Imagine a fresh and thriving Deep Ellum hotspot, a venue that both loyally and blindly draws music lovers of all varieties to investigate and enjoy the lineup. Perhaps, years ago, or maybe, in the not too distant future, this would be (or soon will be) within grasp. Today, in such tumultuous and transitional times, it might be a challenge to wrap your brain around such an endeavor manifesting--and lasting--in Deep Ellum.
But, in efforts to bring resident DJs back to storied music neighborhood, The Lounge on Elm Street has valiantly opened its doors to the spinning set.
Oh, and they have a Wii.
Sailing the winds of a 15-year voyage through the Dallas dance music scene, Glenn Jackson, former Illmatic Records owner and one of two partnering owners at The Lounge, talked to us about the adventure and the passion behind the new space. (Partner Albert Magallon was not present.)
Tell me about the Lounge on Elm Street. Well, it’s a bar, slash, live music venue. I used to own a record store back in the day, so, I had always envisioned opening a place that would have DJs and live music. I’m a drummer also. I’ve played in bands. I like a lot of different styles and I wanted to open a venue that, on any particular night, could have slightly different music going on. One night could be house. One night might be hip hop. One night might be electronic, ya know. Like, Wanz Dover plays on Wednesdays and he plays experimental stuff. So, I’m trying to mix it up and see what catches.
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With Illmatic, you had a hub where everyone could meet up, check out music, talk about music. With that gone and the rise of online record shops, how do you stay connected to the Dallas music scene? Back in the day, there were record stores. Actual record stores. Dallas doesn’t have that anymore. I mean, we still have Bill’s and Good Records carries a bit of vinyl, but you don’t you see the actual crate digging. Even though there will always be DJs that will be better than the other guy, as far as skill goes, back in the day, when you would search through crates, if you found a record and you were the only one in Dallas that had that record, you would be the only one in Dallas playing that record. Now, you can just download that shit and be like, “Yeah, I have all those jams.” I mean, you still got to put it together in a better way than the next guy but… to me, that takes away half the fun of what DJing is about.
Crate Digging. Yeah, crate digging! Sunday afternoon or Saturday afternoon with your buddies. I collect records, I never DJed. I would spend time in every Half Price Books in two counties looking for a record. So, that element is gone, which I’m disappointed about. I do like the Serato and stuff. It’s cool, it’s smarter, more efficient, but it takes away a little bit of the behind the scenes fun of DJing in my opinion.
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So what challenges do you foresee opening a venue in Deep Ellum while it’s going through so much transition? Well, getting a crowd down there is hard. We’ve had good nights. We’ve had some terrible nights, but I think it’s going to come around. I don’t think Dallas really has a place that has a variety of resident DJs and live music. Sober and Nature from The Party did the Faux Fox CD release party there and it went over pretty well. That was our best show I think we’ve had so far. But, you know, we’re trying to mix it up, get something different going on and set ourselves apart. You’ve got Dada, which focuses on live music, and a couple of little bars, but there’s really nothing else down there. So, we are just going to find our little niche and, hopefully, what we do, people will like and it will catch on.
Aside from hosting resident DJs, are there resident live bands? No, there are no resident live bands. That’s something I would be open to possibly. As far as the style of music, we vary as far as genres go. Anything from metal, to indie, to electronica. Whatever. But, you will not hear any cheesy, radio, overproduced, whiny music. Not to knock commercial radio. I don’t really listen to the radio, but what I do hear, I don’t really care for too much. It will be more real music. No cheesy bullshit that has to have a certain look.
Authentic. Yes, exactly, authentic.
The Lounge on Elm Street is located at 2810 Elm Street in Deep Ellum. Check its Myspace page for show schedules. --Krissi Reeves