Today is officially Frankie Knuckles day where we celebrate the pioneering accomplishments of the godfather of house music. Frankie Knuckles' legacy changed dance music and entire music ecosystem forever. His music is getting a new lease on life with an album of Director’s Cut re-edits that add a little extra modern polish to his records. Longtime production partner and friend, Eric Kupper is compiling this project. In honor of part two of the Director’s Cut series being released on September 6 and Frankie Knuckles Day, we asked Kupper to share his five favorite Knuckles tracks ever. He notes that this is quite difficult to create, saying, “to name the 5 best Director's Cut tracks is a bit difficult for me, as that list could change on any given day. But here's today's...”
Frankie Knuckles pres. Directors Cut - The Whistle Song (Re-Directed)
Frankie and I had been working together for about a year or so when he got a record deal. He came over to my home studio to do some writing. We wrote a track called “Workout” that made it to his album. That day I slipped him a cassette with the demo of ”The Whistle Song,” which he took an immediate liking to. His original intention was to write lyrics and put a singer on it. I had written it just after hearing Frankie DJ for the first time. Well, Frankie had transferred the cassette I had given him to reel to reel tape and began playing it at the Sound Factory in NYC. The crowd responded quite favorably to the track; they came up to the DJ booth asking “what is that whistle song you’ve been playing?" So the song was named by those on the dance floor…and we left it as an instrumental. It was a turning point for both of our careers. We did a new version in 2012 which we called "Re-Directed", which is on the new compilation The Director's Cut Collection released by SoSure Music.
Peyton and Director's Cut “Beautiful” (Original Mix)
Peyton and I were doing a gig together on Margarita Island, a small island in the Caribbean Sea off Venezuela. Peyton first played me the demo he did with co-writer ATFC of "Beautiful," and I immediately fell in love with it. I did a demo of it with Peyton, played it for Frankie, and he also loved it, so we finished it up and released it on my label, Hysteria Records. Every time I hear it, it makes me smile.
Hardsoul feat. Ron Carroll - Back Together (Director's Cut Classic Club Mix)
I’ve always loved this record, from the original to Stonebridge’s remix. A very inspired vocal performance. It was both thrilling and a bit daunting when Frankie told me we were going to remix it. It might be the only remix (or one of the only remixes) I’ve ever worked on with anyone where we retained the original bass line. The record was brilliant to begin with, the remix was virtually effortless. We just added our Director’s Cut signature, kicked it up a notch for a current audience.
Donna Summer - Hot Stuff (Frankie Knuckles & Eric Kupper's Director's Cut Signature Mix)
This was a bit tough at the beginning. Although a bonafide classic, it wasn't either of our favorite Donna Summer songs, but we felt we could still do something cool with it. The first approach we tried was a more classic vibe (piano, strings, etc.)...but Frankie suggested we speed it up a bit and make it more modern electronic in nature. So I sped it up, replaced the piano and other more natural instruments with more electronic synthetic sounds playing the same parts, reworked the original hook synth line, and voila! Whenever I play it, the reaction in the club is phenomenal.
Spencer Parker - The Look Feat. Dan Beaumont (Director's Cut Signature Mix)
This is a very simple instrumental track, quite repetitive, but it really works. It's very groovy and uplifting. We added our signature to it, and really worked the few elements that were there. We definitely added "more cowbell"...