On Sunday afternoon at Pitchfork Becky and I spent some time hanging out with up-and-coming Chicago-based DJ Chrissy Murderbot. Incidentally, my first introduction to Chrissy (real name Chris Shively) was through the Pitchfork (website, not festival) review of his recent album Women’s Studies. The reviewer referred to him as “your friendly neighborhood Diplo,” a comparison that he irritatedly shrugged off as “missing the point”—“isn’t Diplo the friendly neighborhood Diplo?” he retorted. Before you ask him to babysit your kids, it’s worth noting that he makes a living promoting what he calls “booty music” which when played at parties like his monthly Loose Squares leads to what he calls “fuck dancing” (the F-word is favorite of his—seriously, this dude’s no softie).
In fact, NME accused Women’s Studies of “crossing the line of chauvinism.” Suspicious myself, I asked him why he named it that in the first place (we all know way too many dummy fratbros who have that listed as their major on Facebook). He pointed out that some music talks about women in a misogynistic manner and some music talks about women in an objectifying manner, the latter being inoffensive or at least less so in his opinion. “Violence is upsetting to me,” he said, “But treating someone like a sex object doesn’t have to be.” He went on to say that he named it as such to show that he was “not unaware about the product he was putting out in the marketplace” and that he understood the music he had produced was juvenile, objectifying, and dumb (his words) but also that it was self-aware. Nothing like self-aware, philosophically-justified booty music, right?
So what exactly is this fuck-dance-inspiring booty music? For those of you who aren’t DJ savants, Shively plays several genres of house, most notably ‘juke’ which originated in and is most associated with Chicago. He describes juke as “faster and more urban than house music,” saying that “the rhythm is more varied than the typical ‘thump thump thump’ of house music.” Also, apparently it makes you want to grind on people. He also plays “footwork,” which he explained is “a step beyond juke”, and involves, well, literal footwork. Unfortunately for The Tangential staff he declined to demonstrate, but did amusingly liken it to “Michael Flatley on steroids” (if you don’t know, Flatley is the frontman of Riverdance).
Shively is a cool dude—borderline dorky in an adorable way, hilariously crass, but still manages to exude that sort of (dare I say “boy-next-door”) Midwest nice. And hey, is music’s good too! He and cohort MC ZULU put on an incredibly high-energy afternoon dance party to kick of Saturday’s lineup, complete with lip-shaped kazoos in place of his typical glowsticks. For an incredibly enlighting and visually articulate review of his show, click here.
Above: Chrissy Murderbot (left) with MC ZULU. Photo by Jay Gabler.