Seven years of Too Much Love: An oral history

Partgoer Monique Tenison poses outside of First Ave.

Partgoer Monique Tenison poses outside of First Ave.

Too Much Love's DJ Sovietpanda, AKA Peter Lansky, has announced plans to end the weekly series on February 1 after a successful seven-year run. Beginning the following Saturday, First Avenue will play host to a new weekly event created by Lansky and friend James Frickle of WAK LYF, that they have christened REAL FUN.

To honor the memories that were created at this epic dance party, Gimme Noise spoke to Lansky and the partygoers who kept the dance floor alive each and every weekend. Here is the story of Too Much Love, told in their words.

See Also: DJ Sovietpanda's Too Much Love to end seven-year run in February

Peter Lansky: The reason I started DJing was I ran a DFA message board in high school, so I had met James Murphy a couple times...and I asked him what I should do with my life, because I was super depressed. He told me to start a Sovietpanda night. I'd been 21 for a month the first time Too Much Love happened.

Sam Spafford:
It was the youngest 18+ crowd in town. Break dancers, house beats, getting fucked and not called back. TML was a night of firsts for many of us.

Bach Pham:
I remember when TML first started in the VIP Room- that's when I first met and mixed alongside Peter Lansky and Jonathan Ackerman.

Lansky: They [First Avenue] were like, we'll give you a night, and see how it does. It was one Friday in the Record Room. They said, if that goes okay, we'll see what can happen. I made the logo, and I made a flier, and I went on MySpace. I found everyone in Minneapolis who liked the bands I liked, and added them, and told them to come. Through MySpace, I found DJ Bach, and Jonathan Ackerman.

Albert Elmore: MySpace was blowing up. Nobody knew how the heck they got there... I remember ending up there with no idea of who was playing, but knowing it would be something different and interesting regardless.

Lansky: I always wanted to do a party just so I could DJ, 'cause the music I wanted to play wasn't really being played anywhere -- like the crossover stuff, from post-punk and indie rock to dance music.

James Frickle of WAK LYF gets the munchies while Sovietpanda DJs.

James Frickle of WAK LYF gets the munchies while Sovietpanda DJs.

Sean Schilz: It was a very uplifting and positive sound, like none other, and NO ONE else was playing this stuff. I started getting extremely passionate about the music, and that would radiate off of me and was expressed through dancing. I did not know how to dance before TML because nothing I had heard had made me want to dance. This music made me want to dance as much as I wanted to kiss my first girlfriend.

In March of 2007, it moved to the mainroom, and became weekly. It was very surreal. It was weird because so many different kinds of people would come, and it was people I would never have known otherwise. Older people who didn't get what we were doing would come early, and then a bunch more people would show up. I was just happy to play music for people.

Ann Roy: I remember back in 2007, going there and trying to avoid getting danced on by dudes who were twice my age.

Bobby Kahn:
My favorite memory was early on, I think in 2007. I was up on stage with about a dozen other people, when suddenly everyone got in a circle and started walking around, like a cakewalk, except we were dancing while walking. Someone stood in the middle and as we walked by, we gave them a high five. It's one of my all time favorite dance floor memories, and I bring it up when I am teaching my dance class now.

Lansky: September of 2007, Arcade Fire was on tour with LCD Soundsystem. All of LCD Soundsystem came to DJ, and all of Arcade Fire came to hang out with them. Then, three weeks later, Diplo came to town and played. That's when I knew I had succeeded. I only had like 200 songs I liked to play when I started DJing. Now I have thousands. I had to not only DJ every week, but I had to open almost every week. You learn a lot from opening. You learn about what makes people dance...


Alex Pennaz: The first time I went, my friends and I were under 21. Everyone was totally sober, and danced real hard -- too hard for this one girl, apparently, because as soon as we walked out the door, she projectile vomited all over the sidewalk.

When you're flipping through records and you put the right sequencing on, and the mood in the room is all together and swept up, and you don't think about what track is next, it's just natural... it feels good. It's like everything is more than the sum of its parts for a second.

Rachel Palmer: There were times we danced all night, only stopping to pee or get another drink. Maybe we would photobomb strangers' City Pages photobooth sessions every once in a while. It was always fun to go, because I could expect to see a lot of people I knew and loved to be around.

