On Saturday night, the Dublab collective celebrated a decade of throwing the best DJ-based music events in the city by … throwing a party with a lot of DJs. Dublab closed a ten-day run of shows with a party downtown on Saturday at Edgar Varela Fine Arts.
What started first as an Internet radio station in 1999, those heady days when financiers with fat checkbooks were throwing money at little start-ups, gradually became something sturdy and solid as the collective learned to survive without relying on venture capital. You can see the community in Tim Norris' photographs. (tragic disclosure: we were fighting the flu on Saturday night, and opted against infecting revelers with our germs; this is a second-hand account.)
Dublab has always been about electronic music, but never at the expense of history. The line-up at Dublab's closing night party embraced producers, DJs and MCs who jumped across genres and sounds: Flying Lotus, Turquoise Wisdom, Ale, Frosty, Gaslamp Killer, J. Rocc and a dozen-odd others.
“There was ridiculous money going into Internet radio,” Mark “Frosty McNeill told writer Chris Martins last month, on the early days of Dublab. “We'd go to these companies for investment meetings and people would be partying midday. They would have, like, 'Kegger Day' every Thursday and 'Early Day' on Tuesdays. DJs were getting paid $60 an hour, plus money for buying records. I had a friend who had his MPC on his desk and he'd just be making beats at work. It was hard not to have delusions of grandeur, but you could see from a mile away it wasn't gonna last.”
For longevitiy's sake, maybe it's just as well that Dublab was forced to make it on its own after the Internet money vanished. It taught them how to do it by themselves, how to build something to last, how to balance a budget.
(Disclosure: My friend Matt Amato and I vowed at the Linda Perhacs show to commit to furthering the mission of Dublab over the next ten years as best we could. Pointing at Disney Hall while standing outside REDCAT, Amato said: “The 20th anniversary of Dublab will be at Disney.”)
The collective has created a self-sustaining engine by becoming a non-profit. It releases records, collaborates with kindred record labels for releases, shoots their popular “Vision Version” series of live performance videos — many on the roof of their studio above Little Temple in Silver Lake.
And they throw parties, of course. Some of the freest, most diverse, friendly, open-spirited events in LA. Happy Decade of Dublab. Here's to ten more.