Sound Patrol moniker. Entitled ‘Sweetened –No Lemon’, the album exuded a soulfulness and low-key grittiness that resonated beyond the infectious grooves and made a departure from the machine-like quality of the dance music fare of the time. From these early beginnings, Derrick has recorded under a plethora of pseudonyms such as Rednail, Oneiro and Tone Theory.
Since then the pioneering, innovative tracks and consequent critical acclaim have marked Derrick out as one of the most important players in dance music. Derrick forged a close friendship with fellow DJ Luke Solomon that lead to the birth of Classic Recordings. Derrick upped sticks from Chicago to Barnet, London during the labels formative period. Derrick's first release was as Rednail with ‘I Think of You’, followed by the 'Nu Pschidt' and 'Mo Pschidt' EP's under his own name. 'Nü Pschidt' combined woven scatting with sleepy minimal beats on ‘Dreaming Again’ and skilfully cast Derrick's own low, sexy drawl over trademark Carter grooves to form ‘Boompty Boomp Theme’, described by acid house legend Andy Weatherall as ‘the greatest house record of the year, if not the next two years.’
During this period, Classic developed from a pioneering, underground boutique label, to one of the most cutting-edge, highly- respected House labels ever, with a massive worldwide following. Alongside Luke, it was Derrick's musical and conceptual input that has resulted in Classic becoming one of the leaders in the world of house. Derrick's standing allows him to A&R and sign some of the most groundbreaking, original tracks and artists – from Matthew Herbert and DJ Sneak to Tiefschwarz and Isolée.
Over the last year Derrick has been busy working on his eagerly awaited artist album 'Squaredancing In A Roundhouse', due for release on Classic in the Autumn of 2002, preceded by a new single, 'Where U A?' The album perfectly encapsulates everything that DC is about – from the awe-inspiring, old school Chicago anthems 'If I...' and 'A Hope', through the sassy, 1920's inspired 'Do You Believe' and the title track, to the new-wave jackin' grooves of 'Where U At?' and 'Rhythm Machine'. The album also showcases Derrick's immense musical talent through the melodic, ethereal styles of 'All Dreams Collide' and 'While Corey Slept', to the tongue-in-cheek nitrous rush of 'Friends'. The sheer musical diversity and outpouring of unadulterated genius and talent looks set to mark this album out as a benchmark in the history of House music.
“For those looking for the future of House, it’s here, and once again it’s from Chicago” - Terry Farley, Muzik
Forthcoming singles from the album will be 'If I...' and 'Legacy' featuring remixes by Sneak and DJ Q. Derrick has already started work on his second album and is busy remixing for the likes of Bebel Gilberto, Tony Senghore, Fischerspooner and Greens Keepers.
Derrick currently holds down a number of residencies, from the Subliminal residency at Centrofly, New York, with Eric Morillo, and his Chicago Madbar residency, to the highly celebrated bi-monthly Classic residency at London’s The End alongside Luke Solomon & Rob Mello. Derrick will be touring in support of the album for the next three months, covering the whole of Europe (including regular slots at Pacha in Ibiza), as well as an extensive US and Canadian tour. In the UK, Derrick will be appearing at The Bomb in Nottingham, Basics in Leeds, Sankey's in Manchester and The End in London. If you get a chance try and catch one of the greatest DJ’s of all time.
Derrick's hobbies include collecting shoes and watches...