GiGi Zirbes: I fell in love at Too Much Love...with a boy, with new music and with MPLS nightlife. The best part was, you didn't have to plan on meeting a bunch of people because everyone would be there, no doubt. The roots of my social life sprouted from nights at TML. I always had to have the coolest pair of shades for the night (for photo purposes only).

Serene Supreme: Too Much Love was the place I met everyone I now know in MPLS, either directly from the night or through friends of friends I met there. It was an affair. We would always have a big gathering prior at my house or at another house of someone within the crew. We would all go down together and by the time we got to First Ave, it felt like we were having your own get-together in the mainroom. Over the years I saw so many awesome DJs. It was a night that we all looked forward to and brought us together.

Lansky: Probably the best Too Much Love set was Silent Servant playing. He got the party 100 percent. He understood it completely. He played all of the classic 2006-2008 tracks I forgot about, and mixed them so well, then mixed in techno and post-punk I had never heard of.

Andrea Loza: All of us would hang out to left of the stage. There were a some times where I ended up having to go alone but it was okay because all of my friends were at the spot when I arrived.

Amanda Bailey: I frequented TML so often that I became friends with the DJs' friends, then eventually the DJ. When I was finally invited to stand behind the DJ booth, it was an 18-year-old's fantasy. It felt really good. I'm still friends with most of those people, too.

Sarah Stanley-Ayre: The first time I made it down to First Avenue on a Saturday to check out TML, I had no idea what to expect. When I got there, I was amazed to find the entire mainroom packed with sweaty, dancing bodies. TML became a weekly routine for me. I met most of my closest friends there. I fell in and out of love there. I was introduced to all kinds of new electronic music, by Peter and the vast array of talented guest DJs who performed there.


Katherine Echols Moore: My favorite holiday is Halloween, so naturally my top TML moments center around costumes in the club. It's definitely a tie for first place between the time I wore my zombie Cleopatra outfit out of the pub crawl and into the party, and the Too Much Blood where Peter let me do the running man for half an hour straight behind the DJ booth in my Beavis ensemble.

Beck Kilkenny: My friends on the Hamline campus and I would get drunk and we'd dress up as Dax Flame, and we'd get our red X's and try to be the first one kicked out. I never got kicked out, but my friends did. I guess I just wasn't drunk enough. I made out with some cute girls there, though...

Lansky: I saw grinding, speaker grinding, drunk people, people doin' it in the booth in the corner. People are funny, man... I would trick kids by playing something they knew, and baiting them, then playing something crazy.

DJ Bach spins at TML in 2010.

DJ Bach spins at TML in 2010.

Schilz: The most epic sweeping hard hitting TML dance track I think I ever heard was "The Deep End by Curses (Holy Ghost! Remix)." This track was so awesome. Every time Peter played it, people could not help but smile and dance like fucking crazy, and it would be played so loud! Dancing to a song like that with people going crazy at First Ave, which has the best dance floor in the city, was probably the most euphoric I have ever felt.

Lansky: I went from electro and indie-dance into disco and disco edits, which brought me into house music, which brought me into techno. I went to Berlin in 2012, and to go out every night and see a different type of expectation for the music being heard, and hearing it on an amazing sound system, really changed how I wanted to DJ... I had lunch with Zach (DVS1) a couple years ago. I was talking to him about what was going on, and how I wanted to grow. He was like, "Eventually it's going to come down to whether you want to do this for money, and what you're going to do to make money, or if you do it because you love it, and you want to it what you love. Either way, it's fine." He was right. It ended up being a choice.

Will Space: TML had a good run. It was cool to have a place where I knew I could go on a Saturday night to run into old friends, and make new ones. In my mind, I can still see the girl I liked watching me as she danced.

Verta Taylor: It was a damn good place to get sweaty. I can't believe TML is ending.

Lansky: I walked out [of the meeting at First Ave where we decided to end TML], and I was like... holy shit. It was a head trip. I've been doing it since I was 21. It was how I looked at the world and how I looked at music. It was very liberating, but it was very scary. The way I look at music is going to change. The way I DJ is going to change...I remember making up fake fliers in high school for parties that didn't exist, just for fun. I'm just hoping that the same thing is happening right now, and I don't know it. I'm hoping that all the things I've learned and the people that I've met along he way are going to add up to what is next for me.

The Last Too Much Love. 18+, $3, 10 p.m., Saturday, February 1, at the Record Room. RSVP.