Fans of dark music, rejoice! This Friday and Saturday, the Cloak & Dagger nightclub will present the Dusk Till Dawn Festival. The festival will take place at the historic Globe Theatre and Tower Theatre, in downtown LA, and the line-up includes an eclectic cross-section of bands, whose music spans the spectrum of goth and industrial acts. Some of the many acts are: KMFDM, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Health, TR/ST, Poptone, Com Truise, and ohGr. One of the club owners / organizers of this festival is Adam Bravin, who will also be performing music sets at the festival with his headlining band She Wants Revenge as well as performing as a solo act called Love, Ecstasy and Terror. The Weekly had a chance to speak with Bravin regarding the unique nature of his club, the origins of the festival, his musical career, and...a few surprises.
OC Weekly (Scott Feinblatt): What's the background of Cloak & Dagger?
Adam Bravin: Cloak & Dagger was an idea that I had a few years ago. I go out a lot, and I go to a lot of clubs that people refer to as goth clubs, and I have such a broad musical vocabulary and have been DJing for so long that I always feel like a lot of those clubs don't play some songs that occur to me as being dark songs that I've always felt would fit into the program if people would just let those kinds of nights evolve a bit, musically. And I just thought, "Why not just do it myself?" So, my good friend Michael Patterson, who is a producer and also mixed two [records] of my band She Wants Revenge, and he mixes Nine Inch Nails....We both enjoy the same types of music. I asked him if he'd be interested in doing a night where I would play not just dark music that people were accustomed to hearing when they go out to these kinds of clubs but everything that to me, at least, was considered to be dark music, whether it was lyrically, sonically, the vibe of it, anything goes as long as it falls under what I consider to be dark. And so we came up with a couple rules that we thought would help enhance the night: you have to wear all black, which, you know, I just think everybody looks cool when they wear all black; you have to be a member, and you can bring a guest if you're a member; and no photos or video is a very important rule because it allows people to enjoy the moment and focus on the things that, in my opinion, they should be focusing on when they go out — which are socializing and dancing and just being aware of the moment rather than trying to capture it all on social media. So we spent time reaching out to people who we thought would add something special to the initial group of people, and that [started] to create this community.
Can anybody buy a membership or...?
No. There's a way for anybody to get a membership, you just need to figure out how to do it. I can't say what it is, but there are various ways. On our website you can fill out an application, and basically if you say the right thing on the application, we reach out to you and start the process of becoming a member. We also meet a lot of people through our members that we ultimately reach out to and invite to be members. We get a lot of people that suggest people to us and a lot of the members there are just friends of ours or friends of friends, or people that are within the boundaries of the community that we've created. So, really it's possible for anybody to get a membership; you just need to figure out how to do it.
And once you are a member, are there dues or are there cover charges for attending?
At the moment, we are just starting to get into a contributing member situation. Michael and I have never made a dime from doing this club over the course of two years; that's not what we're interested in. We're interested in other things, so the contributing member idea comes from wanting to enhance the experience for everybody in a number of ways. In an attempt to do that, we're going to start to ask members to contribute whatever they can so we can then put that back into the nightclub and, like I said, enhance everybody's experience in a number of ways.
To what extent is Dusk Till Dawn an increase in the scale of your event scheduling?
The festival really just is an extension of the club. The idea of the festival came from wanting to do a two year anniversary party. The idea was to have my band, She Wants Revenge, do kind of like a secret show and there's a lot of members of Cloak & Dagger that are in various bands, so the idea would have been to have my band do a secret show and then maybe invite a couple of the other bands, who are members, to play with us. I reached out to my agent, Pete Anderson at APA, who represents She Wants Revenge, just to explore what it would look like if maybe we did something a little bit bigger that would include maybe five or six bands, and, rather than having bands play at the club, what would it look like if we did a night of live music somewhere else, perhaps. And within the conversation we were having about that, I asked Pete to explore festivals in general to see if there were any festivals that cover all the different genres of music that I cover when I DJ at the club, and after exploring that for a few weeks, he got back to me and said that he really couldn't find anything that mixed it up like we do at the club. There's a couple festivals that are either what they refer to as goth or industrial that would have like one or two curveballs, like a rapper, or if it was an industrial event they might have something that's not as abrasive or hard, but he really couldn't find anything that had multiple genres in the way that we play them at the club, so at that point, we thought it would be a good idea just to see if it was possible to do something on a larger scale. So we reached out to Brian Tarney at Restless Nites and Mitchell Frank at Spaceland Presents, and after speaking with both of them, within a couple months, we had come to the conclusion that we should all just do a festival together, and that's where it came from.
