Every Sunday night, in the depths of Chicago’s Near North Side underground house haven, Primary, something magical happens. Characterized by high quality underground house, techno, minimal, and deep house, amongst other genres, The Pool House has become one of the hottest club nights in Chicago, for those searching for something a little less mainstream and perhaps, something darker and deeper. Established by a collective group of DJ/producers and house music lovers, Ricky Bisharat, Mike Miraldi, Jordan Bernardo, and Juan Flores, in 2012, the talented group also includes recent additions Sharktooth, Ryan Romance, HappyGhost, and Housework (aka HXH with HappyGhost).

The story of The Pool House dates back to 2008 when Miraldi, Flores, and Bisharat formed Forte Entertainment Group and used it as a platform to promote at various clubs around the city. Quickly realizing that in order to play the kind of music they really want to play they had to create a weekly party focusing on house, deep house, and techno. Set on maintaing an intimate vibe they took off in the summer of 2012 at the now closed near north side staple, Proof. The Friday night party went so hard that the boys proudly boast about having a bus boy quit every week after working the event. “When we started the party we wanted to definitely show love to a lot of DJ’s and producers in Chicago that weren’t getting booked, kind of like us, because of the music we played. We never had a big budget working at the places we were at before Primary to book big talent and we kept the party alive from DJ support and people enjoying the music,” Miraldi says of their humble beginnings.

Although flourishing at Proof, they moved to a larger venue during the second half of 2012, Nikki (formerly the infamous Crobar), for a few months and then to Chicago’s current version of a superclub, Castle, where they stayed for over a year. It is during their Castle days that the group reached out to Derek Specs, the owner of Primary, and booked him as a guest DJ during their weekly Saturday residency. A couple months later, Specs spoke about closing the club on Sundays and it then dawned on Miraldi that The Pool House should move to Sundays at the Primary and thus, a new era has begun.

Now in their third year, they have hosted some notable local and international artists including Bodhi, “Little” Louie Vega, Doctor Dru, Farley “Jackmaster” Funk, Gene Farris (who is a monthly resident), T. Williams, Shadow Child, Golf Clap, Kraak & Smaak, and Disclosure, to name a few. Known to build bridges and not burn them they also occasionally host a Spybar Takeover night with Spybar residents Dino G, Nick Bassett, and Phil Groves, which displays the comradery they share with their peers. “It’s a really cool thing to see two clubs that could be perceived as being in competition with each other come together and support each other,” Miraldi says of the partnership.

Fast forward to late September of 2014 and the boys have found themselves proudly releasing their very first compilation, Alone Together Vol. 1 while simultaneously launching their very own label, Pool House Records. Providing a refreshing take on house and its many beloved subgenres that include deep house, tech house, and minimal, the release is designed to introduce the world to the technical and sonic expertise that is The Pool House. “It’s got everyone’s flavor mixed up and everyone’s sound is completely different from each other,” Bisharat says of the joint effort.

While sitting down with the guys they shared their labor of love and a deeper insight into making the tracks in their own words.

Pastor’s Creed – “I wanted to do something really dark, because that’s what I love,” Bisharat says of his haunting and spiritual minimal production. “I remember my mother had a bunch of church CD’s, we’re Arabs so we have that whole background, and I was going through them and I found this woman’s voice that I love. I guess it’s an Easter prayer but it sounded great with what I was doing and it was in key with everything that I was mixing so I went with it. It fits the mood.”

The Idle Motion – “I started working on it probably five or six months ago right around when I just picked up a new synth called The Bass Station and it’s got a real acid sound to it,” Bernardo commented on the first of the two productions on the compilation. “As I was learning the synth I was working on this track and this is how I came up with the main bass line that runs through the majority of the track. If you hear the track you can’t really miss it. I grew up with Drummer so I like to really focus on having complex drum parts in my tracks. I don’t like to stick with the typical kick and snare. I like to have a lot of toms and other percussion stuff, which I think that track has a lot of.”

‘88 – “I wanted to do something more dancefloor-worthy, (more) house-y and old school,” Bisharat says of his funky homage to rap legend, Tupac Shakur. ”I found this really sweet interview from 1988 with someone I love, Tupac. It was a great interview. He was so young and ambitious at the time. It was before he took off so it’s the truth coming out from what he’s saying.”

Bustle – “I wrote it last winter at Filter (a popular Wicker park coffee shop),” newest member of the crew, Happyghost says of his complex and sophisticated deep house cut. “I created it from a source best described with the adjective busy-hustle and bustle of time and space.”

P.L.L. ( A Mix) – “It’s a little more dance-y than The Idle Motion,” Bernardo speaks of his second contribution. While The Idle Motion has more of a spiritual sound, creates more of an atmosphere and takes you on a journey, P.L.L. is more bass driven and is more of a dancefloor track. It’s a little heavier than some of my other songs but it’s something that I was working on and in the spur of the moment I finished it. Both of the tracks are instrumentals as I wanted to focus on just doing instrumental stuff for our first compilation album.”

Alone Together, Vol. 1, is available now on all major download music sites.


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James Kabat Editor, based in Chicago specializing in pop, dance, and underground club culture. I have interviewed some of the world's biggest DJ's and I enjoy diving deep into the minds of my musical heroes.