India Loves Dembow mix from The Incredible Kid

For years now India has been cranking out tracks showing the clear influence of the Dembow riddim and all its offshoots. The Punjabi scene has been the most impacted, but this mix also includes various Dembow-influenced rap, R&B and moombahton efforts in Hindi as well. (If you know of any Dembow tracks in Tamil, Telugu, etc., please send my way.) You’ll notice how much some of the songs sound like Major Lazer’s “Lean On,” whose filmed-in-India video is one of the biggest influencers of the trend. In fact, I could have made a whole mix of just songs aping “Lean On.” The songs on this mix only represent a fraction of the scene. I had originally selected over 100 songs for this mix, so this could easily be volume 1 of a long series.

India Loves Dembow Tracklisting

1Ravneet Singh & Vee – Laung Gawacha
2 Garry Sandhu – I Swear
3 Nimrat Khaira,Mankirt Aulakh – Suit
4 Sunanda Sharma – Jaani Tera Naa
5 Garry Sandhu feat. Jasmine Sandlas – Illegal Weapon
6 Babbal Rai – Mai Terra Akshay (feat. Bohemia)
7 Shipra Goyal – Dj Te
8 Akasa – Thug Ranjha
9 Raftaar – Baby Marvake Maanegi
10 Aastha Gill, Sachin Sanghvi, Jigar Saraiya, Divya Kumar & Sachin-Jigar – Kamariya (From “Stree”)
11 Garry Sandhu – Alert Kudey
12 Emiway Bantai – Machayenge
13 Neha Kakkar, Romi, Arun & Ikka – Chamma Chamma (From “Fraud Saiyaan)
14 Badshah – She Move It Like
15 Amrit Maan – Pariyaan Toh Sohni
16 Sukriti Kakar & Prakriti Kakar – Sudhar Ja
17 Jasmine Sandlas – Veera
18 Shailendra Singh – Hoga Tumse Pyara Kaun (Kone Kone Remix)
19 Nucleya – Lori (Tota Myna) [feat. Vibha Saraf]

Brand New Incredible Kid DJ Mix for 2018!

Every year I swear I will record more DJ mixes, and every year I fall far short of the prolificness to which I aspire. Here is my first mix of 2018, recorded live in the Batcave in one take. Enjoy.

Rough’N’Ready Sessions Vol. 1: Rolas en Español y Portugués Tracklisting

1) Bomba Estereo – Internacionales (Ruben Ibañez & Antonio Jarri Remix)
2) Milka La Mas Dura – Brechadora
3) Tropkillaz – Disbroqueia A Tela
4) Karol Conka – É o Poder
5) Heavy Baile – Bathroom Sex
6) RAYRECK – Pa Qui
7) Tropkillaz – Que Passa Amigo (Beauty Brain Remix)
8) Mark B – Vamos A Ponernos Locos
9) La Insuperable – Que Me Den Banda
10) El Alfa – Suave
11) El Alfa, Farruko, Bryant Myers, De La Ghetto, Zion, Noriel Villano Sam – Banda de Camión Remix
12) Cazzu – Kaiosama
13) Rocky Wellstack X Maki – Hechizo
14) Jenn Morel – Ponteme (DJ Baysik Remix)
15) DJ Otto- Selecta
16) Bomba Estereo – Soy Yo (Alan Freeman Edit)
17) Curt Powell – Porro Bonito
18) MAKI – Que Buena
19) Lady Vixxen – Griselda Blanco
20) Beapelea X OK Girl – Hazmelo Otra Vez
21) Niña Dioz – Mierda (Reptilian Commander Remix)
22) Los ACME – Voodoo Song (Moombahton Remix)
23) Willie Colon & Hector Lavoe – Barrunto (Tropkillaz Remix)
24) Ralfi Pagan – Pela’o (Cocotaxi Remix)
25) MULA – Nunca Paran
26) Baja Frecuencia feat. La Dame Blanche – El Palo
27) Nitty Scott – Mango Nectar
28) Dk La Melodia, Heidy Brown, Nipo, Lr “Ley Del Rap”, Joa, MC Pablo, R-1 La Esencia, Villanosam, Black Jonas Point – Los Mas Buscados
29) Dom La Nena – Batuque (Jeremy Sole & Atropolis Remix)

What the Wonder Woman Film Got Completely Wrong


I am a lifelong superhero comics reader who has held on to memories of the Wonder Woman TV show from the ’70s and I was definitely eager to see the new Wonder Woman film after it was so well-reviewed and seemingly well-received by an audience eager to see a female superhero on the screen. I am all for women superheroes. (As a child I dreamed I was taken in by a powerful group of women superheroes. I was their little sidekick.) I am all for more women-centered movies, and more movies conceived, produced, written and directed by women, (Wonder Woman may have been directed by a woman, but it was written by four men.) However, the film just didn’t work for me at all, because of how it betrayed the character and meaning of Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston and artist Harry G. Peter, debuting in October of 1941. We can also wonder about how much Marston’s wife Elizabeth and lover Olive Byrne (they lived in a polyamorous relationship) contributed to Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman was specifically created as an antidote to the “blood-curdling masculinity” of the male superheroes. She was intended to be the powerful, independent woman hero raised by the sisterhood who chose peace over violence and love over hate. As I outline my problems with the film, note that I am not critiquing things simply because they differ from the comics. (In fact, in 70-plus years of Wonder Woman comics a lot of things that I disagree with in the film have been tried in the comics as well.) I don’t care if changes are made if they are true to the character, but I have a real problem when they undermine the character and the character’s core concepts. Note that I saw this movie when I was very tired after several nights of little sleep (I am a DJ after all.) and I was fading in and out towards the very end. I have only seen the film once and I am going on fatigued memory, so who knows how many mistakes are contained in this essay. This is by no means a list of everything I didn’t like about the film. These were just the most jarring things that I felt totally flipped what Wonder Woman is supposed to be about upside down.

The movie starts off wrong right at the beginning. In her original origin Wonder Woman was sculpted from clay by her mother Queen Hippolyta and given life by Aphrodite. This is an all-women birth! A female superhero and no men were involved in her creation! What a radical concept. Aphrodite is the goddess of love, but the film gives her the boot and instead elevates Zeus as the god involved in her creation. I realize that this follows recent changes made to the comic book character of Wonder Woman, but it is all wrong. If you have a character who is about female empowerment and the triumph of love over violence, Aphrodite is the right choice, not Zeus. The movie then moves on to talking about Zeus and Ares. Wow, so we get the God of War in her origin story, but all female goddesses are kicked to the curb? No goddesses in Wonder Woman’s mythology as present on screen? Male gods being centered at the beginning of the story about Wonder Woman? GTFOH.

Paradise Island (as originally concevied, now known as Themyscira) is supposed to be the result of women isolating themselves from the world of men. Originally that meant that Paradise Island had developed powerful technology including super advanced healing technologies. Was there any sign of advanced technology on the Themyscira presented in the movie? It looked to me like they were stuck in ancient Greek times, as if their society remained stuck technologically from the time they separated from men. Really? This is a feminist vision? That men are responsible for all technological development and left to their own devices women would spend all their time sparring and stuck in the bronze age? The fuck?  Marston admitted that, “Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who, I believe, should rule the world.” Do these Amazons seem like people that should rule the world due to their vast superiority? I get the sense of a culture stuck in time, and a violent, militaristic one at that. How can a feminist vision of a group of isolated women leave out the powerful inventive force of women as chronicled in a film like Hidden Figures?

In the original comics Princess Diana was so smart she designed her own Invisible Plane as a young woman. In fact her plane design was an improvement on the planes her mother Hippolyta created. There is no sign of this creativity and advanced technology on Paradise Island in the film. In fact, Diana has to take an ancient sailboat to Man’s World. What we do see on the island is a group of women who just like to spend all their time training with ancient weapons. Diana is only shown interested in violence, fighting, combat and the “god-killer” sword. Give me a break. Wonder Woman traditionally had no weapons; she had magic bracelets that deflect bullets and she had a magic lasso that forces people to tell the truth. The sword was added many decades later in the comics in an attempt to rebrand her as a martial warrior woman, a vision I see as being antithetical to what Marston conceived.

The movie has weaponized even her lasso. Now the lasso burns, as we see from Steve Trevor’s reactions in the movie, and it is only through inflicting pain that people are compelled to tell the truth. Way to add violence to Wonder Woman’s non-violent lasso! The lasso was intended by Marston as an allegory for feminine charm and a woman’s ability to discern the truth; now it inflicts pain until the truth comes out. The lasso has gone from an instrument of peace to a weapon of torture. The lasso was originally called Aphrodite’s lasso; it was a lasso of the Goddess of Love, not an enhanced interrogation technique.

In the original comics the Amazons decide to send someone to accompany Steve Trevor back to Man’s World and they host a contest to decide their greatest champion who should carry out this mission. Not only do the Amazons think accompanying Steve back to Man’s World is an important mission, they only want to send their best. Diana is not allowed to enter by her mother, but she disguises herself and wins the contest. In the film the Amazons don’t want anyone helping Steve Trevor and Diana has to sneak out with him against the wishes of her society. What a difference this makes! In the original story an advanced society decides to send their best to heal a violent and patriarchal Man’s World, and in the movie an isolationist society wants to stay out of it and let all the violence and evil of Man’s World continue unabated.

Steve Trevor is the obvious love interest in the film, but we are given no background on Diana’s love life before encountering her first man. We learn that she has read 12 volumes of a pleasure treatise, but we get no sense that she ever had a lover before. She just hops into bed with Steve, apparently overwhelmed by cock magnetism. Clearly in a society of women lesbianism is the rule, but this is largely glossed over. I know some people are celebrating how “queer” this movie is, but I think it falls far short, and shows a woman raised on an island of women all too happy to hop on the first cock she sees. In fact, from the moment he appears on the beach Diana starts following what Steve says and taking orders from him, as if she’s been waiting her whole life for a man to tell her what to do.

I didn’t appreciate how male-centric the film was. Often I felt like I was watching “Steve Trevor and His Merry Men” for much of the movie, with Wonder Woman hanging at the sidelines. She is often the only woman on screen, and I feel like there should have been much more done to center her and other women, and show her bonds with women, even after she leaves the island.

There is a mention given to the fact that women don’t have the vote in the time period of the film, and Diana gets some looks for being a woman in male spaces, but I feel like much more could have been done to emphasize just how much women are second-class citizens in Man’s World, and how appalled Diana would be by their treatment and the rigid gender roles in patriarchal society. She seems like a largely passive and uncritical observer walking around Man’s World, except that since the film has her obsessed with violence, she notes that dresses make it hard to fight.

