Praise You: A Kerri Chandler Tribute Mix By Surya Sen

It’s no mean feat to earn yourself the title of the ‘Stevie Wonder of house music’, but when you’re crafting music as resonant and timeless as Kerri Chandler has, it’s more than justified. An originator of deep house, Kerri’s musicality stretches far beyond the realms of just production. It’s his meticulous approach to sound, be that in the club or the studio, that characterises his authentic and soulful output, not to mention the formative sounds ingrained in his upbringing, from jazz and soul to funk and disco.

As well as boasting an extensive back catalogue, under his own name and his Kaoz moniker, Kerri has helped develop and push artists through his own Madhouse Records imprint, as well as his more recent label Kaoz Theory, which has put our releases from the likes of Seth Troxler, Jamie Jones and Satoshi Tomiie.

From DJs to musicians to producers, many count Kerri as an inspiration. This is the case for North London-based rapper and Skint Records alumni Surya Sen, who became enraptured with Kerri’s music after hearing him during his teens. Surya also notes his ability to blend influences and styles as something that sets him apart from other producers, plus the need for a solid drum groove as the foundation for every track.

Here he pays tribute to the house music great with a mix of Kerri favourites, while unpacking the DJ and producer’s impact on him as a producer.

Surya Sen’s Double A Single ‘Here We Go Again / So I Just’ is out now.

Why does Kerri Chandler mean so much to you?

Kerri means a lot to me as his music is timeless! No matter which set I play, what crowd I play to, a Kerri Record always gets a reaction. The endless remixes and his meticulous work flow is something that inspires me to this day.

What makes a Kerri Chandler record so unique?

You can never not dance to a Kerri Record! The use of 2-step, garage and hypnotic grooves, the inclusion of jazz influences and those classic deep house chords. Can anyone do it better than Kerri?!

When did you first hear Kerri Chandler’s music and what impact did it have on you?

I discovered him in my late teens through Gilles Peterson’s Radio 6 show. At the same time I was discovering other East Coast house producers such as Masters At Work, Dennis Ferrer, Todd Terry and Frankie Knuckles — a time where I was really enjoying discovering electronic music to dance to! All of these artists are great, but Kerri’s use of a garage and deep house and the sheer number of classic records he’s made makes Kerri stand out to me.

What’s your most sacred Kerri Chandler record and why?

My most sacred Kerri Chandler record remains ‘Matrix – Get Out (Kerri Chandler Remix)’. Whenever this record comes on I instantly remember that feeling I had when I first came across this record. No matter what mood I am in, the groove always seems to cheer me up and reminds me to be positive.

Any standout memories from dropping a Kerri Chandler track in a set? 

I played a set in Pop Brixton on a rainy Thursday night in an outdoor setting. Getting the crowd to engage with my set was very difficult, until I played Kerri Chandler’s ‘Rain’. I made a point to watch the crowd’s reaction and instantly saw arms, elbows and feet moving. A reminder that any set can be lit up by a kerri record.

How has Kerri Chandler impacted you as a producer?

His music has impacted mine by reminding me that any good song starts with a solid drum groove as a foundation, period! Something that I have applied to all of my releases to date.

How did you approach this mix? What did you want it to say about Kerri Chandler and their music?

I chose to focus on the works of Kerri Chandler under his own name but also under his Kaos moniker, including some early releases with collaborators like Dennis Ferrer, Jerome Sydenham and Roy Ayers, as well as some music from his own imprint ‘Mad House Records’. Kerri has had a hand in many remixes so I thought I’d include some of my faves in there too! I tried to focus on some of his music that I hadn’t heard in mixes before — of course his discography spans many releases so there were loads to choose from.

What would you say is Kerri’s biggest legacy on music?

I would say his biggest legacy on music is showing that you can merge many genres and styles to make people dance, whether that’s the use of garage, afro-beat, Jazzy pentatonic chords or vocals. His ability to include so many different styles in his work makes delving into his discography/ legacy a mindblowing journey.

Surya Sen’s Double A Single ‘Here We Go Again / So I Just’ is out now.

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