Need To Know: Chrissy Murderbot & MC Zulu
By Courtney Nichols
Do you still witness race dynamics on the dance floor?
Chrissy Murderbot: Anywhere in the world there will still be ignorant motherfuckers. You run into less of that in Chicago because people who come from the house music tradition will expect black, white, Latino, gay, straight, male, female, everything! This scene has traditionally had so many people participating in it from all walks of life. The city is very segregated so if you go to a segregated part of town you might get, 'What is your white ass doing here?' It's not so much about the music; it's more about a white kid coming all the way down to 87th street.
MC Zulu: That is unfortunately a huge part of Chicago culture --
Chrissy Murderbot: The segregation.
MC Zulu: It goes back to the Pullman days. They tried to keep workers and 'normal citizens' to specific neighborhoods. It is still part of the culture and you can see it in the party atmosphere. They have managed to keep it that way. The Burning Man crowd is the crowd that has been the most successful with integrating all the people. They come together and get music: black, white, Asian, gay, everyone is there.
Chrissy Murderbot: The actual diehard house scene is also very integrated. All that segregation is not about black music or white music. It is more about the part of town you come from. It's more about why would you drive 15 miles to go to a party when there is a party in your own backyard. It's unfortunate but a lot of people want to stick to what they know. New York doesn't have that because it's too expensive. You better take whatever fucking apartment you can get even if it is a neighborhood full of people who are different than you. Segregation dies because of the fierceness of the apartment market. It's too cheap here! If rent were twice as expensive here than segregation would die in sixth months. People would not have the luxury to stick with their kind. If a Mexican could save 600 dollars a month living in a Korean neighborhood, or vice versa, then segregation would go out of the window real quick.
I'm just starting to learn more about the Chicago scene.
Chrissy Murderbot: It's not like New York. Let me put it this way -- in New York house music is for thick-neck white guys or gay Africans and Puerto Ricans. If a heterosexual black person walked into a house music event in New York and he wasn't the DJ that would turn heads! That person doesn't look gay. Why is he black and here? It's fucked up! That shit doesn't exist in Chicago.
Location judgment but not cultural judgment?
Chrissy Murderbot: It's all neighborhood drama.
MC Zulu: That's very true.
Chrissy Murderbot: It's refreshing that there isn't color attached to music scenes.
To be a successful dance music artist you have to attract a loyal fan base of local followers. Because of this, how does fame translate overseas?
Chrissy Murderbot: I think we do a lot better overseas especially in England. England picked up house from us and then there are so many Jamaicans and people from Trinidad and people from Caribbean descent. That is what we do: the bass from the West Indies and the dance music from the Midwest merged together. They get it. They understand it.
MC Zulu: They know we are capable and good at what we do.
Chrissy Murderbot: Both of us developed a reputation and following in Europe. I love going over there. They are so supportive.
If you were to outgrow the local haunts you used to play, do you think people would still show up to see you at bigger venues?
Chrissy Murderbot: If you are from Chicago and you get booked at The Congress Theater or one of the bigger venues in Chicago, people will show up. They will come to see this local act play at this large theater. If you move to New York and then you get booked to play in a bigger venue, people will think, 'Oh that motherfucker think he fancy!' You got to keep the 606 zip code or there will be a lot of hate. Oh, he moved to L.A. and think he famous now!
MC Zulu: They will still come out to support you.
Chrissy Murderbot: Yeah, they will just talk shit in the back!
MC Zulu: I am going to switch everything up and move somewhere random.
Chrissy Murderbot: The South Pole! You can play at the space station that the Russians have.
MC Zulu: I will have a fortress of solitude.