If women want a power fantasy female superhero who goes around and kicks ass, great, but Wonder Woman should not be the character to realize this fantasy. The whole point of Wonder Woman from the beginning is that she sought non-violent solutions to conflicts. She was showing the way of love and compassion, not the way of hacking through people with a “god-killer” sword. There are hundreds of female super heroes that can be made into films about ass-kicking women, but Wonder Woman is the best superhero to represent a better, more compassionate, non-violent way of overcoming our conflicts. As Gloria Steinem wrote many decades ago, “Wonder Woman symbolizes many of the values of the women’s culture that feminists are now trying to introduce into the mainstream: strength and self-reliance for women; sisterhood and mutual support among women; peacefulness and esteem for human life; a diminishment both of ‘masculine’ aggression and of the belief that violence is the only way of solving conflicts.” Or, as one of my all time favorite comic book writers Grant Morrison says about writing the character, “I sat down and I thought, ‘I don’t want to do this warrior woman thing.’ I can understand why they’re doing it, I get all that, but that’s not what [Wonder Woman creator] William Marston wanted, that’s not what he wanted at all! His original concept for Wonder Woman was an answer to comics that he thought were filled with images of blood-curdling masculinity, and you see the latest shots of Gal Gadot in the costume, and it’s all sword and shield and her snarling at the camera. Marston’s Diana was a doctor, a healer, a scientist.”

Putting aside issues of her real life political stances, I thought Gal Gadot made for a fine Wonder Woman, I just want her role to be written and directed according to Marston’s original principles which informed the creation of the character, and not this antithetical violent reimagining that makes Wonder Woman all about “killing” anything, even if it’s the God of War. Wonder Woman would know you can’t defeat the God of War with violence.


Make Way for Punjabane! New DJ Mix from The Kid

I’ve always been drawn to the women singers of bhangra, and after many years I finally put a DJ mix together celebrating some of the women in the contemporary bhangra scene. This mix is not at all comprehensive, and many great singers are not represented. This mix is merely a selection, and no disrespect is intended towards any singers not included.

Make Way for Punjabane! playlist

Kaur B – Roku Keda (Jatinder Shah)
Nimrat Khaira – Salute Wajde (Deep Jandu)
Anmol Gagan Maan – Desi Jatti
Sunanda – Patake (Gag Studioz)
Jenny Johal – Yaari Jatti Di (Desi Crew)
Shreya Ghoshal – Gori Gori Kudi (Bally Sagoo)
Parvin – Saun Deh Jahri (J-Skillz)
Miss Pooja – Boli Chakk Sohnea
Kamal Chamkila – Paranda
Anmol Gagan Maan – Kaur
DJ Em feat. Sasha Core – Laung Gawacha
Panjabi MC feat. Kamalmeet Kaur – Nach Di Di
Sukhdeep Grewal – Ankh Lad Gayi
Sona Walia – Sardara
Bups Saggu feat. Sazia Judge – Lalkara
Anmol Gagan Maan – Nakhro (Tigerstyle)
JR Dread feat. Amrita Virk – Jogi
Kaur B – Main Geet Purani Sundi Aan (Desi Crew)
DJs Inc. feat. Anjuman Hussainpuri – Peeniya
DJ Jaz B feat. Jazz Sahota – Baa Farke
Rupali feat. Money Spinner – Gal Sun Challeya
Ms. Scandalous feat. Jaspinder Nirula – Sajana

Prince Rogers Nelson Rest In Power

A personal history.

I first became aware of Prince in elementary school. I remember hearing “Little Red Corvette” and “1999” on the radio. I remember the radio DJ describing him as a controversial figure before playing “Little Red Corvette” as if his music couldn’t even be presented to the public without a warning notice. I remember Prince being a topic of riveting conversation in the elementary school cafeteria. I lived in the small college town of Columbia, Missouri at the time. Someone’s older sister had driven to see Prince in concert in a bigger city (We can infer that this was either his December 4th, 1982 appearance in St. Louis or his March 19th, 1983 date in Kansas City) and according to the buzzing about the cafeteria table Prince had hauled out a bed during his concert and simulated sex. This was very cutting-edge for our group of sixth graders; scandalous and boundary-pushing with a pornographic edge.


I don’t know how much I understood Prince’s lyrics, but I knew that “Little Red Corvette” was naughty. I was raised as a Calvinist Evangelical Protestant AKA Christian Reformed and dirty lyrics were sinful, as was Prince’s referring to “judgement day” and inciting a response of willful hedonism in “1999,” which wasn’t in line with how Christians were supposed to wait for the end times. (Like Prince, we too thought the end was nigh, around the corner, and sure, why not, the year 2000. But we were going to be praying, not partying while we waited for the end.) Prince entered my awareness as a figure who would invoke religious subjects in heretical and sexual ways and sexual and heretical subjects in religious ways. He was a Dionysian figure, a “satanic” figure. A figure who was not ignorant, but rather aware of the impending apocalypse and choosing to do “wrong” and go out with a bang; a false prophet lining up sheep for damnation. Prince did not ignore the spiritual and the religious, but referenced an awareness of their serious nature while still declaring sensual and carnal pleasures to be our highest purpose while we are here facing an inevitable judgement.

As a young Christian boy I thought these radio hits had troubling lyrics; I never could have imagined the lyrics contained on the 1999 double album such as in “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” where Prince says “I want to fuck you/Look here Marsha, I’m not saying this just to be nasty/I sincerely want to fuck the taste out of your mouth” in the same song where he says, “I’m in love with God, he’s the only way.”

Part of Prince’s mystique during this era were his guitar player and keyboardist Wendy and Lisa who were rumored to be lesbians. This was unprecedented in the early ’80s media landscape. They were probably my first exposure to and awareness of a lesbian couple. At the time it seemed such a part of the spectacle that there was a really-or-just-for-show question about them, but it turns out they were a very real couple for twenty years.


As a child I was curious about Prince and his music, but wary of this sinful imp and I didn’t love these first Prince songs I heard compared to a song that obsessed me as a sixth grader like “Beat It.”

I remember seeing the striking and imposing Controversy record cover in a store, back when vinyl was on display many places besides record stores. I never heard the album until decades later, but the memory of that cover never left me.


By the time I heard “When Doves Cry” on the radio for the first time in 1984 my family had moved to Portland, Oregon. “When Doves Cry” really came out of nowhere. I had never heard anything like it. It felt like the world hadn’t either. Something brand new was before us. It was sonically startling from the first notes yet 100% pop. (Experimentation this exciting wouldn’t top the pop charts again until Timbaland and the Neptunes.) “When Doves Cry” was instantly compelling and lustfully teasing in its second person narrative. I was curious again, but still wary of this libidinous and not-quite-understandable figure who was always too carnal, too lurid, too leering for Christian comfort. Then “Let’s Go Crazy” hit the radio. I was a kid who liked songs that “rocked” so the guitar riffage overload made this the first Prince song that just straight out appealed to me, which was no doubt the point. I never saw the Purple Rain film at the time (that didn’t happen until the late ’90s), nor did I ever hear the album. Of the songs I heard on the radio those two singles were the only ones which registered with me strongly at the time. “Jungle Love” by the Time was played a lot, but I didn’t know it was a part of the film or that Prince was involved in writing it. I should have known since I found the lyrics, “Where’s your guts/You want to make love or what?” offensive in their pressuring a young woman to have sex outside of the sanctity of holy matrimony.

I remember “Raspberry Beret” as the soundtrack to driving across multiple states to visit our cousins in the summer of 1985. Prince was back with an instantly catchy and suggestive narrative and while many lyrics escaped my understanding “and if it was warm she wouldn’t wear much more” proved that Prince wasn’t going to write a song about a pretty girl in a beret without suggesting something pornographic. I knew nothing about the accompanying Around the World in A Day album.

“Kiss” came out in February of 1986 and I simply didn’t like it at all. Nothing about it appealed to me in the slightest and I was baffled as to its popularity. I should probably note that until this point my exposure to Black music in America was extremely limited as most of my musical knowledge came from furtive and infrequent listens to top 40 radio or MTV. I had no exposure to funk and only knew soul if it was on a popular soundtrack with whiteys like The Big Chill or Stand By Me. I had next to no exposure to any of the African-American musical context for Prince. I was ignorant of James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Sly & the Family Stone, George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic, Marvin Gaye, the Isley Brothers, Rick James, Graham Central Station, Ohio Players, Miles Davis, Curtis Mayfield, Al Green and (pre-’80s) Stevie Wonder for starters. I was learning about James Brown through Prince as I had no idea about James Brown’s late ’60s and ’70s output which Prince drew from as a wellspring. Prince and Hiphop, who never got along much, where the two sources of Black musical history for me in the ’80s. It was a decade later before I starting digging for and discovering the original funk and soul records which so inspired Prince and Hiphop. I was hearing Prince’s tributes and Hiphop’s samples, but not the original funk and soul artists who were never featured on MTV or suburban radio or the dubbed punk and hardcore tapes passed and re-dubbed around my group of friends.

In 1986 Prince’s “Under the Cherry Moon” film came out as well. It looked silly and unappealing to me and as it was savaged by the critics it furthered my impression of an artist who had lost the plot into vanity and irrelevancy. Note that I didn’t hear his brilliant Parade album which accompanied this film until years later.

In March of 1987 Prince released the monumental Sign O’ the Times album. This will become much more important to me in later years. I saw the “U Got the Look” video on MTV that summer, but the song left me cold and I was unaware of any associated album. I did see Siskel and Ebert review the Sign O’ the Times concert film and I was surprised at how positive they were about the film and an artist who I thought was long past his Purple Rain peak. At some point towards the end of high school I was in a special one-day workshop with some older Black actors and one of the actors testified about the Sign O’ the Times album and the song “Sign O’ the Times” in particular and clearly revered Prince as a serious artist making important statements about the world which kind of blew my mind as I didn’t realize that people considered him an important artistic figure worth following beyond hit singles. I never listened to the album around this time but I filed this testimonial away in my memory banks.

I had a friend in high school named Sam who was mostly into punk and thrash and noisy stuff and he surprised me by sharing with me in 1988 that Prince’s new single “Alphabet St.” had clear psychedelic influences which definitely seemed like a compliment coming from him. The song was impenetrable to me. Some songs just bounce me right off and I cannot absorb anything. This song was one of those. Around that time Sam and I were designing the uncoolest nerd in the world named Douglas Gemsbock to be the alter-ego of the hero in the new superhero comic we were creating. Despite Sam’s comments about the new Prince single we decided that nothing would make our nerd more uncool than if he were a Prince fan. We decided he would wear a faded Purple Rain T-shirt. We literally couldn’t think of anything more uncool than someone being a Prince fan at that time.


