Since 2006 the Valley's hip-hop scene has been bolstered by rising local MC's and one funky ass Thursday night.
Groove Candy is celebrating five years of kickin' it old-school with Power 98.3 DJs M2 and Fresh 85 tonight at the Suede Lounge in Scottsdale. As always the mighty duo will be spinning hip-hop classics, neo-soul, reggae and R&B.
Up On the Sun caught up with DJ M2 as he reflects on the weekly hip-hop night's anniversary, and what it's like playing real music for real people.
As with all good celebrations, ladies are getting in free and everyone is enjoying two-for-one drink specials until 11 p.m. Fellas only have to fork out $5 if they get on the guest list. The party gets started at 10 and the dress code is "elevated casual."
Up On The Sun: Let's start with how Groove Candy came about. I understand it was founded by Karlie Hustle and yourself. How did the idea come about?
DJ M2: When me and Karlie Hustle started doing the radio thing together [on] Power 92.3, we found out that both of us were into the same type of music: Hip-hop, soul and stuff like MosDef, Musiq Soulchild, Common, and Lauryn Hill to name a small few. Around the same time that we started working together on air I started DJing at a new venue that opened named The Door on the border of Tempe/Scottsdale. I was instantly all about this place and the atmosphere there was really cool. I tried approaching the venue at that time to see if they were interested in letting me put together a night of my own but the owner wasn't into it. Some time passed and me and Karlie kept talking about how no one was really doing a weekly event like what we wanted, so we decided that we should start a night together with me DJing, her hosting and both of us promoting it. It just so happened that the owner of The Door at that time just sold the place so I approached the new owner and he was all about me and Karlie coming in and starting something new there every Wednesday. After we got the green light to move forward with it we sat down after our shift at the radio station one day and made a list of names that we thought sounded cool and would fit what we wanted to do and ended coming up with Groove Candy.
Groove Candy brings real people together to listen to real music. Can you talk about the vibe and atmosphere you guys have created?
The vibe at Groove Candy is cool because I think we connect with people in a way that a typical club night doesn't. Musically I'm playing a wide spread spectrum of hip-hop and soul stuff that may take you back and reminisce or make you want to go hit the dance floor. One of the things our night has always been known for is going in deep on a soulful tip and also hitting you with a lot of timeless party classics. The atmosphere has a really fun and open minded feel to it with a lot of people who you can really tell are into the music and appreciate what it's about.
You guys talk about, "an experience that stretches beyond the generic notion of a 'club night.'" By your measure, what's a generic club night, compared to what goes down at Groove Candy?
We imaged, promoted and musically angled Groove Candy towards a crowd that may not like to go to the regular clubs or like to but want to take a break from it and get down our way as well. A typical club will usually play everything Top 40 or new stuff or what may be hot at the moment. At Groove Candy you can expect me to drop Old School, Neo-Soul, Classic Hip-Hop and a few other things sprinkled in throughout the night that you might not hear going out clubbing over the weekend. One of the things Groove Candy has always done is just try to deliver good music, in our opinion, no matter if it's 30 years old or [if it] just came out last week.
What's been the most memorable night for you guys so far?
I don't have one particular night but in general it has been pretty cool and amazing that we were able to start it up and still have it here for the people five years later. We definitely appreciate the entire scene's support over the years for the night. Also we have always had much respect for The Blunt Club, Solstice, The Shop and other nights that play good music out here in the valley.
How has Groove Candy grown over the last five years? What are some future plans?
Groove has been through quite a bit over the last five years. We have changed venues five different times for different reasons. Karlie decided to leave a few years ago to pursue other ventures. Recently when I moved it back to Scottsdale I brought on Eugene Thompson, who has been going to Groove Candy since day one and really understands the night, and also Dre Doobie to help promote. Then I added DJ Fresh 85 to the line up as well because I'm really feeling his DJing and he fits in well with the night. Overall I would say that all these changes have been cool in a way because it has shown growth and what the night has been capable of so far. Some future plans for Groove are to focus on booking some cool DJs, acts and afterparties plus a new mixtape for it.
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If tonight is someones first time out, what can they look forward to?
A really cool crowd of people, some good hip-hop and soul playing all night, good drinks and of course what would Groove Candy be without candy on the tables?