There was once-upon-a-time when people threw parties and did not use social media to get the word out. Those parties, without Facebook, Tinder, Evites – none of it, were fresh. You had no idea who was going to show up and to promote your party you had to actually get out on the street and meet people. This was not that long ago. Compiled here are six keys to throwing a dope party in those halcyon days gone by…
First you had to assume that your crew of people, and that includes the sound you listened to, your DJ’s and music makers, all the dancers you knew, and the stylists and the political people too, that all of you were absolutely convinced that you were the most interesting people in the world. There could be no doubt whatsoever in your absolute understanding that you were the center of all universes that claimed cool. Pop culture meant nothing to you because the people making pop culture at all levels would have been wondering where your crew was going to be – not the other way around.
Second, you needed some division of labor. If you are not a DJ don’t try and become one overnight. These days everyone is a designer, or a DJ, or a musician or whatever. Not in pre-social media days. If you are not a PR person don’t try to be one. Most importantly, leave the actual photography to a photographer!
Third, you needed some seriously dope flyers. Good parties back then had the illest artwork for flyers. Lame parties back then had flyers with way too much stuff on them. The promotional teams would litter, literally, litter the flyers on people’s cars and doorsteps. Really good parties had flyers that were collectors’ items. You gave them out selectively; to people that you actually wanted to come to the party. You made eye contact, talked to the people, told them that you would be disappointed if they did not show up. 10 years later you would still have these flyers, framed instagrammed etc…
Fourth, You needed to have all the right tools. This means you needed a DJ set-up, microphones that have been checked, a sound system that bumps and makes the music feel like it is coming from some place deep inside the earth. You’d need towels, lots of water, and baby powder to make the floor supple for dancing. You might also want a sign for the DJ booth that says, “no requests”. Real parties and serious DJ’s do not take requests, they play jams, and hits all party long.
Fifth, You should know who is in the room. Your hosts should be able to do an on the spot market segmentation; they should know demographics, industries, neighborhoods, etc. They should also be able to pick out who is there for business, just to meet the DJ, to hear certain types of tracks, who is going to give you problems because they are a hot mess, and also who is there to find the love of their life; a good host in the days before Facebook and Tinder was able to facilitate just about anything. They were mood-setter, fixer, negotiator, and always kept the lines of communication between the bar, the bouncers, the door, and the DJ booth – all without glancing at their phone or sending a text.
Finally, and it should go without saying that you had to have the best music around that fit the time, place, and what people needed to hear. That is a universal thing about music. It should always be relevant and should “meet people where they are at”, to do that you have to have, above all else, the right sound. I confirmed this with one of my old party throwing buddies who has recently started a new effort called
That is not so simple. It is a combination of the room, the system, the people in it, the genre’s of the moment, and then an intuitive knowing of what “the people” needed to hear to get them to feel better than they felt when they came in and transformed when they left.
As my buddy Tyler Askew said, “You can have fun on a shitty sound system but… the experience is only as good as the sound”