Sign O’ the Times continued to haunt me without my being aware of it. 1989 the summer after high school I was hanging out with my friend Kristi and she played me a cassingle of “Hot Thing.” This blew me away. I listened to a lot of electronic pop music at the time like New Order and Depeche Mode and I loved the electronic textures and rhythms in this song. I couldn’t believe Prince had a song out like this and I had never heard it before and I didn’t know it existed. I did not realize it was a song off Sign O’ the Times. It existed in a vacuum of cassingleness. Note that I never went dancing and I never went to parties. Never. I didn’t know any of the Prince club songs. Only the radio hits. And never the albums. Those never came into my family’s home.

The summer of 1989 Prince also released “Batdance” the leadoff single from his Batman soundtrack album. Now I was not only a superhero/comic book obsessive and an intense fan of what Frank Miller had recently done with the character, but I loved the early Batman TV series from childhood and I LOVED the theme song. I was really excited as I watched the “Batdance” video for the first time with Prince performing the track in his Batcave. This initial excitement faded when I realized that he was not going to surpass the greatness of the original theme. I still watched that video a lot, but the original theme was the best. I couldn’t stand anything else Prince did for that soundtrack and I hated the film.

Then I went to college.

My roommate my first year at the University of Oregon was several years older than me and in college on the GI Bill after years of service in the Navy. Jason was a Prince obsessive. All he listened to was Prince. His entire music collection was every Prince cassette. (OK, there were two exceptions of which I was aware: a Guy cassette he saw as not on same level and the Bright Lights, Big City soundtrack which featured the exclusive Prince song “Good Love”) Jason was the only one of us with a car and whenever we drove in his car there was always a Prince cassette in the stereo.  Always the same cassette for a period of time until Jason had meditated on it enough and then it was time to switch it out for a different Prince cassette that would be meditated upon for the next several months.  When we were first roommates the cassette was 1999. I really didn’t care for Prince’s production and the drum sound he chose especially annoyed me. I could appreciate some of the melodies in the songs, but I really didn’t like the very repetitive and distinctive sound Prince chose for that record. But I was trying. I wanted to get more out of Prince than I had in the past, if only to understand Jason’s devotion. I never warmed up to 1999 that year, but it was an entirely different story when it was time for the Sign O’ the Times cassette to settle in the stereo. I didn’t like everything on it, and some songs I could barely tolerate, but there was “Hot Thing,” which I already knew I liked and then I heard “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man.” This changed everything. You see, I listened to Hiphop, but otherwise I listened to a lot of pop songs: punk pop, synthpop power pop, noise pop, UK indie. Here was a great guitar pop song. I straight out loved it. It completely shifted my head around about what Prince could do. It was my gateway track into the sprawling Sign O’ the Times double album. I loved parts of it, endured other parts, had no context for much of it, but Sign O’ the Times changed everything about who I thought Prince was and what he was capable of as an artist. I became an especially big fan of other songs on the album like “If I Was Your Girlfriend,” “It,” “Starfish and Coffee,” “Sign O’ the Times” and “Strange Relationship.” The Sign O’ the Times album was the best of the Prince cassettes that made it into Jason’s rotation while we were roommates. The worst was when it was the Batman cassette’s time in the car. That was no fun. I just could not enjoy that album.

Jason was far more sexually experienced than myself. (52 was his current number.) I was clinging tightly to my virginity while Jason had many years of sexual conquests under his belt, often initiated at clubs and often dancing to tracks like his favorite dance song: Prince’s “Erotic City.” I had never even heard of this song before as I had never entered a club; nor did I know Prince B-sides. Jason told me he would make the perfect all-Prince sex tapes to soundtrack his nights of seduction after he and his partner for the night had left the club. The tapes were designed so that once he and his lover were in whatever domicile was serving as the backdrop to their night of lust things would start with dancing before moving horizontal. The entire act of love was preprogrammed sonically for maximum satisfaction. He told me he would time his ejaculation to just the perfect moment during “International Lover” which would always be at the end of side two of his sex tapes. The things you learn from an older, sexually-prolific roommate.

Within three months of being Jason’s roommate and experiencing a heavy immersion in Prince I willingly sacrificed my virginity with my girlfriend and shed my Christianity soon after. I had never considered the possibility that these events were in any way related before sitting down to write this.

In spring of 1990 my music collector instinct was most inspired by artists like the Cure, New Order, the Smiths, Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Stone Roses and Pixies. I listened to a lot of Hiphop, but I was mostly happy with having cassettes of all the albums and didn’t feel the same urge to search out obscure B-sides or remixes. (One exception I bought was A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It” 12″ which had the cool exlusive “If the Papes Come.” RIP Phife Dawg.) For the first time in his life Jason decided to get serious about his Prince collection and go beyond cassettes to rare 12″ singles, 7″s with B-sides, bootlegs, live recordings, etc. It was like a moral obligation that he finally decided to take on, especially due to the curse of living in Oregon which meant that Jason had never had the opportunity to see Prince in concert, despite his deep devotion. One of the reasons he wanted the bootleg vinyl and CD live recordings was so he could live vicariously and imagine the ultimate fantasy of Prince in concert. We toured Eugene record stores and spent one weekend hitting up Portland record stores. I bought 12″s, bootlegs, live recordings, CD singles, whatever it took to get rare and unreleased recordings by the artists I liked, and Jason would do the same for Prince (managing to secure a copy of the then bootleg-only Black Album on vinyl as part of his haul).

Before heading back to Eugene from our Portland record shopping expedition we ate at the original Bangkok Kitchen (R.I.P. Portland’s best-ever Thai restaurant) and Johnny the Waiter deigned to torture us by offering us insanely hot micro peppers to see just how hot we were willing to go in the pursuit of self-immolation. One of the bonds Jason and I shared was that he was in love with insanely-hot Thai food from his time in Thailand while he was in the Navy and I was in love with insanely-hot Thai food from Bangkok Kitchen. It was important for me to treat him to this restaurant since he always talked about how much he missed the real food of Thailand. I’m happy to say Bangkok Kitchen was the best Thai food he had tasted outside of Thailand. (The daughters of the Siripatrapa clan currently run Lemongrass Thai and Khun Pic’s Bahn Thai, both in Portland.)

After dinner Jason merely took a nibble of his micro pepper while I chose to eat a death one whole as a way of trying to equal my father, who I had watched do the same at other Bangkok Kitchen meals in the past. I had never been brave enough before. That pepper destroyed me. I went into a convulsive feverish state. In extreme pain and panic I made my way behind the restaurant counter and began pouring all of the pitchers of water held there into my glass as I drank one glass of water after another.  Somehow I made it to the car. As Jason drove us back to Eugene it was Lovesexy‘s turn in the car stereo. The whole ride back to Eugene I shivered and sweated in a delirious haze yet I repeatedly became lucid for a brief moment at the exact same point in the cassette every time it came around during the drive. I have never been able to listen to that album since.


When we got our scores from our record shopping adventures to a friend’s stereo in our dorm (the only guy with a turntable we knew in the hall) I was mostly disappointed with my finds and it would be Jason’s Prince purchases that would have one cool and undiscovered gem after another, whether an extended version, a B-side, an instrumental or a cool remix. That impressed me. If felt like my artists of devotion could barely muster the songs on their albums and offer a few poor throwaways as extras and Prince had endless jewels he strew about either recorded by himself or many other artists. He wasn’t going to waste your money with a lame B-side, he was mostly going to reward you for tracking down the obscurities. Yet one more reason to respect Prince and this awareness expanded my sense of his artistic worthiness even more. He had deep crates; composed solely of his own productions.

After Spring of 1990 Jason and I were no longer roommates. I never again had a Prince fan like him in my life. And yet my time with him permanently altered my opinion of the artist known as Prince, if only through one fan’s devotion and the fact that I was introduced to Sign ‘O the Times, which was the gateway for my appreciation of Prince on the highest artistic level. While I would never be uncritical of Prince’s music or fashion choices or the ideas he expressed, I could never deny his immense stature as an artistic and musical giant even if a lot of what he did didn’t personally appeal to me. It didn’t matter. It wasn’t about me. It was about Prince and what he wanted to share with the world.

Because of Jason’s influence I gave more of an ear to Prince’s newest singles from this point on, even if the only album I made sure to buy right away was Sign O’ the Times. The Graffiti Bridge combination film/album was Prince’s first project to hit after my new artistic respect for him. Unfortunately I only experienced the “Round and Round” video they played with Tevin Campbell all the time on MTV. I hated it. It seemed way too much like an attempt to emulate contemporary R&B and that was a sound I hated and certainly not a direction I wanted Prince to be following. (At the time there was a staunch Hiphop-rules-and-R&B-sucks camp and I was definitely a member. It was not until Aaliyah, Missy Elliott and Timbaland opened my ears that I felt anything but loathing for the sound of contemporary R&B.) I never spent money to learn anything else about that soundtrack and I was susceptible to the popular and media consensus that the film sucked. Despite my love of Sign O’ the Times I was still wary of Prince’s output in general given my  repeated forced exposure to his Batman album.

Prince came back for me in October of 1991 with “Gett Off.” It had cheesy raps and cheesy lyrics but it had a groove, it was reaffirmingly licentious and it seemed like a return to form. I had long since left Christianity and my virginity behind and I was happy to have a lewd and lascivious Prince back and grinding and seemingly energized by the experience. The other singles from the album appealed to me not at all at the time and I was dubious of the New Power Generation band so I skipped the album as well.

Indeed I followed that pattern for the rest of Prince’s career. I rarely liked any of his singles and I skipped all his new albums unless I could find them cheap and used and that usually meant years after they came out and even then I would rarely give them much listening time. While I would hold onto them and consider them worthy of revisiting, I would rarely feel the urge. Now this reflects no underestimation of Prince’s talent or capabilities, more my feeling that where Prince was at musically and where I was at as a listener were not aligned for most of his musical career. I, like many fans, now have dozens of albums, side projects and ghosts productions to go back and rediscover that we didn’t give enough of a chance to when they were released.

At some point in college I dubbed some CDs from a friend and made a tape that had Sonic Youth’s Sister on one side and Prince’s Dirty Mind on the other. This tape got a lot of play from me and solidified my appreciation of Prince as Dirty Mind became my favorite album of his after Sign O’ the Times. Sister was the last Sonic Youth album I discovered after listening to everything else by them out at the time. I realized it was my favorite of theirs. That cassette was perfect for discovering two great albums by artists I had listened to a lot without having yet discovered some of their best work.


In 1993 I decided to become a vinyl purist and buy nothing but vinyl. I had already sold all my (non-dubbed) cassettes in ’91 and now I felt I was missing something with my collection of mostly CDs. While I always had a small collection of records I decided that from then on I would only buy music on vinyl. I rarely if ever saw newer Prince albums on vinyl, but I assembled a proud collection of his albums up through the bootleg of the Black Album (although I still don’t own For You and am not sure if I have ever heard it). The more Prince came out with new albums that I would barely be aware of, the more I dug into and became a huge fan of his early career.


