His records are seminal, and he’s deservedly referred to as legendary. Here’s why.

Who is he? Aka Mr. Fingers, producer, composer and arranger Larry Heard was born in 1960 in the Windy City. In his late teens he played drums in jazz fusion group Infinity, of which Adonis was also a member. One day he switched his drum kit for a Roland drum machine and history was made. He wrote ‘Mystery of Love’, a simple yet beautifully melodic bassline-synth-drum machine anthem, and handed copies to Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy, then playing at Chicago clubs The Power Plant and Music Box respectively, who liked the track so much they both claimed it as one of their own. He would then go on to form Fingers Inc. along with vocalists Robert Owens and Ron Wilson, with whom he would have a string of club hits in the 80s.

Influences: He grew up listening to Motown, jazz, blues, soul and early disco, anything from Stevie Wonder to Frank Zappa, as well as Giorgio Moroder and Kraftwerk. The first record he ever bought was Sly and the Family Stone’s ‘Hot Fun In the Summertime’.

Genre: Chicago house, acid, ambient and deep house, the genre he is credited with inventing.

Essential tracks: Where to start? First release ‘Mystery of Love’ from 1984, ‘Can You Feel It’ from 1986, 2000’s ’Missing You’, 2003’s ‘Déjà Vu’ and more recently 2006’s ‘The Sun Can’t Compare To You’ can be found on compilations by artists as diverse as Ellen Allien and Jackmaster.

Indispensable equipment: He helped to popularise the Roland TR-707 drum machine and Jupiter 6 keyboard. The bassline to ‘Can You Feel It’ was played by hand on a Juno synth.

Labels: Alleviated Records, which he founded in 1985.

Who has he influenced? Son Dexter, Tevo Howard and pretty much any deep house DJ.

Other activities: ‘Can You Feel It’ appeared on the soundtrack to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in 2004.

Catch him at: A rare London appearance this Sunday 1st of May at Plan B with Robert Owens, courtesy of exciting new promoters Black Atlantic. Tickets are £10 from Resident Advisor.

Listen: Larry Heard – Deja Vu

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