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Hotpants on their 5th anniversary, record dreams, and Twin Cities funk & soul

Hotpants at The Summit Backyard Bash: from left to right Dale Burback, Brian Engel, The Mysterious Justin "Rambo" Salinas, and Benjamin Mena. 
Hotpants at The Summit Backyard Bash: from left to right Dale Burback, Brian Engel, The Mysterious Justin "Rambo" Salinas, and Benjamin Mena. 
Briana Bierschbach

At the Bryant Lake Bowl, on a sunny Thursday afternoon, Ben Mena, one fourth of the funk and soul DJ collective Hotpants is explaining what a ramen record is. The idea seems simple enough, one can guess at the meaning: a 45 so expensive that it renders the buyer incapable of eating anything but ramen for the month following its purchase. When asked if they've bought a lot of ramen records, the DJ's sheepishly smile at each other and nod.

Out of the four young men that make up Hotpants: Brian Engel, Dale Burback, Justin "Rambo" Salinas and Ben Mena, Dale admits to tapping out at $1200 once, the other three seem more hesitant to give an exact figure, but it doesn't matter, the message is clear: any resources they have, Hotpants' spends on records. That's the point of the ramen record, a kind of obsessive need for three-odd minutes of dance music that can push you to empty your bank account in one calculated move. That's real love, what Hotpants is all about.

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Hotpants on their 5th anniversary, record dreams, and Twin Cities funk & soul
Ian Power-Luetscher

Hotpants on their 5th anniversary, record dreams, and Twin Cities funk & soul
Ian Power-Luetscher

CP: Record club and vinyl club culture is popular in countries all over the world but the midwest seems to be a particularly good scene as of late. 

Brian: The midwest is where these parties are happening, this is where it's at. The New York and L.A. scene where they're playing five figure records sometimes, real deep records, they can't always get a hundred people in the door. Here, we're packing the house, in Chicago they're packing the house, in Des Moines they're packing the house. The midwest, that's where it's at. 

Ben: Our friend George Rodriguez from L.A., He's had soul nights going in L.A. for 17 years and he'll say this is where it's at. Heavy collectors will say that George Rodriguez has one of the best collections in the country, and he says the Midwest is where it's at.

CP: What do you say to DJ's that say of the record club guys, "but they don't even spin records, they drop a record, they play the record and then they drop another record."?

Ben: The record is what the emphasis is on for us, the emphasis is the record. These DJ's, some of them are really talented guys these guys who are beat matching and scratching and cutting and stuff. Our thing is researching and acquiring the record that will turn out the same result just on its own. 

Brian: These songs are short too. I've got time to listen to the whole song. Most hip hop songs now are four or five minutes long, these songs are half that. 

Dale: We find songs that are good enough to be played all the way through. 

CP: Have you ever had a dream about a record?

Justin: Get the fuck out of here, so many. More we have dreams about finding records.

Brian: I've had dreams about records more than I've had dreams about women. 

Justin: It's bad, it happens a lot. 

Hotpants MPLS Five Year Anniversary Bash

The Nomad World Pub

Saturday September 22

9:00 PM


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