Part 1: Introducing Afro Acid Pioneer DJ Pierre: Phuture, the Studio and Acid House Music

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By Mollee Harper, Senior Editor

Georgia Film News met with Acid House pioneer DJ Pierre for a special two-part interview on Atlanta’s music scene. During our interview, DJ Pierre shares how he got his start in the music industry and his founding of the Acid House genre in Chicago in the late 80s, as part of the group PHUTURE. In part one, DJ Pierre shares the latest from his Afro Acid Studio in Atlanta and his next album. In part two of the series, we travel behind the scenes of DJ Pierre’s new WildPitch club in Atlanta’s downtown for techno and house music.

DJ Pierre shared, “I had always been fascinated with the creation of music, the sounds behind music and how things were done technically behind the scenes. I remember attending a school dance and saw a guy working the turn tables. I was so excited when I came home I told my parents I wanted two turn tables and a mixer. That’s really where it all started for me.”

House music is a genre of music that is widely considered the foundation for what we now refer to as electronic dance music also known as EDM. House Music was created by club DJs and music producers originating in Chicago in the early 1980s. Similar to Disco but more minimalist, early house music is generally dance music characterized by repetitive 4/4 beats, rhythms mainly provided by drum machines, off-beat hi-hat cymbals and synthesized basslines. House music quickly caught on in Chicago and spread throughout major cities in the U.S. as well as Europe and continues to grow in its following even attracting an older demographic.

DJ Pierre was born Nathaniel Pierre Jones in Chicago, Illinois. Pierre is an award-winning DJ and performer of house dance music credited with developing the house music subgenre called ‘Acid House’. The term ‘Acid House’ describes the sound of the Roland 303 bass machine which made its first recording appearance on Phuture’s Acid Trax album in 1987 by DJ Pierre and Phuture.

DJ Pierre formed the group Phuture with his friends Spanky (Earl Smith Jr.), co-founder and technical producer, and Herb J (Herbert R Jackson Jr.) on keyboards. During the mid-1980s, the trio began using the sound that became common in Acid House recordings after the group’s experiments with a Roland TB-303 bass line synthesizer and Roland TR-707 drum machine.

In 1990, DJ Pierre left the saturated house music scene in Chicago and moved to New York where he pioneered another genre stemming from house music called WildPitch. He worked with legendary house music labels such as Strictly Rhythm, and A&Red  and produced the classic “Follow Me” by AlyUs.  In 2010, he moved to Atlanta Georgia and in 2014, he opened Afro Acid Studio – where he continues to make his edgy one-of-a-kind of music geared for the DJ and the dance floor.

DJ Pierre described, “Chicago had so many avenues including record shops, club scene, record labels and publications. My goal was to try to cultivate some of those same avenues here in Atlanta. I wanted to give other artists opportunities to DJ and perform here. I want Atlanta to be seen as a destination spot for music.”

“What kind of hurt the Atlanta scene was that it never really had international artists that were living in the area so people could point back to Atlanta. We are trying to build that foundation and invest in our own city. We are trying to help others see the importance of investing in their local community and building Atlanta’s music scene up. Let’s try to make everyone successful as a whole, and not as just individuals.”

DJ explained, “The Afro Acid Studio is a full facility with an A and B room and state-of-the-art sound system. It’s all about building a foundation for electronic music in general in Atlanta. A lot of folks still think they need to go to Europe for EDM. We do all of that right here right now. House music and all other sorts of EDM is a U.S. phenomenon. We are trying to build a consistent foundation and label for this music to help build the music scene and help Atlanta. We help develop new artists and their unique sounds.”

“I’m really the only original member of the original Phuture group left. I do have some special guests that I work with. I record under DJ Pierre and other names and some under Phuture with different talent.” 

He added, “I primarily work under two record labels – Afro Acid Digital and Jack Trax. I am working on several new releases from DJ Pierre, DJ ONE FIVE and with BEYUN, as well as an album coming out called the story of WildPitch that provides history of the genre and the  club.”

DJ Pierre shared, “There is a company who produces Reasons software and equipment called Propellerhead out of Sweden. They filmed me 5-6 years ago using their software. They just released a new version and want to film me again along with some new users at the studio. The footage will feature some new talent we bring in to learn the business and learn from me.” 

He concluded, “My music usually has a message to it. My message is usually positive, eye opening and motivating. I try to incorporate those components in my music. I try to uplift people and move them forward to a greater place.”

Join us for part two of this series as we go behind the scenes of DJ Pierre’s new techno club in downtown Atlanta and get insights into club ownership and the latest in Atlanta’s house music scene.

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