A look inside the mind of one of house music's most intriguing figures.
"Chicago taught me me music. Detroit taught me the technical aspects of it. New York taught me the understanding of it—these were my universities." So says Chez Damier, yet this misses a key detail: from a young age he was not just a student, but an active member of the faculty. As co-founder of Detroit's Music Institute in 1987, he worked to provide a temple for emergent DJs like D-Wynn, Juan Atkins and Derrick May, intended to match Chicago's Warehouse and NYC's Paradise Garage in stature and devotion. As a producer, Chez nailed one of the greatest runs in house history from 1993-95, mining new levels of depth in a creative partnership with Ron Trent. With the end of Prescription, the label he ran with Trent, Damier took over full control of Balance, another essential imprint in house history.
To this day, Damier retains an impish energy and innate curiosity to discover not just what makes people move, but what touches their soul. If he can't feel it, there's no point—and that's no empty threat. He hung up his headphones for a lengthy spell in the 2000s, before returning when house was surging in popularity all over again. Now, with another fertile creative partnership afoot and charged with fresh inspiration, he speaks to Gabriel Szatan about lessons learned from 30 years in the game.
The RA Exchange is also available on Spotify.