There’s been some buzz as of late about new dance parties happening here in our little post industrial home. Could it be possible that Sydney, Cape Breton is catching up with the times and realizes its potential when it comes to late night entertainment variety? Many of us would agree that the same old routine of Wednesday karaoke at the Steel City, Thursday to Saturday bands at Governor’s and after hours hook ups inspired by the Capri are indeed warm blankets of familiarity, but when anything new happens in this town it’s something to get excited about. I spent some time with Diamond Dee Haunts, better known in daylight as Devon Morrison, Sydney’s host of our first ever democratic dance party, iPod DJ Night at the Black Diamond.
WGO: First of all, why don’t you tell me a little bit about Black Diamond’s dance night.
DH: The whole idea was just a democratic dance night. You pick out your two most embarrassing songs that just haunt you. You bring them down on your ipod, and throw your name in a bucket. I’m up there playing people’s requests, we pull peoples names every four or five songs and you get called to put on a couple of tunes. If nobody dances you get out of the way.
WGO: (laughter) I love the idea of democracy on the dance floor. What prompted you to take on the task?
DH: By accident we ended up at the Black Diamond so many times and just took over the stereo, those nights ended up so well.
WGO: Usually when I’ve gone to the Black Diamond on any night other than the Blues Nights on Tuesdays I’ve encountered a rather different demographic from the one that comes out to these dance nights. Why was the Black Diamond, as a venue, more appealing than any other bar in town?
DH: Well it’s such a small place. If you show up with more than six people you basically own the bar.
WGO: (laughter)How many nights are we into now?
DH: We just did the second one last week. After the first one Paul asked me to lay off on “promotion” because there were so many people showing up already and it was just word of mouth and Facebook.
WGO: Obviously this is something the youth community in Sydney needs and I think the people connected to the arts community tend to shift their attention here. What makes it different than a night at the Capri or the late Smooth Herman’s?
DH: Well, at any bar with a DJ you can always make requests. This is just a really shameless night to go out. You don’t have to worry about getting harassed. It’s simultaneously more inclusive and specialized to a certain demographic, in that we’re going to play Biggie (Notorious B.I.G.) and nineties rap is nostalgic to our age group (mid-late twenties).
WGO: Do you have any plans to make these iPod DJ nights any different in the coming months? You seem to be a forward thinking person. What do we have to look forward to?
DH: I had to make sure that people were going to come. If it was going to be shut down in the first few weeks I didn’t want to be giving my time to this thing, but the place has been packed both nights. I want to move forward with it for sure, but I don’t want to give too much away.
WGO: You can give a teaser…
DH: Christmas, when everybody is home, is going to be f@#$ing bananas.
WGO: (laughter)What sort of music usually gets played?
DH: It’s probably about sixty percent nineties hip hop and dance tracks and the other forty percent ranges between highly contemporary, mainstream pop songs to old disco classics and dirty rock songs to bounce along.
WGO: I think I heard some Hall and Oates in there once…
DH: (laughter) Yeah, we’ve thrown on some Hall and Oates, sometimes some easy listening tracks, when I need a cigarette…
WGO: Do people often drink at these events?
DH: We had to make sure there were drink specials on. People don’t often dance until the end of the night otherwise.
WGO: One of the things I’ve noticed that’s particularly special is that the dance floor starts as people get there, almost right away.
DH: Nobody goes there that doesn’t want to be there. You’re not going to run into anybody that doesn’t want to be up on the floor dancing with you.
WGO: If people wanted information for next Thursday where can they find it?
DH: Right now we have the event on Facebook. It’s every Thursday night, there’s no cover, bring your iPod, bring all your favorite tunes and dance with thirty other people to them.