The renowned DJ and producer shares his nostalgic pick-ups at Gramaphone Records, ahead of his performance at this year’s ARC Music Festival

“ARC is just really Chicago. I can’t say anything else,” Terry Hunter remarks. “It’s one of the biggest festivals in the world—and you guys get ready, because I’m finna infect that sound on you!” The DJ is preparing for his impending performance at the third annual ARC Music Festival, a jamboree that gathers an array of talent from 2000s icon Black Coffee to youth-driven Peggy Gou. The festival’s 2023 edition will be staged in Chicago’s Union Park, sending a bat signal to the genre’s global fans to flock to the birthplace of house music.

ARC Music Festival takes place between September 1 and 3 in Chicago’s Union Park. Tickets are available here.

More than Hunter is a DJ, he’s a Chicago DJ: “[The city] is so important to the world, yet still underrated—especially when it comes to house music,” he says. Hunter’s is a house-hold name, revered by the genre’s devotees. Also a producer, he’s in the upper echelons of sonic prowess; in addition to working with the likes of Michael Jackson, Mary J. Blige, and Kanye West, he’s remained relevant in the underground scene, from his 1990 release “Madness” to 2006’s global dance classic “Wonderful.”

Before taking the stage this weekend, Terry Hunter welcomed Document to Gramaphone Records, selecting a slew of nostalgic tracks from the shop’s menagerie. Here are the classic cuts foundational to the DJ’s own come-up, and emblematic of his personal swagger.

BREAK MY SOUL (Terry Hunter Remix)” by Beyoncé and Terry Hunter
“This first record is a shameless plug—‘Break My Soul,’ the Beyonce remix I did. I’m very proud of it. I got nominated for a Grammy this year, and it’s really awesome to have that true Chicago sound [with such a big artist]. Big shout to our girl Honey Dijon for also producing on this album!”

Move Your Body” by Marshall Jefferson
“This is a legendary old-school record. To me, ‘Move Your Body’ is the beginning of house. I remember hearing it for the first time, going to the Music Box where the late great Ron Hardy, my mentor, was playing. It was such a shock to hear people going crazy over a record. Every DJ in the world [still] plays it, so I had to get it just for the legacy.”

Go Bang” by Dinosaur L
“One of my all-time favorites, Dinosaur L. This is the Chicago disco classic [known] all over the world. It was such an impactful record, because the song is about [wanting] to ‘go bang,’ [like], I want to see all my friends at once, at the club, at the party. It was such a major record for me as a DJ, coming up. I used to do a night at a club called The Shrine every Sunday —I called them ‘Bang Sundays.’ I have to throw this out there: Bang Sundays were the first to bring Black Coffee to Chicago. And many other guests: Louie Vega, Kenny Dope, and all of the Chicago greats.”

Disco Juice” by Patrick Adams
“Patrick Adams—absolute legend. We just lost him, rest in peace. There’s a record on here by the name ‘Disco Juice’ that I played a lot—that people all over the world would go crazy about. [Adams] was such a prolific producer and musician, responsible for so many hits in the ’70s and ’80s. Even recently, I had a chance to work with him and Kenny Dope from Masters at Work on an album called Mass Destruction. Patrick Adams means so much to disco and house music.”

Running Away” by Roy Ayers
“Last but not least, the one and only: my hero, Roy Ayers. This record is called Running Away, and on the other side, Love Will Bring Us Back Together. He’s the icon. A little bit of history—when I first started making records, I went under the moniker UBQ Project with my then-partner Aaron Smith. [That] album was called Ubiquity, meaning omnipresent—that’s how I wanted to be as a DJ, my music in all places at all times. [We] named our team UBQ Project because of Roy Ayers.”