In 1995 I became a college radio DJ in Eugene on KWVA. I had started attending radio station meetings when I first got to the University of Oregon, but it took several years before the station secured an FCC license and began broadcasting. I only became a DJ on the station at the tail end of my time at college. I don’t know if I ever played Prince on the station. It was all about underground and indie music for me at the time. Prince was probably the only mainstream artist I respected at that point, even if I didn’t care to investigate whatever his latest musical project was.

I kept collecting records and eventually people began to ask me (much to my surprise) to DJ  house parties in the late ’90s. At these parties I played Prince. In fact Prince would frequently be requested all night. In fact Prince would be requested no matter how much Prince had already been played. The most reliable thing you could count on at a Portland house party was that Prince would be requested. I once watched another house party DJ follow me with a Prince song. The crowd went wild. Then he played another Prince song. The crowd went WILDER. Then he played a third Prince song. The crowd stayed wild. It was only with the fourth Prince song in a row that the energy of the crowd started to tail off. People who made requests at these parties never wanted new Prince songs. Always old Prince songs. The one newer exception was “P Control” AKA “Pussy Control.” I myself chose to purchase a “Sexy MF” 12″ from the UK and made it a part of my sets, but I don’t remember getting any requests for it. Essentially a Prince request meant an ’80s Prince request.

In September of 1997 Prince was scheduled to play Portland for the first time ever. It was his Jam of the Year tour. I knew what an unprecedented moment this was because I had absorbed my freshman roommate Jason’s yearning for the chance to see Prince live. At the time I was strict about only going to shows that were five dollars or less. I would blow off bands I owned stacks of 7″ singles by if the show was seven bucks. However, for this one and only artist I realized I would pay far, far more. I feel like the tickets I got were 69 bucks. For nosebleeds. I went with my friends Chrysta and Robin and our seats were high up above Prince to his left. Despite the sonically disadvantageous position we were able to watch him dance, leap, do the splits and do the splits while playing guitar and bouncing back up on his feet from the splits while still playing the guitar. In heels. At other times he would somehow play the piano while swinging his leg between his arms and the piano with his impossibly high heels (which apparently gave him hip problems later in life.). Despite the fact that he zipped through his songs with modern DJ ADD ruthlessness at points and focused more on newer songs I didn’t know, I was still blown away by his staggering talent and showmanship. He even rapped convincingly. There was an after party announced and we went sniffing around the venue, but the price seemed high, there was no guarantee that he was going to play and I didn’t need to hang out in a room and watch him sit in VIP; I just wanted to see him play. I had a psychic hit he wouldn’t play, we didn’t go, and he didn’t play. But after spending 69 bucks for nosebleed seats I vowed the next time Prince did play Portland I would spend $169 to get better seats.

So then what happened?

Prince played a show at the 2,776-capacity Arlene Schnitzer concert hall on April 30th, 2002 supporting his Rainbow Children album. I did not attend this show. I remember that the show was billed as more instrumental and more jazzy with less of an emphasis on hits. It was practically billed as the “You’re Sure to Be Disappointed” tour. Did this demotivate me? Did the $50-$125 tickets all of a sudden seem too high for me, or did the show sell out right away? I don’t know. I only know I did not go. One person who was at the show was my mom. Yes, at some point (late ’90s/early ’00s) my mom had shed Evangelical Protestantism and made the choice to get into Prince. I asked her many years later about why and she said she wanted to appreciate a modern genius while they were still alive. Well, she did it.

Normally I wouldn’t think to call my mom after 7:30 pm and she can traditionally be counted on to bow out of late night activity and yet here she was going to see Prince. By herself. A three-hour show. In fact I found out later that even after playing that long show at the Schnitz he appeared at an afterparty at the Roseland Theater that night and he actually did play and he played for hours and for only thirty bucks, far less than the announced show. That I wish I had known about. That I would not have missed. And neither would my mom I was shocked to find out. She said she was so disappointed when she learned the next day about the afterparty as she would have gladly gone after having already listened to him for three hours.  Even though the afterparty went until 3:30 am. Such was the magnetic power of Prince that it could overcome the ordinary weakness of the flesh. Well, I missed both shows that night, only one of which I knew about in time. Looking back I would have gone to both shows. But that is hindsight.

I did not make the same mistake the next time Prince came to Portland in September of 2004 with his Musicology tour. He returned to the Rose Garden and played in the round this time. I thought I had a great seat and had a real good view until I visited my mom and sister in their seats which were practically in Prince’s lap. When I got back to my priorly amazing seat it felt so distant and removed I had to struggle to keep from being severely disappointed. Early on in his set he said, “Portland, U don’t know what I have in store for U tonight!” It was electrifying and the crowd roared and as exciting as that moment was it could never be topped for me, because nothing could be beyond the unimaginable promise in that exhortation. That night Prince just wanted to play his guitar and play and play and play. That’s what really stood out to me was how much he just wanted to wail on his guitar. Maceo Parker was in his band and he did a touching tribute to Ray Charles who had died a few months prior.

I didn’t have another chance to see Prince until April of 2013 on his Live Out Loud tour. He announced two last minute shows on the same night at the 1,400 capacity Roseland Theater. I looked up the tickets as soon as I found out. The first show sold out while I deliberated. Why did I hesitate? The shows were 200 dollars each and I had become a full-time DJ the year before. The uncertainty and unpredictability of this business had me very cautious about making any monetary expenditures. In other words, I was broke.

“Fuck it,” I decided. I put it on my credit card.

Quickly both shows were sold out. My mom and I had tickets to the same show and I had the pleasure of accompanying my mom to a late night Prince show. The venue was so small compared to the arena I had seen Prince in twice before. It was incredibly intimate. Prince was shredding RIGHT THERE, looking immortal. Prince was backed up by the all-female power trio 3rdeyegirl on a tour where he just wanted to rock the fuck out in a stripped down format dedicated to guitar noise. At one point he tried to get a call and response going to see how funky the crowd was and the very white Portland crowd failed so badly that Prince started smiling and playing “Play that Funky Music” by Wild Cherry. The crowd got so into into it. This cracks Prince up and what seemed like a joke becomes Prince singing the verses and then the crowd singing the “play that funky music white boy” chorus for the whole song. Prince found the whole thing highly amusing. During his set he had Portland singer Liv Warfield come out and sing with him to the crowd’s adoration. This was a show where Prince just wanted to rock. And he played “Let’s Go Crazy” and “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man,” two songs I was an instant fan of (a rarity in his catalog) and the second one, the one I really hoped he would play. The one that changed everything for me.

That was the last time. I know now. I am so glad I made the right decision. Credit card debt be damned. He gave a very different, very noisy, very passionate slice of his soul that night. The one he wanted to present, whatever other people’s expectations and desires. Listening to a track like “Bambi” off his second album it is so obvious that this super rocker was always a part of Prince and what seemed so radical to so many people reporting on Prince’s shows with 3rdeyegirl was a facet of the artist that had always been there. He was just shining a bright spotlight on it now. Because that’s what he wanted to do.

After that final Portland show my mom wrote, “It’s 1:40 am. The decibels, pounding amps, screeching, squealing, screaming guitars.The body’s response to the building’s shaking. I’ve never had that experience before. It was so visceral; No way to be anywhere else but in that very moment after moment after moment. wow wow wow”

Thanks, Prince. For a lifetime.

“And together we’ll stare into silence
And we’ll try 2 imagine what it looks like
Yeah, we’ll try 2 imagine what, what silence looks like
Yeah, we’ll try 2 imagine what silence looks like
Yeah, we’ll try…”

Kanye West Inspired by Old Bollywood song?

Diesel Black Gold - Front Row & Backstage - Spring 2014 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Many years ago during the early ascendancy of Kanye West I read an interview with him where he was in a Chicago Indian restaurant and the interviewer said that Kanye got super inspired by a Bollywood song that was playing in the restaurant and that he jumped up and ran back to his studio because he had to work on a beat immediately. I have always assumed that the song he heard was “Aaj Ki Raat Koi Aane Ko Hain” composed by R. D. Burman and sung by Asha Bhosle from the 1973 film Anamika and that the beat he made became “Get Em High” with Talib Kweli and Common off his 2004 debut the College Dropout. He didn’t use a sample, but rather transposed and pitched up the main melody in his version. (Remember how much mileage he got out of pitching up old sampled vocals back in the day?)

As far as I can tell know one has ever written about this similarity before.


Kanye West’s version:

The 13th Anniversary of Our ANDAZ Party : A History Part Four


We just celebrated the thirteenth anniversary of our ANDAZ Bhangra and Bollywood party on Saturday, July 25th, 2015 at the Analog Theater. Part one of the history of ANDAZ is here, part two is here, and part three is here and part four is here.

ANDAZ now occurs the last Saturday of every month at the Analog Theater.

In June of 2013 we hosted our final ANDAZ party at Rotture after more than three years at that venue. Everyone there was great to us, and we threw amazing parties during our time in the inner SE industrial zone, but there were a number of things we wanted to improve: We no longer wanted to play competing sound levels with a show on the first floor which would always happen at an upstairs/downstairs venue like Rotture/Branx. We wanted a nicer club that didn’t feel like it was falling apart. We wanted a better sound system. We wanted someplace with proper AC that wasn’t meltingly hot in summer. We wanted to play somewhere with foot traffic where we had some hope of enticing curious passers-by into the club. We wanted to regain the segment of our audience we felt like we lost when we moved the party out of downtown.

We had a lot of high hopes for the future of ANDAZ when we threw our first party at the Star Theater.

In order to focus attention on our new venue we moved ANDAZ in July so we could host our eleventh anniversary at the Star Theater. Anniversaries are the best time for club nights to garner attention, and it made more sense to garner attention at the venue we were moving to than the one we were leaving. Our eleventh anniversary began with Indian dances performed by our friends Minisharma Sharma and Simi Vargas Malhotra and we brought down Rayman Bhuller, one of the world’s greatest dholis to accompany us while we DJed. (We had worked with Rayman once before when we brought him down to play with us and DJ Rekha at our tenth anniversary.)

The party was a solid success and we felt hopeful about building ANDAZ at the Star. The next month PDX Pick showed up and filmed the night and interviewed us about ANDAZ.

