Ricky Synnot

Frankie Knuckles: You need to know exactly what you’re doing

April 29, 2016

I was listening to an old episode of Fireside Chat from Red Bull Music Academy Radio on the way to work today. Frankie Knuckles is talking about his time knowing David Mancuso, and learning about sound engineering at an early time in his career.

Frankie quotes Robert Long, a sound engineer from Paradise Garage, a notable nightclub in New York City in the 1980s:

[tom-collins bgcol=”#1A1D24″ textcol=”#B9B8B4″ ]”If you’re going to do this, if you’re going to be a DJ and play music, then you need to be educated about sound. You need to know exactly what you’re doing.  A sound system is like a car. There are incredible cars, and there are ‘little four wheels’ that you just put on the road. You get the most out of that expensive, fabulous car by being educated by what it can do. You know what its limitations are, and how far you can go with it. And the more and more you educare yourself about that, the better it is for the audience that you’re playing for. Because they walk away with an even greater experience.”
–Richard Long[/tom-collins]

I think there’s a great synergy between the responsibility of a Product Designer today, and the responsibility of the DJ that Frankie describes.

A good designer today must have a deep understanding of the web as a communication medium, of the digital devices, displays and reproduction technology (screens, displays, ePaper etc).

Its with that understanding and mastery of the materials, medium and equipment we use, along with an authentic empathy for our audience we are talking to, can we be truly creative, and produce work of excellent quality.


I try to remember Frankie and his great work during April, he sadly passed away on April 1 2013.  Frankie Knuckles Foundation.