CVIndependent

Wed04012020

Last updateMon, 23 Mar 2020 12pm

After six years at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs, DJ Day has decided it’s time for his popular weekly ¡Reunion! party to come to an end.

He recently announced that the sixth-anniversary edition of ¡Reunion! on Thursday, March 31, will be the final show.

“Honestly, after six years every week, which is something like 320 nights, it begins to take its toll,” DJ Day said during a recent interview in Palm Springs. “Long story short, I just got burnt out on the whole nightlife thing. It’s run its course, and I’d like to start doing something else. I want to get back into recording music, and I’m ready to move on as a person and just take a different path in my life. It’s been great, but it’s also a very trying thing.

“When I first started out, I talked to someone who had a weekly in Portland, and she said, ‘It’s not easy. You’re going to have stretches of good times and stretches of bad times.’ It’s been up and down lately, but it’s on an upswing right now, so I figured it was time for me to leave on a good note.”

For the past few months, DJ Day’s good friend and regular guest at ¡Reunion!, Aimlo, has not been present.

“(Aimlo) is moving away and hasn’t been coming since the end of last year. For the past three months, he’s been doing his own thing and gearing up for the move,” DJ Day said.

DJ Day, whose birth name is Damien Beebe, said the decision was completely his own, and that Ace Hotel management was surprised to learn about his decision, yet was supportive and understanding. He said he will continue his last-Saturday-of-the-month Highlife party at the Ace.

“The Ace Hotel didn’t even see this coming. I’ve been kicking around the idea for a year, and in my gut, something told me it was time to move on and do something different,” he said.

DJ Day said one of the things he enjoyed the most about ¡Reunion! was the vibe that could often be felt in the room—something I experienced myself many times.

“Trying to Rolodex through six years’ worth of shit is insane. There have been some crazy times, from people dancing on tables to trying to put money in my underwear,” he said. “The best times were (when the crowd was) willing to take a chance and trust me musically, and it creates this reciprocal feeling in the room where everyone is on the same vibe together. It’s a church-like vibe, and everyone has the same spirit going through them. It’s the best feeling I can get through music and playing other people’s music.”

¡Reunion! has featured many amazing guests. The first ¡Reunion! I attended was in 2013 during Coachella, when Flying Lotus showed up and performed a surprise set in the Amigo Room.

“There have been times when I didn’t even know who was in the room just hanging out,” DJ Day said. Lykke Li was in there chillin’ one night in a booth; Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine was there one night, and just other random people. You never knew who would be at the Ace.

“During the first two years, we’d have special guests once a month. Jeremy Sole (of KCRW radio) put together this flier, and I was trying to remember all of the people who came through, but it’s a pretty big list of folks. I just wanted it to be a place where people could come and hang out … and be comfortable. That’s why it’s ‘¡Reunion!’—it’s a place for people to come together. I wanted to create a good vibe, and I’m proud to say we never had any fights or dumb shit happen in six years.”

Along with Aimlo, the aforementioned Jeremy Sole was a regular guest at Reunion, and other local DJs such as Pawn, Pedro Le Bass, JF//Discord and Independent resident Alex Harrington often joined the party. There has always been a spirit of collaboration and openness.

“I’m very happy to be part of anyone else’s success, or give people a platform to do their art of playing their music when they never had (a platform) before,” DJ Day said. “I love being part of the community here and being part of the future of young people. For me to give a hand to anybody, it’s a great thing.”

Despite DJ Day’s busy touring schedule—including various international trips—he always came back home to play at ¡Reunion!

“I was on tour in Europe, and I remember coming back one night (and) getting off the plane at LAX,” DJ Day said. “I went home and showered, and went right to ¡Reunion!, because DJ Nu-Mark was playing that night. I wanted to go and just make sure everything was cool. My wife was like, ‘What the fuck you doing?’ And I was like, ‘Hey, I gotta be there.’

“What has taken its toll, in an emotional sense, is going overseas and playing for like 4,000 people in Tokyo, and coming back home to no love. It’d be like, ‘Where the fuck is everyone?’ I felt like people were starting to take this shit for granted, and it was like old reliable: ‘Oh, I’ll go next week,’ and next week becomes next month and on and on. Then you’re relying on the hotel guests, and that can fluctuate.”

DJ Day said ¡Reunion! has been a true learning experience, because he never knows what kind of crowd and vibe each Thursday night will bring.

“I have to be on my toes for whoever is there,” he said. “Some nights, it’s been straight party shit; other nights, I’m playing Portishead at fucking midnight. It just depends.”

DJ Day has talked about how much effort he put into his record Land of 1000 Chances, which was released in 2013. He said he’s a much different artist now than he was back then.

“Whatever music I choose to make now is coming from a totally different perspective, life-wise and internally, than where I was at that time,” he said. “That was a culmination of events that were going on behind the scenes both within myself and other areas of my life. That record addressed some of them, and I put my heart and soul into that record. I’ll still do that with the next one, but it’ll be from a different place. … I think I’ll be more of an optimist, and my taste has evolved and changed.”

What does DJ Day see himself doing on Thursday nights after the final ¡Reunion! show?

“Watching Better Call Saul on the DVR,” he joked. “No, actually, I don’t know. It’s going to be weird, and it’s going to be an adjustment. I’d like to spend more time with my family. That’s what I really want.”

DJ Day said he’s not sure what the future will hold for Thursday nights at the Ace.

“I’ve been there since Day 1—I used to do sets by the pool, so I’ve actually been there seven years,” he said. “I offered to find a replacement for me, whether it was Aimlo or Pawn, to continue that night, given they know it, but they might go in a different direction and do something completely different.”

DJ Day said he feels very thankful as six years of ¡Reunion! come to a close.

