Jason Kendig, founding member of the legendary Honey Soundsystem group and master of ceremonies in some of the most memorable nights in the American club scene will be joining Discosodoma this Saturday for a honey dripping set in the laser pit. Ahead of his appearance Jason sent over this exclusive mix and chatted with Elektra Complex, the team behind the event, about music, politics and the San Francisco vibes he will be carrying in his suitcases...
Producer, DJ, building block of the lauded DJ group, Honey Soundsystem,and one of the top beards in dance music according to Beatport; to those who aren’t familiar with your work and sound, how would you present yourself?
Diverse, eclectic, groovy and rooted in the blueprint laid out by the founders of the house music nation.
Honey Soundsystem and Jason Kendig. How does the individual fit in the beehive? What did you have to check at the door as a person before entering the collective?
Each of us brings our own musical perspective to the soundtrack of the night. My discovery of dance music came through growing up outside of Detroit and hearing electronic music being mixed on the radio and watching DJs at underground warehouse parties, so I definitely favour a lot of the early Detroit techno and house sounds. Like any collaboration you have to keep your ego in check and be willing to compromise.
Your parties in San Francisco have undoubtedly defined the West Coast scene in recent years. Is there a story you would like to share with us from the early days of your residency?
When we began doing the weekly party it started off to a slow crawl but every week we would decorate and play and our crowd began to grow. Almost every week seemed like an attempt to outdo ourselves from the previous week and we ended up setting a standard for ourselves in creating an environment on a budget for our crowd to lose themselves in. Beehive shapes made out of lampshades, bundles of tulle fabric with lasers shooting through, yellow clouds suspended from the ceiling with "rain" projections, these are all pieces that had their time at one moment or another.
By the end of 2013 your group decided to end your Sunday parties at the Holy Cow. When is, in your opinion, the right time to put an end to something?
When things get too easy it might be time to switch things up. Since we ended the weekly the one-off events that we've put together have been immensely successful. It also allows us to put more energy into creating something extra special.
By participating in the SF Pride celebrations, organizing queer-oriented parties and having your base of operations in California, have you ever felt there’s a certain cultural gravitas in what you do towards the LGBTQ communities or the desire to tangle into the politics of gay rights?
I've always thought you should be able to go out dancing to great music regardless of your sexual preference. And creating a space where people of all colors, shapes, sizes & age should feel safe to express themselves on the dance floor has been our priority.
There’s a perception in Europe that the US scene has lost its raw and gritty character due to recent commercialization of dance music. Is there still room to grow organically as an artist while avoiding the tidal wave of the much loathed “EDM” moniker?
The underground is still there if you seek it. And for some, festivals and the "EDM" experience will just be a gateway to something more substantive.
What are the differences you have spotted between the two sides of the Atlantic?
One drastic difference is the 2am cutoff for alcohol which can change the dynamic of the club. Another is that here in the USA there's a propensity to book multiple DJs into an evening playing an hour or maybe two each instead of allowing a dj to stretch out and really take dancers through a journey.
What should we expect from your set at DISCOSODOMA?
I'll be channeling the San Francisco vibes and keeping it groovy.
With Berlin being your next stop after London for your Berghain/Panorama Bar debut, what are your future projects you feel mostly excited about?
I've been collaborating with some friends on a few tracks and working on some remixes. Plus the Honey Soundsystem summer schedule is looking really cute right now.
And finally, has it always been about the music?
Yes. Since day one.
Join Jason Kendig at Dalston Superstore for Discosodoma this Saturday 14th June from 9pm - 4am.