Describing the obstacles early house artists faced trying to win radio plays, even in their own city, Ron Carroll said that radio stations and the wider public “viewed house as a lower form of music. You must remember that music is fueled by a person’s interest and ego. So house music was seen as the mismatched kid, gay sound – back then they didn’t want it on the radio because they thought it was bad, they thought it made you do drugs. They thought all that, so this country never went for it. While in Europe you didn’t just see it in a cult of people – bottle service clubs, regular clubs, they would play it. Growing up, you had to find it.”
Detroit techno has been in motion since the turn of the millennium, so why has it taken Chicago house so long to reach the important (yet arguably fundamental) milestone of having an event like ARC that attempts to unite the originators of house music strengthen globally competitive festival setting? Amid longstanding systemic barriers, particularly for black artists, in the American music industry, including the struggle for the wide reach and perceived legitimacy that radio drama offered in the ’80s and ’90s, Chip E provides an analogy for all the innovations that house the world would have been a matter of course in the country of origin of the genre.
“I always talk to people about Mrs. Fields’ cookies. If Mrs. Fields was your mom, people would say, “Oh yeah, your mom makes good cookies,” but people who actually buy them say, “These are the best cookies in the world.” But for you, because you When you’re Mrs. Fields’ kid, you’re like, ‘These are just cookies. On Sundays she bakes cookies. It’s not a big deal.'”
When you attend ARC you will experience different qualities of the music and the culture surrounding it that began right here near this festival site: the ethos, the sound and the message have spread around the world and after being reinterpreted, flipped and sampled, they reverberate back around the city at the event. The truth is, now that house music has entrenched itself so deeply with audiences around the world, many of whom have taken it in myriad new directions, there’s still a little bit of Chicago everywhere. No matter how far the sounds themselves have strayed from the sweeping 909 patterns and sultry, powerfully emotional vocals, by listening to house music in any form, audiences pay homage to what emerged from Chicago, whether it be he is aware of or not. Many of the Chicago DJs billed at ARC have routinely thrown their own parties in Chicago for decades, ignorant of the waves of short-lived mainstream attention that cyclically sweep the genre and the city.