Communion wraps up its tenth year with its closing party from 2 PM to 2 AM on Sunday 9/4 at The Pourhouse with an absolutely epic all local line up including DVS1, E-Tones, Jon Hester, the Communion residents, and many more.
I've been going for the past six years, and I can easily say this year has been my favorite. The dance floors have been electric all summer. There have been a lot of new faces, a lot of people I am seeing week in and week out. It took me a little while to adjust to the bigger crowds, I definitely had a few get off my lawn moments, but all these new people are a good thing. For the first time ever, I will have attended every Communion in a season and I could not have picked a better year for that.
The whole season has been consistent, but a few highlights stick out for me. The first was during Amy Pickett's set on 6/12/16. She played early at 5, but the place was packed. It was beautiful to see that kind of support from the community (aka Communionity!). It was also about 12 hours after word got out that 50 people had been killed in Orlando, while doing the same thing we were doing. I was in a state of shock before arriving, and the next few days were filled with a lot of sad reflection, but for those few hours at Communion I was feeling the love. I was dancing, I was smiling, I was watching the people around me dance and smiling some more. This was one of the most powerful dance floor experiences I've ever had.
The other was Communion Mobile at Even Furthur. I laid in the grass for a while. Then I changed into a costume. Then I grabbed a beer in my cooler. Then Hyperactive laid waste to the biggest crowd at the stage all weekend. I hope I am wrong but there will probably never be another Communion as cool as that one.
But enough about me! You guys are here for Centrific, right? In the second part of the interview, I asked the Communion boss about the current year of Communion and the future of Communion for season 11 and beyond.
How would you rate Communion Season 10 in comparison to the previous 9 years?
Honestly for me it’s even better than the year we moved to Soundbar (2013), which was before this my favorite year. I think this year has been really dead on, every week has delivered. I wouldn’t say it started slow, but the opening party being early threw things off a little bit but when I came and did my first set of the year that was a really solid night. I think we had slightly less people the next week but since then it’s been great turnouts as far as the numbers go and every week has really delivered for the DJs.
Making lineups is one of the things I really enjoy doing. Pairing and ordering DJs and things like that. Trying to see how can I make this week really pop. I think this year I’ve had some pretty good success. There have been one or two where I felt I could have done a little better. I have been trying to let new people in because I feel that we need that. I like Communion to be based on tradition as much as it is on forward thinking. It’s a Sunday afternoon party, it needs to have some tradition. It needs to be comforting and welcoming. Even with the tracks we play, some of the stuff gets played year in, year out. Some of the stuff is brand new.
Every time I open my computer I see some line up from where ever. It’s always super impressive. I wasn’t feeling it for a couple years there, but right now I am feeling we have a pile of people that are just as good as they have anywhere. We don’t have the infrastructure with the labels. We don’t have the same level of music industry or the history that a lot of these bigger cities have. We have to build this culture from the ground up here, it didn’t exist. There’s dance culture here, but that dance culture wants nothing to do with us. It’s starting to, but it’s because we’ve built something that they can see, that’s tangible, they see that it is respectable.
Ten years in, what have you done to keep Communion feeling fresh?
That’s part of doing this, it’s about having something that’s new and exciting all the time. This year the sound system made a big difference. Our system last year was awesome, but this is new and it’s ours – we are able to tune it in and tailor it how we want it. Zak (DVS1) has an issue with collecting way too many speakers, so he sold us his old speakers and it works out great for everyone. Zak has really left that contribution on this town with sound. He has always been a champion of 4 way sound, especially in the past few years. He’s been dialing it in and learning it in a way that a lot of us can see and hear how sound can be done better. Our new sound system is a 4 way system, with highs, mid highs, the high end of the bass, and then the subs. Last year we were running a 2 way system, subs and highs, which is how most systems around here are done because it’s the easiest way to do it, it works but it doesn’t sound as bad ass.
I feel this year we’ve done a pretty good job with all the new kids we brought in, they are all really pulling their weight. Other years we’ve had some great DJs, but it wasn’t really making it pop the way I pictured. I want to feel like I’m involved with something that people are going to be talking about not just here. The reasons I do what I do is because I want to be a part of a movement, something that’s based on people really giving a shit and doing their best, to the point that it’s as good as anything that anybody is doing anywhere else.
There have been a lot of new faces in the crowd this year, a lot of younger people showing up regularly. What do you attribute that to?
I’ve been working hard on the younger crowd for a while now, maybe partially I am more ingrained in their Facebook feeds. Besides that, the City Pages article is an obvious source. It did a lot for us. That came out the second week, and I definitely noticed a boost from then on. There’s definitely something to that. I think there’s some people involved in what we do now that’s a little more progressive musically and that translates to bringing new crowds of people. The one thing I believe in is booking people who bring somebody with them. I am looking for someone who makes incredible music but I am also looking for someone who makes music that people care about, who have people that will go out with them because they want to be a part of it.
In the past couple years you've brought a few new people on to the Communion team, how has that changed things?
The skeleton of what we’ve had is the same, but we’ve become a tighter group and we’ve added a couple people. Kyle [Holman] has become a great asset as far as organization goes. Two years into it, we’ve let him DJ enough – we’ve known he was a good house DJ but he’s become a great house DJ. I want to keep that going. We’ve had a lot of people come in and promise the world, and their help ends up being more work for me than help. When someone like Kyle or Ryan Carroll comes along, I try to make it worth their while, to make it feel like they are a part of something. I don’t really want to work with anyone who doesn’t bust their ass to help us do shit. I want people that I want to be around who also want to help make Communion a bigger thing, to share my vision.
I am not great at communication. Christian and I have always communicated well, we can tell what the other one is thinking and we’re able to work around anything holding us back and make Communion better. He is able to communicate with the rest of the team in a way that comes out more concise than I can. It’s the same with Kyle. The things that Kyle is doing are things I needed to do a long time ago but I’m just not skilled in that way. I’m just not very organized. I’ve set up a border of control around me, and I’m just floating in between doing the things that I’m actually good at, which is the big picture stuff.
With the hotel next door opening very soon, you've said Communion will need to find a new home. What does the future hold for Communion beyond Season 10?
We’re not moving! We’re staying right where we are, for now anyway. The hotel, it turns out, is focused on entertainment and night life, and they are looking to have it be sort of a hip thing. The hotel management has been at Communion several times over the summer, checking it out, and they approached The Pourhouse saying that they were down with Communion staying there. Not only that, they are going to add Communion as an attraction. That pretty much cures our sound issue for the foreseeable future.
It's pretty much a done deal that we're locked in to stay right where we are at. Sure, we could maybe use a bigger place and a rooftop would be nice, but Deepak [Nath, co-owner of The Pourhouse] and the rest of the guys have treated us really well. If we do end up moving somewhere the hope would be to stay with them. With the space issue, they are renovating the patio and we are going to have some say in what they do. This is a very big, exciting thing for Communion for the next year or two at least!
Furthur reading: Centrific Interview Part 1 - Even Furthur
To get you ready for the finale on Sunday, here is an excerpt of Centrific's 2-hour set from the penultimate Communion of 2016: