Pitchfork 2011, a three day affair, will feature an astounding 45 artists and groups ― some of which you’ve heard of, and some that can only be recognized by the most delicately trained of hipster ears. It’s likely that no one performance will define the experience for festival-goers. However, watching Chicago DJ Chrissy Murderbot’s sonic geek-off with MC Zulu could be reason alone to venture to the city’s own Union Park this weekend. Murderbot has been credited with being a defining player in the creation of Chicago’s unique brand of juke, booty and ghetto core style of music — which I won’t pretend to know the first thing about, except to say that I really like it. Chris Shively by birth, Chrissy Murderbot has been thriving behind the scenes since the age of 14 in the ’90s, and has come a long way since then.
“When I was starting out 16 years ago I didn’t have any fans. The more people come to your shows, the numbers make it impossible to have a one-on-one experience with everybody,” he said. “I do really try to do shows where the DJ booth is down on ground level and there’s not some big stage that puts the performer on a pedestal ― I can be down in the middle of the party with everybody else and have it be a little more democratic and fun and be more connected with my audience because I do really enjoy that.”
Although Pitchfork won’t quite provide the up-close-and-personal atmosphere he prefers, Murderbot hopes to keep the energy up via MC Zulu and a few onstage “surprises.” His biggest advice: It’s dance music, so be ready to dance.
“I love playing at any kind of event where people there are open minded and ready to have fun,” he said. “I’m happy to perform for anybody who wants to listen to what I do, but I’m always going to try and expand their horizons and move outside of their expectations a little bit.”
The man who is Chrissy Murderbot has only one tattoo: A wristwatch around his right arm, saying, “It’s time for the percolator.” Why? Because, like the constant permanence of a tattoo, it’s ALWAYS time for the percolator. He says it’s representative of his home in the Midwest and a style of music that sets a solid foundation among his eclectic musical tastes.
“I do a lot of things but [Chicago juke] is one thing that I keep coming back to. I have to say, I’ve traveled a lot and there’s only two places that really understand electronic dance music at a grassroots level … those two places are the Midwest and the U.K.,” he said. “Electronic dance music is something that feels more genuine and more vibrant and more relevant and more fun in the Midwest. You go other places and they take it too seriously; they kill the fun part of it. They take what should be party music and turn it into something that’s high brow or overthought. There’s so many ways to ever so slightly miss the point.”
Chrissy Murderbot will be the first Saturday performance at Pitchfork Music Festival 2011. He will be on the Blue stage at 1 p.m. performing with MC Zulu.