A BRIEF HISTORY – SUNSET RECORDS – CHICAGO 1985-89
Sunset’s story begins on Chicago’s North Side. Miguel Garcia’s family emigrated there from Cuba when he was eight. In 1977, at the age of fifteen, he began spinning records at his friends’ private parties using a pair of record players, each with its own set of speakers. When a song ended he would bring the volume up on the opposite stereo and attempt a mix, inspired by the WDAI hot mixers, including Lou DiVito and Kenny Jason. Recalls Miguel, “I used to play funk, R&B, disco.”
Miguel’s childhood friends, Alex and Robert Rojo, were trying to start their own DJ business around the same time. Alex explains, “[Robert] used to collect a lot of records. He started getting hired [by] some of his friends to do house parties. He would bring the typical whole turntable, then he got another one.” When it came time to upgrade to professional equipment, Robert split the cost with a friend who moved to Florida soon after, leaving Robert with monthly payments for $1500 in gear. “That’s when I became involved in the business,” Alex recalls. “I told my brother, ‘I’ll pay for the record pool.’ “
Unfortunately, business was slow to build. Alex blames a lack of connections. “We weren’t very well-known,” he explains. Miguel’s family, on the other hand, was well-established. His father and uncle owned grocery stores in Chicago. Miguel recalls, “Alex wanted to sell me all of his equipment because he wasn’t getting any parties.” Miguel convinced Alex and Robert to unite with him and his brother Carlos to form a business. “We all became partners,” Miguel explains. “And we called ourselves Sunset Mobile Disco.”
The rest of the story encompasses spectacular light shows, Miami nights, Chicago’s b-boy scene, the Hot Mix 5, the Power Plant, and an infamous bootlegger. The music itself is a joy to hear, with Latin and New Wave influences not often recognized in the traditional narrative of Chicago house music.
THE ALBUM – KILL YOURSELF DANCING
Still Music will release a compilation profiling Chicago’s Sunset Records on September 17th.
The two-disc (or double-LP) Kill Yourself Dancing: The Story Of Sunset Records Inc Chicago 1985-89 collects recordings from the seminal American house label. Sunset Records was founded in 1985 by a crew of Chicago notables, including Matt Warren, Miguel Garcia and Ralphi Rosario, and was known for incorporating new wave influences into the classic Chicago house sound.
Curated by Jerome Derradji, the set will come with a full-length story written by Jacob Arnold about the label’s history. It includes tracks from Warren, Rosario, Michaelangelo and more, as well as their various other guises. Kill Yourself Dancing is a direct precursor to Bang The Box, a compilation of material from Warren’s other label at the time, AKA Dance Music, which will come out in September.
01. Razz feat. Matt Warren & Ralphi Rosario – Kill Yourself Dancing
02. Modern Mechanical Music – Persia
03. Master Plan – Electric Baile (Commercial Mix)
04. White Knight – It Could Be Acid
05. Ben Mays – Jail Bait
06. Hex Complexx – I Want You – Suite (The Dash Riprock Mix)
07. Michaelangelo – You Can Do It
08. White Knight – White Knight Jacks Club Mix
09. Razz feat. Matt Warren & Ralphi Rosario – Razz-Matazz
10. Boom Boom & Master Plan – Face The Music (Club Mix)
11. Razz feat. Matt Warren & Ralphi Rosario – Pump It Up
01. Matt Warren – The Way To My Heart (Club Mix)
02. Kajsa – Try Try Again House Mix
03. White Knight – Demons A Mix 4U
04. Modern Mechanical Music – Doo Doo Da
05. Razz Feat. Matt Warren & Ralphi Rosario – Say It
06. Boom Boom & Master Plan – Face The Music (Dub Mix)
07. White Knight – Yo Baby Yo (Mix 1)
08. Master Plan – Electric Baile (Large Dub)
09. White Knight – Acid Dub
10. Matt Warren – Rock The Nation (Remixed By Kenny Jason)
Still Music will release Kill Yourself Dancing: Sunset Records Inc Chicago 1985-89 on September 17th, 2013.