Alexis Taylor: "With Prince, it's not just the big hits that go down well in DJ sets.
He's every DJ's best friend
There's a track from the early 1980s called Cloreen Baconskin that's 15 minutes long, and is basically just a jam session with him playing bass and putting on a strange voice to bark orders at Morris Day on drums. I played it when I was DJing in Brussels, right in the middle of a more housey set, and it went down amazingly well, people kept coming up and asking me what it was because the voice is so raw and the drumming is so amazingly simple. I've played that track to a lot of people and they're always intrigued by it."
He took pop to brave new places
Taylor: "Prince was a pop musician – he never went off and made an unlistenable avant-garde record. But he could still do disorientating things in the studio. He might speed up one backing vocal while slowing down another, and make it all fit together with a regular-speed lead vocal, all at the same time. I also love the sparseness of his productions. Whereas most funk records are full of bass, he was happy to strip it away. Kiss is extremely minimal – I think it only has eight tracks of music in it – and yet it's still this huge pop song."
Joe Goddard: "Some of Prince's records feel closely tied to the 1980s, but sonically they still sound modern. That's because he was so adventurous with his ideas, lyrics, production and use of rhythms – the music escapes sounding dated. He was a big fan of the Eventide Harmonizer, an effects-processor used to add delays and reverb. Like Brian Eno, he used it to do a lot of quite brilliant things to vocals, drum tracks and so on. He was fearless and driven, creating music quickly, and without ever stopping to wonder whether his push for new sounds would alienate his audience."
He's the ultimate rarities artist
Taylor: "I've given a lot of money to bootleggers over the years. I used to buy tapes in Camden market and even now I'll trade with people when I come across someone who's got things I don't have. You can find a lot of stuff from his vault [Prince's vast collection of unreleased material, including albums, films and fully produced music videos] fairly easily, and that's what I've been listening to over the last five or so years – more than the original albums. There are hundreds of brilliant things there, as good if not better than the music that came out.
Some stuff from the Parade era is great, such as Others Here With Us, a bizarre and frightening song. Movie Star, which came out on the Crystal Ball compilation, is another favourite – it's a witty send-up of a successful person in the mid-80s who does loads of drugs and attends all the premieres. I also love the original version of Irresistible Bitch, from about 1982, which is a very dark disco tune with growly, raspy vocals. I'd love him to officially release all the songs from his vault, but for whatever reasons, Prince is very protective of his own catalogue.
He's one of the great showmen
Goddard: "When it comes to playing live, Prince is just so confident in his ability. He teases the crowd with segues between popular songs, covers and extended versions, and is quite happy to play slow jams for half an hour if that's what he feels like. As a musician, I understand how hard that is to achieve. Seeing him feels like a link to the great showmen and band leaders of American music – James Brown always comes to mind."
Taylor: "Perhaps the greatest gig I ever saw was Prince while he was playing the 21 nights at the O2. I managed to get a ticket to one of those aftershow club nights he was doing, where you never knew if he would turn up or not. It was just a real privilege to watch him in a venue that small, to be in the third row, seeing everything he was doing, and for him to play a completely different set from the two-hour one he'd just played in the main room.
The next night he'd turn up and play a completely different set – obscure tracks and reworkings. He was clearly having so much fun, while at the same time being completely in control. He kept me thrilled right up until 3am or whenever it was he finally finished."
He's a lifelong inspiration
Taylor: "Hot Chip have always been inspired by Prince. It's mainly the actual groove – the way melodic and rhythmic patterns interlock together – that we take from him. But sometimes he's influenced me directly. The song Hittin' Skittles was about someone I knew, but also about the Prince song The Ballad of Dorothy Parker.
And of course we had a song called Down With Prince, which came out in 2004 and was about all the people referencing Prince at that time. I didn't like it because musically they were just copying him in such an exact way that it seemed to miss the point. Prince never copied anyone, he was always so original. That song had a very serious sentiment, but it was also quite light-hearted, too. I mean, you can't really be angry with other people for liking Prince!"
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
image: © PeterTea