Kerri ‘Kaoz’ Chandler, a deep house mainstay, has been injecting soul into music since the early nineties. He grew up in New Jersey during the days of the infamous Zanzibar club and its resident DJ Tony Humphries. Chandler’s father was a DJ before him, and gave his son a rich background in the origins of the New York underground sound or Garage music. Kerri made his DJ debut at the Rally Record Club in East Orange, New Jersey at the tender age of thirteen. He eventually found himself drawn to the production element in dance music and soon began to create his own grooves, firstly on Express Records.
Since the release of his first single “SuperLover/Get It Off” on Atlantic Records in 1991, Kerri has produced a large body of work comprising singles, albums and remixes that veer from techno and instrumental deep house to soulful vocals and devastating dubs. Chandler’s first tracks (still at the age of 15), with help from fellow Jersey-ites like Tony Humphries and Michael Watford, had an incredible impact on the clubs in New York. Resultant work for labels like King Street, Strictly Rhythm, Large, Nervous and Madhouse Records made him one of the top producers in the deep house and garage scene by the early ’90s, with a discography including club landmarks like “(You’re My) Inspiration,” “Hallelujah,” and “Stompin’ Grounds” as well as more introspective, jazzy works like 1993’s The Atmosphere EP.
Chandler’s first production LP was 1997’s KAOZ on King St., followed a year later by the mix-album/hits-collection Kaoz Theory. Three mix albums appeared during 2000-01, after which Chandler released A Basement, A Red Light & A Feelin’, Vol. 2, a compilation of production tracks for his own Madhouse imprint. In 2003, he issued Trionisphere and Trionisphere Live. Kerri has never been afraid to challenge himself musically while at the same time keeping a signature sound that lets fans know exactly who’s behind the project – there’s just no mistaking those Chandler basslines.
His DJ sets for us here at Southport Weekender, and at Suncebeat, are family affairs, each made paying particular attention to his last appearance – while the crowd here keep returning, Kerri will keep trying to surprise and delight them. For some, a weekender just isn’t a weekender without this man’s presence.
Ever since his teenage years, growing up in New Jersey against the backdrop of Zanzibar, Chandler has championed the true deep house and garage sound. Original New York and New Jersey discotheque records (some presumably borrowed from his dad) have always coloured his sets, from his first public performance right up to his last appearance at Southport Weekender.
Flitting between deep house tracks, (highlighted by those unmistakable Chandler basslines) and the most uplifting and musical of songs, his journeys are just that; a journey. Not some faux, constantly ‘uplifting’ monotony, as favoured by lesser house DJs, but shades of light and dark, emotive, psychedelic, raw and original, like Chandler’s own music productions. If the torch for house and garage music were to be held by any one individual, then for his flair and individuality, Kerri Chandler must be the truest descendent of messrs Hardy and Levan. As such, each of his sets in The Powerhouse, or at Suncebeat, are as unmissable as his last.