DJ Dossier

Jason Ayers on His Drum 'n' Bass Addiction, Hatred of Brostep, After-Hours Parties, and Why Newbie DJs Need Vinyl Experience

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What are the origins of your long-running night SubConscious?
In 2001, me, Adam Filipkowski (DJ Egorock) and Misty Chapman (Suont), had grown tired of all the agro/testosterone dominated D'n'B events that were going on in Phoenix and Tempe at the time. It seemed like most of the DJs were playing nothing but the dark, horror movie, teched-out shit and were clearing dance floors. Fights had become a weekly occurrence while less and less women were attending: total sausage fest.

So what did y'all do?
The three of us were into all kinds of D'n'B styles, but the soul and R&B influenced Liquid Funk subgenre that was emerging had really stuck a chord. We wanted to feature the funky and playful side of the music and encourage people to start acting like fucking adults. I came up with name Sub:Conscious as a nod to the subwoofer minded sound and designed the logo. We wrote up a proposal to do a Thursday night weekly event that won over the management of Sky Lounge. We has a simple plan: the first DJ would play downtempo to warm up the uninitiated, the second DJ would play funk/souful D&B, the last DJ could play the hard/agressive D&B. It worked.

How so?
We had the place packed consistently for months and were bringing in all kinds of new people into the fold. A big indicator of our success was when I saw both mohawks and dreadlocks dancing together every week. After we saved up enough money and got an investor, we started brining out the big names in D'N'B such as Klute and Andy C. The night changed hands a few times but ended up be the longest running D'N'B weekly, albeit under different names and management.

How did the recent resurrection of SubConscious come about?
In January of 2011, I resurrected the Sub:Con name by throwing a reunion party at Bar Smith. The night was such a success, we were asked to host another one a month later. After that, I couldn't step foot into Bar Smith without being tempted by Senbad to start promoting a monthly event. I fended him off for almost a year until I finally gave in and started a Wednesday night weekly in November of 2011. We've had a great run this second time around, although its been challenging not being able to use the upstairs (Scenario does their thing up there on Wednesdays). We managed to make enough from the cover charge to buy our own sound system, a completely custom, hand-built monster that was used for raves for the last four years.

Craziest shit you've seen at a gig?
At the end of a rave in '98, we found a live chicken in a cage with an unopened packet of turkey gravy mix, sitting next to the speakers. The venue is now Alpha Book Center on Seventh Street.

What bygone local club you miss the most?
Party Gardens/Paradox

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