Lucky '13: Michael Trundle, Lipgloss co-founder and resident DJ
This past year has been tough for many people, and we're eager to kiss 2012 goodbye. In hopes that 2013 will turn out to be much luckier for many, we invited some of the town's cultural tastemakers -- entrepreneurs and entertainers we're lucky to have in Denver -- to answer a trio of questions. We excerpted quotes from these Q&A's in the New Year's Guide inserted in the December 13 issue of Westword, but we'll be featuring the complete interviews in a series of posts through the end of the year. Up next: Michael Trundle.
For more than a decade, Michael Trundle has orchestrated the indie Friday nights on the dancefloor of Denver's sweatiest music fans. More than your typical flashes of strobe lights and generic beats, Lipgloss was founded and designed as a dance night for record nerds. In May, Trundle caused a bit of controversy when he moved Lipgloss from its established location at La Rumba, over to the newly minted Beauty Bar in Capitol Hill. In our interview, Trundle talks about his decision to move to a smaller venue, all in the name of preserving what he's always treasured about Lipgloss: eclectic music, sincere energy and more gay people.
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Lipgloss moves from La Rumba to Beauty Bar
Michael Trundle reflects on ten years of Lipgloss
Westword: How have things been going since your move over to Beauty Bar? Has the night changed very much?
It's been great, fantastic. It's been really good for us, for the bar. The crowd is different now, which has changed the music a bit, but it's been a change I wanted to happen. We lost some of that LoDo crowd, and we've got back our gay crowd, our older crowd, some underground kids. You were there that night I played Neil Diamond: Back at LaRumba I used to play Neil Diamond all the time, but it got to the point in the last few years where the crowd just didn't get it. Didn't want it. When I played music like that they stopped dancing, and the floor would empty.
Was it that they wanted something more bass-heavy? Neil Diamond recordings don't have that thick foundation that today's dance tracks do.
Yeah, the LoDo crowd just wanted dubstep and hard electro, and that was taking over the night and it wasn't what I wanted it to be. I wanted it to be an indie night.
And we're putting a hundred more people a night into Beauty Bar now than we were at La Rumba. And the dance-floor is smaller, so you have that crowd-inertia. We pack that place and the energy is there: If you hear a song you don't care for, you're probably going to be standing next to three people who do, and that energy rubs off on you.
It seems that personal love of specific songs is part of the Lipgloss experience. I don't want to discount dubstep, but those songs serve a more utilitarian purpose, providing a generic instruction for the dancefloor rather than a nostalgic rush.
There is a difference to it. Most dubstep or electro either don't have lyrics, or they do and they're these LMFAO-type lyrics like 'Let's party, let's party, let's party!' There's not a lot of depth to those songs. They're made to be Top 40, made to be consumed in large quantities and then you move on to the next one. There's not going to be a lot of classics coming out of those genres. You don't need to identify with those songs.
But those tracks will fill a dance floor. I imagine an indie-music night playing The Smiths and Dexys Midnight Runners is a tough sell to a club-owner looking to get sexy young people at the bar.
It is, and it isn't. You're right in the sense that they wouldn't want it in LoDo -- I mean, they would want Lipgloss now, because it's so established. But if I went there without Lipgloss they wouldn't be interested because that's not what their crowd wants. But there are smart club owners out there. Like Deer Pile, they'll tap into something that isn't going to bring in 500 people, but their hitting a niche that isn't being touched. People will come and support you exclusively because you're the only one that's providing it.
Continue reading for more on Trundle's new year.