CVIndependent

Thu10172019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

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.

The airwaves of Los Angeles’ KCRW reach into the Coachella Valley at 89.3 FM, so you may have heard the work of Jeremy Sole, a delightfully eccentric DJ who plays salsa, disco, jazz, soul and blues.

You may have also heard him at DJ Day’s ¡Reunión! Show, held Thursdays at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club; Sole is a regular guest.

Sole has had an extensive career as a DJ and radio host. He’s performed at Coachella and has been around the world with some big names; in fact, he was the last DJ to open a show for Ray Charles. He’s also worked in the studio with Ms. Lauryn Hill, and has remixed David Bowie, Femi Kuti, Thievery Corporation and many others.

During a recent interview at the Ace just before he took over the mixing board from DJ Day, Sole began with the story of his childhood in Chicago.

“There were no musicians in my family, per se,” Sole said, “but I think from a really early age, my parents realized how much I loved music. My mom would always make a playlist of what she was going to play when she picked me up at school. I’d get in the car, and it would be ultra-corny, like Alice Cooper’s ‘School’s Out.’ It started being really thematic, where every moment of my life had a song to go along with it.”

Inspired by the hip-hop movement in the ’80s, Sole began DJing, in addition to skateboarding and doing graffiti art. He described himself as a “punk” when it came to his home life and school—and he eventually left both for a garden apartment that he shared with several of his friends, which led to him DJing house parties, some of which helped him and his roommates pay the rent.

“We would draw up fliers and go to Kinko’s. In fact, most of the next 10 years back then was spent at Kinko’s,” Sole said. “When we did those house parties when I was 15 years old, we promoted them to other high schools. We’re talking about ’89 or ’90, when there was a big gang problem in Chicago, and we’re promoting in public schools. Schools are assigned primarily based on where you live, and one school would be one gang, and another school is another gang. We had a room full of people where if I didn’t keep them dancing, they were going to be fighting. It did a beautiful thing to me: I realized that music is a great unifier.”

Sole explained that DJing, to him, involves knowing what to play, how to present it, and being able to inspire a crowd. While I was in the same room with him, I could tell that Sole is good at reading both individuals and crowds.

“I’m a sensitive dude,” Sole said. “I have to be to tap into those energies around the room. If multiple people are not on board with my vibe for whatever reason, that’s fine. If there are people who are making fun of me, or they think it’s dumb, I’m picking up on that, too. … I delineate between being a service DJ and the art-oriented DJ.”

Sole eventually got married and moved to Pomona, Calif. He began to throw loft parties that Sole said were attended by “everyone,” including metal heads, punk-rockers and others who don’t often attend dance parties. He also spent a lot of late nights in L.A., which strained his marriage at the time, he said.

His first DJ residency in Los Angeles led to his work with KCRW, an NPR affiliate.

“I was DJing at the Temple Bar in L.A., which was a great club and is now unfortunately gone,” Sole said. “They really did usher in a lot of new and amazing music at the time that has since blown up. Temple Bar opened up a second club nearby, and this one was going to be an all-DJ-based club. They let me pick a night, and I said, ‘How about Fridays?’ They said, ‘Well, we kind of have to book the people who play the hits and pay the bills on Fridays, so how about Thursdays?’ So I did Thursdays. I was blessed by having scenarios where people were coming just for what I was doing. (It turned out) the people who played Fridays weren’t just people who played the hits, but big DJs in town—one of which who happened to be Jason Bentley.”

Bentley is now the music director at KCRW.

“I didn’t even listen to the radio, and I didn’t know he worked at KCRW. One day, I got a call from Anne Litt at KCRW, and she asked, ‘Have you ever had any urge to be on the radio and do a radio show?’ I said, ‘Honestly, no, none at all. I don’t even listen to the radio—no offense to you or your station.’ She said, ‘I think you’ll find that we’re quite the different kind of radio station. Nobody tells you what to do. In fact, you’ve already been vetted, and we’ve been watching your career.’

“It took me awhile to realize how special KCRW really is; The New York Times said it’s one of the most popular radio stations in the world. KCRW is founded on the idea of eclectic radio. If you’re the hard-rock station, there’s no doubt that people are going to tune into that, but this is for everybody, and everybody might not like everything all the time. So we don’t have to just be eclectic; we have to be constantly eclectic.”

