166 The Black Lodge


01. Wyndom Earle speaks about the Black Lodge [Twin Peaks]
02. El Aviador Dro - Rusos S.A. [DRO-035, 1983]
03. Samaritan Quell - Growth Of The Black Snake [Monofonus Press, 2018]
04. Acid Lion - Maslacak [TEER003, 2018]
05. Sneaker DJ - Feedback [Unreleased]
06. TANS: Controller Of The Universe[Unreleased]
07. Tolouse Low Trax - Rushing Into Water [TFGC010, 2016]
08. Stallone the Reducer - Eyes Up [Soft Machine, 2019]
09. Lostsoundbytes - Disacordedd (Short) [MMLP505, 2017]
10. Kleine Negertjes - Sis Six Six - Sex (Mick Wills Edit) [Unreleased]
11. Traxx - Lost Faith [Nation, 2015]

12. Work/Death - Body / Money [Hospital Productions / 2005]
13. Cyrnai - Time Has the Humor [Dark Entries / 2018]
14. Steve Summers - Resist (Original Mix) [Valcrond Video / 2017)
15. Samuel Kerridge - Operation Neptune [Blueprint / 2014]
16. Black Merlin - Shock [Berceuse Heroique / 2018)
17. Santiago - Western Vices [Private Selection / 2019]
18. Teatre - Collapse (Original Mix) [PPP Records / 2018]
19. Das Muster - Sinnestauschung [Stilleben Records / 2019]
20. Doc Sleep - Creme Fraiche [Dark Entries / 2019]
21. Mantra - Mindstream [Polybius Trax / 2017]
22. Force Placement - U Dance Like a Cop [Unreleased]
23.Passarella Death Squad - Creatures (D'Marc Cantu Remix) [Passarella Records / 2019]
24 Smokey Emery - 9:07 [Abject Renaissance / 2014]

25. The Creatrix - Tetos Run in a Sea of Corruption [Unreleased / 2019]
26. Martinique - Theese Dayz (edit) [Insecure / 1997]
27. Angela Flame - Fire Walk With Me [AsianDynast / 2004)
28. Adam X - In a Race Against Time [Sonic Groove /2014]
29. Paul Mac - Breakthrough (65d Mavericks remix) [Stimulus Recordings / 2002]
30. DJ Shufflemaster - Onto the Body [Tresor / 2001]
31. Abelde - Untitled [Stimulus Recordings / 2001]
32. Spirit - Untitled [Cosmic Recordings / 2000]
33. Takaaki Itoh - Chase [Stimulus Recordings / 1997]
34. Kosmic Gurt Brodhas - Gurt Session 4 [KGB / 2000]
35. Vintage Future - Frequency Snowstorm (Jam Radar mix) [Underground Resistance / 1999]
36. Marco Bailey n Redhead - Calisto [Electrix / 2003]
37. The Instigator - Anathema [HyperVinyl Records / 1999]
38. Silicon - Ido [Frustrated Funk / 2006]
40. DJ Stingray - Hypoalgesia (Presto!? / 2016)
41. DJ Stingray - Dendrite (Lower Parts / 2015)

Once upon a time, there was a place of great goodness, called the White Lodge. Gentle fawns gamboled there amidst happy, laughing spirits. The sounds of innocence and joy filled the air. And when it rained, it rained sweet nectar that infused one's heart with a desire to live life in truth and beauty. Generally speaking, a ghastly place, reeking of virtue's sour smell. Engorged with the whispered prayers of kneeling mothers, mewling newborns, and fools, young and old, compelled to do good without reason...

But, I am happy to point out that our story does not end in this wretched place of saccharine excess. For there's another place, its opposite: A place of almost unimaginable power, chock full of dark forces and vicious secrets. No prayers dare enter this frightful maw. The spirits there care not for good deeds or priestly invocations. And if harnessed, these spirits in this hidden land of unmuffled screams and broken hearts would offer up a power so vast that its bearer might reorder the Earth itself to his liking.

DT: Can you tell us about your night, The Black Lodge, who is involved and how did it begin?

Kosmik: The Black Lodge started in a small dark and dank dive bar known as the Hyperion Tavern in March of 2015.

Way Back When I had a weekly radio show on KCSB 91.9FM called “Interplenatary Musik”. I had met Force Placement – AKA Jason James – in Santa Barbara where we’d both gone to school.

Force Placement: I grew up in the Los Angeles area and moved to Santa Barbara for college in 2003. I first met Vikas in 2012 through some mutual friends that worked with a party crew called Underground Souls

Kosmik: We’d become friends and Jason became a regular guest DJ on the show. In 2014 I moved to LA and one night went out to this all-vinyl African music night called “Radio Afrique” at the Hyperion Tavern. I instantly fell in love with the intimate vibe and odd atmosphere of the space. Coincidentally Jason had moved to LA about the same time.

