Keep It Like a Secret
What's the story of the Secret Affair?
Three and a half years ago my friends were putting on Seventeen Seconds—this little '60s soul night. One of the DJs dropped out and I joined. We wanted to keep it '60s and soul and in the Long Beach and Orange County area because there were never any nights like that. There aren't really any now. We keep it strictly '60s—Northern Soul, Mod Pop and always all-vinyl. We never play CDs.
Why only vinyl?
If I see a DJ playing CDs, no matter what he's playing, it's not as interesting to me. It's like he didn't take the effort to hunt down the original vinyl, or even the re-pressed vinyl. Vinyl means more to me. I don't even own a CD player.
How do you feel about mp3s?
I'm not into it. It's easier for wedding DJs who have to bring 400 or 500 CDs, but I personally wouldn't do it.
Is the Secret Affair a big Mod hangout?
The cool thing is it's all '60s and Mod music, but you only find one or two Mods there. So you don't really have to deal with the whole LA Mod scene. It's just people who love the music. Everyone goes to have fun and there's no bullshit.
You said there aren't many similar clubs in the area. Does that make things easier or harder?
At first it was hard getting people out. We started in Long Beach, then we moved to Santa Ana. When we moved it back to Long Beach, we didn't even have to flyer for it. And last month we turned away 100 people. It's all word of mouth now. And there's no competition right now.
What's your thought process when deciding what to play?
Sometimes I'll start the night slower and let everyone drink for a while. Then I'll play the more danceable songs. Other times I'll go straight into it, then slow it down a bit. I like to feel it out.
What are some of the oddest requests you've received?
Not so much the oddest request, but we always get people bringing CDs or records to our club. They'll bring the Cars, Van Halen, and random crap. There's zero attitude, but it's like, "Sorry, dude. It just doesn't fit."
Do you DJ outside of the Secret Affair?
That's my main residency. I'll DJ random shows. The Secret Affair is the only thing I'll specifically be at every month—fear of commitment, I guess. I hate weeklies, and I hate bi-monthlies. I can't be somewhere every two weeks.
What are your favorite places to get vinyl?
Online I always go to gemm.com. Fingerprints, Amoeba—you can't go there without spending $300 or $400. I'm always on the hunt.
Have any favorite locals?
Grand Elegance. The Mojo Filters were one of my favorites too.
What do you look for when you go to clubs?
I usually check out the DJ to see if I can steal any tricks from him. It's funny to see people playing mp3s or CDs and they'll be back there pretending to be scratching on vinyl. When you go peek around, they're like, "Shhh."
THE SECRET AFFAIR AT THE PIKE, 1836 E. 4TH ST., LONG BEACH, (562) 437-4453. FRI., 10 P.m. 21+. FREE. CONTINUES EVERY FIRST FRIDAY OF THE MONTH. VISIT MYSPACE.COM/ THESECRETAFFAIR AND MYSPACE.COM/FRANKIEALVARO FOR MORE INFORMATION.
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