It’s no secret that Chicago has maintained a long and steady friendship with house music. The latest talent to sprout from the city, and with increasing accolades within the EDM community, is delaChapelle. Recently signed to the Music Trust agency, delaChapelle is a rising talent not only in Chicago where he holds down the #1 rated mix show on Kiss FM, he is also quickly gaining fans nationwide, performing at venues from New England to Southern California. delaChapelle can be found regularly playing for 2000 person nightclubs, in addition to out of the way places like Iowa. For a sample of what a night out with delaChapelle is like, check the video below of his performance at the Union Bar in Iowa City—it gets pretty crazy. Somewhere along the way, he caught the attention of influential companies performing for “A-List types” at private events for corporations like Red Bull, Google, Men’s Journal, Microsoft, Blackberry, Moet Hennessy, Mountain Dew and Absolut. Hit up delaChapelle’s website for all his new remixes, DJ mixes and tour dates.
Home Town: Chicago, IL.
Currently Living: Chicago, IL.
Origin Of Name: I was never happy with any silly name, so I started going by my actual last name, delaChapelle. Most people called me “de la” when I was starting out and I just liked having something that was truly mine versus some pseudo alter ego.
Weapon Of Choice: Coffee! Coffee! More coffee! Without my five cups a day, I feel like I get nothing done.
Est. Miles Traveled Per Year: Enough to make a personal helicopter a legitimate business expense.
Gigs Played/Nights Out Per Year: I’ve never counted them—that’s accountings job.
Source Of Power: The city of Chicago, red wine, an appreciation for all things musical and my family and friends.
Blurb Yourself:If you asked me 10-15 years ago what I would be doing today, I would have never guessed anything that involved making a living off of playing and making music. I always grew up musical and had headphones attached to my ears 12-hours a day, but it was all out of the joy of music. I was never one who thought one kind of music was it for me, or that you had to dress and act a certain way to “be involved” with whatever genre you liked. I always have had a diverse taste in music—everything from Led Zepplin to Metallica, to A Tribe Called Quest to Mozart, to Crystal Method has come out of my headphones and speakers. I guess it all translated to what I am today, which is very surreal to me. I’m a pretty laid back person and at the end of the day, nothing beats just sitting around discovering new music and getting influenced by it all.
Nervo "We're All No One" (delaChapelle Remix)
What life activities are made better when listening to music? Talk about the last time you enjoyed one and the other.
Driving is always better when listening to music. Actually, traveling in general! A few months ago, I had a trip lined up where I was going from Chicago to the Dominican Republic and then to Houston in a matter of a week. I got super excited and started creating all these playlists on my iPod that I was trying to time out perfectly. I had driving music, waiting at the airport music, take off music, mid flight music...you get the idea. I tried to make all the playlists very fresh. There was a lot of M83, Foster the People, Mumford and Sons and Gotye in there. It’s fun to create knowing that you are going to be on the road for a week or so and try to choose your playlists based on how you think you will be feeling.
If you visualize music as your listen, what (generally) do you imagine?
I’m usually thinking of random locations when I just sit and listen to music. Everything from cities in Europe, the beach, or the various city skylines I’ve come up on.
If you could send advice via a fortune cookie to up-and-comers, it would read:
Never listen to critics.
What is a song that inspired you to create?
The first time I heard “Colours” by Calvin Harris I was jumping on couches. It was such a simple beat and melody, but it was so sexy! I was always inspired by tracks that were simple yet invoked so much emotion. I always try to sit down and find a way to make something simple, yet fulfilling.
Calvin Harris "Awooga" (delaChapelle Edit)
What (type) music makes you reach for the headphones? What (type) mood makes you reach for the headphones?
I always end up reaching for my headphones when I listen to hip-hop, or something with lots of low end. I love having the bass hit right in my eardrums. Usually my headphones get put on when I want to leave the rest of what ever is surrounding me, out. The biggest thing that I love with the SOL REPUBLIC headphones is that they are comfortable! Even the ear buds! I don’t think I have ever liked a pair of ear buds. I usually stick with the Tracks HD since they have a great crisp sound to them, whether I use them in the studio or when I DJ.
Tell me about your most memorable night out.
One of the best nights I had was when I did a show with LMFAO before they got all Super-Bowl famous. I remember the energy in the venue was on 11 and I was really nervous about how the show was going to run. But once LMFAO took the stage and I got to see the energy and effort they put into their performance it opened my eyes to how you have to be successful as a performer. It was so calculated and fun at the same time. It was one of the few times I’ve gone into a show as a DJ and came out a fan.
Tell us about a specific event or period in your life that is linked in your mind to a song/album.
This sounds so corny, but...“The Percolator.” I would hear DJs dropping this song every week while going out in college—sometimes twice a night. It’s a running joke between my friends and I with that song…so I guess in short: college = “The Percolator.”
Is there a band whose album covers you love?
I’m a big fan of No Pattern aka Chuck Anderson’s designs. He has done covers for Kaskade and Lupe Fiasco along with a nice list of other artists. I’m usually not a fan of flashy patterns or designs, but for some reason his artwork really embodies this energy that you expect to see with the music you are listening to.
