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Entries in food (1)

Thursday
Sep062012

DJ Gig: Top Chef Masters Viewing Party with Food Critic Krista Simmons

By virtue of an extremely unlikely confluence of events I found myself asked if I was available to play music at a party hosted by Krista Simmons, the food critic who's been appearing as a guest judge throughout this season of Bravo's Top Chef Masters. Krista was hosting a viewing party for the latest episode at the Roosevelt Hotel here in Hollywood. If you didn't know, the Roosevelt is a very beautiful 1920s hotel in the heart of tinseltown that hosts loads of events and offers many uniquely luxurious amenities, including a swank bowling alley designed to look like a speakeasy. Because it's become a young celebrity and socialite hot spot, It's very common to observe all varieties of gorgeous women and tatted up sickbros collapsing out of the Roosevelt and onto the sidewalk in booze-soaked, powder-coated piles of designer jeans and six-inch stilettos. Naturally, every DJ wants to spin there. Added to my sincere admiration of luxury hotels, my years-long obsession with Top Chef, that I haven't done any DJ'ing in a couple of years, and the fact that my old Meltcast mate Chris Rosa was going to be there made the proposition something of a no-brainer. 

Fortunately for Krista but perhaps unfortunately for you readers, the event was an eminently classy affair with absolutely no fisticuffs or overdoses of any kind. The party went down in Room 100, a cushy lounge adjacent to the Roosevelt's famous/infamous pool. (I joke about the hotel's notoriety as a party spot but the truth is it's a splendid hotel and the staff were magnificently helpful.) The decor included torches and other tropical touches that informed my musical selections (when people are kitted up in coctail dresses and suits to drink chamagne, snack on orderves and watch Bravo, it's not really appropriate to drop the 20-minute version, if you know what I mean). I wish I could tell you something about the menu, but I only managed to grab a few slices of roast beef (they were really good).

The brief was very simple: "electronic," and a few artist requests from Krista (notably Breakbot). Everything was extremely short notice so I only had a couple hours to assemble some tracks and work out a rough playlist with room for improvision and some self-indulgence (I have been really into Saint Etienne lately, so I said fuck it and played a lot more than you're "supposed to" -- also, I snuck in a track from Prince's Batman soundtrack, because it's awesome). I rolled up with my laptop and nothing else, not even headphones. Truthfully, you don't really need anything fancy for events like this; you're just providing some ambience, with your primary function being "don't let the music stop and don't play anything too shitty." I've seen a lot of event DJs just rock it on iTunes even though they pile up a mountain of gear. I like messing around with Traktor to see what kind of tasty transitions I can make. These were my ingredients, including pre-party appetizers (i.e. testing the sound system, messing around before people show up):

  1. Underworld: Ansum
  2. Beck: Diamond Dogs
  3. Underworld: Banstyle (Alex Reece Mix)
  4. Saint Etienne: Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Andrew Weatherall Mix)
  5. Saint Etienne: Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Richard X Foxbase Beta version)
  6. Goldfrapp: A&E (Maps Instrumental)
  7. Chromatics: In The City (Instrumental)
  8. Saint Etienne: Like A Motorway (Alternative Version)
  9. Annie: Anthonio (Fred Falke Remix)
  10. David Lynch: Good Day Today (Underworld Classic Remix)
  11. Röyksopp: In Space
  12. Saint Etienne: London Belongs To Me (Richard X Foxbase Beta Version)
  13. The Chemical Brothers: The Boxer (DFA Version)
  14. Poolside: Take Me Home
  15. Moloko: Familiar Feeling (Martin Buttrich Remix)
  16. David Lynch: Good Day Today (Diskojokke Remix)
  17. High Contrast: The Long Way Home (NHS Mix)
  18. The Prodigy: 3 Kilos
  19. Underworld: Cups (Salt City Orchestra's Vertical Bacon Vocal)
  20. Daft Punk: Fresh
  21. Leftfield: Release The Dubs
  22. Primal Scream: Autobahn 66
  23. The Chemical Brothers: Das Spiegel
  24. Belle & Sebastian: I Didn't See It Coming (Richard X Remix)
  25. Breakbot featuring Ruckazoid: Fantasy (Ruckazoid Remix)
  26. Breakbot: Penelope Pitstop
  27. Pet Shop Boys: Flamboyant (Scissor Sisters Silhouette & Shadows Mix)
  28. Mylo: In My Arms
  29. Mylo: Guilty Of Love
  30. Saint Etienne: Hug My Soul (Alternative Version)
  31. Poolside: California Sunset
  32. SebastiAn: Arabest
  33. Underworld: Moon In Water
  34. Gorillaz: On Meloncholy Hill
  35. Electric Guest: This Head I Hold
  36. Janelle Monáe: Tightrope (Solo Version)
  37. LCD Soundsystem: I Can Change
  38. SebastiAn featuring Mayer Hawthorne: Love In Motion
  39. Yelle: Ce Jeu
  40. Pet Shop Boys: A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi"
  41. Röyksopp: Eple
  42. Prince: Vicki Waiting
  43. Kavinsky: Nightcall (Breakbot Remix)

You can listen to most of these on a Spotify playlist I made.  

Krista was an excellent hostess and everyone had a lovely time. She was especially happy with the music and I was pleased to help her celebrate her big night. If you're into food, you should definitely follow her work at the LA Times and elsewhere