(To Set the Mood: Mark Knight & Funkagenda – Shogun (Jimpster Mix))
The First Time: The History of My House
When and where did my history of house start? I’ve told this story countless times to my friends. While I started going to “raves” and clubs later than the first generation of ravers, my love is just as strong. My first experience with house and techno music truly was an “OH SHIT WTF IS THIS” moment. 18 years later, I’m still obsessed with the 4×4 beat of house, techno and disco. This is how my history of house began. It all started with a call….
As I sat in my cubicle at NYNEX (rip) I could not wait for the day to be over, although I would have to leave and go right to my part time job. Not sure how the idea got into my head but I called my buddy, Rich, and asked if he wanted to go on an adventure tonight. I decided I was going to skip work and just head to Montreal. I’ve been a few times before and knew how insane the strip clubs and nightclubs were. Two hours later we were racing up The Northway in my Taurus SHO and heading across the border.
We found our way downtown quickly and booked pretty much the first hotel we found on Sainte Catherine Street. I can’t remember if we actually had dinner or if we headed straight towards the now defunct “Super-sexe“.
(yes that’s a 2 story neon sign right across from the mall)
So yeah Super-sexe was a 3 floor mecca filled with some of the most beautiful women on the planet right in the middle of downtown Montreal. Luckily with the insane exchange rates of the late 90s we had pockets filled with cash. We figured no need to hang with the peasants and booked a VIP booth. Keeping this story on track, I’ll just say the venue lived up to the hype. We were nearing 2am and were still conversing with a few of the ladies trying to find out what there was to do after. (I’m used to 4am bar closings in Albany, NY). The girls suggested we check out Sona, an afterhours club a few blocks away. Drunk and still hyped, we headed out to Sainte Catherine.
Within minutes we were lost and pretty much gave up and were about to head back to the hotel. We walked past an alleyway and saw a crowd of people standing in a square near a doorway to some industrial/warehouse building. I said ‘Fuck it’ and walked over to see what was up. We quickly realized it was Sona and decided to sneak to the front of the line. Not sure why, but the door woman came right over to me and said ‘un”. In my drunken state, I shouted out in horribly broken French, ‘No Deux’ and somehow got the pass to head in. $20 Canadian dollars later we headed downstairs to god knows where.
As we got to the bottom of the stairs we found a few hundred people chilling and dancing to a Hip Hop DJ. It was perfect. We kept the party going for another hour or so before the whiskey and Molsons caught up with us. As we were about to leave we found another staircase.
How After Hours Became My Church
As we ascended, the beat was different, a muffled bass sound that was almost continuous with not many other sounds. Rounding the top flight of stairs, we were suddenly assaulted by a barrage of strobe lights and a vocal from the speakers, “I can’t get no sleep” followed by the amazing lead synth of Faithless. And of course “the drop” into a full body bass massage. All of a sudden my life was changed. Looking down into the room were thousands of people dancing. Half naked men and women all seemingly dancing in unison to this strange music.
I honestly couldn’t figure out where the music was coming from. I eventually found there was a “DJ” playing records. It was nothing like the bars that I went to at home. (Yes there were DJs in Albany doing this, but I had no idea, sorry for being a “late bloomer”, Mad love to my original 518 crews). After hearing Faithless, “Insomnia” I don’t think there was single vocal played the rest of the night. This techno music filled my body and soul and captivated me. I was hooked instantly. After seeing what the DJ was doing up there I decided I had to figure this out and try it myself one day. No idea how much time passed as I danced the night away. As we finally felt exhaustion take hold, we left the club and the Sun heated our skin. Back to the hotel for a few hours of sleep before check out.
From that moment on I was hooked to the dance floor. Living almost directly in the middle of NYC and Montreal, I always preferred heading to Montreal for events during these early formative years. Sona, then Stereo, then Aria all became venues I came quite acquainted with. Soon after, I would be buying my own turntables, mixer and records and practicing every night. Years later I finally had the courage to get on stage. While I don’t perform as often as I used to, House music still flows through my veins and will till the day I die.
Unfortunately this was way before everyone had smartphones so there is limited footage and photos of the legendary Sona Montreal. I was able to find this short youtube playlist that captured a few performances.
When did your History of House Start?
This is how my history of house began. It belongs to me and I’ll never forget the times I’ve had on the dance floor and behind the DJ booth. I’d love to hear your stories. Even if your first party was last week, I’d love to find out what inspired you. When and where did your adventure begin? Was it house, techno, , trance, d&b, or happy hardcore that got you onto the dance floor for the first time?