As the proprietor of legendary record store Gramaphone and its eponymous label, Michael Serafini is part of a long lineage of Chicago greats. As a teen, he lived on the city’s South side – then an incubator for a plethora of different strains of electronic music – and was schooled its nascent house scene by trailblazers like the Hot Mix 5 and Ron Hardy.
Having made his first foray in to club play as a VJ splicing and beatmatching VHS clips, Serafini’s DJ career proper began in the early 90s with residencies at clubs such as Berlin and the notoriously uninhibited Boom Boom Room parties.
It was around this time he began working at Gramaphone – then already a mecca for agonisingly scarce house and techno records with an infamously churlish staff that included Derrick Carter, Ralphi Rosario and DJ Sneak.
Serafini has worked at the store ever since, and under his direction it has gone from strength-to-strength, weathering the digital boom and becoming a must-visit for visiting record heads passing through Chicago. He has also established his LGBT-oriented weekly Queen! as one of Smart Bar’s most reliable regulars, enshrining the roots of the city’s scene in a safe-space environment whilst showcasing the its new generation to an increasingly rapt audience.
Smattered with uplifting vocal tracks and jazz-endebted instrumentation Michael Serafini’s Crack Mix is unmistakably soulful and expertly blended – the work of a seasoned pro.
Michael Serafini plays the Studio 89 night session for Sunfall on 9 July.