Quincy Ross and Jason Ayers throw great after-hours parties. On one mild Saturday night in July, they took over a building (which functions as a business by day) in downtown Phoenix for their "Sub: Confusion" party. The shindig started at 1 a.m. and filled the entire main room of the building. A slick sound system was set up, and DJs blasted drum 'n' bass music from a platform stage. The music was so loud it vibrated the floor and the couches near the restroom. Projection screens showed a montage of images resembling ink blots melding into headless figures, boxers, and rifles, in a psychedelic swirl of black, white, red, and purple. There was a bar in the corner of the room, serving mixed drinks, Tecate, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and something called a "Donkey Cowmule." The party started with about three dozen people, mostly 20-somethings in club attire, and end shortly before dawn after almost quadrupling in size.
Though they've thrown just a handful of parties as a duo, Ross and Ayers have long records of staging events. Ross has been doing it since the late 1980s, starting with his first "official" event, a free concert at the now-defunct Circles Records featuring The Roots, and DJs Fashen and Z-Trip. Under the DJ handle "Deepfreq," Ayers has worked a variety of electronic music events since 1994. The two met in 1996 but started throwing after-hours parties together just this year. They say they'd like to see the parties continue to grow while staying underground, so advertising is limited to their passing out fliers at clubs and events around town. "I would like Phoenix to know there are cool things that are happening in the underground scene," Ross says, "and hopefully inspire others to step it up."