Club Contras started as the brainchild of the brothers Hamshar: "Brian and I had been talking about how cool it would be since around 2006-2007. Then, when Contra Sonic popped up [in Washington, DC], Brian was inspired to start one of our own. I was very enthusiastic for the idea, just as much as I had been a few years ago if not more, and so we entered as partners."
"It can be much more intense" to spin a contra than to spin other gigs, he continues. "You are essential to keeping the dance going. There must always be a sense of rhythm (minimizing abstract passages). Elsewhere, you can always just gloss over a transition if the going gets rough, or can add/subtract songs from the playlist as much as you want. This is severely limited in the techno contra format, as you much ensure that the transitions are smooth and make sense to a medley transition, that the songs are suitable to the dance, etc. Most importantly, if the dance gets screwed up, you have to fix it. You have to go in there and mess with the beats until everything is back on track. When I go to other events and DJ, it feels so relaxing to be able to pull off on-the-fly transitions and adjust the playlist to the crowd. However, it serves as a reminder that there’s a large gap between DJing and good DJing, and that there are many, many mistakes that one can learn from."
DJ Solar Sound says that one of the great parts of spinning a techno contra is "the connection I have with the audience and my ability to spread what I love while fusing two of my passions. It’s just so fulfilling to nail a transition from my favorite track of last year into a new song that I finished only a few days prior, and to see the dancers just loving it."
"I urge everyone to check out our music at http://www.facebook.com/thesystem444, and to let me know if it would be a good idea to release some of these remixed traditional tunes on an album. Lastly, I ask that everyone who hasn’t tried it yet, attend one of the increasingly common techno contras in their area. If you’d like to book me, or my partner and I (The System), just let us know on that Facebook page. We’re based in central Virginia and would love to DJ your event!"
DJ Solar Sound is a radio DJ at WXJM 88.7, where he spins electronic music. Other than that, The System (or sometimes just he) occasionally performs at parties and local events. The System has also performed a set in a concert. However, as DJ Solar Sound is quick to point out, "we are always looking for more gigs!" The next Club Contras dance will be on Sunday, May 1 at Greenwood Community Center in Greenwood, VA. On Monday, May 30, DJ Solar Sound and Perpetual e-Motion will provide the music at a special Contra-phoria event, also in Greenwood, VA. Many thanks to him for chatting with me!
If someone has spun at a techno contra event near you, I would love to hear from them -- drop me a line on the Contact Me form, or better yet have them do it themselves through the same channel or email me at contrasyncretist [at] gmail [dot] com.