Tuesday, January 27, 2015

february mardi gras

Sorting the photos from February of 2002 reminds me that I may not always be able to write quite so much about every single month worth of photos; there are 246 for Mardi Gras 2002, alone. As time passes, numerous events will take this storyboard form.

There were only two other events that I covered in this month though. The first was a little party at Oldham, the place that would later morph into KC's most dance-music influential nightclub, Kabal Restaurant & Nightclub. That's a whole other story on the horizon though.

On this night particular night it was just a newly renovated and opened restaurant space, with local Steve Thorell dishing out House Music from a folding table to a small group of friends in the basement.
The only other event outside of Mardi Gras would be later in the month, when we returned from Mardi Gras just in time for a birthday celebration for local DJ D.Day down at Club Evo's.

Mardi Gras was the event photo story for the month though, and we arrived in New Orleans, just in time to meet up with friends at the Endymion Parade, led by Grand Marshall Jason Alexander. We took a stroll through the Quarter afterwards, to see what we could see. 

It was still a few days before Mardi Gras, but the party was starting to form. Some girls from Playboy, one of which appeared to be Pamela Anderson, were putting on an early show. Down the street further, some local were doing the same. Everything was as expected.

Lundi Gras was pretty laid back. We really didn't go into the Quarter for much, except to drop off some equipment at Checkpoint for the Creaters of Habit gig that night. Our close friend was playing a gig with his old krewe, and it was to bleed into the early hours of Mardi Gras morning. 

We didn't get involved with that after the gig, but did peak around the corner into the Marigny for a moment, catching a little percussion improve and meeting random people needing a light.

The next morning we skipped most of the parades. Instead, we roamed relatively open streets that would later collapse under the weight of the massive night time population. We avoided even that. during the night on this trip. We focused on meeting various people and capturing some of the random uniqueness that wandered about and had a blast. 

Without doubt, the adventure ended back in the Marigny. It is our favorite spot on Mardi Gras night, either on the street or at Cafe Brasil. We even took a little video snapshot of it. There is no better place, except maybe a moment to chill at the Dragon's Den. .

Thursday, January 22, 2015

camouflage chfm worldwide

photo: househeadspeaks.com
South African born DJ/Producer Kimesh Desai aka Camouflage is an artist dedicated to the House Music cause since 1997. With over 15 years involvement, Camouflage has worked himself from the dance floors of Johannesburg, where he spent many weekends cultivating his love of House Music before acquiring some turntables and a mixer and  moving to London in 2003.  Once in London, after attending various parties, he finally began to land gigs at some of the top nightclubs in London, like Pacha and Ministry of Sound, finally landing a residency in Ibiza in 2007.

Starting up Chicago House Music FM (CHFM) in September 2008, Camouflage opened the first show, and after several weeks of continuous support and success, kicked off a second show after only 2 months.  Live from Scotland, London, Eastborne and Manchester, a whole new world began to unfold for Camouflage and CHFM.

Having very little music knowledge and armed with just that of being a DJ, he landed his first release in 2008 on Flexual Records (South Africa). He began to spend more time on the radio and focus on CHFM after that first release and has since released tracks on Guesthouse, Tango, Flapjack, Phobic, Deepfunk, Funkfield with full support from some of the biggest names in the industry.

Camouflage moved to the Florida next, giving even greater recognition to CHFM, which after only 3 short years in the USA, now hosts over 50 DJs from across the globe and over 100,000 listeners worldwide. CHFM now hosts shows in USA, UK, Europe and South Africa and is gaining a huge following by people looking to share their love of House Music.  CHFM has hosted a few events too, spreading the love at South by Southwest (SXSW), inter Music Conference (WMC) another points around the world.

CHFM Records have been putting out new talent releases as well as growing the scene in respect towards the ethics of House music.  Camouflage recently started a second label, Keep It Real House Music, which aims to grow the talent into positive and powerful producers to help make an impact for themselves and those around them.

Camouflage is all about House music. He has dedicated every second he has to growing and projecting the positive vibe of the music, the self awareness and growth potential it has when you believe in it. Camouflage believes that House Music and Chicago House Music FM (CHFM) is not about a specific lifestyle or trend but rather a way of life to actively shape your lifestyle to be the best you can be at it.  Recently.

CHFM just released a track for free download, Camouflage featuring Mary J, "Be With You." on Soundcloud.  Have a listen...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Along the way during the previous month, I was invited to a party in a downtown penthouse called Capricorn's Delight; a birthday party in honor of local DJ Solaris and a girl known only as Shadie.  If I recall it was Solaris that lured me in, intimating that if I really wanted to see inside, I should come.

Arriving at Capricorn's Delight,  I announced my arrival by shattering my gift of a giant bottle of J├Ągermeister on the floor.  Of course, someone immediately attempted to dub me with the nickname of "J├Ąger," which would have been acceptable enough , except I was already becoming fairly well known as "that phocas guy."  Cleaning up the mess and taking a short tour around the facilities, I got a chance to meet a few folks, until Kansas City's Finest arrived, complaining about their lack of invitation.  They were polite and considerate about the whole thing, and simply asked that everyone pack it up and relocate.  As a result, the Penthouse Party transformed and relocated as a House Party out south.

Although not quite as nice as looking out over the city, the new location provided a bit more comfortable environment to chill for the remainder of the night.  Arriving at the new location, I was immediately accosted by what would turn out to be one of my most loyal backers, and good friend, DJ NuSkool.  He was a bit confused at my attendance, what I had been up to, and demanded to know if I was a cop.  I told him No, and asked if he was.

Agreeing that we were both harmless in that regard, we stormed the house together.  So many kids and so many DJs lit up the house that night that my mind still reels a bit.  I only recall now from the photos and friendships made that night with folks carrying some of what seemed like the most bizarre of names; DJs  Paul Wicked, DotCom, Velvin, and even Shandi, who would later make an appearance, and stir a bit of controversy on the second cycle of America's Next Top Model.

There were some interesting conversations that night, and I really didn't meet a single person that I didn't care for.  These were the scene, and these were the "kids" I would follow for the next 5 years.  Some are still active today, some not so much, some not at all, and a few have even passed on (RIP); all were intensely fascinating in their own way, accepting irregardless of the obvious age difference, and overall just a lot of fun to hang out with.  I got a chance to finally meet the infamous DJ Solaris, who I had only talked with online.  He was late, having missed the early situation with KC's Finest.  He was another that was to become intensely loyal to the cause, and his contributions to the project would prove to be invaluable.

Sometime in the early am, I decided it was time to head home though.  The DJs had played their hardest and loudest.  People were beginning to glaze over and fade into the corners of the house, yard, and points beyond; as well, their own imagination.  They had partied hard and danced hard, and the morning light was threatening on the horizon.  It had been fun, and I knew I was on to the right group of folks, but still felt needed to find a little more ... shall we say, diversity?

It would have to wait though.  The next night was a huge party at the El Torreon Ballroom, once one of the premier concert venues in Kansas City; now, a church.  The event, "A Machine for Living," promoted by local record store DeepFix Records, offered an intense of night of technical performances from John Selway and JT Donaldson, along with a host of some of the finest local talent that Kansas City had to offer.  Dark and intense, the party lasted until 3 am, and I was there for the entire show.  Everyone danced, except those that could no longer.  I was amazed and secretly thrilled that people would come together like this for no other purpose; well, there were some other purposes, but they lurked on the fringes.  I was prepared with battery power this time and managed to get quite the collection of photos of the event, as it unfolded.  The photos kind of tell the story all on their own, which would also become a standard.  As more and more events like this fell into the camera eye, they would become their own photo-story-boards, which rarely told anything but the truth of the matter.

Continuing to seek diversity though, I returned to the Wednesday Perk, Evo's Monday, and Stylus Friday, before meeting another that would invite me down to Davey's Uptown Ramblers Club for a little Monday night weekly called Evolution.  This edition just happened to feature the renowned DJ Hellraver, whom I had heard of from the mega-club days of Limelight, Palladium, and the Tunnel.  What shocked me was that after playing for those huge crowds in the mid-90s, he was here playing to small crowd of about 30 folks.  This was to be the case for many of the big names I would encounter though, and somewhat of a standard for Kansas City.  We always seem to be privy to the most intimate performances here, and nobody is the wiser!

A related House Party ensued the weekend after the DJ Hellraver show; a Belial House Party.  It was not quite as intense as Capricorn's Delight, but that was not really these folks style.  Everyone kind of chipped in music from their personal CD collections, talked and mused over various topics, plying me with questions here and there before quietly dispersed into shadows of the night.  These were the Goth/Industrial scene, which surprisingly turned out to be a bit more relaxed in their late night efforts; that is, at least in the beginning.  They proved to be quite a bit more intense, publicly.

Overall, reflecting back, the two parties seemed to be a bit of an introduction and induction of me; a testing of the waters, you might say, for those involved to discover how much danger actually lurked behind that camera.  The conclusion seems to have been that phocas was relatively harmless, since I continued to be invited deeper and deeper into "the scene" of the rave world and goth/industrial world.