Despite a growing familiarity with Teklife and the footwork sound which they’ve championed around the world, many people remain unfamiliar with the crew’s exact history or make-up. A fogginess still persists around a culture with its origins in a close-knit scene that spent a decade incubating in the basements, dance studios, and skating rinks of Chicago before branching out into a global community of DJs, producers, and dancers. The increasing appetite for music made by Teklife affiliates is attested to by the release of both Tim & Barry’s new documentary I’m Tryna Tell Ya (which explores the roots of footwork) and Hyperdub and Teklife’s 'Next Life' compilation (which charts its present and future) over the past couple of weeks. But what Teklife is or where exactly it came from still isn’t common knowledge for a lot of the listeners who consume the music.
The term 'footwork' applies equally to the music as it does to the wildly complex dancing that accompanies it, owing to a creative relationship poised equally between role of the DJ and the dancer. As the focal point for footwork both within and outside of Chicago, Teklife now exists as a global, extended family, whose members - located in New York, Berlin and beyond - number around 20 and harbour dedicated outposts in Belgrade and Tokyo. Bookings at nightclubs and festivals across the globe are becoming increasingly common for many of those involved, and only serve to enable yet more converts to their distinct musical creed.