Diving into Fall with San Diego’s Underground Party, The Deep End
by Molly Sinclair
SAN DIEGO, CA — Concert party The Deep End is raising the bar for the underground dance music community in San Diego this Fall.
Fresh off a successful summer series of underground house, techno, and disco events which included the inaugural West Coast Weekender Festival, The Deep End aims to go beyond the expectations of a typical party and further towards a collective collaboration of musicians, artists, and creative visionaries within the scene.
In the past couple years, the musical talent has been the main draw for the versatile crowds that gather in funky venues, warehouses, and outdoor spaces (primarily downtown), past the club curfews and into the break of dawn. Yet in addition to the eclectic DJs, the recently announced Fall concert series launching October 1st boasts a mix of talents and efforts from players in different creative industries – think fashion, live art, airbrushing, dance, to name a few.
Though the alternative scene has been alive for a couple decades, the expectations of unpretentious partcipants at the events in today’s times still remain limited to having a good DJ spin, a decent sound system, and maybe a disco ball or two. Generally kept under the radar, the late-night concerts bring down-to-earth crowds that go for the love of music, dance, and the vibes, not looking for fanfare or a reason to be seen out. Thus, the addition of The Deep End’s creative vision – combining music with unique arts and drawing influencers from the community – undoubtedly adds an extra element to an already flourishing atmosphere in 2016.
Co-founder Justin Navalle discussed the concept of the upcoming shows for The Deep End, which he tells me was initially launched ‘for fun’ a couple years ago, now bringing large turnouts and high profile DJs.
“The series is a chance to brand our vision and lay it out and improve it every time we do it rather than just try to put on a party,” he explains. “Making it about the underground with art has been our main focus. We always identify a direction for each season and want to make every event special in its own way.”
The series kicked off October 1 and 2, during a busy weekend for house music in San Diego. With thousands of fans heading to CRSSD Festival in the daytime, the opportunities to continue the festival spirit Saturday and Sunday night are vast. While the official CRSSD after parties pack nightclubs to the brim, charge an exaggerated cover and end at 2AM, The Deep End collaborates with fellow crews to host exciting “after” parties that run all night for modest ticket prices.
OCTOBER 1ST was DJ Three, Paluka, & Cris Hererra
Known as a staple in the old school scene, DJ Three starts off the party dubbed “Art of Sound”.
OCTOBER 2ND – AFFKT Hosted by The Deep End, Undercurrent, Siesta Records, Soul On Beat
Los Angeles based crew Undercurrent joined forces to bring headliner AFFKT, the Spanish artist known for his versatile and engaging sound.
OCTOBER 22ND – PURPLE DISCO MACHINE // 10PM – 4AM // Hosted by The Deep End, Siesta Records, Soul On Beat
The rising upcomer Purple Disco Machine has made a name for himself blending disco with deep funk and 80’s flair, as he was named #1 Underground Artist of the Year by Magnetic Mag in 2015 and holds a residency at Space Ibiza.
OCTOBER 28TH – FAR OUT HALLOWEEN FT. MARK FARINA, SIMON SHACKLETON, MARK QUARK // 9PM – 5AM // Hosted by The Deep End, Soul Work, Siesta Records, Soul On Beat
Halloween weekend starts at Spin Nightclub, bringing mushroom jazz legend Mark Farina, the multifaceted and award-winning Simon Shackleton (well-known in the techno and Burning Man communities; other alias: Elite Force), and local pioneer in San Diego’s scene, Mark Quark of Moonshake.
All event locations are released via a “hotline” – a number you must call the day of for information – with the exception of Far Out Halloween taking place at Spin Nightclub, an unconventional late-night spot near Old Town.
Being one of the most anticipated party holidays, Far Out Halloween on the 28th is a special bonus to the series. Spin’s notorious knack for dressing up the venue lavishly from both music rooms to the rooftop will set the radical vibes for the night, combined with the crowd’s holiday enthusiasm to feed the frenzy until dawn. The music will be the catalyst for an exceptional experience at the latest club night in San Diego, with each artist on the stacked lineup representing their own following in the broad-spectrum dance music world.
Soul On Beat Founder Cris Herrera, who is also DJing on Halloween, described the selection for the night: “Musically, you can see the lineup is very diverse, from more of a disco sound to darker techno. With two rooms, we have the ability to switch it up.”
Further widening the scope of the event is the presence of Little Black Diamond, San Diego’s leading independent clothing brand for women that is hugely popular at festivals, raves, and for beachwear (or day-to-day, for the beatniks). At the peak of the night, Little Black Diamond (LBD) will showcase an unconventional fashion show for the befitting celebration, including more than just models. Talented acts from dancers to hoopers to other flow artists and more plan to grace the stage in avant-garde fashion, cultivating a “cool variety show rather than just a basic fashion runway,” says Adrienne Shon, the owner and brain behind the locally-made brand. She describes the one-of-a-kind show as “freaky glam circus themed,” adjectives that are not uncommon in the LBD wearer’s lingo.
Stemming from The Deep End’s aim to unite the different players in the scene, Navalle detailed why he sought out Shon’s brand in particular for the blacklight-infused, music-centric fashion show. “I really like what Adrienne has done with her brand, incorporating far out elements. Little Black Diamond’s clothing is sexy, it pushes boundaries – everything we try to do in our music, but she does it through clothing.”
The LBD / Deep End partnership is only one example of how tight the San Diego community and the underground in general comes together. When interviewing organizers for this article, all reiterated the same thing constantly – that the underground scene thrives, and has thrived for the past 20 years, because of the loyalty of the community. That includes not only the people that come and the event company’s family of contributors, but also the “competitors”, or other event companies, who are more suited to be called supporters.
“Part of the success of what we have going on as a city has to do with local guys doing shows and supporting each other,” says Herrera, when asked why he thinks the underground events are growing more and more successful. “I think it spawns from a cohesive supporting community.”
Beyond the friendly competitors, Navalle talked about trying to include all the subcommunities in San Diego that live and breathe dance music. “We love reaching out to the gay community and involving them to make it more of an open space environment at our events. I’m not sure if that always happens at the clubs.”
Through a shared love for dynamic musical styles that have developed in recent decades, an art that has inspired many more art forms within the subculture, it’s evident that the success and support go hand in hand. With several cooks in the kitchen, event companies like The Deep End are compelled to push the boundaries, reaching far beyond your typical warehouse party.
And it all comes from a shared love and passion.
“We have a mutual respect and love for each other,” says Herrera. “We show other events love.”
Just like the roots of the underground, it’s clear that this love runs deep.
Photos courtesy of The Deep End and Little Black Diamond Facebook pages.