Three decades on from inventing the acid sound, Phuture's DJ Pierre looks back at where it all started
That squelchy, almost wet, tone. That rising, insistent, jagged pitch. There are few more instantly recognizable sounds in dance music than acid. Few more pervasive, either—house, techno, trance, ambient and dubstep have all felt acid's touch, and there's many an acid line that can be traced all the way back to its source. For example, Skrillex famously said he discovered Aphex Twin and Squarepusher's acid-laced '90s IDM tracks when he was 12. Those artists, in turn, were influenced by the influx of acid house tunes that shaped the UK's summer of love in the late '80s—the first of which came over from Chicago's house scene. A record called "Acid Tracks" started it all. Made in 1985 by a local group called Phuture, incredibly, acid might not have happened at all if Phuture's DJ Pierre hadn't messed around with a second-hand Roland bass synthesizer called the 303.
"Phuture to me are one of the most important act's in dance music history," says L-Vis 1990 of Night Slugs, who, along with LA label Fade to Mind, is hosting Phuture's first ever New York live set this Thursday. "The landscape of dance music would be totally different today had it not been for Phuture. Back in May, Bok Bok and I were lucky enough to play at the Sydney Opera house alongside them. I was literally blown away by their set! It's not often that an act gets me on the dancefloor after my set but these guys held me there til the bitter end. It was transformative. Their music transcends time and space."