Force Placement: In 2014, I moved to back to Los Angeles to get more involved with the warehouse party scene after spending a few years taking 2-3 trips per month to LA just to go raving and buy records. During those early years before relocating, I began to make connections with various DJ's, promoters and other people involved in the LA house and techno scene that we would later collaborate with

Kosmik: Eventually I got to know the owner of the Tavern, and I asked Jason to get involved – we began our monthly night soon after. At the time I was deep into watching Twin Peaks, and funny enough the Tavern had this large red curtain in the back of the stage, which kept reminding me of The Black Lodge from the show every time I’d go. I was super into the whole concept of The Black Lodge, with all its references to spirits, extra-dimensions, aliens, Tibetan Buddhism, the occult, sci-fi and so on so that name just seemed like a perfect fit.

Eventually as we got the night going we linked up with Matt Johnson – AKA Simonowsky – who began to get involved more and more and then helped us launch the label when we started that venture.

Simonowsky: I moved to LA from Chicago in the summer of 2014 and I met Jason shortly after that. I was very drawn to warehouse parties, which were different from the club/loft/basement parties that I came up on Chicago. As I got more involved in the scene I organized an ill fated party of my own (shout out LAPD Vice) and that same summer went to The Black Lodge for the first time. Svengalisghost was headlining and I ended up back at Vikas' house talking shit with everyone until the sun came up – from there I frequented the party, eventually helping with a couple bookings and everything grew from there.

Kosmik: Whilst The Black Lodge is primarily Kosmik, Force Placement & Simonowsky, we consider many other people part of the larger Black Lodge family. None of what we do would have been possible without these people and their support over the years.

DT: What are your aims with the Black Lodge? Do you have a particular philosophy you abide by or mission you seek to accomplish with your events?

Kosmik: There is no particular philosophy per se. My number one focus has always been on the music. For me music is a universal language, it speaks to everyone in their own particular way – it is the foundation of everything.

Having grown up in the early Midwest rave scene of the early 90’s, we were all heavily influenced by the Underground Resistance creed and manifesto, and I aim to continue and honor that tradition. The aim was really to just have a night where people passionate about this kind of music could come together and dance and socialize and share quality music in an intimate environment. Our focus is on the marginalized, the mutants, the revolutionaries, the artists who are pushing and breaking boundaries – a force against the mainstream bullshit so rampant now.

Related to this was the goal of trying to create an alternative to the “techno” and “house” scene going on at the time in LA too – often these were separate scenes that also didn’t incorporate a lot of the “weirder” type of music we are all into. We wanted to buck the current trends of LA at the time – predominantly white male lineups, boring bills simply pulled from the resident advisor top 100 dj list, and which cost $30-$40 a party. All flash, and no soul.

Without being held down to any one sound or genre we wanted to shine a light on the actual skills and artistry of djing or performing live. To create a platform for locals to play on and for people to experiment. This element is important.

DT: For those of us who might not make it over to LA to experience one of your events, how would you describe a typical night down at The Black Lodge?

Force Placement: It's hard to describe a typical night because the vibe tends to be a little different at each party. We have some nights that are more techno focused and others that have an emphasis on house music, others which are more experimental or feature live sets, so its’ a mixed bag. Our setup for most of the events is pretty minimal with no frills, just some lights and a fog machine basically. We definitely try to create a space where our guests can completely lose themselves in the music if they choose to.

Simonowsky: Every night ends up with its own arc, but there are a lot of common threads that connect them all – the space will be dark and hazy, the sound system will be pumping and everyone gets pulled into the vortex. People from all different backgrounds are drawn to The Black Lodge because we work to try to create an open and inclusive place where people can be their authentic selves,

I’m thankful for being able to create experiences for others to discover new things, friends or ways of being. I recently met a guy who after coming to The Black Lodge for the first time started making music. It was really nice to learn about the direct impact that one night had on just one person.

DT: Your night has been running since 2015, you must have some interesting stories to tell. Are there any particular nights that stand out in your mind as being especially unique or surreal you would care to share with us?

Force Placement: We've had so many incredible artists play our parties over the years. Some of my favorite performances were from 2AM/FM, Cygnus, Jasen Loveland, Bill Converse/Balance Angel, and Fanon Flowers.

Kosmik: The highlight for myself most recently was when Traxx from Nation/Chicago played – it was truly a magical night of music that pushed all sonic boundaries. I’ve known Traxx since the 90’s, and he played some parties for us in the late 90s, so it was a wonderful experience to have him again after so many years.

There have been so many incredible nights that have left me speechless – that night when Claude Young’s USB sticks weren’t working properly so he did an impromptu all vinyl set using our records, to that time when Shawn O’Sullivan and Beau Wanzer did an all hardware live set, but the stage was too small so they just put their gear on their and played on the floor literally surrounded by the crowd of dancers.

