Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Interview with DJ Jason from ABSOLUTION

We have a treat for all of you, today, particularly if you're big into the club scene. DJ Jason from ABSOLUTION, a big club night in New York City, has been gracious enough to answer my questions. This is definitely something you want to read if you're interested in what it's like to be a DJ in NYC.

Audio Cantrips: DJ Jason, from what I understand, you are one of two DJs who regularly spin at ABSOLUTION, a long-running goth-industrial night in Manhattan, New York City. Could you briefly explain ABSOLUTION to those of us who are not from NYC?

Jason: Absolution came from a special event by the same name that I started in 1998 at CBGBs.  I brought together all of the area's Goth and Industrial DJs to spin at a great NYC venue.  It was a multiple DJ event with each DJ spinning a short set (usually only 30 minutes).  At that time, it had not been done in the US before.  In fact, it remained the only event to have that structure as a theme in NYC through to 2010.
Today, Absolution is a production company that produces many different events for the NYC Goth scene.  Some of the current events include Absolution, NYC's original multi dj goth & industrial event, Incantation, NYC's festival style goth band event, and Through The Mirror, a goth dance event in a private space.

Audio Cantrips: Being in a huge city has innate benefits when trying to drum up support for events. You obviously have a larger pool of potential customers to market your services. Do you think the sheer size of New York City has helped in making ABSOLUTION thrive? Does the expected logic hold?

Jason:  People often forget that in the USA only a few large cities had worthwhile goth nightlife in the beginning.  NYC, LA, SF, Chicago and Boston's scenes were the only places where truly underground dark music and appropriately large corresponding band culture was in the states.  As is such, the NYC scene has a different energy than newer places.   The band culture in NYC is definitely a plus as the many cool musicians are great patrons and good looking guests at events.

Audio Cantrips: Are there other aspects of NYC, itself, that help or hinder the success of the event night?

Jason:  New York City is a major destination and important transportation hub and therefore it is the first stop for most traveling foreign goths as well as many US goth travelers. 

Audio Cantrips: Obviously, there are goth-industrial nights in countless other places on Earth, but do you feel like you could do what you do in a totally different city? If you did go to a different city to DJ another goth-industrial night, what would be the same for you and what would be different?

Jason: It's a well known truth for New York DJs of nearly any genre that spinning anywhere else is much easier.  

Audio Cantrips: What do you feel has gained credibility for ABSOLUTION over time and helped it to remain alive for so many years?

Jason: Absolution was formed with instant credibility, since I already was the only DJ for the longest running and biggest pure Goth club in NYC's history, Alchemy at CBGB's 313 Gallery, when I created it.

Audio Cantrips: What do you enjoy about being a DJ? What makes you get up in the morning and want to tackle the day's work?

Jason: Breaking new music, setting a good example for other DJs/Promoters/Band Bookers/Organizers, hearing from fans that you have changed their lives, making certain that the sound system is operating at peak performance, giving something special, holding to proper tradition… and also, the obvious stuff like watching the crowd go wild and controlling the dance floor. 

Audio Cantrips: What displeases you about the job?

Jason: Hobbyist DJ politics in the age of the internet.

Audio Cantrips: Going back to talking about ABSOLUTION, itself, I notice there is a distinct dress code. What prompted this? How strictly is this enforced?

Jason: We simply don't advertise towards or otherwise encourage mainstream people to attend.  We have a good doorman to ensure that quality people are let in.  There is a suggested dress code for goths.

Audio Cantrips: Finally, what are your goals and ambitions for ABSOLUTION in the short and long-term?

Jason: I'd rather not say, since that would be giving away too much and in this field one can not stay ahead by broadcasting future plans to the world.  ;)

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