Resolutions, lessons learned, insights to get gigs, the importance of Tuesday nights at Flask, what to expect on NYE, and fun bonus QnA’s w/ APG, G-Force, Harlock, and Kid Ray! New Year’s Eve falls on a Tuesday, landing on our weekly Open DJ Night. I thought, why not ask our Open hosts to take over and lead us into 2020 Flasquerade style.
What has your experience been as a host of OPEN? Is OPEN vital to the DJ community?
Andrew Paul (APG): When I heard Open needed a host earlier this year, I jumped right on the opportunity, for the main purpose of keeping the night going. It has been vital for the scene and should not be taken for granted. For newer and older DJ’s alike, it allows us to play out, and connect with others. It’s been an honor to host.
Gina Hesse (G-Force): I got my first real electronic music gig because of Open back in 2012. I owe a lot to Open, and I think it is vital to the Maine electronic music scene. It helps bedroom DJs get a chance to break out of their comfort zone and potentially get gigs out of it.
James Spinney (Harlock): I’ve been lucky to be a part of Open since Kid Ray’s induction in 2013, attending the first few Open’s as a patron and occasionally signing up to DJ. Open had been an immediate success in the scene, encouraging both veteran DJs and hopeful beginners to come out and spin their passions for an eager crowd, and I was no exception. As a producer first, and DJ second, Open was especially magical for me as it provided a platform to show off the music I had been producing over the years. To help support Open, several of the regular DJs, Carl Fisher, Moses, A Dude Named Ray, Dj Cougar, as well as Kid Ray himself, would help by providing the necessary equipment to host the night. I ended up picking up a pair of new CDJs to provide some relief for the rotation and become a regular co-host. The rest is history!
Christopher Ramos (Kid Ray): I was the primary host for six years up until this year, I host the first Tuesday of the month. I love every Tuesday, one way or another. Once, a guy tried playing a set with two cassette decks. This forum offers new and veteran DJs and Artists a chance to hone their talents with their peers.
Flask receives 100’s of booking requests each month from bands and DJs. I imagine this number is equivalent to other venues in Portland. What’s the best advice you can give to up and coming musicians who want to break out and book gigs at Flask and other local venues?
Andrew Paul (APG): When I was a newer DJ, Open was vital for me. It gave me a way to practice outside of the bedroom, and at the same time, network with other DJ’s attending. That alone helped create paths for new gigs.
Gina Hesse (G-Force): I’d say, if you’re a DJ or producer, get to Open. It is the ONLY Open DJ night in this area. I know that I have booked DJ’s that I have heard at Open, and they have gone on to other things. As far as other music genres, make demos. Get your name out there. Go to open mic nights and make yourself known. You will never be heard if you don’t get out there and perform for the masses!
James Spinney (Harlock): One of the most important things you can do is come out and show support for the events being hosted at the venue. Network with regulars, talk with the promoters and get a few attendances under your belt before hunting down a gig. If you’re a DJ, then definitely swing by on a Tuesday and sign-up for Open (sign-ups start at 8:30, so get there early!). Often there will be regulars and veterans who frequently host or DJ events attending Open, so giving them a preview of your talents can only help! Many of the veteran DJs are more than willing to give upcoming artists a shot. G-Force specifically has a fantastic track record of showcasing phenomenal artists that otherwise have gone unnoticed. If you run into her, say hi, and introduce yourself, it’ll be the smartest thing you do that night.
Christopher Ramos (Kid Ray): If you want it, you have to shoot your shots as professionally as possible. Be present and available.
The decade is almost over. It’s been a wild one. Can you share one lesson learned in the last decade you will take with you into 2020?
Andrew Paul (APG): Be yourself. Keep your craft authentic, and to not compromise that for what might be trending. If it makes you move, it surely will make others, too.
Gina Hesse (G-Force): One HUGE lesson I learned this decade is to never take anything for granted. Not your family, not your house, nothing. LOVE every day and stay focused and motivated.
James Spinney (Harlock): It’s important to have balance in your life, Jackie Chan once said (in a very cheesy remake of The Karate Kid) “Wù jí bì fǎn”; too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Focusing on your passions is important, but it’s also important to make sure you’re financially stable, have a good job, and to make healthy lifestyle choices. We all want to live the dream and believe our passions alone will keep us afloat, but the reality is even the most successful of us aren’t DJing or producing music full-time. Find a balance that works, and if you feel yourself slipping in one direction or another, realign yourself and assess what is most important right now.
Christopher Ramos (Kid Ray): Pay attention to other people’s personal space.
What are your 2020 goals? Resolutions?
Andrew Paul (APG): To keep sharing the music that I love, one event at a time.
Gina Hesse (G-Force): To quit drinking.
James Spinney (Harlock): I was lucky enough to find the love of my life through the music scene, and last May, we tied the knot. Going forward into 2020, we hope to continue saving up and with any luck purchase our first house so we can start working on having a family. If stars align and fortune favors me, I’d like to go on a trip to spend a week in Japan.
Christopher Ramos (Kid Ray): My goals for the new year are to pay more attention to my own needs, wants, and happiness. I tend to put others ahead of myself.
What can we expect from you on NYE?
Andrew Paul (APG): I will be warming up the night early with some soulful drum n bass vibes. It will surely get you moving!
Gina Hesse (G-Force): House and bass vibes that are certainly going to keep you dancing!!
James Spinney (Harlock): Well, House Music has always been a soft spot for me. Even though my DJ roots go way back to my days as a host for dnbradio.com, I’ve always been a House music producer first and foremost so… I suppose you’ll have to come out and find out for yourself on New Year’s Eve what I picked!
Christopher Ramos (Kid Ray): Tribal/Latin/Disco
1. Thick crust or thin crust?
Andrew Paul (APG): I’ll eat both.
Gina Hesse (G-Force): Thin
James Spinney (Harlock): Stuffed Crust!
Christopher Ramos (Kid Ray): Thin
2. Ice cream cone or cup?
Andrew Paul (APG): A cone-shaped like a cup!
Gina Hesse (G-Force): Cone
James Spinney (Harlock): Waffle Cone
Christopher Ramos (Kid Ray): Cup
3. Dogs or Cats?
Andrew Paul (APG): A cat that acts like a dog.
Gina Hesse (G-Force): Cats and Wiener dogs 😂
James Spinney (Harlock): I have a Ball Python so… Snake?
Christopher Ramos (Kid Ray): Both
4. House or Bass?
Andrew Paul (APG): Bass. But not strict to any genre.
Gina Hesse (G-Force): BOTH!
James Spinney (Harlock): BOTH!
Christopher Ramos (Kid Ray): House (mostly)