In 2004, Dennis Kane and Darshan Jesrani met during a sound check. A friendship and creative bond grew from that moment and Adult Section and Strobe Lodge eventually began. June 4th will be the next installment of the Strobe Lodge, and DailySession recently sent Darshan and Dennis some questions, via email, to get a better look at what pushes them and delivers such solid parties.
01. How did the two of you meet and begin playing records together?
DJ: I think the first time we met was at a sound check downstairs at APT on west 13th st. This was probably back in 2004-5.. Not too long after we did our first Adult Section night at a short-lived place called Opus 22, which was near the West Side Highway, an ill-fated venue which ended up closing because one of the bouncers shot someone right outside. That one good night we did there was enough though, to set the tone for what was to come.
DK: We went in together to preview and EQ the new funktion 1 system at APT, I think in 2004, shortly after that we did a party at Opus 22, it was a one off really, but we had a great time and thought – why not do it again.
2. What bonds you both creatively when it comes to playing events together?
DJ: Probably just that we both aspire to play with the most feeling we can, and that we try to play up to people and make the place happen in the best way we know how at the moment. We try to employ some thought, and overall desire to see something different happen each time, each in our own way.
DK: Well different but sympathetic approaches, but ultimately the desire to make the night as enjoyable as possible while exploring whatever genres of dance music that inspire us. Drive the bus up the hill, and then floor it down the hill! Seriously the idea of a crazed bus trip sounds like an apt description. The nights have always been full on, and there has been an offhanded and easy rapport with a really great crowd of people.
3. When and how did Strobe Lodge come about?
DJ: The first Strobe Lodge parties we did at Love, I believe in late 2006/early 2007, on West 8th & McDougal. The club is still running, though in a slightly different form than it was when we were there. The sound system and booth in the place were unrivaled, but there were other factors that kept us from setting down roots. On we went… To a loft on Canal St. where we brought our own sound, staffed the place with our friends — Dennis even installed a huge A/C in the front window. Valiant as that was, the place still ended up being an utter sweatbox. Needless to say, this was encouraging.
DK: Well the first one we did at Love – summer of 06′ I believe, Love had the new GSA sound system and it was a joy to play on it, Gary did an amazing job, the booth really set the standard. We screened the Barbet Schroder film “More” to start out the night. It was a great way to open a party. Aside from the exemplary sound not much else about the venue was right. I played with Harvey on his last night there, last July…by then the system suffered from lack of upkeep and shortly after it changed ownership. We went next to this loft on Canal street, Anthony and I installed the largest AC we could get, Dar was finding home delivery port-a-johns, Tino from RTS hooked up the sound, and it was a crazy sweaty night, the walls were perspiring.
4. What is the idea behind Strobe Lodge’s party and theme? Are there any policies or select musical styles?
DJ: While I’d stop pretty short of calling our style of playing “eclectic” I’d say that we dip into a whole range of stuff to try and serve a singular feeling. In the middle of our nights the music centers in and around different styles of 4/4, new and old, disco, house, euro/imports, R&B, all kinds of stuff. On the edges things get fuzzy…
DK: One thing for sure – we take some time to warm it up, build the vibe, and then also go as late as one possibly can! Make sure the energy is good and people are getting down and while doing that try to avoid habit or cliché, play those records that you really want to hear, do it with fervor….as my son would say; “Correct styles!”
5. How many people were behind the start of Strobe Lodge, and how many are working on it now?
DJ: In the beginning I guess it was Dennis, myself, our friend Anthony on the street promo, SPAM at the bar, SPAM’s sister and some security connects on the door. That was really it. Now we’ve got some more great people involved, and we plan on solidifying what we’ve already built and taking it farther.
DK: In the beginning it was the two of us, with our pal Anthony on street promo, Spam and his sister Kiera holding down the bar and door respectively. Now Len Wiggins from coolinthepool.com partners with us and was a huge help with the last one, Sean B is in full effect as well, there is always a crew of people who come and help us pull it off, we are so fortunate to have the support.
6. What is the difference between Strobe Lodge and Adult Section?
DJ: Strobe Lodge is something we do which is completely our own. We find a space, bring in our own sound, bar staff, door and security help. We set the mood, we sound check carefully, we use a Urei and isolator from Dennis’ studio, we run a film silently — something provocative and pretty to look at. From here we build a vibe very slowly from 10pm onward with the music we’re most into at the time. Stuff for the people and for ourselves simultaneously.
Adult Section is a night we do at more-or-less established club venues where we try our best to convey our vibe and ideas about playing records to a mixture of our crowd and the built-in crowd of the place itself. There have been some great nights and places. Opus 22, Table 50, most recently Cielo.
DK: Strobe Lodge is a labor of love, we trick out a space and build a vibe, our staff, lights, imagery, etc….
Adult Section is where we try to bring the vibe to a commercial venue, the sound system at Cielo has made it easy. We always have a ball there and we will be celebrating our second anniversary on the 18th of June (special guest Morgan Geist).
7. What inspired the both of you to begin DJ’ing?
DJ: I don’t know, I guess it was inevitable. I have been into records and music technology forever, since I was 8 or so. There has always been a certain quality to songs I love, which I feel like I need to broadcast to others. As I get older and wiser I’m peeling back and understanding the layers of what it means to play music for people at a nightspot, or anywhere really. I’ve also been fortunate enough to partner with some very talented people who contribute to my growth.
DK: As a kid I collected and played records, I had a mini turntable and was always into getting new stuff, but also checking out what friends had and going to their house to dance, it was such a great social thing. A total ballast to the misery of the mundane. As I grew older it was a habit that stayed. I recently DJ’ed my sons 4th birthday it was so much fun seeing these kids go off… (well once they got over the oddity of seeing actual records) It is still such a powerful gesture sharing the music you love.
8. How do you feel about NYC’s DJ and Club Scene today compared to the past?
DJ: Since I started going out in NY in the mid 90s I can only refer to that far back. I know that the city hadn’t yet started its massive turnover of real estate and everything that came along with it, including tougher nightlife regulations, impossible rents and unavailability of space. This is sort of where we are now. I’d read that in the 70s there were literally thousands of cabaret and liquor-licensed venues in the city. Now there are like 300.
DK: Things have changed a great deal, the real estate industry has done so much damage to the idea of a “downtown”, that one no longer exists, Brooklyn seems to be the future. Also concurrent with that, the marketing of “youth culture” has made DJ’ing a social trope… it’s bizarre really, but you can’t let it get you down, entitled networking socialite, fake bearded hipster, whatevs. Just connect to the music, and try to remember the joy that got you going in the first place.
9. Are there any new releases that you’re excited about?
DJ: Mostly the stuff I’m working on, forthcoming Metro Area album, etc.
DK: The new Disques Sinthomme “Ledger”, a new Ghost Town edit in a few weeks, The Idjuts did a great remix of a track from the Cantoma album, Gerry(Rooney) & Joel(Martin) have some new stuff coming out, there is always a counter force.
10. Can you tell us how you came up with the name Strobe Lodge and it’s meaning?
DJ: We were trying to come up with something kind of playful that has a few different connotations having to do with our ideal of a night, without actually saying it outright.
DK: Obviously we watched the Flinstones! We wanted something that was occlusive and fun, something that was emblematic… now if we can just get some crazy hats.