One thing that was fun about our new home was that the stage was so deep that the number of dancers on stage with us was larger than ever before. Here is a glimpse of the stage dancers at the end of the night at our September 2013 party:

Now that we were at the Star Theater ANDAZ moved back to an every-last-Saturday schedule. That also meant that ANDAZ and our Bollywood Horror Halloween party were reunited, since for our years at Rotture when we played on first Saturdays we had to host Bollywood Horror at a separate venue. For Bollywood Horror XI we had our friends in Bridgetown Revue return for a bellydance sword dance performance to Desi Dubstep.

For a fuller taste of Bollywood Horror XI you can check out the photos here.

The ANDAZ parties at the Star had crazy energy and an incredible vibe, but not all our fantasies were coming true. We thought moving the party back downtown would give us a boost in our attendance numbers, and instead we were sometimes seeing lower numbers. We realized all over again how difficult it can be to rebuild a party at a new venue. Every month at the Star I would ask the crowd how many people had been to ANDAZ before. Every month the answer was almost everyone. Very few new people were coming even though the regulars were happily coming back every month. I thought Sixth and Burnside would be a hopping corner filled with foot traffic, but it was mainly noticeable for the large numbers of homeless people who would camp out in front of the club. Even though the downtown streets were filled with crowds just a few blocks away, this particular corner was empty of club goers throughout the night. I had a clear line of sight to the street from the DJ table and I would keep an eye on the street all night noting just how few people ever walked in front of the club. Since the Roseland Theater was right across the street from the Star and their shows ended early I fantasized about people heading to the Star after their show at the Roseland ended. (In fact shortly before we moved to the Star, Prince played at the Roseland (I was there!) and I was told 400 people headed over to the Star after his performance.) Instead I was surprised to find out that most ANDAZ nights at the Star there was no show at the Roseland, and the few times there were it was a show for a young teen crowd who weren’t getting into the 21-and-over Star afterwards even if they had any interest. We went from hoping that hosting ANDAZ at the Star was going to result in some miraculous return to the very heights of the party’s numerical successes to realizing that we were working really hard to rebuild our night yet again.

After six months at the Star we learned that the booking policy was to chase potentially lucrative touring shows first, and offer us whatever dates were left over second, a far cry from the clubs we were used to who gave us rock solid dates a year in advance.  As a result, in January of 2014 the club asked us to host ANDAZ at the Star’s sister club Dante’s, while the Star hosted an internationally touring DJ instead. Ironically the foot traffic we thought we were going to witness at the Star was in full effect at Dante’s and we benefited from people walking by and seeing what a fun party was happening that they may have never heard of before. The difficulty in getting advance dates from the Star reached a nadir in May when we were offered to play the Star by a non-profit who had reserved the Star on our regular night. The club had told us nothing, so the only reason we knew we were bumped was because the non-profit wanted to book us for their night, having no idea that they were hiring us to DJ the same night we had been bumped from. So in May we DJed the last Saturday at the Star, but for a non-profit fundraising event, and ANDAZ occurred across the river at the Alhambra Theatre that month on a different weekend. At this point we knew we had no choice but to relocate the party again if we were going to keep it going. If there’s one thing we have learned about promoting a regular party it’s that having a rock solid regular schedule is a must for success.

Sadly the Portland venue scene seemed far smaller and less adventurous than when we had first started throwing ANDAZ parties back in 2002. There used to be lots of freaky clubs that would try new and different things and now most clubs were only interested in top 40 or popular retro formats, and not something different like our party. With a very limited set of possibilities we reached out to Lola’s Room and they happened to have a rare free Saturday in July. With no sense of what the future of ANDAZ might look like and no home venue for our night we booked Saturday, July 5th, 2014 at Lola’s Room and decided that would be the site of our 12-year anniversary, where ANDAZ began twelve years and three days prior. The Star actually wrote us two weeks before the last Saturday in June and asked if we wanted that night. We told them no. Two weeks is nowhere near enough time to put a party together and at that point we were committed to throwing our 12-year anniversary at Lola’s Room the next Saturday, so that was the end of ANDAZ at the Star Theater.

The 12-year anniversary featured Anjali’s newly-formed dance troupe performing for the first time at ANDAZ and a Kuchipudi performance by Marissa Schwartz.

It was a weird vibe for me celebrating the 12-year anniversary of a party that we had dedicated our lives to that now had no home and an uncertain future. The anniversary was successful. So much so that we had more people at that party than just about every party we threw at the Star including the prior year’s anniversary. This is a lesson we were learning from trial and error over many years: some venues naturally drew more of a crowd for us, and other venues, no matter how much Anjali and I personally liked them, were not as popular with our crowd. So then, what venue would become the new home for ANDAZ?

In August of 2014 we booked a one-off ANDAZ at the Analog Theater to see what it would be like hosting our party at that venue. We had actually already booked a special edition of our Tropitaal party with Uproot Andy at the Analog for July, but that party hadn’t happened yet when we booked ANDAZ for August. What we learned was that the sound system in the Analog Theater was immense with ridiculous amounts of bass and was amongst the fullest and best sounding systems we had ever heard at a club in Portland. They also had disco lights, which neither Rotture or the Star had. We had been lugging our own lights to the clubs for years, a task we would happily drop. They even had a wooden dance floor, far superior to what is available in most Portland clubs. We had a good crowd of dancers at our first ANDAZ at the Analog who were all complimentary about the venue, so we booked another party in September.

We were really unsure what to do at this point. Should ANDAZ continue? Were we forcing a party to continue after it was time to let it go?  When we drove to the Analog in September to set up for ANDAZ we really weren’t sure about the future of the night. We figured the vibe at the party would tell us what to do. Well, the vibe was crazy. From early in the night people were screaming and screaming with delight. The screaming was so intense that I left the green room several times where I was resting to see what was going on. Just sheer delight as it turned out. Loud, screaming delight. Even though the numbers were a far cry from when we had lines of people waiting hours to get into ANDAZ, we knew from this ecstatic group of dancers that the party was incredibly vibrant and alive and we were energized and rejuvenated thinking about the future of ANDAZ. We had Bollywood Horror XII scheduled at Holocene and our fourth New Year’s Eve show in a row lined up at the Bossanova Ballroom, so we scheduled one more ANDAZ in November, and then talked to Donnie Rife, the owner of the Analog, about making the Analog the home for ANDAZ the last Saturday of every month in 2015 (Except February when Anjali and I were going to be in India.). Thankfully he was down with the idea and ANDAZ had a new home in its thirteenth year. A home with a kick-ass sound system better than any in the history of ANDAZ, a warm and friendly staff, and a dedicated crew of party-goers along with a whole bunch of curious new folk tearing up the dance floor and making every ANDAZ a special and unique night. We have even witnessed a return of regulars we have not seen since the days of the Fez, with prodigal sons and daughters returning each month to tell us just what a special place ANDAZ holds in their hearts, and how they hope we never stop doing what we do. We deeply honor the fact that many South Asians tell us how crucial dancing at ANDAZ is to their health and survival living in the Portland metro area.

There is a moment I often reflect on that occurred during one of our last ANDAZ parties at the Fez Ballroom back in 2010. At the time I had no idea we would be fired within a few months along with all the other Saturday DJs to bring in a new era of top 40 at the club. At the time I was simply watching a packed club of dancers at ANDAZ and wondering about the future of the party. In the moment I wondered if ANDAZ at the Fez would go on forever. Why not? The club had stayed packed every month for over seven years. There was no sign of any slowing down in the attendance or the energy. But part of me knew it could end at any moment. I just had no idea of how soon that end would actually be. At that moment I felt a degree of ambivalence. Did I want ANDAZ to continue at the Fez forever? Did I want that to be the rest of my life? The party was so successful it seemed to have a life of its own. That very success made me question my own motivations. After all those years how much was I along for the ride, and how much was I passionately committed to the party? If we had never been fired from the Fez I may never have learned the answers to those questions. When we had to rebuild at Rotture it took so much work and was such a struggle, I never could have done it without passionate dedication to the party. It was only when the party went from being an always-guaranteed success to more of a struggle that I learned just how committed I truly was. The popularity of Bollywood and Bhangra may wax and wane in the mainstream American consciousness, but we have been steadfastly committed to exploring the best of these musics in a club setting for more than 13 years now.

Join us the last Saturday of every month for ANDAZ at the Analog Theater; we will be hosting Bollywood Horror XIII on October, 31st. Start that costume!


Part one of the history of ANDAZ is here, part two is here, and part three is here.



The 13th Anniversary of Our ANDAZ Party : A History Part Three


We just celebrated the thirteenth anniversary of our ANDAZ Bhangra and Bollywood party on Saturday, July 25th, 2015 at the Analog Theater. Part one of the history of ANDAZ is here, part two is here, and part three is here and part four is here.

After seven-and-a-half-years ANDAZ had to find a new home since the upper management at the Fez Ballroom decided to go all top 40 on Saturday nights and fire all of their resident DJs in April of 2010.  In March, the month before our final party at the Fez we featured Delhi 2 Dublin for the first time. They put on a fabulous performance and to show you how unaware we were of our future fate, we used the following image for the backside of the flyer.


Little did we know the “every last Saturday” was only going to be true for one more month. Fortunately our direct manager gave us two-weeks notice when he found out, and we were actually able to throw a goodbye party. The farewell night was packed with more than 420 people through the door and all the staff, who had no desire to see us go, kept telling us how much our crowd loved us, how devoted they were to us, and how they would definitely be following us to our new venue. We could only hope.

At the time our other party, the Global Bass night called ATLAS was every month at Holocene. We needed to find another cool club to host ANDAZ. There weren’t many options that seemed hopeful to us. Because of its Moroccan-themed ballroom and its huge wooden dance floor I always felt the Fez was ideal for the night. We ended up reaching out to Conrad Loebl who was booking at the inner East side industrial club called Rotture. We were fans of DJ Beyonda’s I’ve Got a Hole in My Soul party that happened one Thursday a month at Rotture, but I was not convinced the club had the right vibe for ANDAZ. While we loved grungy, divey places and had no problem with a punk rock aesthetic, we knew that not all of our crowd agreed with us. We knew there was a portion of our crowd that would prefer a “nicer” venue and we knew from our Blackbird days that a lot of South Asians wanted something slick and Las Vegas-y, not punky and divey. I was convinced we couldn’t host ANDAZ at Rotture, but that we should start a new party called Junglee (Hindi meaning uncultured, wild) that would better suit the room. However, when we first met Conrad at Stumptown to discuss hosting a party at Rotture he was clear that he and the owner Mike Wolfson wanted to host ANDAZ at Rotture. As much as I thought the room was too rough for our party, we didn’t have any other options we were happy with, so we signed up to host our first ANDAZ party at Rotture three weeks after our final party at the Fez. Conrad designed a poster and we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best. We were charging an $8 cover at the Fez Ballroom and we even lowered the cover to $7 at Rotture to compensate for a venue that was a lot rougher around the edges. (We also brought in our own hand soap to stock the bathrooms as they were usually out, and we weren’t going to accept that level of slovenliness, even if the bathrooms had holes in the floor.)

