In case you have yet to discover LA-based Gotta Dance Dirty
, these guys run one of the best electronic music blogs out there, as well as hold their own branded events in major cities across North America. They recently celebrated the 2nd Anniversary (and final show) of their hugely successful VS party in Los Angeles, where we had the chance to chat with GDD’s founder, Jonah Berry, about party politics, his most embarrassing moment, and the future of dance music.
Be sure to bookmark/follow/like their pages below for tons of music news, event info and exclusive tunes – they keep things fresh daily.
TICT: For those who don’t know GDD, tell us a little bit about how the brand got started and how it “grew up.”
JB: I started GDD in the summer of 2008 purely out of my passion and interest in dance music. It really was initially as a way for me to share the music that I loved with my friends, and from there it snowballed into a source of music for more people than I could have ever imagined. I brought more friends on, and they added their own styles and tastes to the brand, really making it the amalgam musical interests that it is today.
TICT: Running a music blog, throwing parties, living at the center of one of the most energetic scenes in the world – it sounds like a dream. Did you think you’d be where you are today? What do you attribute your success to? Where do you see GDD heading?
JB: Being in LA has been a real blessing and catalyst for the rapid growth of GDD. International artists come through here all the time and we actually get the chance to chat with them and truly keep our finger on the pulse of the scene. We really never saw GDD paying our bills in the beginning, but as the brand grew (and we took more business classes in college), we really saw an opening for us in the industry. Personally I think that it’s really been a matter of grinding and getting out there, shaking hands, and establishing solid relationships with artists, industry-heads, and fans that’s made GDD successful.
We’re trying to take the GDD brand as far as possible. The scene has been and continues to explode, and we’re keeping all of our options open on how to be as involved as possible.
TICT: Once-underground dance parties have become some of LA’s hottest events, attracting a ton of attention. How has this impacted the party/music scene? How else have you seen things change over the past 5-10 years?
JB: Well, we really only entered the scene about 5 years ago, but in that time we’ve seen a nation-wide explosion of interest and appreciation for electronic music. Where there were only a handful of parties dedicated to dance music in 2008, we now see 15-20+ different things going on every week.
TICT: How competitive is the scene in LA, and what kind of relationships do different promoters have with each other? What’s your experience been like, collaborating with DANCEiSM and Giant/White Light to throw your VS and Control parties?
JB: There are a lot of politics with how events are run. As there are now in almost every city. We’ve maintained friends with everyone that we’ve worked with in the past, so we always do our best to respect what others are doing and never step on toes. Collaboration and cross-promotion in this industry is key. Those who are trying to take on the world by themselves and disregarding others will find themselves pretty lonely when shit hits the fan. We consider the people that we work with on both of our weekly events here in LA (DANCEiSM
on Thursdays and Whitelite
) our family. If you don’t get along well with the people you’re trying to make money with, it just won’t work out. We’ve been extremely lucky working with these folks and plan to for a long time.
TICT: Any disaster stories or embarrassing moments from your events?
JB: Surprisingly (and luckily), we’ve never really run into any disasters at our parties. Although, when we had AC Slater
play as a special guest at VS in Santa Monica, I was holding a Trouble & Bass
“Troublemakers Make Some Noise” sign behind him for the opening of his set upside down for about a minute before I caught eyes with someone who told me to turn it right-side up. Big up to whoever helped me on that one.
TICT: On the flip side, what have been your highlights, milestones or fondest memories with GDD?
JB: There have been so many good memories since we started everything up. I think starting our own event, VS, on the West Side of Los Angeles with DANCEiSM was a really big move for us. We’ve really made that event a prime LA play for artists coming through the city, and we’re proud of what we’ve done over the past two years. When we had Digitalism play a special guest set with Gary Richards
(Destructo) of HARD
, the place was packed with happy kids. Nothing better than seeing happy people at your own party.
Also, I have to give credit to my colleague Steven for developing an amazing apparel model. It’s been a huge milestone for us to sell hundreds of clothing pieces around the world.
TICT: What advice would you give to brands trying to kickstart a scene?
JB: I think my advice would be to emulate and take influence from other brands that you like, but make it your own and do what you think could be better. Don’t worry about being underground or selling out – just believe in what you’re passionate about and run with it. If it doesn’t work, change it up and make adjustments until it does.
TICT: You’re partnered up with some huge brands. How did those relationships come about, and have they changed the way things work at GDD?
JB: We like working with like-minded people. I think everyone does. Luckily there are a lot of forward thinking brands that are into the dance music industry, and it’s been great to work with people that are all for the same goal. It’s all about chatting with people and making connections. Sometimes things come out of those chats and sometimes they don’t, but it’s really all about making that first step.
TICT: You guys have some wicked keen ears for new music. Spill: what direction do you see EDM heading, both stylistically and culturally?
JB: Well, that’s the toughest question out there at the moment. Dance music has become mainstream, so culturally we’ll be hearing it a lot more everywhere – commercials, radio, sports events, etc.
On the other hand, there’s always going to be an underground scene, so I’m expecting/hoping we’ll see a resurgence in warehouse parties, day-of address announcements, and all that fun stuff. But honestly, anyone’s guess is as good as mine right now on when or if this bubble will burst.
TICT: With EDM hitting the mainstream, do you think it will leave a lasting impression on popular music in the States?
JB: Yes, I think it will. People remember Pop songs decades later. Maybe not all of them, but I think many of the mainstream tracks that have already invaded popular media will be remembered, for better or worse.
TICT: What was the most-played song in your office in 2012?
JB: Ah that’s a tough one, but I’d say that the entire Justin Martin album
has been played a good 100+ times.
TICT: What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
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