An Afternoon With Nile Rodgers
Undying love for dance
The single most inspiring thing about hearing Rodgers speak on dance music, is the fact he still carries all the passion you’d hear from a young producer. “When you have that music that lights up the dancefloor, it truly brings us together,” he spoke to the crowd. “I am so proud that I have chosen this artform, this medium, as my form of expression. I still get thrills when I see people dancing to a song that I wrote.”
He also spoke of the reinvigoration of his connection with club culture. “The last couple of years of my life have ben amazing. I’d never really left dance music, though I’d stopped going out to clubs. Because half of the fun for me was getting high. I didn’t want to go out and have to listen to somebody else talking to me who’s getting high,” he laughed heartily. “I’ve been there, so it’s a little bit hard for me. But to get back into the groove of creating with people, to take them on as partners and just start writing and writing, it’s been incredible.
“I still do love the music, and I can’t tell you how much new music I listen to all the time,” he said, relating how he’s constantly on the hunt for all of the obscure, underground club music that’s floating around out there, “that just feels like it’s grooving, avant-garde and cool.”
“The thing that’s great about dance music is it doesn’t have to be what I do, in order for me to dig it. I remember walking into a record shop five or six years ago, and I thought to myself, I still think of myself as a dance music producer; though my music largely wouldn’t even fit with what they call dance music now. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t love it. I loved Giorgio when I first heard him, the first time I heard Kraftwerk I couldn’t believe it.”
As someone with what he terms as an “open mind” to the spectrum of electronic music out there, Rodgers took the opportunity to speak out against music snobbery in club culture.
“There’s a place in this world for all of us. And that’s what’s great about dance music. Back in the days of Chic, when we switched from the RnB and jazz we were originally playing, we did it because of the openness of dance music, and of the whole disco movement that was going on.”
“We’re all in this together; we’re making music that moves our feet, our body, our soul. What I can’t stand is when I hear people write an artist’s work off as less valid. To me that’s just the wrong way to thing, and it’s certainly anti the spirit of this kind of music.”
It’s an important statement he relates to whats happening on the more commercial side of the dance music spectrum at the moment. “I was at Ultra earlier this year, and I go from one stage to the next, and I’d hear talk to someone who’d write off sets, and I’d just think, ‘dude, grow the fuck up’. Anyone can have a good night or a bad night, that’s what being an artist is all about. Sometimes we try to read the crowd, and we get it wrong. We don’t live or die by one performance, or one song, or one concert, or one piece of gear,” he said.
“I actually think that it’s interesting to have people who do it in a way that’s different from me… And that doesn’t mean we all have to like everybody’s records, that’s impossible. But at least respect the process, because we’re all artists, and approaching our artistry with different tools.”