Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Thursday, June 20

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« CD Review: Tacoma Narrows Spandex and Bad Attitudes »

DJ / Dance Tue Feb 09 2010

All Systems Go with The Chicago Workgroup

Untitled-1.pngLocal DJ Collective the Chicago Workgroup have been doing their fair share to bring Chicago both a new sound and a couple of fairly old ones. At once a blog, a collective and a residency every second Wednesday at Smartbar, the seven DJ deep Workgroup has been making strides to showcase forward-thinking house and disco. All Systems Go! - their monthly night at Smartbar - has been booking ever more prominent artists in both genres, and tonight's bill is topped by none other than DFA's Holy Ghost! with CWG DJs Scotty Brandon, Samone Roberts, Kid Color and Weaponry providing the support and Mister Joshua, Ross Kelly and OneFiftyOne sharing hosting duties.

Despite strong line ups for All Systems go in the next couple months with Trus'me on March 10th and Aeroplane on April 14th, the Chicago Workgroup hope to achieve much loftier goals. Before an eventful Friday evening out, I met with Samone Roberts, Scotty Brandon, Noah Casser (Weapony) and Josh Ferguson (Mister Joshua) to discuss the Workgroup's beginnings, future plans, the benefits of being a collective and a little bit on how technology has helped in unexpected ways.

UPDATE: Smartbar has just released a statement confirming that the ridiculous snow storms on the east coast have canceled Holy Ghost!'s flights out of New York. Pre-sale tickets can be redeemed for the rescheduled performance in the Spring or refunded at the Metro Store. Though Holy Ghost! will not be performing tonight, All Systems Go! is soldiering on with no cover all night.

Gaper's Block: So the Workgroup started both as a night and a DJ collective?

Scotty Brandon: We did a Friday night that was kind of special. It was a success and James Amato liked what we had done and he asked if we wanted to do this Wednesday monthly. We decided as a group that we should kind of give this thing a name and give it the concept that we're more than just individuals. And I came up with the idea of the Chicago Workgroup, which was inspired by like the Bauhaus and the artists collective from architecture, art everything. And we all decided it was a good name that said what we were about, because I consider us all working class musicians and DJs trying to really make a change.

Joshua Ferguson: I think that concept really resonated with all of us. This lack of pretense, just want to play good music. We all played together a couple times and knew at this point that we were all on the same page. We've all had the experience of crossing these people with likeminded attitudes.

SB: Really, it just comes down to us being music dorks. And beyond being DJs and everything, we're all friends. No problem hanging out, and if one of us is playing, like Kyle (Kid Color) opened for Hercules and Love Affair and it was all of us...

JF: Front and center, just loving life. I had so much fun up there.

GB: How do you guys feel about having a residency on a Wednesday? I know that might not be preferable for a lot of people.

SB: I actually really like it. It gives us the opportunity to bring people in like Holy Ghost or Aeroplane because it is a Wednesday.

Noah Casser: Our sound really lends itself more to a crowd that would be going out in the middle of the week, too. We're DJ's DJs. The industry crowd that would come out during the week are nerdy the way they we're nerdy.

Samone Roberts: Nerdy and beautiful! (laughs) We saw it as we were offered a Smartbar residency. It's a fantastic opportunity.

NC: We'd play at 6 in the morning on a Monday to play at Smartbar, we love it so much.

SR: I do that every Monday anyways. What do you mean?


GB: You guys have been linked most with the local disco scene, especially the "disco fam."Is this something you guys hoped to be affiliated with?

SR: We all grew up on disco and without it, everything would be completely different. It's something that runs deep for all of us. A love for electronic music.

NC: The labeling might be a dangerous thing though, because we don't want to get stuck of one vein of music. But we respect where everything came from. We're trying to really just go back to basics.

SB: I know this is a cheesy way to say it, but I think we're all pleased as punch to be accepted by the local "disco fam" in Chicago. We're all just really positive, and we want to be there for everyone.

JF: I mean, rather than having disco be a term that narrows the focus of what we do, we'd like to embrace what it's done; not have it act as a limitation. We're always moving forward.

GB: There's been a lot of talk about how "2010 is the year!" As in, this is when things are going to change/happen/begin in the dance music industry. Do you guys feel that way at all?

NC: We're all kind of coming to a point where we understand the way the internet works and how music is marketed to us. People are more discerning about what they're going to do. And what stands out is quality.

SR: But also more importantly we only have two years until 2012 so we need to start partying now.


NC: I see in a lot of these young guys coming up, Kyle Kid Color is one of them and Garrett Le Principle and Erin OCD Automatic. A lot of these guys have grown up online, and in a lot of ways they might be saying, "This doesn't speak to us. We want to go back to the roots of this and figure it out for ourselves." I see these younger guys and it reenergizes me.

SB: As much as we talk about technology, it can help, like Beatport and Resident Advisor. They unite this little world of electronic dance music. And I mean, moving forward we're just trying to turn people on to the stuff that we're into. The key to us as a group is the message. I don't care how a DJ presents him/herself or provides a message just as long as the message is a good message with good music and a good idea.

All Systems Go! is tonight, Feb. 10th and every second Wednesday at Smartbar; 3730 N. Clark. CWG DJs Scotty Brandon, Samone Roberts, Kid Color and Weaponry open. 10pm. $10, $8 before midnight. 21+

GB store
GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

GB store


Featured Series


Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.

About Transmission

Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
Transmission staff inbox:



Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15