Our first night we only had 56 people paid. That was devastating. We had never ever had an ANDAZ like that. In all the years of the party we always had hundreds of people and were shocked at the unprecedented low turnout. (To make matters worse we played a one-off party at the Woods that month and had more than a hundred paid, nearly double what we did at our new home venue.) We were used to working with hundreds of dancers in  a venue, where you can take chances and appeal to different segments of the crowd at different points and now we had to work harder than we ever had to keep the small crowd dancing. At the Fez the DJ booth was buried in a corner, and people frequently had no idea who was DJing at any moment. Now we were on a stage clearly visible from all parts of the venue and we were much more on display. At the Fez I would frequently play things as an experiment to see what would happen. With hundreds of people on the dance floor there was much more room for error, and much more momentum keeping people on the dance floor. Now I was having to own and believe in every track because I was playing it from a raised stage with much of the crowd watching me to see what I was doing, a far cry from my sheltered and obscured corner at the Fez. (Anjali claims she was the one who insisted we play on the stage at Rotture. Other DJs like Beyonda played on the floor of the venue.)

We tried again in June and only 72 people paid that time. We were flummoxed. What about the more than 400 people who had been to our last party at the Fez just two months before? What about our regulars who had been coming for years? What about the fact that everyone was so convinced our crowd would follow us to our new venue? We played our best to keep the small group of dancers on the floor and gave it our all. The few Indians who attended told us that “Indians never come to the East side” (despite their own presence proving this truism false). Of course such a statement ignored all the Indo-Fijians who live in North Portland, and other South Asian populations throughout the East side of Portland. (Because South Asians living in East Portland are so much fewer than the large populations living in the West suburbs of the Portland metro area I am aware of at least two social groups that were created with the title “East Side South Asians” in an effort at solidarity and bonding.) What this statement (and alleged truism) referred to is that for many South Asians in the relatively prosperous West suburbs the East side was considered a no-go zone of poverty and Black people. Sadly, anti-Blackness is a part of South Asian culture just like in America and when we told South Asians we lived in North Portland we would be asked, “Where the Black people live?” (Just last year a mob of Indians assaulted a group of Africans in Delhi.) It didn’t help that Rotture was in an industrial area that seemed “sketchy” to some people not familiar with the area. At the Fez many people discovered us because there was so much foot traffic downtown, and when people saw a line around the block for our night they would get in line having no idea what was in store for them. Around Rotture there was NO foot traffic. We were no longer going to have random people showing up to our night, we were going to have to convince each person to come to the destination beforehand.

After working hard for years to incorporate Bollywood into my ANDAZ sets it went from something I tried to do to please Filmi-loving South Asians, to something I actually enjoyed playing. At the Fez I was used to getting rapturous responses of Desis singing along to the Filmi songs I played, and now at our early Rotture parties we had a much whiter crowd that loved the Bhangra Hiphop, but wasn’t feeling the Filmi house at all. I missed the Bollywood sing-a-longs, and if I started playing Filmi house at a certain point in the night it usually cleared Rotture. I’m glad this situation was short-lived as it was very depressing for me now that I was a devoted researcher of new Filmi songs.

Even though we had began ANDAZ in July of 2002 at Lola’s Room we always celebrated our anniversaries at the Fez in November since that was when we started throwing parties at that venue. Now that we were no longer at the Fez we decided to celebrate our anniversaries in July when the party first started. This meant we were going to hype the shit out of our July party at Rotture as the 8-year anniversary of ANDAZ, and hope to God we could convince people to come back to the party.


For our eighth anniversary we decided to do something we had never done before: an early admission special. In the past we always charged a full cover at ANDAZ from the second doors opened at 9 pm. Sometimes this would mean that inexperienced people would show up at 9 pm, wait around for an hour or so and then leave. We always wondered if they came back when the party started raging after 11 pm, or if they mistakenly assumed we hosted empty parties. We decided to make the 8-year anniversary free for the first hour and lo and behold people started showing up. We had 40 or 50 people in the first hour and another 156 paid, so while we weren’t coming close to reaching our old numbers, we had at least got the ball rolling in terms of getting more people to attend ANDAZ at our new venue. We tried free early admission the next month as well and after 100-150 people got in for free, our door person Dave Mosier convinced us we needed to start charging these people some money, so we started charging three dollars for the first hour at ANDAZ.

The devastatingly-low turnout of our first two parties at Rotture was now a thing of the past, but the early admission special created some new challenges. At the Fez we would not play Bhangra for an hour and a half or more, and play loungier stuff in the beginning of the night, but now we had people showing up right at 9 pm looking to dance. People would pay their cover and head straight for the dance floor, not even making a stop at the bar. All of a sudden we were playing hype dance music to what might be a full dance floor by 9:15 pm, an entirely new arc of activity for the party. We also had to get used to an earlier closing time. While our parties at the Fez always went until 3 am, we now had to end the party by 2:30 am at the latest.

Because we were worked into the Rotture schedule so last minute our party floated from one Saturday (or Friday) to the next for the first few months we were there. Because Branx/Rotture hosted the massive Blow Pony queer party every fourth Saturday there was never any chance of ANDAZ going back to that schedule. Instead the party moved to every first Saturday while we were at Rotture. This too created new challenges. For many years we hosted our ATLAS party ever second Saturday at Holocene and ANDAZ every last Saturday at the Fez. This gave us at least two weeks between every party, and that rhythm kept both parties packed all that time. Now we had two parties two weekends in a row, and then two to three weekends off. It was absolutely not ideal to throw two different parties two weekends in a row every month, but there was no flexibility at either club to provide any other option due to well-established and highly successful parties at both venues, so we made the best of it, knowing that both of our parties were suffering at least a little from being right next to each other. Since ANDAZ was no longer on last Saturdays, it also meant that our Bollywood Horror Halloween parties were now going to be happening at a different venue than our ANDAZ parties. Those parties moved to the Someday Lounge during the time that ANDAZ was at Rotture.

Some regulars from the Fez eventually started making appearances at Rotture, but essentially ANDAZ created a whole new crowd at Rotture. People started coming there who had never seen us before, and Rotture was their introduction to the party. They fell in love with ANDAZ at our new venue, and didn’t share the nostalgic pining for the Fez that some of our old regulars had. It was interesting, because there were people who literally came to ANDAZ every month at the Fez who never once came to Rotture. Did they not know about our new home, or were they interested in preserving their memories of the Fez? We will never know. To this day, more than five years later, we meet people all the time who say, “I used to see you at the Fez,” but for whatever reason never followed our career after that point, despite all the amazing parties we have thrown in the meantime.

Despite nay-saying opinions about Indians never crossing the Willamette River, we did eventually draw a Desi crowd to Rotture, and thankfully went back to hosting very mixed parties after a whiter-than-usual first several months. We knew how popular the Lebanese Nicholas Restaurant was with Desis from the West side,  and that was only a few blocks away, so we knew it was only a matter of time. Eventually I was able to go back to playing lots of Bollywood to ecstatic crowds, and we developed our crowd beyond the initial attendees who were mostly only interested in Hiphop-style Bhangra. At the Fez the central stage was reserved for dancers, while our DJ booth was in the corner. Now we DJed from the back of Rotture’s stage, and all the extroverted dancers would take the stage in front of us at the peak of the night. This added such a different energy than we ever had at the Fez as we were sharing the stage with our dancers and feeding off their energy. This led to some crazy parties with some unreal energy. We knew that even if some of our crowd hadn’t moved on from the Fez, ANDAZ was alive and well with a new venue and a largely new crowd. We continued to have very few guests at ANDAZ, but we did have Black Mahal with Ustad Lal Singh Bhatti on dhol, return sets from Delhi 2 Dublin and DJ Rekha (both hosted downstairs in the bigger sister venue of Rotture: Branx). We also hosted some of our favorite dancers in the Seattle-based Bollywood Dance Project troupe for our nine-year anniversary along with our friend Adam McCollom as guest dholi. The dancers of Bridgetown Revue joined us on that night and several others as well, something very different for us, as we had never hosted bellydancers before at ANDAZ.

Eventually Conrad Loebl left the club and the owner Mike Wolfson became our primary contact. He took a real interest in the night and wanted us to start decorating the venue, something we had never done before. Unlike some parties that have large decorating crews and do elaborate one-night redesigns of their venues, we liked showing up and playing our spaces just as they were, just like a band show. For us the emphasis was always on the music and we are a two-person crew, so our ability and interest in transforming spaces is highly limited. Mike convinced us this was what we needed to do to go from solid numbers at ANDAZ to lines around the block. He even went to Indian grocery stores in the West suburbs to buy decorations and Indian snacks to have on the tables. Anjali and I did some shopping of our own, and along with a trunk of saris we started showing up to the club hours early and decorating.  We never had an owner take such a hands-on interest in our night before, and it felt really validating after having made the Fez money for years and yet never meeting the owner of that club. Unfortunately the decorating seemed to have little effect on the numbers, so eventually the decorating dropped to just lining the club’s long exposed brick wall with saris before the start of each ANDAZ.

One of the biggest annoyances about our nights at Rotture also happened to be one of the reasons we felt happy about moving to Rotture in the first place. Our friends Monkeytek, Ryan Organ and Jon A.D. threw the dubstep night Various downstairs at Branx every first Saturday. They always brought in the powerful HAS soundsystem to get as much bass out of their sets as possible. When we first started ANDAZ at Rotture, Branx was a little shoe box space underneath the back half of Rotture. What this meant is that if you were hanging out at the back of Rotture far from the dance floor you could hear the bass from Various coming up through the floor. We could live with that. In fact we were happy to be upstairs from one of the few forward-looking and thinking parties in Portland. However, the Branx space was eventually expanded to include all of the space underneath Rotture, and the stage at Branx was moved directly underneath the stage at Rotture.  To fill up the space Various started bringing in more and more bass, eventually bringing in sixteen double 18″ subwoofers every month, way, way more than what he had upstairs at Rotture. These downstairs subs would rattle our stage, and sometimes sound louder to us DJing on stage upstairs than our own monitors. It started to sound like Bollywood vocals on top of dubstep bass. We had no right to complain, as they were there first, and they were one of the reasons we felt good about moving our party to Rotture. We don’t know if our crowd noticed it as much as we did, but is was certainly distracting for us. The new expanded Branx space was not a good fit for Various and eventually they hosted their final night, bringing in eighteen double 18″ subwoofers for the occasion. It was a ridiculous night of downstairs dubstep bass versus upstairs Desi beats. After Various came to an end we learned that having a dubstep night below us was preferable to other alternatives including techno and metal. Dubstep might have added amorphous bass to our sets, but techno would pound along trainwrecking with the rhythms we were playing upstairs. Metal nights would growl through the floor and sound particularly inappropriate when Anjali was conducting early dance lessons at our night.

