Footwork originated mainly from a style of dance that could be seen widely in the streets of Chicago in the early 90’s. It has been said that the style of dance was inspired by ‘The New Dance Show’, people would begin ‘jitting’, moving themselves in breakneck, intricate ways. The music that accompanied it has been around for nearly as long, two decades near enough, but only recently have some of its proprietors grown in popularity.
Footwork is a culture where music and dance go hand in hand, they work together in harmony. Producer and dancers work together to produce a sound that is good to listen to and even better to dance to. DJ Spinn and DJ Rashad, once footwork dancers themselves, are renowned for bringing other dancers on tour with them and even bringing them into the studio. The communication between producer and dancer means the sound is always dance ready, it pushes the scene forward and expands where it can go.
It could be called a niche genre, and by all means it is. You need to want to listen, to find it and to dance to it. The Teklife crew, most notably, have grown in popularity with almost all of their tracks getting played in clubs over Chicago and most recently the UK. Artist R.P. Boo talked about the genre, calling it a derivative of house music and that it never really left the underground, "a lot of people think that house music has gone underground. House music is still here! I am what happened to house music."
Africa HiTech ▶ Mark Pritchard and Steve Spacek make a unique wave of Juke, footwork, grime and techno and their 2001 album '93 Million Miles' was very well received.
DJ Clent ▶ DJ Clent is well known for his Juke and Footwork sound and is sometimes called 'The Lowend Legend'. He has released tracks on labels like Planet Mu, Juke Trax and more.
DJ Earl ▶ DJ Earl, now 25, has been producing since the age of 12 and was welcomed into Teklife with open arms and mentored by DJ Rashad.
DJ Manny ▶ An up and coming Chicago Footwork Producer at only 21 years of age and mentored by DJ Spinn and DJ Rashad.
RP Boo ▶ Kavain Space is a footwork progenitor with releases on Planet Mu. A mad scientist with his primitive, display model RX-70 drum machine, the scrambled drum patterns so common to footwork tracks.
Young Smoke ▶ David Davis is only 18 but has already carved himself an impressive niche within footwork.
DJ Rashad ▶ Rashad Harden is a pioneer of Footwork and associated with Hyperdub Records. He was one of the founders of the famous Teklife crew.
DJ Spinn ▶ He's a powerful force in footwork and house music and has been for the last 10 years. He's also a driving force behind the Teklife Crew.
Ashes57 - Teklife (Interviewed by HTPS)
Footwork is a musical style that has been happening in Chicago for 15 years. It's only in the past few years that people have started to play it outside of the USA. It took few years for the music to be recognized and appreciated, and a lot more people started to listen to the music after DJ Rashad passed away. We wished Rashad could have had more time, but life is short and we need to make the best of it. I love the repetitive rhythms and the diversity of influences found in Footwork. I love the samples, the variety of genre in the same style music and I also really like that there is a dance associated to it.
We had quite a few memorable days with Teklife. One of the first that I will never forget was when DJ Rashad went on tour to Russia for the 'Double Cup' album; the album really spoke to people and it was amazing to see everyone's reactions when people were letting go and dancing like there was no tomorrow. One day someone even cried of happiness and screamed "thank you for making the music" to him. Unfortunately we also lived through the tragic death of our leader. It's been a year and half now and we really miss him [DJ Rashad] still. We'll try to keep the light on for him as long as we can and we'll pass it on to future generations.
At Teklife we try to be very close to our fans. I think that everyone who supported the movement has played a tremendous role and I feel really lucky because everyone who's a part of the movement has a really good energy and we respect what everyone is doing. We really appreciate it.