Blake and Sean met in 2009 at a bar in the West Loop of Chicago that they both worked at. They soon discovered that they both had similar likes and taste in regards to the Chicago house music that they grew up on in the early 90’s, as well as what they were liking and listening to currently. They swapped stories about labels, DJs, and producers they respected and Blake realized that he owned several tracks that Sean had put out in the early 2000’s, while Sean was learning that Blake was a solid DJ with motivation and connections, the two formed a partnership.
They started with a house music night in Chicago that they named and branded “Open House”. Open House was an inclusive showcase for all genres of house music and welcomed anyone and everyone, both well known talent and up-and-comers shared the decks with the weekly Open House resident, DJ Blake Walker. Open House went on for 5 years strong with a rotating roster of guest DJs such as: Lady D, Diz, John Simmons, Gantman, Paul Johnson, Gene Farris, Jason Tyler, Gene Hunt, Karl Almaria, Mark Almaria, Rees Urban and CZ Boogie amongst many others. It was during this time that Sean was inspired to start producing again after several years of being on hiatus. With input from Blake on what he felt the crowd would dig, they started making tracks, and Blake “test drove” them during Open House every week. After a few months (and several dozen “test” tracks), they started getting some positive feedback from fellow producers and DJs asking “who is this”, and/or “can I get a copy of this”. This motivated Sean and Blake to tighten up a few of their more “popular” tracks and really give them a good push into the public realm, not just at Open House but anywhere Blake was spinning. Then one day, a long time patron of OH (Kris from South of Roosevelt) asked if anyone was going to release a few of the tracks he heard. Kris then mentioned that he and his partner JP were starting a new label (Elevated Tracks) and wanted to release a few of the Sugarcane Family’s tunes. Sean and Blake said “sure and thanks mucho”. That was the beginning of Sugarcane Family, at least “officially”.
Now having signed with four labels that distribute their tunes globally (Elevated Tracks – Chicago, Lea Music – Chicago, Vivaro Records – Wales, Dustpan Recordings – Singapore), and a debut LP under their belt, the hard work is paying off. Sugarcane Family had a pretty good first year in 2014 and is ready and motivated for 2015, so look out!
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