It was the loud music downstairs that was the single most unsatisfying element of hosting ANDAZ at Rotture. One of the reasons we decided not to stay at Lola’s Room was because of the louder music upstairs at the Crystal Ballroom that was capable of drowning out our night. It was just as bad or worse at Rotture. We had other complaints about Rotture as well.  The soundsystem was merely adequate and lacking the powerful bass we adore. No money was ever put into the place so it only went downhill. Even minor repairs would never happen, so the same holes in the bathroom floor were there all the years we were at the club. The owner was upfront with us and let us know he was going to sell and wasn’t going to be sinking money into the place. The club would get unbearably hot and sweaty in the summers, there was no hint of any AC, and there was only one fan for a 400-person space. We really missed the foot traffic downtown that brought lots of new fans to the Fez every month. Despite the inner Eastside industrial area getting hipper during our time at Rotture, there were never any people on the street in front of the club, so we were limited to the people we could convince to come to the club in advance. While we established solid attendance numbers at Rotture, we never reached the same heights we had at the Fez, and felt pretty confident that if we moved the party back downtown we could boost those numbers again.

One night in April of 2013 we were hanging out with our friend Allison Carter who was leaving the Crystal Ballroom after having worked in the booking department there forever. We went to see the soul singer Lee Fields with her at the Star Theater as part of the Soul’d Out Music Festival. That night she introduced us to Frank Faillace who owned the Star Theater, Dante’s and seemingly half the strip clubs in Portland. Anjali asked if he would be interested in hosting our party at the Star, a gorgeous venue we had always admired. He said yes, and we began making plans to move the night. ANDAZ thrived at Rotture for more than three years, but beginning with our 11th anniversary in July of 2013 we were going to be hosting ANDAZ at the Star Theater.


Part one of the history of ANDAZ is here, part two is here, and part four is here.




The 13th Anniversary of our ANDAZ party: A History Part Two



The thirteenth anniversary of our ANDAZ Bhangra and Bollywood party is Saturday, July 25th, 2015 at the Analog Theater. Part one of the history of ANDAZ is here, part two is here, and part three is here and part four is here.

From the beginning Anjali and I knew we wanted to host a party that welcomed both Desis and non-Desis. Some time in 2001/2002 we went to an Indian student party at Portland State University hoping to hear some good Bhangra and Bollywood.  I am pretty sure I was the only white guy there, and the DJ didn’t even play a single Indian song while I was there. I realized the party was all about the South Asian exclusive space, and not about the music. Since I wasn’t South Asian, and didn’t grow up with the music at all, I wanted outsiders to feel welcome at any party we threw, but I didn’t want us playing to just whiteys either. We wanted a party where people who knew the words and people who had never heard the music before could all dance together. Inclusiveness was the vibe and we vowed to never have a dress code, which was very popular for South Asian parties at the time. To us that was total bullshit.

While ANDAZ has never been explicitly a queer party, we had LGBTQ friends and supporters from the start and we never wanted to play host to a heteronormative environment. Back when we started Portland had no lesbian nights and one lesbian bar, the E Room, that all our lesbian friends complained about because they thought the music there was so lame. As a result we had a large lesbian crowd early on that eventually fractioned off as one lesbian club night after another started up around town in the aughts including the very popular Double Down which was always opposite our ANDAZ parties. (The massively popular queer party Blow Pony was also frequently opposite us, so our LGBTQ crowd shrunk over the years to only those who were diehard Bhangra and Bollywood fans.) Because homosexuality is so underground in India we often had recent immigrants being exposed to same-sex couples making out and grinding on the dance floor which is something they probably never saw at home. When we hear about how heteronormative Desi parties are in other cities, and how unwelcoming they are to LGBTQ folk, we are so happy that our party is nothing like that. We’ve always loved our LGBTQ fans and been so glad that they’ve been along with us for the ride.

From our first party at Lola’s Room we had such a diverse crowd of young and old, Desi and non, and people form all subcultures and backgrounds, from working class Panjabis to South Indian tech workers, from anarchists to young professionals. The irony is that of Portland’s three main subcultures, indie, hippy and Burner, we never drew but a trickle from any of them. We always had our own crowd made up of lots of very different unique individuals. At first lots of South Asians came to our party until they realized how infatuated we were with Bhangra and the majority of South Asians living in Portland do not care for Bhangra. Aside from the Panjabis the South Asians mostly came to hear Hindi film songs and we were so  focused on Bhangra that I remember at one early party I could only account for about twenty minutes of Bollywood that we had played in a six-hour night. At the beginning of our party there was very little Bollywood that would work for a mixed audience that wasn’t already in love with the songs. In fact, since the studios didn’t provide club-ready Hindi songs, a whole industry of bedroom Bollywood remixers was active distributing remix CDs to Indian stores throughout the South Asian diaspora. We bought hundreds of these and we played what we could, but they were mostly really bad. It wasn’t for many years before the Hindi film industry started pumping out house, which is a huge part of Bollywood these days. Meanwhile the UK Bhangra scene kept releasing banger after banger, so we found it a challenge to balance the Bhangra and Bollywood while appealing to our diverse crowd and not compromising our taste and standards.

As a DJ, Anjali has always been more about presenting her unique taste while I have been more willing to acquiesce to the will of the crowd. Especially since I am an outsider to Desi music I have always been more accommodating to the desires of our Desi crowd out of an eagerness to please and not wanting to be some white guy who thinks he knows better. Truthfully there are many big Desi hits we have never played because we think they are atrocious, but we have leaned more in certain directions because of the mania of the audience, even if it is not particularly our thing. Within the first year we had alienated a large chunk of Portland’s South Asian community either because we didn’t play enough Bollywood, or because we (shockingly!) had a mixed crowd and not the exclusively-South Asian space that so many Desis seem to crave in America. Several parties that were attended by hundreds of people only counted a few of our Indian friends in attendance. Anjali would happily keep playing sets of UK Bhangra bangers, but I actively sought out Bollywood songs to play in a desperate attempt to woo back some of our South Asian audience. As popular and energetic as our parties were, it didn’t feel right to not try to please the Desis who might come through the door who didn’t share our passion for Bhangra. As a result I started pushing more and more Bollywood in my sets and begging Anjali to do the same and eventually over the years we brought the party at the Fez to the point where it would be half-Desi. In fact the nights at the Fez, while never two exactly the same, frequently had a similar arc. The party would begin at 9 pm and people would slowly trickle in. By 10 or 10:30 the dance floor would begin to bubble, and by 11 or 11:30 the party would be raging. We would never play Bhangra in the beginning of the night and would always want to hold off on unleashing the dhols for as long as possible to maximize the impact. In fact Anjali would play Asian Underground acts like Asian Dub Foundation in the beginning of the night. The party would start white and end brown. By the end of the night it would be a Desi sing-a-long, no matter how white the party was earlier in the night. We had a large Tibetan and Nepali crowd  that would often arrive late since we always stayed open and kept the dance floor going until 3 am, a real rarity in Portland at the time when most clubs closed by 2 am. Even before Portland banned smoking in clubs in January of 2009, we banned smoking from the dance floor and limited smoking to the second floor lounge at the Fez. This sadly stopped a lot of our Tibetan and Nepali crowd from showing up, many of whom liked to fill up the couches on the dance floor stage and chainsmoke throughout the night before we instituted the ban.

There was always a lot of diversity in the South Asian crowd that came to ANDAZ. In addition to the Tibetans and Nepalis there were Indo-Fijians and Indo-Trinidadians, Afghanis, Pakistanis and people from Sri Lanka, students and tech workers straight from India, and the children of Indian immigrants. The Indians who came to our parties hailed from as far north as Jammu and as far south as Kerala. Since Bollywood is the only music that reaches all corners of the South Asian diaspora it is no wonder that our South Asian attendees were less than thrilled with our focus on Bhangra. One Indo-Fijian told me they called our party the ding-a-ling-a-ling party referring to the constant sound of the tumbi in our sets.

Despite Portand’s reputation as being America’s whitest city the non-Desis who came to ANDAZ were not all white. We had Black and Latino fans, Arabs and all sorts of Asians as well as Native Americans. It was a delight for us to be able to unite all these people in joy on the dance floor. Perhaps it was this diversity that had an FBI agent come to the club once allegedly looking for a Lebanese terrorist.

One thing that set ANDAZ apart was that we almost entirely avoided themes and guest artists, two things that are the bread and butter of many other parties. When ANDAZ fell on Halloween night in 2003 we started up our  much-imitated tradition of throwing a Bollywood Horror Halloween party every year. Most Americans didn’t know about the history of horror movies in Bollywood and had no idea about the tradition we were celebrating. For 13 years our Bollywood Horror parties are the only theme nights we ever throw at ANDAZ. While many other club nights feature a raft of DJs and guests every party, we wanted to keep ANDAZ devoted to the residents: Anjali and The Incredible Kid. In seven-and-a-half-years at the Fez  we had only the following musical guests: Tigerstyle, DJ Rekha, Delhi 2 Dublin, Joti and Bongo of the Duniya Dance and Drum Company, E3 and DJ Aanshul. (In 2005 ANDAZ fell on New Year’s Eve and we had the Indian magician Shreeyah Palshikar open up the show.) Being so isolated in Portland from the South Asian music industry we didn’t have the budget or the population to draw from to support the biggest artists in the industry, and we were so confident in our own DJing based on seeing many other Desi DJs in North America and India that we knew nobody could do our party better than us. We turned down and disappointed many performers, but in the end we stuck to our guns and our party has lasted 13 years, something that most parties with many guest artists and DJs have never achieved.

Our parties were always popular, but our popularity shot through the roof when we were featured on OPB’s Oregon Art Beat in January of 2006. Our friend Nimmi Singh worked for OPB at the time and convinced producer Mike Midlo that they needed to cover us, and once the segment ran we were dealing with lines around the block all night. Our party typically drew 300-400 Portlanders and now we were drawing in the upper 500s. When we first began DJing at the Fez the legal capacity of the top two floors combined was 449. Shortly after we started at the Fez there was the White Snake concert fire in Rhode Island and as a result the fire marshall came through the Fez and permanently reduced the capacity of the top two floors to 349. As much as we value safety this was a bummer as it meant that when the night had “sold out” it actually still felt as if there was room for more people. Since Anjali and I have our roots in the house party scene, we love the energetic vibe you can only get from a super-crammed space, but that was never to be at the Fez after that point. Since capacity was only 349, and we would have nearly 600 people through the doors, clearly a lot of people were doing a lot of waiting in line. Despite hitting the upper 590s several times, we never did cross the 600 paid threshold at the Fez. We didn’t cross that threshold until we started throwing New Year’s Eve parties at the much larger Bossanova Ballroom.

