Earlier this month, we did a feature on The Don Cornelius - Soul Train Tribute party, the brainchild of DPC friend, Matthew “Mr. Bonkerz” Lipsit. It was nothing less than a huge success on all fronts. Afros, flowing chest hair, ridiculous and tacky outfits with accessories, and massive for-the-books Soul Train lines made for one of the rowdiest, and sweatiest, get-downs this city has had the chance to shake its collective groove thang at. A slightly belated, but well deserved congratulations and “Thank You” from the DPC crew goes out to D.C.’s Mr. Bonkerz, The Metaphysical, Trev-Ski, and William DeVon for making that happen.
|The Metaphysical, Mr. Bonkerz, Trev-Ski|
|Epic Soul Train Line|
Well, the bonk man is at it again. While approaching the one year anniversary of his monthly cookie fueled disco dance party, Shenaniganz, his latest venture brings us back to The BlackCat DC. This time in the form of an overdue disco collision between himself and, DJs Remote Ctrl and Sneakers in the Dryer. Get ready for: Disco in the Dark
DPC: How excited are you to be coming up on the 1 year anniversary for Shenaniganz?
Bonk: It's a great feeling! I reached out to Lisa (the booking agent at 9:30 club who used to handle backbar duties) in January 2011 and she gave me a chance. I really didn't know what to expect but i had a vision all along. Providing an upbeat disco party where people could let loose, play what THEY truly wanted and hold nothing back. It's been quite a ride and am truly grateful that so many talented DJ's have agreed to be a part of it and help it grow. I'll be having my good buddy, DJ Marmon (NY) join me for the anniversary next month with as promised, an all out cookie buffet......you'll see :)
And of course, a loyal following of friends and disco enthusiasts made it all possible. You all know who you are...it means the world to me and none of this would've been possible without you! For those wondering where I came up with the party name, i must give credit to my sister. We are huge fans of the movie, "Super Troopers". I insisted we put a "z" on the end and the rest is history.
DPC: How did you feel about the success of the Soul Train Party?
Bonk: Tough to express it through words. But the phrase, "Fuck Yeah" comes to mind. It's no secret that I love disco, especially the older, classic stuff. Performers like Ashford & Simpson, Earth, Wind & Fire, Diana Ross and Sylvester paved the way for today's disco scene and made everything i'm doing today possible. I've been a huge fan of Soul Train for quite some time now. I'm not exactly sure how many episodes were created but I got most of them, i think...(80+ DVD's!)
The idea for a soul train party had been on my mind for the past 6 months. With the unfortunate passing of Soul Train creator Don Cornelius, a tribute was necessary. I reached out to a handful of local disco DJ's and the response was overwhelming. We also received great press and an abundance of promotional assistance from several local blogs and newspapers. It was really touching to see such a great response from our city. Most people dressed up in their classic disco gear and we successfully conducted multiple soul train lines accompanied by additional lighting and a good ol' fog machine! An amazing night that properly celebrated "Soul Train" and the origin of disco. Who knows? Maybe we'll do it again later this year :)
DPC: Do you think there's a growing scene of disco/nudisco/house in Washington D.C.?Bonk: Absolutely! There's a growing realization that disco is back on the rise, especially here in D.C. It seems fitting that the first show at U Street Music Hall 2 years ago was a nu-disco act. So many talented DJ's around the world are re-creating/editing disco classics and making them more suitable for a club environment and the masses are eating it up. People like Rayko, Leftside Wobble and Nelue have had a huge impact in today's scene. And then you have Aeroplane, The Magician, Gigamesh, Lou Teti, Jacques Renault, Drop Out Orchestra, Flight Facilities and so many more helping to create a new wave of disco for the younger generations. If somebody would've told me last year that Dee-Lite's "Groove Is In The Heart" would be remixed and become a mainstream success, I would've laughed in their face. How do you take a perfect track and make it.....better? It just goes to show you that anything is possible.
An extensive amount of gratitude should also be given to a man who's been doing it for over 25 years and is without a doubt my favorite and biggest inspiration: Dimitri From Paris. Without his consistent contributions and ridiculous longevity, who knows where Disco would be. I highly recommend those unfamiliar to check him out.
DPC: Where do you see it going?Bonk: I have no idea and that is a great feeling! There are so many different types of disco receiving overwhelming worldwide support. I've become quite fond of cosmic, spacey disco over the past couple years. Scandinavian masterminds like Lindstrom and Prins Thomas are two of my favorites and influenced my decision to recently start my own space disco party at the Velvet Lounge here in D.C. It's quite refreshing and gives me an opportunity to step outside the box and explore aspects of disco I've grown to love. Italo disco is back on the rise with dudes like Bottin and Rodion leading the charge. Disco as a genre has expanded tremendously over the past 5 years and I'm very excited to see where it goes from here.
DPC: What should people expect at Disco in the Dark?
Bonk: Well, I don't want to ruin the surprise. That would just be cruel! Guess you'll have to swing by to find out :)
DPC: Can you at least tell us how the "Disco In The Dark" DJ lineup came about?
Bonk: That I can do! I had been friends with both Remote Ctrl and Sneakers prior to performing with them. We all have a fondness for the jamband scene and it should be no surprise that we share a similar interest in our disco preferences. We would often see each other at shows and talk shop. It was inevitable that we would join forces. I had Remote join me at my December "Shenaniganz" party where he made his official debut and then had Sneakers join me for his DC debut the following month. Besides throwing down stellar sets, they also brought out a huge crowd of friends. I knew this was the beginning of something special. We joke about checking each other's playlists ahead of time because there is a good chance we will be overlapping. I think it's fucking great!
I'm stoked to be doing a party with these dudes. It's also pretty neat and completely coincidental that we each represent a different part of town (Bonkerz in DC, Remote in VA, Sneakers in MD).
DPC: (Obligatory) What's your go to dance move?
Bonk: How did I know you were going to ask me that question? Haha...Most of my dance moves tend to involve my arms or hands. Growing up in the jamband scene, shows typically run longer and conserving the energy in my legs was essential. It just became somewhat of a habit as I refused to ever sit down during a show. I guess every once in a while I'll bust out a boxstep or a Jim Carey "Dumb and Dumber" type routine, but those tend to be special occasions. An old girlfriend used to say it looked like I was rolling dice (think "craps). So yeah, that's my move....be on the lookout party people!
Thanks, Mr. Bonkerz for having that enlightening little chat with us.
As for the rest of the Disco in the Dark DJs, there's DPC's resident selector, Rashad "Remote Ctrl" Williams, who has quickly garnered attention around D.C.'s favorite dance spots. And also, DPC friend and Baltimore native, Eric "Sneakers in the Dryer" Henderson (whom you may remember provided us with a lovely GuestMix not long ago).
Well it does appear that there's a sort of Neopolitan ice cream sandwich of a dance party on the horizon. Funky, deep, rowdy, sexy: all your favorite flavors of Disco will be well represented. The combination of these disc jockeys in this all- you-can-dance disco-thon debut, may prove to be the next source of get-down, boogie, and shake-a-leg in the District's up and coming disco movement.
If you missed it (shame on you first of all), here's Mr. Bonkerz' most recent mix. It's a huge hour and a half journey through Disco:
Roberto Rodriguez - Venus
Psychemagik - Ass Nation
Proper Heat - Just A Little Bit
Dana Bergquist & Peder G - Acapulco (Martin Virgin & South Express Remix)
Mario & Vidis featuring Kathy Diamond - In My System (Downtown Party Network Remix)
Rayko - Just A Little Bit of Love (Rayko 10,000 Edit)
Evelyn "Champagne" King - I Don't Know If It's Right (Beaten Space Probe Edit)
NYCC - I'll Keep A Light In My Window (ScratchandSniff Edit)
DJ Butcher - Get On You (Instrumental Remix)
Lou Teti - Shake (JKriv Remix)
Mary Mary - Shackles (Drop Out Orchestra Rework)
Toomy Disco - Pushin'
Lindstrom - Botswana Beduin
Mario Basanov - Caribbean Girl (Ilya Santana Remix)
Kreap - DJ Play This Song For Me (Tad Wily Remix)
Peaches, Moullinex - Maniac (Instrumental)
Only Children - Be The One
The Flirts - Passion (La Royale Edit)
The Rapture - How Deep Is Your Love (Toomy Disco Remix)
Bonus! Here are mixes from Remote Ctrl and Sneakers in the Dryer:
*Be sure to check out our continually updated Events page for a DC dance party near you!