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Documentary by Lil’ Louis seeks to find the answer

Lil’ Louis, who released one of the earliest house music records on Dance Mania and went on to have a huge hit with ‘French Kiss’, is releasing a documentary film soon. Called The House That Chicago Built, the doc investigates the roots of house music in Chicago more than 30 years ago.

Filming over 180 interviews with notable house music figures over a seven-year period, Louis’s film aims to get to the bottom of the question: ‘What was the first house record ever made?’

The teaser to the movie has various big-name US DJs — Frankie Knuckles, Louie Vega, Derrick Carter, Todd Terry, Larry Heard and Lil’ Louis himself (pictured above) — alongside assorted European DJs such as Pete Tong, Armin Van Buuren and David Guetta struggling to answer that question when it is put to them.

The doc also features interviews with Erick Morillo, Marshall Jefferson, Basement Jaxx, DJ Pierre, Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk, Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley, Ron Carroll and many many more talking about the story of Chicago house. DJ Mag expects the documentary to be fascinating.

House music took its name from The Warehouse in Chicago, a black gay club in the early eighties where DJ Frankie Knuckles would extend old disco records using reel-to-reel tape and drum machines.

The first house record committed to vinyl is thought to be the primitively hypnotic ‘On & On’ by Jesse Saunders & Vince Lawrence in 1983 — although there is some dispute about that, as will no doubt be explained in Lil’ Louis’ film.

Jesse Saunders was again involved in the first international house hit, ‘Love Can’t Turn Around’ with Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk, and other early house hits included Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley’s ‘Jack Your Body’ and ‘Move Your Body’ by Marshall Jefferson.

With Chicago house enjoying a renaissance, this documentary looks set to be a fascinating watch.