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O.G. OC Funk-soul Brother: DJ Danny Love Has Brought the Party for 20 Years

DJ Danny Love has seen many changes in his 20-year career of bringing pleasure to club-goers from OC and beyond—especially when it comes to sonic formats.

"In the old days, you had to spend hours in record stores, digging in the crates to find a song you heard somewhere," the OC native recalls of his early vinyl-spinning days. "You couldn't just get a song on CD. You literally had to own that record."

Love (a.k.a. Danny Venegas) began DJing at high school parties as a teenager. He didn't acquire his nom de disque until college, as UCLA's concert director for cultural affairs. His duties included DJing school-associated events, so when a Spanish-themed party came about, he became Danny Amor for the night. "It just morphed from there, and the name stuck," Love says.

"I would DJ in and around town, [back] when early rave culture started. Eventually, I moved back to Orange County and met other DJ people," including DJ Beej and Sean Perry, the resident DJs at Empire Ballroom's early-to-mid-'90s club Disco 2000, he says.

"Disco was the novelty at the time," Love remembers, "but [inside the club], there was a small room that played '70s funk and soul. They said I could come in and spin there."

Soon, Love met John Huntington and Damian Sanders, the brains behind Club Rubber and Pimp N Ho, and he became one of Club Rubber's first resident DJs. "We still do parties together," he says of the team. "In Las Vegas, San Diego, Miami, everywhere."

Conveniently, Love also knew Memphis Café co-founder Dan Bradley from his UCLA days. "Dan opened Memphis, and I started DJing there," he says of the Costa Mesa hot spot. "From there, he bought the Detroit Bar, and we moved Bristol Sessions." Bristol Sessions is Love's current Friday-night gig, where he spins a mix of deep house and electronica. Along with stints at Detroit, he also plays at Kantina's Wednesdays On the Water and essenChill (Thursdays) in Newport Beach.

"Styles of dance music come and go," Love says. "My roots have always been in soul and funk."

DJ tools come and go, too. "First, there were records, and it wasn't uncommon to see a DJ cover up the [inner] label. Songs were like currency. It was like, 'I found this cool record, and I'm the guy who has this song.' When CDs came out along with technology that emulated vinyl turntables, there was some backlash. Someone who had spent five years searching for something now could just burn it."

But Love saw these developments as progress. "More music got out there, and you didn't have to worry about records getting scratched and beat up.

"I hate to say it, but I see the end of vinyl in clubs," Love predicts. "Now, there's an ability to manipulate digital music files the same way, and every piece of music you have is available to anyone else at the press of a button. All of a sudden, you're a DJ. But this keeps everyone on their toes, working harder to be better at what they do."

DJ DANNY LOVE PERFORMS WEDNESDAYS AND THURSDAYS AT KANTINA, 406 NEWPORT BLVD., NEWPORT BEACH, (949) 673-1400; WWW.KANTINA.COM; ALSO FRIDAYS AT DETROIT BAR, 843 W. 19TH ST., COSTA MESA, (949) 642-0600; WWW.DETROITBAR.COM. CALL FOR TIMES AND COVERS.

 
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