As we mourn the passing of Earl 'Spanky' Smith aka DJ Spank Spank, the pioneering producer and DJ who died on September 21, we are left with his groundbreaking music that forever changed the scope of dance music culture during the late 80s and early 90s.
Arguably one of the originators of acid house, Smith played an integral role in guiding dance music into the future, forming the influential group Phuture with DJ Pierre and Herb J in 1985. Two years later, they released the ‘Acid Tracks’ EP, the seminal acid house material that laid the foundation for more than a decade of innovation with rhythm driven dance music.
During Phuture’s early years, most of their music landed on Trax Records or Strictly Rhythm. With roots firmly planted in the Chicago scene, they frequently collaborated with fellow pioneer Roy Davis Jr, who joined them in the studio to deliver classic cuts like ‘Spirit’ and ‘Mental Breakdown’. He also worked closely with local Chicago talent like Felix Da Housecat and Jay Juniel among others. Today, DJ Pierre carries the Phuture flag along with Lothario "Rio" Lee, who joined Smith in 1996 after he left Phuture before rejoining DJ Pierre as a trio in 2014.
To showcase the impact Smith and Phuture had on the scene, Mixmag provides a retrospective look at the group’s most distinguished tracks, many of which are still rocking dance floors around the world today.
Harrison is Mixmag's East Coast Editor. Follow him on Twitter here