In the past few years the Chicago house community has produced a number of innovative and distinct djs trained in the art of transforming tranquil dance floors into spaces of sheer bedlam and bliss. Derrick Carter, Diz, Mark Farina and DJ Sneak stand at the forefront of the nouveau jock barrage born and bred in the underground gatherings which flourish there. Their committed visions of undiluted musical appreciation, interactive communication, improvisation and basic integrity has brought greater attention to all the city's great djs including the genre busting Dj Heather. Widely regarded as one of the premier selectors in the Nation, this Brooklyn born Chicagoan demonstrates her skills and sharp deck acumen for the massives throughout Chicago and the world at large with verve and undeniable talent.
At the urging of a friend, after hearing an unmixed compilation tape of her's, Heather started out at the Artful Dodger. A neighborhood pub with a cramped moist dance area situated in the rear. Being such a music lover djaying was a natural progression. I would ask some friends to come by. It was my chance to share my favorite records and have a few drinks " I was not really mixing but learning how to play records, programming 101." "I was responsible for five hours of music every Saturday night. Eventually I got into the technical aspect of djaying, watching other djs play and learning by example. Finally I was able to get turntables and began practicing six hours a day if I was able. The first time I mixed two records it was like discovering a new secret language" "At that stage it was truly a hobby, something I did on weekends. I always think of the dj thing as the happy accident. Maybe because I came into it at a stage when it wasn't considered a superstar thing to do. I was the only dj in a circle of photographers, actors, designers and so on." At that time she was also working for local record labels and garnering experience about the industry. One gig lead to another and the hobby soon manifested itself into a full time pursuit. For five years she earned her chops by playing an urgent mix of hip hop, house, jazz, soul, RnB, disco classics, rare groove and all manner of off-center beats relevant to the stew she was brewing. At the Dodger she fully developed her versatility and philosophy as an entertainer.
During her fourth year at the Dodger, she began what would be a three year residency at Red Dog. A Wednesday night gig dedicated to downtempo beats, hip hop, rare groove and disco. "At Red Dog I was able to fully develop as a dj and hone my skills." At that same time she began a short but invaluable stint at world famous Gramaphone Records. Many of Chicago's well known djs have made a stop there; Sneak, Mark Farina, Derrick Carter, Terry Mullan, Gemini, Colette and Miles Maeda to name a few." That place was my resource center. I was hired to be the hip hop buyer. I would also use their phone lines, fax machines, FedEx and ups accounts to the fullest extent. I used the store to make contacts, ship demos/press kits and sell my own mixed material. Three years later, once bookings got in the way of covering shifts, I had to say good bye. I felt like I had graduated Gramaphone Tech. It was such an invaluable experience." Primarily known in the Chicago dance community as a "hip hop" dj she began a shift in the material she played. "It was never a conscious effort to play one genre more than another. I've always been interested in all forms of music. The demand for me to play house seemed to increase after each gig. Over time one just gave way to another. Gone but not forgotten"