While a lot of the conversations around here center around evolving and mixmatching music, and the resulting sounds, an important aspect of the MixMatch culture centers around combinations of various media methods and the resulting entertainment. Down in Los Angeles, DJ Denkym (Denny Kim) has created just this type of event in his once (but soon to be twice) monthly event, Feel Good Fusion (http://losangeles.going.com/feelgoodfusion) A few months ago while I was down in LA, I met up with DJ Denkym, a former roommate and colleague from USC and KSCR, for his first Feel Good Fusion event. Denkym worked as Hip-Hop director while consistently honing his craft as a DJ. While a large portion of his influence is rooted in hip-hop, his love for numerous cultures and musical styles is a cornerstone of his mixing. The idea behind Feel Good Fusion is based in the notion of bringing together mixing, free-styling, painting, sculpture, dancing and other performance art into the same place to celebrate the combinations that are created when these cultures and mediums intertwine.
At the inaugural show, the turnout was great. Everyone in attendance was genuinely glad to be there, and the vibe was stellar. From outstanding turntable work to interesting MCs to the collaborative painting shown below, the connection between art and music was greatly pronounced, and everyone there was into the crafts. These two artists worked on separate canvases throughout the evenings, bringing their creation together at the end of the night:
The next Feel Good Fusion event is at the end of this month, the 28th of March (and every last Friday of the month), and the cast is expanding steadily. Along with resident drummer Muraoka, Zach and Greg mixing videos, and Shokase, Matter and Seano joining Denkym on the turntables, artists Will Hsu, Bzarro, Nice Penguins and DPD will be on hand. But now there’s more mixmatch than just the art and the djs to go see…at the next Feel Good Fusion, very special guests Paul Dateh and Inka One, known for their Hip-Hop Violin performances, will be throwing down. These two have been going nuts on YouTube (over 1,000,000 views), and have steadily been increasing their performances around the area. Inka One on the turntables, Paul Dateh on the violin, these two will be doing a full 20 minute set.
In anticipation of this month’s event, and spreading the word about future events, I asked Denkym what the initial idea was behind Fusion, who he worked on it with and what the overall philosophy behind the event was. This is what he had to say:
“The idea for Feel Good Fusion materialized when I was given the opportunity to throw a monthly event in Pasadena at the Terrace on November 30, 2007. The opportunity could not have come at a better time – as I was transitioning into a new full-time job that was causing me to step down from living the full-time DJ life. At the time, I was sick and tired of the club scene in Los Angeles and very uninspired as to what I was doing with my music and DJ career. Simply put, making my money as a DJ was no longer a FUN thing for me, but merely another job to perform so that I could get paid. I was caught in the paper chase and I was failing to fulfill my needs as a music connoisseur / social catalyst.
With the new job, I wasn’t really hurting for money, and so I was free to choose my DJ gigs based on how much I would enjoy spinning it as opposed to how much I would get paid for providing a service. It’s weird to say, but it felt GREAT turning down the high-paying DJ gigs that required me to play mindless music for crowds that I really had no connection with. That shift in mentality was what sparked the concept for Feel Good Fusion. The musical mission became very clear at that moment….DJ because I love DJing, play the music that I want to play, and of course…FEEL GOOD about it!
As I was searching for nightlife events at which the music was dictated by the DJ’s persona and not by the pop-hungry crowd, I was randomly approached by Joseph Lee (owner of the Terrace) to start a monthly event at his venue. He had seen my myspace and was impressed by the diversity of music in my mixes. He was willing to give me a night with full creative control just as long as I filled the venue and bar with people. I jumped at the opportunity for several reasons…1) The venue is in my hometown…PASADENA! 2) I can play whatever I want 3) I needed a challenge – Keep in mind, I have NEVER organized an event on my own!
With the opportunity at hand, I decided to reach out to my network of fellow DJ’s, VJ’s, musicians, producers, artists, bboys, bgirls, and emcees that I’ve met over the years to see how I could get them involved with the event. “Just be YOU and come out to Feel Good!” I would tell them. A few blunts later, I decided to fuse everything together into what formally became the FEEL GOOD FUSION – A Tasty Blend of Music & Art. It’s a full out Audio & Visual presentation of Hip-Hop culture, Music, Art, Life, and Feel Good Vibes!!
On a Feel Good Fusion night, expect to see:
Dope DJ’s rocking on 4 turntables, VJ’s broadcasting visuals on 6 screens, a live drummer keepin time, live paintings and Mixed Media creations, Bboy/Bgirl circles, open mic sessions (strictly Freestyles only!), scratch sessions, special performances TBA every month, SMILES, and lovely bartenders.
Since the first show in November, Feel Good Fusion has grown immensely and I only expect it to get bigger and bigger! My goal is to pack the place with 500+ people who are looking to feel good on a Friday night by the early Summer. It’s only once a month now, but starting in May or June, we will be operating twice a month. I have plans to book lots of ‘next level’ acts and spread the Feel Good Vibes to Los Angeles and beyond in the near future. A perfect example of a ‘next level’ act would be the guest performers for the March 28th show. Paul Dateh & Inka One will be performing a special Hip-Hop Violin & DJ collaboration set that is not to be missed. They have over a million hits on Youtube for their 5 minute segment, and you can expect to see a full blown 20 minute set in March. Don’t sleep on this one!
The amount of support and positive feedback that I’ve received has been amazing, and I want to thank the whole Feel Good Fusion team and regular patrons for making the Feel Good Fusion the dopest event in Pasadena!!!! For booking information: email firstname.lastname@example.org or goto www.myspace.com/denkym”
So there it is for all you Los Angeles folks looking for a way to support the mixed media arts scene and feed your inner hip-hop hunger. The Feel Good Fusion event is one that seeks to bring together a vast and diverse crew of artists and musicians to help fuel the integration of styles, cultures and mediums. It’s not only a great night out, but another step in the continuing journey to view music and art in expanding, collaborative and evolutionary ways.