If you didn't know it was there, stumbling across the First Ave VIP Room could feel like uncovering some sort of clubland secret. If that door tucked beside the bathrooms is open, you can't help but peek your head inside just to see what's going on. Curious party people that have ventured up to the second floor during Too Much Love have discovered Black, a weekly dance night held Saturdays at the VIP. Where Too Much Love seems to focus on booking acts that are rising stars, Black's guests are often dance music legends, DJs and producers that have been rocking crowds for years. This time around, Black continues in that vein by hosting Justin Long, a fixture in the Chicago house scene who has been slinging records for well over a decade.
Justin has played in Minneapolis a number of times, but up until a few years ago, catching one of his sets usually involved going to all-night parties that were harder to find than First Ave's secluded side room. But, when times changed and dance music moved from the warehouse to the club, Justin moved with it, building a list of releases and launching his own label (.Dotbleep) as the scene restructured itself. Long has since been all over the world promoting the Chicago sound, and he's returned to the Twin Cities to expose a new group of dancers to the beats that shaped the Midwest. And, now that you know how well you'll be rewarded for your curiousity, don't you want to take that peek?
GN: It's cold here. Why are you coming to Minneapolis? Shouldn't you be in Europe?
JL: I go where ever duty calls... plus my hobby on the side is to track down the American abomable snowman...... so far as science tells us, Big Foot tends to like it cold, so I thought there is a good chance he could be hiding out here....
GN: Your sets are amazing - especially when you play at Chicago's Smartbar. Which other places see you at the top of your game?
I always try to paint the most loud and vivid audio pictures where ever it is that I go... off the top of my head right now, last month's last UK trip was amazing with Fabric and Back To Basics and the Keep On after hours being the highlights of the trip. But the thing that really sticks out the most from that trip was on Sunday, I left the hotel around 6pm for a stroll around London and right around 8, all the lights were out and no one was in the streets and it was raining: It honestly was right out of a Zombie movie.
GN. You're like the new Derrick Carter of Chicago. But ... why do you stay there?
JL: I'd like to start by saying there is only one Derrick Carter and there is only one Jusitn Long. I grew up listening to Derrick and he is by far one of my most fav DJs.
I stay in Chicago 'cause its home. You should not have to run from your home on a search for some kind of recognition 'cause when you do, that it only means that there was some reason you could not make it there. So it's better to go somewhere else where recognition may come to you more easy. If you play the game, play hard and play fair!
GN: Any new projects to hype? JL: In the 1st quarter of the year, I have my 1st solo project due to release with Marko Militano on vocals as well as Mazi and I have the next few Wasted Chicago Youth EPs done and sorted with a release on Tuning Spork in January. And I'm also doing a mix cd for Tuning Spork as well. .dotbleep is still going strong at Smartbar once a month, and return gigs to the uk are slotted in as well. Expect a podcast soon, too!
GN: What is your favorite thing about your job and why? JL: The music.... cause it saves souls!
Black @ First Ave VIP Room featuring Justin Long, Saint Lewis, and Husein. 701 First Ave N. (enter around side) Saturday, December 13th, 10pm - 2am, $5, 18+