Did you hit play? Heather reads this in its entirety, just for you. This is the Echo Park Podcast episode #6.
For All the Guys Who Shop With Their Girls
So far I’ve been writing articles for Echo Park Forums on my favorite thrift and vintage shops, and I have one left on the list to conclude that series. (I can’t wait for that one. Pure vintage. Exquisite stuff.)
Anyway, I’ve been married long enough to admit when it’s time to take a break from shopping and show some interest (real or not) in my husband’s interests.
Honestly, when I think about how he goes along with me on some of my bargain hunts, or listens to me explain the reason I think Jennifer Aniston hasn’t married Justin yet (curious?), I realize how lucky I really am to have this guy.
So much so that when he asked if I wanted to go with him to hear one of his favorite DJs from the UK, I only hesitated a beat, saved by, “What’s his name?”
And as he went into giving not only Adam Freeland’s name but also how the guy has managed to inspire my husband (not once but twice) to continue during times when my husband felt he was done with the scene (serious, right?), I took the opportunity and agreed. We had to go.
And then I slipped in, “I don’t know what to wear though.” (Got another shopping day out of that one.)
That night as we drove, I have to admit, I was mostly thinking about how I looked (I’m forty-years old—a fashion risk at a club) and how far Hollywood feels from Echo Park, while he was talking about “what kind of set” Freeland would have that night.
Didn’t have a clue. But after all, I am a professional journalist. I know how to filter and ask the important questions: Do I have to dance?
See, although I’ve been writing for newspapers since they were only available in print on actual paper, while my husband lugged actual records around Scotland and England playing them on real turntables (a couple decades ago), I am first and foremost a poet, at heart, forever. Long live the famous first line. (Poets know what I mean.)
So I don’t know about “sets” or “building a set” or even what the difference between digital and vinyl involves, but I do know there’s nothing like Leonard Cohen singing the lines, “She broke your throne and she cut your hair, and from your lips she drew the Hallelujah.”
I can dance to that. Are you kidding me? Incredible.
The night we went to the club there was a blessing already in the air, because we were going to the famous Monday Night Social, a 16-year LA famed night for DJs (apparently). For me, it meant perfection because it was Monday and we found parking at midnight with no problem.
Already in a good mood, I was open and ready to experience this, purely as a spectator. As we walked up to the club and saw the bouncers, dressed in their sharp suits and looking serious (I covered Al Gore’s run for Presidency and tried joking with the Secret Service, so I didn’t even attempt it with these guys; they looked just as unbreakable), I was distracted immediately by the logo to the front door entrance.
A sucker for symbolism (good fashion logos get me every time), Sound Nightclub “had me at hello”.
Never could I have guessed: I was about to enter a heart-stopping garden, a poet’s (club) paradise, and that I would leave full, full, so full of Sound…
Sound Nightclub Review + Interview
I’m not an expert on Electronic Dance Music (EDM), nor could I even begin to tell you the difference between House, Deep House, Techno, or Trance.
But as I explained before, when I went along with my husband as a good gesture for all the times he joins me on my escapades, I never expected to be blown away by Sound.
And here’s why:
Sound Nightclub is a masterpiece.
Fine art. Sculpture. Framed vision. Stunning. Wood. Wood. Beautiful wood. In Hollywood?
I mean, the doorway is a giant, gorgeous wooden sculpture, with the Sound logo on it that feels like you’re passing through the secret entrance to a private clubhouse.
It’s that smooth, strong kind of wood you just have to take your hand and run it along to touch (yep, I did). No one noticed. I was subtle.
I walked through that entrance and expected a nightclub. I’ve been in a few. Savannah, Vegas, San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto. Some other places I can’t recall. We all have. They’re clubs. Hard to miss. Big and loud. Or small and loud. Right?
Okay, so some of them are great and slick, and some are dingy and very cool. I won’t argue and don’t want to actually. Because this is about a club that is saying something a little different, in my opinion. And I’m a poet. So I can grasp.
And originally I was going to go into this descriptive detail about the place that took me by surprise. How I walked in and looked around and saw just…beauty. All around me.
The light fixtures. The walls, filled with carvings and images. This was a poem.
I could write here, I even thought.
And then questions came to mind as I continued through the place and saw every inch of it is equally as smooth and thoughtful:
Who did this? Who envisioned this? Who put this beauty into a nightclub?
