By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
Get Lifted By the Gifted
The Double Fisted crew prove disco rocks
"Disco sucks!" was a common epithet for years; certainly, lots of fools are still slinging around this opinion. Yes, much disco was weak (same goes for any style of music), but dig beneath the genre's cheesy surface, and you'll find some amazingly deep and soulful tracks.
That's exactly what the knowledgeable heads behind the Double Fisted Underground have been doing every Saturday for the past four years at Avalon Bar. DJ Poppa (Chip Bernal), Dirty-Lo (Stefan Rivera) and Scotty Coats (who's recording for Rong/DFA; more details in a future column) are Technics vets who've been enhancing Orange County clubbers' lives and schooling a younger group of DJs in the process. But the weekly grind has taken a toll, so now the trio will downshift to a monthly at the same cozy spot on Costa Mesa's bustling West 19th Street, as well as at other joints of exquisite taste, including the Light Gallery in Costa Mesa. The triumvirate are calling it Suck My Disco. Because they can.
"We just feel it's time to move on, [get] a fresh start," Poppa explains. "It will enable us to do more one-offs in LA, Frisco, Oakland, etc."
For Dirty-Lo, whose home-improvement business is demanding more of his energy, "it is time to move into another phase. We gave our town a shove, and [we] also know when to show them how to dissolve."
Before Poppa relocated from the Bay to OC in 2004, he received the sage advice to contact Coats, who was running a monthly at Avalon with ex-pat Brit Tim "Love" Lee called Touch It; meanwhile, Dirty-Lo was also doing a party there called Shake (he's also part of the B-Sides Friday-night party at Avalon). Both guys asked Poppa to spin records, and, Poppa testifies, "They all went off." So Poppa started his own night at Avalon with Harvey B and Josh Stanton called Pure Rubbish.
"All this stuff was crackin', and Avalon was packed every Saturday," Poppa recounts. "I thought it was kinda silly that we were all doing our own thing there, so I brought up to the boys the idea of combining all three into one party. The DFU was born!"
"Originally, it was created to send a rift through empty space," Dirty-Lo theorizes. "Nothing around seemed to hold the sounds or momentum felt by us, nor did they combine the music in a complete stream the way we did. . . . You never heard the Gun Club mixed with a disco track until you stopped by the Avalon for a double dose of the Fisters-and when I say disco, I don't mean that shit you want to associate the word 'disco' with. If I have to explain it, it's too late."
Disco has enjoyed a critical rehabilitation this decade, as well as a successful makeover by numerous modern producers. Double Fisted has been a local catalyst for this phenomenon.
"Bottom line is, we have earned a little bragging rights, especially when [our style] was so widely re-created," Dirty opines. "So much so, in fact, I almost forgot we were at the epicenter of that wave. You could not find a better, various, [stronger] mix in town. As soon as computers made things a bit easy, every jokester on the block with some good looks and a crowd seemed to have the same disillusion that they started this."
Double Fisted's DJs reward dancers who value hypnotic, patiently building grooves that radiate sensuality rather than the coke-addled, fidgety hysteria prevalent at many electro nights. Highlights have been plentiful during DFU's run, though these movers and shakers don't think of them in specifics, but rather in general, immersive feelings.
Poppa waxes philosophical: "The reason we all do it is because, every once in a while, you get to fill that void—the void you can't fill by sitting on your couch, working behind a desk or digging ditches. The void that gets filled when the music, the vibe, the people and the space all come together and lift off the ground! Many things have to go right in the stars to get to that point, and we've had many moments like that at DF. The good part of life: music, friends and family enjoying a drink and a fuck or two."
So how will Suck My Disco differ from DFU? "It won't, really," Poppa says. "We do it right already. However, it will be at places other than the Avalon, so it will be bigger, faster, stronger!"
Future bookings of friends/kindred spirits Harvey, Spun, Lee, Solar, Buck, Tim Sweeney, Garth, Jeno and Idjuts will likely materialize. SMD's wish list includes Todd Terje, Chicken Lips and James Murphy. "We have lots up our sleeve for '08," Poppa promises.
Never been to DFU and curious about Suck My Disco? Let Poppa and Dirty-Lo tell you what to expect. "You'll get high, get laid—and probably at the same time, all while on the dance floor. And you'll probably meet some people you'll end up loving for the rest of your life," Poppa maintains.