DT: Your events always feature a host of local, or at US based names. Do you see yourselves as part of a wider community or does The Black Lodge operate outside of any niche or group you can discern?

Kosmik: Yes, one part of our mission is to shine a light on all the amazing talent that is in Los Angeles, but also more generally the United States.

Honestly Los Angeles is killing it right now – I was truly blown away by the warehouse scene when I got here, which was a throwback to the scene I grew up in and which I thought had disappeared. But even more than that, I was amazed by all the quality talent and artistry that’s around here.

I saw Black Lodge as a platform for like-minded LA folks and I wanted to use it as a way to strengthen our local scene but also bring folks from other cities so we could all share in this.

Also I must say, while I love a lot European artists, a lot of people here in the US put too much weight on Europe, as if its some kind of mecca or whatever. Most forget that Europe has always looked to the US for inspiration in this realm of music, just as we do with them. The US is a very special place – there is a reason house and techno started here, and we should be proud of that.

DT: For each of your events your artwork is really next level. Flyers and posters are something of a neglected art in club life in these smart-screen sized dominated days. Do you see visual art as an important component of your events?

Kosmik: I love to print flyers and posters, and agree it is a neglected art these days. I still have boxes of old flyers from the early days of the 90’s. The visual art is just another extension of the larger vision we are trying to promote – a reflection of my influences and a reference to other ways of seeing and thinking. The visuals always add and complement the music. The music also inspires the flyers – each lineup we have has a certain vibe to it, and we try to match to that visually. I’ve done most of the flyers, though some have been done by other friends, including Simonowsky.

DT: You also run The Black Lodge record label. I’ve been checking out the two EPs you’ve got released: Spirits of the Black Lodge 1 & 2. Some fierce work there. Why did you decide to start a label?

Kosmik: We had no intention originally of starting a label, it was something that just organically happened as the parties and community began to grow and as we begin to get more serious about our own productions. Actually the idea came from our good friend Esteban Adame, who saw the potential before any of us did.

Eventually, things just began to happen and we were getting mysteriously pushed more and more in that direction. And then we all just decided together to take a chance and we just did it (and Esteban appears on the first record as Frequencia).

DT: Did you find it difficult to set up the label? Its a mystical process to many of us, maybe you can enlighten us on some of the mechanics and provide some evidence based insight on how you go from the idea to the reality?

Kosmik: Hahahah yes, it’s very difficult – none of us had an idea how to do this and it’s still very much a work in progress. Fortunately we have so many friends who have helped us and are continually showing us the way.

For the first record we primarily did distribution ourselves, which was very difficult and I do not recommend at all if you’re starting out. For the second we were able to secure some distribution through our network of friends, but honestly we are still trying to secure proper distribution. We hope to have that figured out with our third release, which will be out very soon.

The actual physical process itself is not so mystical. You get some tracks, you get them mastered, you send to someone to cut the lacquers, which then get sent to the pressing plant, who make the dubplates and then they do their own magic (which actually is a very mystical process). But once they create a test pressing and we approve it then goes to production.

My only advice is don’t jump into this unless you truly believe in what you are doing and have some reliable friends to guide you on your way. And try and get some distribution lined up first!!

DT: Are there any other promoters or artists you would like to rep that we should know about?

Kosmik: I mean everyone we’ve released so far on our records, or podcasts, or who has appeared on The Black Lodge radio show, or who has performed for us should be looked up to see what they’re doing – they are all extremely talented artists, or we would not have featured them. Peep our Soundcloud and Bandcamp.

Ashtrejinkins, who’s on our first record as Brown Irvin is definitly one to watch. He brings his own unique style to house/techno, which is truly next level. Our next release also, BL003, which will be out in the next couple months, is with Circling Vultures aka Justin Aulis Long (also check out his new label, Soft Machine) and Ken Zawacki on one side, and Balance Angel aka Bill Converse and Domokos B. from Fantasy 1. Look em all up, they are all fire. Keep your eyes peeled – we have much more in the works.

Force Placement: Definitely keep an eye out for Lost Soul Enterprises, Night Gaunt Recordings, Tingo Tongo Tapes and Darkmatter Soundsystem.

Simonowsky: One person in LA who I think is doing important work is Luke Kim aka Hello DJ aka They/Them DJ, who we partnered with for the Ash Lauryn party. Their programming is very dynamic and I appreciate all that they’ve done in the scene here. There are so many good producers out there I can’t keep track of em, but Richard Hohlburn in Chicago is one to watch

DT: Finally, if you could host a Black Lodge event anywhere at all in space and time, where would it be and why?

Kosmik: I’d say either in The Integratron here in California or in Lemuria in some ancient past before the Great Deluge.

Force Placement: It would be cool to do an underwater rave in a submarine

Simonowsky: '92 Den Haag squat rave, full on acid ritual


Interview: Sam Mee, Published: 16 May 2019
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