One of my favorite designers of posters, logos etc. is my guy Grant Bloechl. He is always on point with posters—or anything he does graphically. Most designers today will just play in Photoshop till you like what they put out. Grant will actually sit and draw, carve, and sculpt whatever it is he’s thinking and then puts it back into a digital medium. You can find some of his stuff over at: Dissecting The Frog.
How does listening to music figure into your creative process?
I listen to everything…seriously everything. But I guess when I sit down to do a remix, or create a track, I always try to take a song that I know works great during a show and try to recreate that energy. As DJs we know what works most of the time—there’s always something you hear and know that it’s amazing. A lot of my sets are based on what I actually like to listen to as well. So my Spotify playlist and iPod are usually loaded with songs I’m trying to incorporate into my sets.
What value do you place on environment as a creative springboard?
I think it’s important to be comfortable wherever it is you create. Your space should be just that...yours. I used to share a studio space in college with a few kids, and it was so hard to get anything done with everyone trying to push what they thought was the next big thing into everyone’s projects. After that I really started to value just having a space that is mine where I can experiment and make mistakes—or make crazy things that never see the light of day. Geography is nice, to be located somewhere like a major metro where you can have all sorts of influences at your doorstep, but it’s not the end all be all. There are probably kids out in cornfields making the next new sounds you will hear on the radio. I’ll be honest though, coming from Chicago where it’s cold six months a year, warm weather is definitely more nurturing to a creative mindset.
Talk about some of your “classic” memories of touring.
Some of the best spots I have played are not in major cities. It’s always the smaller markets or corn-fed towns that really get crazy! For example, Union Bar in Iowa City. They book everything from Aoki to Kreyshawn and the crowd there packs out regardless. 1000 college kids just getting wild to the fullest! The other shocking thing about it is that the club has better sound and lighting than 99% of the clubs in NYC, Chicago and LA. Beside Iowa, some other places that I really have enjoyed playing are Connecticut at Shrine and Hotel nightclub in Louisville. It’s always great to play to rooms of people who aren't trying to be “too cool” and just want to dance and enjoy something new on the weekends.
Do you remember the first time you had a live audience’s complete attention?
Totally. I was DJing a show in Florida and there were about three DJs for the night and I was the last one up. Everyone before me went up there and just played in super serious mode trying to educate a crowd that just wanted to party. So by the time I was on, I ended up just playing every ridiculous dance and sing along track I had. Everything from House of Pain to Michael Jackson—I had the audience singing every word and hanging on to every transition! It was incredible to me, and I think to everyone else there too, because I realized that you don’t always have to play what’s “new and hot and generally unknown.” Sometimes you just have to dumb it down and throw a party. I was smiling for about three hours after the event and laughing with the rest of my crew about every track played.
What has changed in the realm of headphones since your first pair?
I think my first pair of headphones was those awful ones that came with your Walkman growing up. I would only use them on road trips, or at night when I was supposed to be studying/sleeping. Once the whole CD/minidisc era came around the options for headphones, and how much music you listened to, really expanded. I remember the headphones I had in high school and college was more defined—but still very crude for today’s standards. Nothing had style, or half way decent sound, at the consumer level. The idea of having a CD or minidisc with 10 plus songs on it was amazing. It was the start of really taking the whole “personal soundtrack” to a new level. If you look at headphones now there are so many different options to match all the new ways we listen to music. It seems to be the trend that with each new change in the way music is delivered; there is a new way to listen to it.
Soundtrack Of Life:
I never identified with one group or kind of music growing up. If it made me nod my head, I was hooked. It seemed most of my CDs were hip-hop and rock oriented growing up. These are a few of my favorites that never left my CD changers.
I remember getting my first Sublime CD from Bradley out of the back of his trunk while I was in San Francisco and thought it was the most incredible thing. Here you had these Long Beach dudes who were sloppy, drunk and just out to make people dance and they were creating this mix of reggae, hip-hop, ska, punk and a whatever else they could throw in it. I don’t think my CD players were ever without a Sublime album in it. They were one of the reasons I got into so many different kinds of music.
Hip-hop was always something I had to hide from the parents. So when I stumbled upon Young MC with really no cursing and slick beats, it was the first thing I was ok blasting in my room. It was also pretty amazing how the guys in the Red Hot Chili Peppers produced most of his tracks. It was eye opening for me to see the two worlds come together.
My first intro to the whole gangster rap scene was in ATL when I was like ten. I remember my cousin took me to get ice cream and we crammed in his little car with subs where the seats should be, and he just put in a N.W.A tape and said, Don’t tell your mom I let you listen to this. It was game over since then.
The peppers were insane…and just offensive enough to make soccer moms cover their kids’ eyes. It was one my first records where I was completely confused on what the hell was going on. Still to this day, Mothers Milk continues to excite me.
I always had love for the pumpkins. They were from my hometown and they were the first big arena show I saw. I remember head banging at the show so hard my neck hurt for a week after. Billy Corgan had one of the most unique voices and could even make a simple song sound hard. I still have all the CDs and shirts from every tour that came through town.
There was nothing cooler to me that Outkast. Come to think of it...they still are on top. It was lyrically and musically genius for its time. I used to bump their CDs in my Jeep. Outkast was the sole reason I put woofers in my trunk.
"Make it Bounce" (delachapelle edit)