Decentralized Dance Party's Gary Lachance Discusses Boomboxes, Power Gloves, and Tomorrow Night's DDP in Phoenix

A fortified force of hundreds will invade Phoenix tomorrow night, armed to the teeth with ghetto blasters and hell-bent on enacting a "party manifesto" in the streets and sidewalks of the city. Leading the charge will be the kooky Canadian duo of Gary Lachance and Tom Kuzma, who will unleash the Decentralized Dance Party upon the Valley on Wednesday night.

They've already struck both Portland and L.A. within the last week, attracting hundreds upon hundreds of participants (and even shutting down a couple of bridges in the process) with the roaming dance party. Hopefully, the same sort of madness will take place here in Phoenix, as local are prepping custom mobile sound systems and other weird vehicles for the DDP.

Jackalope Ranch recently spoke with Lachance via telephone to learn more about the flash mob-like dance party, as well as what sort of madness will unfold tomorrow, and how people can prepare for the event.

So how is it gonna go down on Wednesday night? Will it be utter chaos?
It will be controlled chaos. It should be a pretty good-sized crowd. We had more than 1,000 out in Portland, so hopefully there will be similar numbers in Phoenix.

What was it like in Portland?
It was great. We had a clear night, despite there being 100 percent chance of rain forecast. Got tons of people out wearing suits, having a great time. The cops were totally cool and we did the entire route.

How long is the route for the DDP?
It totally varies. Its usually about a mile long.

When and where will the location info be posted on Tuesday?
We arrive a day or two beforehand in Phoenix and scout things out, find the best party route, and then post the starting point. It will be on the Facebook and our Twitter. And the rest of it is a secret, so it will be an adventure for people in regards to where we're going. It's a way of experiencing your city in a new way.

Do you consider the DDP to be a rave, flash mob street party, parade, or a combination of all four?
I guess a street party would be the best comparison. And it's like a flash mob, but with a flash mob it only lasts like five or ten minutes and this is something that will last usually three or four hours, so it's a different animal. The fun doesn't stop.

Do you encourage people to do certain stunts when they're participating in a DDP?
People kinda figure out on their own instinctually. We have dance circles going, limbos, that sorta stuff. And it kinda just works itself out. It just is a novel thing where everyone who's holding boom box becomes a performer and become the sound system themselves. Thing work really well, especially when come to a city for the first time where no one's done it. Everyone's totally excited and blown away by how much fun it can be.

How many boomboxes are you bringing with you?
We're traveling in a motor home and we got about 300 in there, and we usually bring 100 out for each party. We also do our very best encourage people to bring their own. There were a lot of people who brought their own in Portland but its usually pretty hard to find people that have the initiative to get a stereo and plug batteries in. It's pretty fun to show up with your own stereo and just tune it in and have it work. Personalize it.

Do people get extra cool points if they bring an old-school ghetto blaster?
Oh yeah. In Portland, we had a whole bunch of people that had sound systems on their bikes, like huge mobile subwoofers and P.A. speakers that were super loud. We encourage that for sure, for people to bring out fog machines, laser lights, speakers on dollies, that kinda thing. It will add to the party atmosphere.

Why do you use an old-school Power Glove game controller to control things?
As you probably know, it's bad. It something I've had for the last 10 years kicking around and had the idea to rig it up to the system to control the [music] tracks and the volume. And it's definitely a very iconic piece of equipment that gets people excited.

Will you be bringing a mobile bubble machine to the Phoenix DDP?
We will indeed. We'll also have a whole bunch of these crazy fanny pack stereos with super loud speakers and an FM tuner called Jammy Packs.

Will you reward people with the best costumes or coolest mobile party machines?
Sometimes. It's pretty much a free-for-all but people who stand out from the crowd get a shout out or some kind of props.

What will the party mix of dance music be like?
It's just basically the funnest party tracks from the last 50 years. It's a pretty ecclecltic mix of stuff. Just all the songs that will get people singing and dancing, guaranteed every time. We usually make it to be a bit of a surprise.

Any other words of inspiration for the citizens of Phoenix that will participate?
We always encourage people to check out our "Party Manifesto" to maximize our collective party potential.

Phoenix's Decentralized Dance Party takes place at 8 p.m. on Wednesday night. Participation is free. Click here for more information and the starting location.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.