“I couldn't have done this without my man Aimlo, who's been there from Day 1, and my Ace Hotel family who have been nothing short of awesome,” he said. “I also want to give a tremendous thanks to all of the artists who've played ¡Reunion! and everyone who's come out and supported us throughout the years. Much love to you all.”

The Reunion Six-Year-Anniversary Farewell will take place at 9 p.m., Thursday, March 31, at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-325-9900, or visit www.acehotel.com/palmsprings. Below: DJ Day with Alex Callego.

If you’ve ever heard a set by local DJ Pedro Le Bass, you’ve noticed his name is appropriate: There’s a lot of bass involved in his sound.

The fierce but friendly DJ is a transplant from Seattle and has been part of the local music scene for a while now. You can catch him in action Tuesday nights at the Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club.

Pedro Le Bass recently discussed his moniker.

“Pedro is my real first name. Le Bass—well, I like bass music, and house. Anything with bass in it catches my ear, as long as you can dance to it,” he said. “I used to go by DJ Pac Man, but I had to give that up, because I wanted to do something different.”

Pedro said he was inspired to take up DJing after watching a video. “I was at my friend’s house in high school, and he played a Thud Rumble VHS tape. It was DJ Qbert, Mixmaster Mike and D-Styles. … I was like, ‘This is crazy, what these people are doing.’ I saw Skratch Bastid do ‘The Imperial March’ from Star Wars, but he flips this orchestra beat into the ‘Imperial March’ as a scribble jam, and that just blew my mind. After seeing that, I wanted to learn how to DJ.”

He bought some turntables off of a high school friend.

“I used to have these crazy parties at my house, because my sister played on the traveling softball and volleyball team,” he said. “The turntables ended up getting stolen at a house party a year later, out of my own house. The cops showed up, and everyone split, and they handcuffed me and threw me in the back of the car. I wasn’t in my house for a little bit, so I didn’t have turntables for a while, until 2000, when I moved here in the desert.”

Pedro said he always had one goal in mind as a DJ—having fun.

“I didn’t know what I was doing at all,” he said of his DJ beginnings. “A friend of mine was more of a battle DJ, and I actually wanted to learn how to blend. I wish I had recorded something when I first started, because it had to have sounded atrocious. But it was fun, the whole spirit of it. I would have the parties just so people could dance. That was the main thing: I wanted to make people dance and have a good time.”

After improving his skill set after moving to the desert, Pedro found himself with his first regular gig.

“My first residency was in 2001, behind where Bananaz used to be at a place called The Old Prospector,” he said. “I remember I used to open up for Mark Lewis, and he would come out once a week to play there. That was really crazy. I had that Eminem moment in the bathroom, because I was freaking out: I had never played something like that before, that was more official, on a legit sound system and at a real venue on a weekly basis.”

Pedro said he’s learned everything he knows about DJing by being a hands-on learner.

“I’ve learned mostly through being in the trenches with my friends and DJing at parties, bars and clubs,” he said. “That’s where the real schooling comes in. No amount of practice will ever prepare you for that feeling of when there’s people in front of you. That’s when things appear, and people can start choking.”

One skill every DJ needs to know is “beatmatching”—in other words, matching the tempo from song to song. He said he gets what he calls an “ear boner” when it’s done right.

“Remember when you were a little kid, and you got what you wanted for Christmas? It’s like that every two to three minutes when you throw another song on,” he said. “It’s great because you’re creating something out of two pieces of music. It’s not yours, but you’re manipulating it and making people dance, or whatever they’re into.”

Pedro said that no track is off limits as far as he’s concerned. He offered up Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” as an example of an off-the-wall track he’s played.

“If it makes you want to dance, I’ll play it,” he said. “I enjoy house music, because you can pull from the ’80s all the way to country music, funk, soul and hip-hop. It’s such a wide thing, and that’s what I love about open format. There’s nothing off limits. It might be off limits because you’re scared to try it—but people might dig it and freak out.”

Pedro hopes more venues for DJs open in the Coachella Valley—and that locals become more supportive.

“What I would like to see is larger venues popping up and hiring local talent,” he said. “There is local talent here. I’d like to see more local support, and this being a touristy town, if we can get some of the locals in these places to get heard, it’s going to put the Coachella Valley on the map. There are people here with crazy talent, but there’s just no real venue for them to express themselves or showcase that talent for people.”

For more information, visit www.pedrolebass.com.

Welcome to the March edition of FRESH Sessions!

I want to thank Ivanna Love (aka Cici Ochoa) for stepping in last month with her selection of tracks. There are more guest mixes on the way!

I am always looking to evolve and share the best tracks I can find, often featuring local talent. This month, I've featured a track from Coachella Valley favorite Pedro Le Bass. You can find his music via at soundcloud.com/pedrolebass.

Follow me on Facebook for an up-to-date list of shows. I'll be at Clinic Bar Lounge on Friday, March 7, and toward the end of the month, on Friday, March 28, I am part of the lineup for the NestEggg Food Bank Benefit Show at Bar, 340 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. (The show was organized by my friend Brian Blueskye, of the Independent!)

The March FRESH Mix is embedded below. Enjoy!

  • Basement Love, “Boy”
  • Toro y Moi, “Harm in Change”
  • Yuksek featuring Amanda Blank, “Extraball” (Tobasko Remix)
  • Colby O’Donis, “State of Mind” (Pedro Le Bass’ Pharmacy Remix)
  • Framewerk, “Electric Religion” (Original Mix)
  • Ks French, “Ain’t Nobody” (Ks French Re-edit)
  • Kant, “Love Like This” (Original Mix)
  • All Night Shoes, “So Far Away”
Published in Subatomic