A new sound has been tearing up dancefloors all across Europe the last couple of months, but it has been tearing up clubs and dancebattles in Chicago for a couple of years already! With recent releases by the mighty PLANET MU, some of the tracks are now easily available and via youtube you can check out a sh*tload of songs if you are interested. I emailed some people to tell me a little bit more about this new phenomenon that’s been on my mind since I first heard about it from this guy at a recent show. here’s something to get you started:


I decided to get in touch with MIKE PARADINAS, head honcho at PLANET MU to ask him some questions…

-so when did you first hear of FOOTWORK?
It was about 2008 when I heard DJ Nate from my friend Marcus, we listened to DJ Nate on youtube! It is still the only way to hear a lot of these tracks (now they have taken down imeem and jamglue).

-how did FOOTWORK evolve? and whats its predecessors?
Footwork is a direct descendent of chicago house. for example, the repetitive vocal from 1988:

and tracks like lil louis videoclash and cajmere percolator are still sampled in juke trax today:

chicago house evolved into Ghetto house during early 90s with the main record label being ‘Dance mania” and DJ Deeon, Funk and Slugo being big names of this period. DJ Clent made one of the pioneering tracks of the footwork sound in:

where u can hear that he isn’t using the 4/4 bouncy beat anymore… Juke evolved from Ghetto house but it has a more bouncy sound than footwork, which is a type of juke for the footworking battles. So u can hear that the music got a lot faster until it is now 160bpm, sometimes even 165bpm (dj nate)

I am more interested in the half-speed sound of juke where it is less bouncy. this was pioneered by RP boo (aka arpebu):

-who are the best producers right now in the genre and where can we find and buy the tracks?
The best producers? that is truly subjective! I can tell you who I like, the DJs on my mix! but a lot of them are not making footwork anymore, they are making rnb hiphop. DJ Nate, DJ Elmoe, DJ Killa E, Tha Pope, DJ Trouble, DJ Metro, they are not making footwork or juke anymore as far as i can tell. I like RP boo, but i dunno if he is making anything at the moment… Of those still making footwork, I love DJ Roc, DJ Rashad, Traxman (who has released house on dance mania for around 15 years or more!), DJ Diamond,DJ Lil Rome, and there are many more…

-you have this amazing FOOT WORK/JUKE mix up now on mixcloud, have the guys in chi found it as well? and how do they react to it?
Yeah, they haven’t said much about it, I got a lot of friend requests from chicago guys on facebook! I had a lot of emails from people loving it which is nice.

check that mix right here:

Mike Paradinas Footwork/Juke Mix by Mike Paradinas (A.K.A. Μ-Ziq) on Mixcloud

-Do you plan to release FOOT WORK tracks on Planet Mu in the near future?
Yes, we have a 12″ and an album coming from DJ Nate this year (THIS IS OUT RIGHT NOW IN FACT!), and in addition to this, we hope to release 12″s from DJ Rashad and DJ Roc. And I am in the process of compiling a various artists footwork compilation album – this is where i got the majority of tracks for the mix – from artist submisions…

check DJ NATE’s release out on PLANET MU:

DJ Nate, born Nathan Clark, grew up in the westside of Chicago, he’s 20 years old and started making footwork tracks 5 years ago. For ‘Hatas Our Motivation’, Nate’s first ever worldwide release beyond small edition cdrs and tracks posted on youtube, he uses the basic palette of samples from pop and hip hop, pitched, layered and triggered into unusual edits, usually with a repeated phrase used to spur on the dancing. This hypnotizing effect, combined with sparse 808 drum patterns, often with busy fills, relentless triplets and off-kilter accents, is used to create very different variations in his sound. ‘Hatas Our Motivation’ is six tracks from Nate’s archives. We think there is plenty here to get your head around or just enjoy if you’re already familiar with a few of the tracks here
review from BOOMKAT: Without a doubt, DJ Nate’s ‘Hatas Our Motivation’ is one of the most beguiling, vital releases of the year. Nate is a 20 year old producer from Chicago and pioneer of the Footwork sub-strand of Juke, the Booty derivative descended from DJ’s Funk, Rashad, Spinn and more. Even inside Chicago itself, Footwork is a niche concern, reserved for frenetic dance battles between rival crews performing a style somewhere between Jazz Dance and Break dancing. Quite honestly, it’s some of the most mindblowing dance music we’ve heard in the last decade, from the hyper concatenated construction to the use of elephantine bass drones and liberally freeform approach to sampling. We’ll save the proper gush for his forthcoming 25-track collection ‘Da Trak Genious’, but in the meantime these are the first 6-tracks of Footwork to receive a commercial release outside of the US (in fact, quite possibly anywhere), therefore demanding your attention, RIGHT NOW! Here, you’ll find stone cold classics such as ‘Hatas Our Motivation’, ‘Ima Burn Him’ and the ultimate marmite flavour of his Evanescence-sampling ‘See Into My Eyes’. If you don’t want to look like a doyle on the floor, we’d recommend you get some Footwurk practice in the privacy of your own home. Essential!!!!!!!!!!!

since this genre is really created to do the dance too, how will this translate to Europe you think?

 Haha, I dunno, i cannot see people footworking in london… maybe very badly. But i think the music is already becoming an influence over here. Addisson Groove, Ramadanman, Ikonika, Mark Pritchard, Untold, Girl Unit, those producers are all making Juke and footwork influenced music with a UK perspective, and i think it will work in a cross-pollinating musical way, rather than importing the culture wholesale…

Thanks so much Mike for shedding some light on things, but the best way to check out this music is of course by listening to it! mike hooked me up with NEEMA, who we will talk to in part II, and he hooked me up with some shareware for y’all… peep the tracks below – all are limited to 100 dl’s each!!!!

+ a full pack of FOOTWORK mp3’s coming in part II! stay tuned…



Dj rashad-hornz gone wild by La Naranja Mécanica


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