Born and raised in Chicago, producer and DJ Bill Salas has been making music under the Brenmar moniker since 2010. Influenced by the sounds of his hometown, Brenmar's productions are a hybrid of house, juke, hip-hop, R&B, and vintage club music. These days, when he’s not producing for rappers including Zebra Katz, Le1f, Sasha Go Hard, and Mykki Blanco, he's busy releasing records with labels like Grizzly Records and Ikonika's Hum & Buzz. On his mix for SSENSE, Brenmar traces the sonic evolution of electronic music in Chicago. Here’s what he had to say about summing up two decades of his city’s sound:
"[It] starts in the mid-80s and ends around the mid-2000s, just as footwork was becoming a new sound/thing. A lot of the music on this mixtape - especially the 80s and early 90s stuff - preceded me. I didn't find out about a lot of it 'til many years later. My personal era of Chicago Ghetto House is late 90s and early 2000s... juke was basically the house party music of choice if you were a teen in Chicago around that time.
I remember going to house parties when I was 14 or 15 years old, 40 ounce of beer in hand with my boys while we "juked" girls from behind. Can't lie, it was kinda heaven. Had to go to the mall to cop Gant-Man mixtapes on CDs with whatever little money I could muster up. It's funny, I didn't realize how regional a lot of this music was until I moved to New York and started touring. You can find out about everything online now really easily, but seven or eight years ago if I mentioned juke I usually just got a blank stare if that person wasn't from Chicago.
This is straight, raw, unfiltered dance music: sometimes nothing more than a vocal, bassline, and some drums. I reference a lot of the songs on this mixtape whenever I make my own club music. It's an art to make such powerful statements with so little."