For the bands in the line-up who are not already connected in some way with Cloak & Dagger, how did you go about getting them to join the festival?
I sat down with Brian Tarney, and we just started making our dream list of bands, pulling from all genres and just keeping in mind that there needs to be some sort of quote-unquote dark sensibility to the acts that we were brainstorming, so we made a dream list. We got started a little bit late on putting together the line-up, so a lot of the initial thoughts that we had for bands had already been booked, but even under those circumstances, we put together what I think is one of my favorite line-ups of all time; and I can speak for Brian, I think, when I say he feels the same way. I just started thinking about the bands that I was playing at the club, and he was introducing me to a bunch of the bands on the line-up that I wasn't even really aware of in many ways...and once he introduced me to them, I was totally into them and I've become a fan of many of the bands on the line-up since. So, we just kind of sat down and brainstormed, and the next thing we knew, he reached out to a lot of the bands on our dream list, and a lot of them confirmed.
Is your band She Wants Revenge officially back together or is this reunion tour basically it?
We toured all last year to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of our first album. This year we've done a number of shows, and we're gonna continue to do shows throughout the rest of 2017 into 2018. As far as new music is concerned, we're considering potentially working on some new stuff but haven't started yet. I have a solo album coming out, my first solo performance will actually be at the festival; Justin, my bandmate in She Wants Revenge, has another band. We do multiple things in life, so to commit the time necessary to move forward with She Wants Revenge is a rather large commitment, so we're just trying to figure out if it's possible to create new music and then be able to support it by going out and touring more. It's a lot of variables, but we love that band and we know that there are people out there that love it, and we'd like to do all that we can to provide those people with whatever we can.
What's the name of the new solo project?
My solo project is called Love, Ecstasy and Terror. On the line-up, it's billed as LXT, and it's the first time I've ever done a solo record, the first time I've ever sung on anything before, and this will be the first time I'm getting up in front of people and singing, which is going to be interesting.
Is there anything else that folks might want to know about the festival?
The only thing that we really want everybody to be aware of is how much effort we're putting into really making this a special festival. There's an immersive side of the nightclub, which many people are unaware of, that we're incorporating into the festival. We have an award-winning director / writer named Annie Lesser, who works with us at the club on co-writing the immersive experiences that we do there, and she is writing and directing a number of immersive experiences that will be incorporated into the festival, which is something that I'm not aware of any other festivals doing — although there may be. So, there will be a whole immersive side of this festival, which I think people will find really amazing, and I think the most important thing is that along those lines, we just want to ensure that it will be possible for everybody to see all the bands that they want to see at the festival. There won't be any kind of capacity issues; it will be possible to see all the bands that people are excited to see.
When you say "immersive," that's very intriguing. Can you elaborate on that?
For the people that are interested in the immersive experiences, there's two things I can say: if you buy a VIP ticket, then you can actually schedule yourself for the exclusive, more one-on-one experiences that Annie has planned; if you don't have a VIP ticket, there will be immersive experiences for GA [general admission], and you just have to be aware of your surroundings and keep your eye out for them, and if you pay close attention, then you'll be able to be part of it.
That's even more cryptic!
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Yeah. That's what makes it so special. For most immersive experiences, you know that you're going to an immersive experience, so you know what to prepare yourself for in terms of you know what you're getting yourself into. At the club, it's a club that not everybody gets to experience that part of it. We only choose a limited number of people to go through the numerous immersive experiences that we have planned at the club on a weekly basis, and it's all super-secretive, and we just want to keep that spirit, you know? We want to hold onto that spirit moving into the festival and make it as much of a surprise as we do at the club.
That gives the club's name, Cloak & Dagger, relevance on a number of levels.
There's a lot of layers of Cloak & Dagger that people are not aware of and may never be aware of. We take it very seriously, and some people think it's just a nightclub where everybody wears all black, and it's members only, but I can assure you that it's a really special place that we put a lot of time and energy into. My partner Michael and I have really created a special place and a community.
Dusk till Dawn takes place Friday, October 20th & Saturday, October 21st, at 5:00 PM. The show is 21 and over, and tickets prices are $69 - $175 GA / $200 - $400 VIP Click here to purchase.