Ian: When you’ve talked about your parties in the past, you’ve talked about wanting to create “the vibe”. What is that?
Dan: The vibe is something that’s a bit hard to get at with words. I want to get a kind of richness, increase the viscosity of the experience. I don’t want it to be this superficial apple juice. Let’s not be afraid to do something interstellar, to look at genius music and genius art, be in touch with God and art and love, and see what it feels like to attend that church, you know?
We need to take a big lesson from the LGBTQ community on this one, and the fact of the matter is that they know how to create the vibe. I think what they’re touching into is honesty, authenticity; touching into what it means to be accepting and loving. When you have an environment like that, it takes any event to another level. It makes people down to earth, different, diverse. The environments I’ve been in that support this kind of vibe are the best parties. It makes people feel like themselves, and that’s a very powerful thing.
I guess it matters a lot matching the vibe of the community too.
Yeah, totally, having your finger on the pulse. It’s a relationship, rather than just giving people what they want. You’ve got to give them something they’ve never tried before, and see how they react to it. It’s a bit like taking people on a tour of place they’ve never been, and you just make sure they don’t step on any poisonous shit. If they’re not enjoying where it’s going then you’ve just got to kind of listen to them, bear with them, and take it where it needs to go.
How do you get people to get into music they haven’t been exposed to?
My intention here is to create a new scene. It’s funny how ironically unquestioned the music scene is here, you know? And what I wanna create is a democratization of who has the voice on the decks. We’re all going to have a way better time at these parties if there is a richer diversity of voices, because then we’re gonna have a really exciting variety experiences, instead of listening to the same person every single time.
That’s also what the DJ suite is about. Working with the SRC, I’m getting together a kit of industry-standard DJ equipment and some amazing studio monitors. New DJs will come up, practice, eventually play a set at the Knotty Burl. We’ll film it, a Boiler Room sort of thing, with Ben Grayzel doing the video work, and then because these DJs have practiced on industry-standard equipment they can play everywhere, the whole world. So it’s like a Quest DJ incubator, and the opportunity is available for any student who’s passionate about it.
Where do you hope that will take the music scene here?
My hope is that we have a thriving music scene here that can be globally advertised. I want to do it in the right way, at the right time, so that, for example, UBC students will be like, “Yo, did you hear about that really good night there is up in Squamish?” I want to get the Whistler community involved, the Vancouver community involved. The cool thing about having the Knotty Burl as a space for this is that it’s scrappy, it’s international, it’s young people that are excited about bringing their influences into a place and running with it. It doesn’t have the barriers to entry you find at other clubs. Supporting artists to success is something I find very exciting, because in the end, that’s the dream, isn’t it? Imagine if we had a Quest DJ being shipped out halfway across the world to DJ on a house party boat or something—how much more proud could you feel?
And that dream will be helped along, I imagine, by the Artistic Social Enterprise Fund?
Right. First of all, artists have to get paid—they’re such an underpaid group. You can go and do any regular old thing and get paid for it, and I want to turn art into one of those things too. So we’re going to use a portion of the money from our events to support the artists, and some of it will also go to an “important thing”—I use that terminology because it doesn’t necessarily have to go to a charity to be a good and valuable use of funds. So it’s a way of getting the money from these events going back into the community, going to making new art and to advancing social causes this community cares about.
What are you hoping to see as these events start progressing?
My dream in the future is that if we manage to incubate all these artists, we’ll have a greater well to dip into when we’re creating parties as a community, instead of just having a select few people with equipment on campus. And in terms of party culture, I can’t imagine anyone being upset about more of their friends feeling comfortable going to a party, you know? Everyone benefits from that.