Promoters tend to find homes in clubs. It becomes a stomping ground of sorts. Sometimes, however, it grows beyond what a mere club can handle. For San Fransisco- and Los Angeles-focused promoters Lights Down Low, “What began as a tiny monthly party at the infamous 222 Hyde Club in the Tenderloin has become a multi-city enterprise dedicated to hedonism in all its glory.”
They’ve been all over the scene in California, from their infamous “Fuck Burning Man” party to their events at Coachella. We had a moment to speak with cofounders Richie Panic and Corey Sizemore about their experience so far in the industry.
You’ve been a big part of the dance music scene for over a decade in Bay Area and Los Angeles. How did you guys get started? How’d you meet?
We had been DJing and throwing parties separately from each other for years and our own events were quite often in competition. The word “frenemies” comes to mind. We, however, began to work together on some after-hours affairs and mostly bonded over a love for ’80s synth-wave and pop music.
Realizing that we had much more in common than we first thought, we began working together and decided to bring what we had learned over the years together and put Lights Down Low on an upward trajectory.
We met celebrating the holidays alone and in a daze at The Brown Jug Saloon (RIP).
Can you tell us a little bit about your Fuck Burning Man party? Why has it gotten banned so many places?
The Bay Area is Burner country. Every bar/club in town has some sort of camp affiliation or some affinity for the Playa, so they don’t want to play our reindeer games.
We have no issues with Burning Man per se, we just prefer to see artists in the dark, in nightclubs, with no sand. We also don’t need some semi-spiritual pretext to lose our minds to substances or amazing music. Plus, Richie hates camping.
We just wanted to throw a party for the people who are left in SF; bringing in artists that would have a draw for those still “beached” here.
You’ve had tons of great acts like Four Tet and Jackmaster come to your parties. Have you had a favorite experience? Most memorable?
Recently we had the pleasure of hosting two of the most distinctive and exceptional characters on the dance music scene today, Helena Hauff and DJ Stingray. Both sound great together but have also achieved quite a lot separately too. Bringing them together as co-headliners was a night made in dancing heaven. The lasers were hitting, fog filled the room, sweat dripped from the ceiling, and pounding rhythm took over every dancer in the building.
“Feeling it” doesn’t even come close to describing the nature of the scene. We were both dancing in the middle of the crowd at our own party with our closest friends and 400 new friends, and you could feel that this was “it.” That moment where it all comes together.
What are your feelings on the move to make last call later in California? Do you think it will shape the music scene significantly?
It’s great to stay up late.
How do LA and SF differ in bookings and vibes? Is one more difficult to pull off than the other?
Currently, LA is having a wonderful time accepting and embracing the underground sound. SF lately seems to prefer other things.
How do you discover new music?
We are blessed to have a lot of great DJ friends who send us promos, alert us to up-and-comers, and the usual internet digging. We are not adverse to an actual record here and there as well.
Do you have a dream lineup?
Have you seen our fall lineup? It’s a dream come true. To be honest, with one or two exceptions, I think we have had the honor of hosting almost everyone we have been fans of, who’s music we’ve played, or anyone else we thought should get in front of some people and show them what it’s all about.
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