Lipgloss moves from La Rumba to Beauty Bar
What was the competition like back when Lipgloss first began?
Back then our competition wasn't really club nights -- it was more concerts at the Ogden. And not really even then, because the concert would end at midnight and you'd just get a later crowd. But now, on any given Friday, there are at least three club nights that we're in competition with, like Mile High Soul Club and Neon Knights.
How has the scene changed over the decade?
Anyone who wasn't at least eighteen in 2001 has no idea how much cooler this city is now. There just wasn't anything to do back then. When I was eighteen it was 1990, and this city was just desolate: We used to drive to Boulder to go out.
So is Lipgloss somewhat responsible for the change in nightlife over the last decade?
I think so, but some people may disagree with me. I don't want to say [the change] wouldn't have existed without us; I think it would have, but I think that Lipgloss had a direct impact on the indie/hipster/whatever scene. People stopped doing one-genre nights, the goth night, the Brit pop night. Why go to a Brit pop night when you could go to Lipgloss and hear Brit pop but then also hear some really cool stuff? We were the first to do so many things. Like we were the first to bring in rock-legends; we brought Carlos D. We brought guys from the Smiths. We brought Peter Hook, Marky Ramone.
The Bravery called us up [when they were in town] and said they'd heard of the club and wanted to come deejay after their show, and they didn't want a dime; same with the Go-Go's. And this sort of thing happens all the time in New York or L.A., Denver didn't have that; [before Lipgloss] they would play a show then skip town because there wasn't anything to do. We got mentioned in Spin and NME magazine because Denver was suddenly on the map, a city where cool things happen.
Was moving to a busier section of town an impetus for the change? Was La Rumba too isolated?
You never got people just randomly going to La Rumba, but people will just stop in to Beauty Bar, they're just, "Oh, it's the weekend. Let's see what's happening at Beauty Bar." People never did that with La Rumba. It's on a side street, and there's no walk-in traffic. People know what's going on there before they get there.
But it's more than just Beauty Bar -- that whole neighborhood is a lot more welcoming now.
Oh yeah, that area was never a place people visited if they wanted to go out. If you didn't live in Capitol Hill, you didn't want to go out in Capitol Hill. It was really scary to a lot of people. I moved to 13th Avenue and Vine in 1991 and this area of town is so drastically different. It's cleaner, safer. There's so much more around here. There was nothing back then -- it wasn't a pretty part of town. We'd go downtown, to Rock Island, Paris on the Platte, Muddy's, Calvin's. Now you've got people coming down from the suburbs to come to Beauty Bar.
Is that why you decided to move to Beauty Bar?
To be honest with you, I would have moved Lipgloss a while ago if I'd had the appropriate venue. Beauty Bar is a good fit for us. I hate to leave La Rumba, but I'm forty years old. I don't have any health insurance. I'm barely getting my rent paid. I need more money. I need industry standard. There are people throwing parties in this city that bring in half the people I do -- but they're making more money.
When most people think of deejaying, they often think of technical aspects like beat matching; how does music selection play in to the craft?
I literally think [music selection] is the most important -- and the most overlooked -- aspect of deejaying. And I think that's one of the reasons I've been so successful: I'm really good at reading a crowd. I also know when to say fuck off to the crowd -- I'm gonna play what I wanna play -- and then knowing when to give them something I know they'll love.
Sometimes people will give me crap for dropping "Billie Jean," but you know what, it's a great dance song and pop song. Michael Jackson is a brilliant artist and I'm never ashamed to play him. It will fill the dance floor. And then that frees you up to play stuff that they don't know -- but they should.
There are DJs I know that are insanely good technical mixers -- they could mix me out of town -- but they'll get up there and have no ability to work the crowd at all. And then I've had people who can't mix worth a damn, but they come in and lay down a set that just makes people go bananas.
Page down to read our Q&A with Jesse Morreale, who learned of the move via an e-mail from Trundle: