Vanguard Sound! was founded on 11 February 2006 as a website to host my mixes and my “DJ Culture History” essays. The mixes were dating back to the mid 90’s up to the late 00’s. It was first and foremost a creative outlet. It was also a means to stand out amongst the thousands of talented DJs in Chicago. One of the most competitive DJ markets in the world.
The “essays” where historical factiods, eye witness stories, and first hand accounts of the DJs who created our culture.
Starting with Francis Grosso of The Sanctuary NYC, on to David Mancusso’s loft. Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles rounded out the NYC squad. Then of course I chronicle Frankie’s move to Chicago and the birth of House Music proper.
Ron Hardy and Robert Williams of The infamous Music Box, and then onto The Belleville Three (which was actually four) and rounding things out with The Music Institute, Chez Damier aka Anthony Pearson, and Alton Miller.
I covered the fact that Eddie “Flashin’ Fowlkes” was also a member a the Beleville Three and should be credited as such alongside Juan, Derrick, and Kevin.
For 3 years the website was just that, but in 2009 after meeting Dakini9 aka Lola and DJ Spider (NYC), I was moved to form the “Vanguard Crew” artist collective. We were 6 members strong. Chris Mitchell, Dakini9, DJ Spider, G. Marcell, Hakim Murphy, and Amir Alexander respectively.
On 12 January 2012 we released our first EP. A V/A compilation entitled “Vanguard Sound! Vol. 3”. We were fortunate that it was well received. To date, we are up to number 5 spread out among the various labels within the crew. I take great delight in that series. What a fruitful series of collaborations.
Time and place converged at a perfect point for us to collectively “break out” together. We employed Wu Tang killer bee type tactics and cross promoted one another’s projects to a stunningly effective end. I believe that we are singular within our generation in achieving a collective breakout in the way that we all did. Mike Banks, Jeff Mills and Rob Hood perhaps being one of the only other groups to do it other than The Detroit Founders.
Life happens, distance obstructs, and new horizons pull us all in different directions, yet we are all honored and grateful to have shared that brief moment in time at the tail end of the ‘Deep House Revival”. We’ve left quite a catalog of unique and heartfelt music……
and the best is yet to come, so stay tuned.
Love and Respect,
Amir A x
Post Script: of course the elephant in the room is the “rabbit hole” aspect that peppers all of our work. The truth is “out there” literally and figuratively for those who seek it. Our body of work on the Vanguard Sound! youtube channel can be considered a “wake up starter kit” for anyone brave enough to peer “behind the veil”
But from now on, it’s all about the party. Some light to counterbalance the dark.