A twenty-year trek through house music can throw any producer for a twist. Luckily for John Larner and Slater Hogan, the duo has been able to ride the kind of turns that have kept their sound relevant. Their secret? Balance fresh cuts from the new school with classic sounds of Chicago and Detroit. Simmer high-octane bass with jazz, funk and fluidity and there’s good reason why history repeats itself. Larner took a break from his Muzique Boutique studio in Indianapolis to sound off on his forthcoming show with Hogan.
You earned your reputation back in the day as Cyberjive. Do audiences ever want to hear you bust out some tracks from the rave days?
“Yeah. Nearly ever show, to be honest. Sometimes [what] I play that stuff just depends on my mood, really. To tell the truth though I didn’t play that much different. Back in the day I played a lot of Chicago house mixed with some techno and acid—pretty much the same thing now. So If I do play some older cuts they fit in just fine.”
One of your tracks, “2 cool to dance,” on dotbleep, just got licensed and picked up for Positiva. Is this your first pick up on a label of his caliber?
Yeah, it was the biggest label I’ve worked with thus far. It ended up being a pretty good deal for sure. I don’t think it will really change how I do things though. I’m always trying new things and new sounds. I can’t really stick to one thing, even if it’s good from a marketing standpoint.
In the past year, underground house has branched into some interesting offshoots, including the “fidget” house sound. Do you feel this movement has influenced your sound at all and if so, are you working elements into your new production work?
I like some it for sure. The remix I did for Greenskeepers (“Abracadabra”) last year had the “fidget” sound. I’d just gotten back from London and was feeling pretty influenced by what I was hearing over there. That said, it’s been pretty much run into the ground. In truth it makes me think of speed garage.
There are critics of UGH that say the genre is fading. You have been in the game for two decades, where do you see the music moving?
I do think that house will be making a big comeback in the next five years or so. People will get tired of techno and the minimal sound after a while and they’ll go looking for [a new sound]. I mean, really, five years ago techno was struggling compared to house and now look at it. Things will shift back. Plus I think the hip-hop world is starting to embrace house a little more. You’re hearing more house influence in the Chicago hip-hop artists. That will end up being very good for us down the line. (Jenn Danko)
John Larner joins Slater Hogan at Grizzled, with residents the Sound Republic and Karl Alamaria at Lava, 1270 North Milwaukee, (773)342-5282, June 7 at 9pm. No cover before 10pm, $5 after.