Despite the always-popular nature of our night, the Fez had trouble developing other popular Saturday nights. Meanwhile the same person who owned the Fez owned many other businesses on the same block including Aura on the first floor. Aura was Portland’s most popular douchebag hangout on weekends for many years. While the Fez only had one consistently popular Saturday night, Aura always had a long line and the drink menus at Aura were twice as expensive as at the Fez. We always had good relations with our direct managers at the Fez, first with Blaine Peters and then with Michael Ackerman who took over after his departure, but our good relations never extended any farther up the power structure and we never had a relationship with the owner. In April of 2010 we got a two-week notice and were told that April’s ANDAZ party at the Fez was to be our last one, as they were going to open the stairway from Aura to the Fez on Saturday nights and advertise it as three floors of Aura playing top 40 to a lowest common denominator crowd. They fired all the Saturday night DJs to make this a reality, but we were the only ones who had a highly-successful party that had been running for seven and a half years. Ironically new editions of the travel guides Best Places Portland and the Moon Handbook Portland were published within a few months of our departure both hyping our ANDAZ party as the place to go to dance in Portland. Funny that what multiple travel guides recognized as a Portland institution went totally unnoticed by the owner of the club who was more interested in putting double-price drink menus in at the Fez.

To this day the thing that Anjali and I hear the most from people we meet is, “I used to see you at the Fez.” Even though the party has continued rocking for five more years, many people for whatever reason stopped seeing us when we left the Fez. Many people tell us they still miss the Fez and that the vibe there was the best. Shortly after we left the club an upper manager ordered a hideous makeover after attending a club in LA. The once Moroccan themed club was covered in white fabric and plasma view screens were inserted thoughout the space. Anjali and I attended a few events there and realized that there was no returning (Within a year we were invited to bring the party back to the Fez. An offer which we refused, having learned not to trust the organization.). The vibe of the club had been so mutilated by the makeover that it never would have worked for our party anymore, even if we were willing to return.

While some people still pine for the days of the Fez there were a number of downsides to the club that people either don’t remember or were unaware of. The club was never willing to pay for a sound person for our night so I would gamely try to adjust sliders and knobs all night trying to get something that sounded acceptable even though I had no idea what I was doing. The wonderful Shira Otchis would sometimes come in and try to help us get the sound dialed in at the beginning of the night, and whenever a sound person was there for a special event I would try to pick their brain about how I should adjust things for our night, but it was mostly me fumbling unhappily in the dark. When Aura opened the organization that owned both Aura and the Fez decided to strip the Fez of all the moving disco lights to put them up at Aura. For many years we only had a few static stage lights and no moving lights of any kind at the Fez. The AC would frequently break on hot summer nights making the club feel like the inside of an aquarium more than anything else. The vinyl situation was never workable as the DJ booth wasn’t isolated at all, so whenever we tried to play records there was massive rumble that sounded horrible. This necessitated us playing nothing but CDs at the club.

The Fez was a truly special era in the life of our party, but we were shoved out the door and we knew we weren’t going to stop hosting ANDAZ parties, so we moved on. Our next home: Rotture.


Part one of the history of ANDAZ is here, part three is here and part four is here.










The 13th Anniversary of our ANDAZ party: A History Part One



The 13th anniversary of ANDAZ is Saturday night July 25th, 2015 at the Analog Theater. In case you didn’t know ANDAZ is a Bhangra and Bollywood party Anjali and I have been throwing since July of 2002. However, the roots of the party go back several years before that. Part one of the history of ANDAZ is here, part two is here, and part three is here and part four is here.

In the late ’90s I had been DJing house parties in Portland and at that time Anjali and I were coworkers at Powell’s City of Books. Many of the parties involved those of us who were struggling to unionize the workers of Powell’s Books under the ILWU.  Anjali was bored stiff by the music at these parties (Hang the DJ! Hang the DJ! Hang the DJ!) and she asked me at work one day if I would be willing to teach her how to DJ. I said sure. Later on I realized that the coming Saturday I was DJing a going-away party for one of our union organizers, a strong feminist named Tricia Schultz. I figured Tricia would really appreciate a female DJ at the event so I called Anjali and asked if she wanted to play Saturday night. (While there are endless DJ techniques one can practice in one’s bedroom, I believe the crux of DJing comes down to playing music for a live crowd and getting them to dance and have a good time, which is why I think learning to DJ involves being in front of a crowd, and not alone in your bedroom.) After initially telling me she had to think about it, Anjali called back and agreed to DJ for Tricia’s party. Anjali received a rave response. The much-repeated and entirely true story is that when she arrived early at the party no one was dancing. I quickly showed her how to use the mixer and then raced off to pee. When I returned from the bathroom there was a packed floor dancing to her Britpop selections. I was so curious about a lot of her music, which even as a record collector I knew nothing about, that I started inviting her to DJ other parties with me. One was my birthday later that month where she played the first Bhangra track I ever heard in my life and it blew my mind. I had to know what it was and learn as much about this music as I could. Hearing this track literally changed my entire life and led to me largely alienating the fan base I had created as a house party DJ, who were not as thrilled by the international direction of my musical development as I was.

I had played my first club night on Halloween night 2000 at the Satyricon, but Anjali and I made our club debut together on New Year’s Eve 2000 at the Medicine Hat on Alberta which was being booked by Chantelle Hylton. It was a sold-out success which featured nudity and illicit drug use which got many of our friends kicked out. Anjali featured South Asian songs in her eclectic set, and I played my then-standard all-over-the-map set. Anjali brought in Bollywood visuals which we played alongside Stanley Kubrick’s 2001.

From the beginning at the house parties I DJed I was playing a very eclectic assortment of music from house party standards like Michael Jackson and Prince to international sounds that excited me like reggaeton, dancehall, Asian Drum’n’Bass, Merenhouse and Merenrap, and even a lone Bollywood record I had picked up in San Francisco, but this Bhangra was something else entirely to my mind. Anjali showed me around the Indian stores in Portland’s suburbs, and as a vinyl-only DJ I had to accept that this music was not pressed on vinyl, and not available in standard record stores, but only on CD and cassette, next to the lentils in Indian grocery stores. I spent 500 dollars on our first day of shopping. Shortly after this shopping trip in the Spring of 2001 Anjali went  to live in NYC for a few months while I stayed in Portland devouring my new purchases and recognizing that while I always thought I would remain a highly-eclectic DJ, I had actually found a world of music that I would be content to play all night. I was still learning to differentiate Bollywood and Bhangra and it was all one crazy mixed up sound to me.

While Anjali was exploring the South Asian DJ scene in New York I was continuing to DJ in Portland and hit up the Indian grocery stores for more music and trying to mix in at least a couple Bhangra or Bollywood songs in every set I played. I remember I reached a major personal milestone when I was able to play two Bhangra songs in a row at a house party and not clear the floor. (I even DJed a prom-themed event for the Portland Mercury and despite Wm. Steven Humphrey warning me not to play any “world music” I still snuck in Tigerstyle’s “Nachna Onda Nei.”) When Anjali returned from New York later that Summer I kept inviting her to DJ; the most momentous party being a 400-person-plus Halloween house party where Anjali raged a set of all South Asian music to a mostly white Portland crowd. This wrenched open my mind to the possibility that one could actually play a whole set of this music that I loved to a packed dance floor even if the audience was totally unfamiliar with the sound.

I had been DJing the hippest bar in town at the time called the Blackbird on Tuesday nights as part of a collective during 2001, and the booking agent Chantelle Hylton asked if I wanted to take over the night entirely in the Fall. I invited Anjali onboard and expressed to Chantelle how much I wanted to feature Bhangra at this night, which I had already been mixing into my sets. Now at this point I didn’t want to give up DJing hiphop, Latin music, indie, funk, soul, girl-punk and lots of other sounds that were a part of my sets, but I imagined a night where we could mix all of it together with a healthy dose of Bhangra and Bollywood. The party was a total experiment, and while Anjali played super-eclectic sets, she would also rage all South Asian sets for groups of Desis that would show up to the night and go ballistic in what was usually a very stiff hipsterish environment. Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, then of the Portland Mercury, took an early interest and was the first to write up our parties.


Our night at the Blackbird only lasted six months before the club informed us they needed to do something that would make them more money, but by the end there were groups of white people who would show up who would clearly be coming to hear Bhangra, and I found myself playing all Bhangra sets for the first time.

We then moved to the Kalga Cafe which was a late-night international vegetarian restaurant owned by a Panjabi family and while it was much more of a lounge than a dance club we kept the fires alive for the developing community of Bhangra and Bollywood heads and we realized at our weekly lounge night that people were really hungering for a full-on Bhangra and Bollywood dance party. Chantelle Hylton was a strong booster of what we were doing, and she had been trying to get me into a regular DJ slot at Lola’s Room in the Crystal Ballroom and trying to entice the local press to write about Anjali and I. Zach Dundas, then of the Willamette Week, caught one of our last Blackbird gigs and then wrote us up in an article called “Hunting the Wild Bhangra” while we were at the Kalga. With this article in hand I finally managed to convince the booker of Lola’s Room to give Anjali and I a shot and we threw our first all-out Bhangra and Bollywood party on July of 2002, after a year-and-a-half of buildup.


When we first started conceiving of the party Anjali informed me that the party was going to be called ANDAZ, but we settled on titling it “Bhangra Dance Party” on the first flyers since we knew the word Bhangra was getting some buzz and we didn’t want to confuse people with too many new vocabulary words at once. The party was a huge success, and while it didn’t technically sell out, we were just a few people shy of that  and the demand for such a party was so clear that a few months later we scheduled another party at Lola’s Room. That party did sell out, and we knew we wanted to throw more, but also realized that Lola’s Room had a number of limitations that we were not willing to accept. I had attended some events at the Fez Ballroom and knew that was exactly where I wanted us to be throwing our party. Anjali and I attended an Afro night called Deeper Roots there together and in my earliest effort to get Anjali to start doing all the work I encouraged her to go over  to Blaine Peters who was then managing the club. He had heard about our success at Lola’s Room and immediately booked us to start playing at the Fez. Our success continued unabated at the Fez, and beginning in November of 2002 we were playing the last Friday of every month. This lasted until the beginning of 2004 when DJ Gregarious moved his Shut Up and Dance weekly Friday night party from Lola’s Room over to the Fez, at which point we were moved to last Saturdays which we played to packed crowds until our final show at the Fez in April of 2010.


Part two of the history of ANDAZ is here, and part three is here and part four is here.