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The GoPride.com Interview

DJ Chris Eterno

by DJ Plez
Former ChicagoPride.com Music Editor, DJ Chris Eterno, after years of toil within the Chicago nightclub scene is finally seeing the light shine brighter and brighter upon him and his talent. He’s become one of the most recognizable DJs in the city and his success and popularity with dance floors is matched by the respect and admiration he has garnered from his DJ peers. In addition to nightly booth work, Eterno is also a Billboard Magazine dance music reporter, a feather in the cap of any serious DJ.

Eterno has DJed a wide variety of events over the years and spun at many of Chicago’s high profile clubs. This New Year’s Eve he will be adding to an already impressive resume as the headline DJ of the upcoming QE2: Queer Eyes Wide Shut event at the Sofitel Hotel in downtown Chicago. (Event Details) He will undoubtedly be an exceptional musical guide as the calendar turns over to 2005.

ChicagoPride.com is extremely proud of our association with Chris over the years and wanted to ask him a few questions - 20 to be exact – so that we all could get to know him just a bit better. He was gracious enough to sit down and give us some replies.

CP: What part of Chicago are you from?

CE: BORN ON THE WEST SIDE BABY!!!!!!

My family hails from the Taylor Street

area originally.

CP: Where did you go to high school?

CE: St. Joe’s.

Home of basketball great Isaiah Thomas.

CP: What was the name of the first club you went to?

CE: Oh God!!!!!!!

Ya know, the first club I ever went to was a place called the Fire Alarm in Cicero when I was 16. They used to have a teen night but at 9pm they would throw all the teens out and open for the adult crowd. My friend and I bribed the bouncer with a $20 bill to let us stay.

I’ll bet you were expecting a better story than that. Luckily a year later I discovered the world of Medusa’s.

CP: When did you first start DJing?

CE: There was this dance at a community center and the guys throwing it couldn’t afford a DJ so I offered to do it. They said they couldn’t pay me but I didn’t care. My parents said I could do it as long as I was at home before curfew. That was in 1985.

CP: Where are you DJing now?

CE: I play at Hydrate every Wednesday and third Saturday, Spin Night Club every second & fourth Saturday, Y-bar every Sunday and Sound-Bar once a month. I’m also doing the QE2 party for New Year’s Eve at the Sofitel. (Event Details)

CP: How would you describe your DJing style in one sentence?

CE: One sentence, huh? I would say my DJ style currently is an eclectic blend of house, tribal, and mainstream dance music. A DJ must play to his floor and learn what it is that makes them move while at the same time giving them new sounds they haven’t heard yet.

CP: Which three Chicago DJs influence you the most?

CE: That’s easy: Frankie Knuckles, Ralphi “the razz” Rosario, and Lego.

CP: Which three non-Chicago DJs influenced you the most?

CE: As far as actual INFLUENCES go, my inspiration lies with the three listed above, but if I had to pick my 3 favorites from out of town they would be Danny Tenaglia, Sharem & Dubfire (Deep Dish), and David Morales.

CP: Before dance and house music, what kind of stuff did you listen to as a kid?

CE: I was much younger than my siblings so when I was a kid there was different music emanating from every room in the house. One brother would listen to pop, one would listen to rock and the other to R&B/Soul. I found myself as a kid gravitating toward R&B and Soul.

CP: What’s the first record you recall buying with your own money?

CE: David Bowie – FAME.

I bought the 45 from a discount record store.

CP: Name your 3 most favorite dance music tracks of all-time?

CE: WOW... I have so many!!! Three particular ones that come to mind are Divine with “Native Love”, Loleatta Holloway with “Love Sensation”, and Martin Circus’ “Disco Circus”.

CP: What has been the highlight DJing moment of your career?

CE: I did this afterhours party at the Renaissance Hotel a few year’s back for the Heart’s Foundation. It was originally supposed to be a small ‘chill out’ style set. The next thing I knew they had me set to play in the main ballroom. I’m not really into the whole circuit thing so you can imagine how nervous I was. By

5am there were over 800 people packed into that ballroom screaming and carrying on.

It was a lot of fun.

CP: What has been the lowlight DJing moment of your career?

CE: Once at Circuit Nightclub I took the needle off the wrong record after a mix. There was a collective scream from the dancefloor.

I almost sh*t myself.

CP: What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

CE: Hands down the worst gig I ever did was at Le Passage. I played a party there once and we pretty much packed the place with gay boys of all colors and creeds.

The club felt threatened by this so they ended the party early and literally threw me off the decks. I was referred to as “the gay DJ” by a manager and heard several references to “those people” when speaking of the club kids we brought there.

Whatever!

It’s in the past and they can eat me!

CP: What exactly does it mean to be a Billboard Reporter?

CE: Billboard reporters are chosen by the magazine to be on a panel that is responsible for the compilation of weekly charts. A DJ’s chart should be a reflection of what his or her dancefloor is digging on a weekly basis.

CP: It’s 4 a.m., you and friends are stumbling out of a club and are very hungry. Where are you going for some late-night eating?

CE: Steamworks... JUST KIDDING! If I’m cabbing it, definitely the IHOP at Halsted and Broadway. If someone has a car then we’re going to Lawrence Fisheries over on 22nd & Canal baby!

CP: What’s been your favorite dance track of 2004?

CE: Personally I simply loved the Kings of Tomorrow’s “Dreams”. I’m still playing that record even after 12 months.

CP: What’s your current relationship status?

CE: Happily single.

CP: Have you ever hooked up with someone at the end of the night primarily because they were so enamored with you and your DJing ability and very willing to “give you some”?

CE: I don’t know about all that now! B ut I will say that I don’t kiss & tell.

CP: What’s next for you?

CE: I just wrapped up my second remix for singer Shay Jones entitled “So Beautiful”. (Release date pending). Other than that I’m concentrating on my current residencies.
 
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