We Are Here. (And So Are You.)
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Local Voices : CHRIS DEVLIN
You may know him as C. Rockswell of Spank Rock, but lately he's been touring all over the world with Devlin and Darko Soundsystem and putting his real name up on flyers, Chris Devlin. When Devlin isn't jettin out to Austrailia for a New Years throwdown or flying into Seattle for a one-off friday nite jam, he calls the Southwest Boston neighborhood Jamaica Plain, home. He may have been born and raised in Baltimore and rose to fame with the city's now world-renowned music scene, but we couldn't be happier to have this Maryland transplant here in Basstown.
I was lucky enough to hang with Chris at a JP laundromat and get to know his story better and learn quite a bit about his experience in throwing a party and making a scene happen. I apologize for not presenting a formal interview and proper quotes, you can find those anywhere on the innernets, but i will try to relay what i learned in a three hour conversation with a DJ whose done some serious things.
Chris started DJin 12 years ago when his high school started a radio station, his show featured alot of hip hop and some jazz. After trying a traditional college path he took some time off and decided to try out art at Maryland Institute College of Art. He found it to be a great experience and it is said that at one of his art shows that he introduced MC Spank Rock (Naeem Juwan) and producer Armani XXXchange (Alex Epston) and the the landmark debut album "YoYoYoYoYo" followed in 2006. Chris modestly denies this story and says they had met before. Art took backseat to his music career as Spank Rock took off and since he has DJ'd all over the world with the group. With his DJ partner Ronnie Darko (Ronald Rubarth), the two perform as both a routine DJ crew and a four turntable party soundsystem. here's a video from Montreal's Igloofest last weekend, watch as they move 3500 people with Ghislain Poirier and Daedelus, despite it being outside and -20 degrees!
Now that Chris comes home to Boston, he has already started to make his mark in the Basstown community. His party SHAKE EM DOWN is an all around jump off that goes down the first thursday of every month at Jamaica Plain's Milky Way Lounge. He's brought in Spank Rock, XXXchange, and Pase Rock in the past and featured local Dj's Red Foxx and Emarce. When talking about what goes into what makes a local party happen, i learned A LOT about what it really takes.
I had been under the impression that a music scene is under the jurisdiction of the legal environment of the town in which it is located, more specifically the mandates against all ages and 18+ shows and the early closing times of many clubs in Boston. By telling me the story of Baltimore's Taxlo party and how it started withhout any real talented Dj or without a great venue (they are just as strict on IDs there) and how it was all about hard work and letting people know what was going on and getting them out to the party. It made me realize how ideal Boston is, there's tons of amazingly TALENTED dj's and great venues in every neighborhood, its all about letting people know when, where, and why. Here's a clip from Dj GHOSTDAD's show called MOFO RADIO (link to his fresh blog) on which Chris Devlin shared some records last week, to let you know why Chris Devlin and Shake Em Down is the place to be ona thursday nite in JP. Chris' edit of the show on his blog FULLY FITTED