Sole’s eclectic taste, style and talent has led to him doing things he never imagined himself doing, such as performing at Coachella and touring around the world. However, Sole remains humble and modest—a man who wears his heart and creativity on his sleeve.

“My success and my career is not just that I’m playing onstage, but that I’m playing on stage with ‘that band,’” he said. “That’s what’s big for me, and I can’t believe I can say that. DJ Day would consider me a friend, peer and equal, but he was a hero to me for so long, so maybe that’s the propulsion that made me realize that I have something to offer, too.

“You’ll always hear me brag that I have the coolest friends in the world; the people I know blow me away constantly. How they chose to surround themselves with me is beyond me.”

Not going Coachella? You’re far from alone; most of us can’t afford the cash or the time it takes to go to the festival.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t experience a taste of what Coachella has to offer: A number of local venues throw affordable parties and events before, during and between the Coachella weekends.

We asked representatives of a variety of venues what they had planned. Some declined to tell us, at least as of our late-March press deadline—perhaps because they didn’t want to let the cat out of the figurative bag too early, or perhaps because the details had not yet been finalized. For example, we’ve heard rumors that venues including Bar, Clinic Bar and Lounge and others may hosting some great parties and events, but we couldn’t get the details. (Watch CVIndependent.com for news.)

Here are four great events about which we have the details.

Coachella Valley Brewing Co’s Pre-Coachella Warehouse Party

We admit we’re a little biased about this one, because we’re sponsoring it: On Saturday, April 5, from 3 to 8 p.m., Coachella Valley Brewing Co. will host a party featuring two stages of music, live art, great food and—of course—delicious beer.

Independent contributor All Night Shoes (Alex Harrington), with the help of with Phonetix Entertainment Group, has assembled an impressive DJ lineup that includes Synthetix, Ivanna Love, Femme A, RowLow and CreamSFV. Caitie Magraw and Michael B. Perez will create a live work of art in the midst of the festivities, too. The $35 ticket includes four CVB beers, and proceeds will go to EcoMedia Compass, a group working to restore and promote awareness of the Salton Sea.

Coachella Valley Brewing Co. is located at 30640 Gunther St., in Thousand Palms. Get tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/594166.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

Pappy and Harriet’s has announced a fantastic series of events going on before and during Coachella, and there may be more to come: Robin Celia, one of the owners of Pappy’s, told me one additional event may be announced in April; watch the Independent Facebook page for details.

Here’s what we already know: At 7 p.m., Thursday, April 10, the Afghan Whigs will play an outdoor show on the eve of their Coachella appearance. The Afghan Whigs announced their reunion earlier this year, along with news that they are recording new material. The show’s opener is Brody Dalle, the former frontwoman of the Distillers, and Queen of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme’s wife; she’s currently working on her debut solo album. Both of these acts should bring the house down! Tickets are $30.

Later that night, at 11:30 p.m., Goat and Holy Wave will be playing an indoor show; tickets are $15.

The good news: At 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 16, Little Dragon and The Internet will play an outdoor show. The bad news: The event is already sold out.

Pappy’s is located at 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza’s Coachella Kick-Off Party

The Hood Bar and Pizza has scheduled two shows by Mickey Avalon, at 9 p.m., Thursday, April 10 and Thursday, April 17. Avalon is a white dude from Hollywood who raps about drugs, prostitutes and his sexual escapades; he has a rather strange appearance that includes eyeliner and makeup. If you’re feeling brave enough to check this one out, and you’re 21 or older, tickets are $15. There are no pre-sales, so it’s first-come, first-serve.

The Hood Bar and Pizza is located at 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Call 760-636-5220, or visit www.facebook.com/thehoodbar.

Desert Gold at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club

Desert Gold is returning for 2014—even though we reported just the opposite in our print edition, due to incorrect information we had received. The festival will take place Thursday through Monday, April 10-14 and April 17-21

The free mini-festival will feature events curated by Festival NRML, described by the Ace as “a crucial convergence point between emerging artists from Latin America and the rest of the world.” Kindness will be doing a DJ set at a pool party from noon to 6 p.m., Friday, April 11. Later that day, Stronghold with Jonas Acunas will take place in the Amigo Room at 10 p.m. Festival NRML will hold pool parties on Saturday and Sunday both weekends from noon to 6 p.m. From noon to 6 p.m. on both Sundays, The Do Over will take over the Commune with barbecue, booze, and a lineup of mystery musical guests. (You need to RSVP on The Do Over’s website at www.thedoover.net/dodesert14 for these parties.)

DJ Day will be doing his usual Reunion shows in the Amigo Room on both Thursdays, and there’s no doubt he’ll have some special guests in what they are referring to as “Reunion Kickback.”

The Ace Hotel and Swim Club is located at 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Call 760-325-9900, or visit www.acehotel.com/desertgold.

DJ Day, aka Damien Beebe, may be the hardest-working DJ in Palm Springs.

He’s collaborated with the hip-hop group People Under the Stairs. He’s put out his own records. He’s traveled around the world for live performances. And he hosts the ¡Reunion! show at the Ace Hotel every Thursday night. Because of all of these efforts and more, he’s managed to become a prominent name in the hip-hop community.

His recently released full-length album, Land of 1000 Chances, feels like a throwback to the hip-hop sound during its coming-of-age in the late ’70s and ’80s in New York City. You can feel the inspiration from Funkmaster Flex in his music, melded with modern influences, jazz and funk instrumentals, and vocalists singing soul and classic R&B. It’s a blend of the old-school with some unique modern underground.

The story of Damien Beebe before he became DJ Day starts in Palm Springs.

“I was a latchkey kid, raised by a single mother, and living in an apartment in Palm Springs,” he said. “I got one of those Kmart one-piece turntables with a tape deck. I would teach myself to how to scratch and DJ with that and a little boom box playing in the background. It progressed outside of my house into house parties and going out of town to perform. I just kept going and going.”

Eventually, he crossed paths with Thes One from People Under the Stairs, who has family in Indio.

“We just hit it off; we had a lot of similarities. He asked me to do a remix for the group, and I ended up doing a few remixes for them,” he said.

They eventually decided together to jump ship from the record labels they were on at the time and form their own collective based label, Piecelock 70. “It’s not a record label, per se, but it’s more like an artist collective where we pool our resources to help each other out and get art out around the world,” he said.

As an example of the unique projects that Piecelock 70 has put out beyond music, he tells me about a book called The Mop, by Alan Simpson, based on stories Simpson created after working in a porno shop in Australia during the ’90s.

Aside from his work with People Under the Stairs, and the labor-intensive process of getting Piecelock 70 off the ground, Beebe’s DJing career keeps him busy and traveling all over the world. He’s performed in 16 different countries and has a corporate client list that includes big names like DC Shoes, Adidas, Ray-Ban, Levi’s, and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. His resume of remixes includes work from Quantic, Alice Russell, Aloe Blacc, Exile, and Clutchy Hopkins, to name a few artists. He was even hired to DJ for Justin Timberlake’s Shriners Open Golf Tournament in Las Vegas.

He said he stays true to himself through his music, which is a big part of his Thursday night event at the Ace Hotel.

“We play a mix of everything. It’s what I consider a musically open format,” he said of ¡Reunion!. “There’s everything from current music and underground stuff—classic hip-hop, soul, disco, funk, dancehall and reggae. There’s a little bit of everything.”

If there’s one thing DJ Day wants people to know about ¡Reunion!, it’s that everyone is welcome.

“The biggest thing I think about ¡Reunion! is that we try to be all-inclusive,” he said. “… We just try to provide a good time and a comfortable environment—where you can sit in the booth, have a drink and enjoy the vibe.

“… I want it to be like the show Cheers, where everyone knows your name. That the kind of vibe I want it to have”

DJ Day hosts ¡Reunion! at 10 p.m., every Thursday night, at the Ace Hotel’s Amigo Room. 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; admission to the 21-and-older event is free. Call 760-325-9900, or visit www.acehotel.com/palmsprings for more information.