And I can only tell you that I was so blown away that Tuesday morning, after the Monday Night Social, I began my research on this place and who is behind Sound Nightclub.
So if it’s a poet’s challenge to aesthetically describe Sound, it’s a journalist’s challenge to introduce its co-owner, Kobi Danan.
Let me try:
I work in entertainment, so I don’t miss many billboards and have noticed that in the past few years more and more I see Vegas billboards filled with one guy standing there alone. And he’s a DJ.
So in a world where EDM music has exploded and Las Vegas is not only flooded with vanishing magicians and fallen Divas but now overpaid DJs have also joined the ranks and circus, I’d say, there’s one guy holding strong, anchoring Deep House music to its core and depth, Kobi Danan. And he’s doing it, luckily, right here in LA.
If Midas had a Golden Touch, Danan has that touch for sound.
He’s been listening to electronic music since he was 13-years old, when he would venture to Amsterdam (farther than Echo Park to Hollywood) to find records, because Israel wasn’t at all rife with the genre yet.
They say it’s the journey that makes a man. The journey definitely got this 33-year old businessman to where he is today.
“I wanted to see the world more,” Danan explains. He left Israel 10 years ago and says, “A weird chain of events landed me in Avalon.”
Danan found the scene here a few years behind, when he began bringing artists to Avalon.
“Everything that was happening in New York or Europe was not happening in LA,” he says.
So like a good promoter/producer, Danan made it happen here.
A natural from his work with finding talent in Israel, he began to bring some amazing DJs to LA. Now some of the top names, before anyone knew them. Kobi only needed to know two things: “They were friends of mine and I knew they were talented.”
He went on to buy The Music Box and develop that into a successful spot. He’s watched the scene grow and explode. Always looking forward, Danan says, “I decided to go back to basics.”
A decade later, opening Sound with co-owner Rob Vinokur, his partner at Muse Lifestyle Group, he and Danan very intentionally created the 8,000 square foot vibe inside of Sound.
A reaction to the glitz and glamour EDM artists now garner, Danan explains Sound was “kind of a suicide mission” that is dedicated to his love of Deep House.
He wanted to “put real money behind a genre that usually gets scraps.”
“That was my preferred genre,” he explains. Playing favorites to this club, Danan pulled out all the stops with Sound.
Modeled after the clubs in Europe that became famous for legendary evenings, small spaces and enormous impact, Sound features custom-built tables, crates from the Korean War. Wood from Howard Hughes’ former company and Frank Sinatra’s house. Railway pieces from old tracks. Fencing masks, over a hundred years old. A rocking horse from a flea market. There is artwork from the 1500’s, The Garden of Earthly Delights. It’s a writer’s dream to visit.
“I believe that there is energy in material,” Danan admits.
Again, Sound is richly elegant and solid in form.
Yet it’s a risky move to go subtle underground when all the lights are on six-figures talent acts, huge crowds, and festivals.
“It was such a big gamble,” Danan admits.
Dedication to the music and maintaining the original atmosphere keeps Danan certain. When the Monday Night Social moved to Sound in June, it was another well-intended move.
“Monday Night Social was always identified with the underground scene,” Danan says.
Keeping up with its legendary success, Monday Night Social hosts mainstays Adam Freeland and Felix da Housecat, as well as week after week, great talent.
Seth Cohen, DJ Sece, 25, now in Berlin, said, “Kobi’s been one of my greatest supporters. He’s really got an ear for the sound, which is hard to come by in Los Angeles.”
Okay, I have to confess, I’ve been to Sound three times now. I’m sort of hooked on the place like I used to be to the library. (LA is historic and stunning, so visit and don’t laugh.)
So, What does Sound Have To Do with Echo Park?
We’re seeing the threat of these vintage buildings coming down and high-rise condos going up in Echo Park. I’ve even gotten a first-hand look at some very expensive lofts. I wasn’t impressed. I tried to appreciate them, but I just couldn’t see how these would benefit Echo Park at all.
Now…a place like Sound?
That’s a different kind of story. I would love to see a place like that in Echo Park.
So who better to go to than the man, Kobi Danan, and ask him if he’d ever consider opening a club in Echo Park?
“If there was a space like this, of course.” – Kobi Danan
Fingers crossed. This will mean I won’t have to drive as far to meditate and write in my new club/office space.
Sound NightClub DJ Talent
There’s a shorthand that is there with DJs, from what I can see. It’s a communication that doesn’t take words. (Even with writers it’s actually the same.) It’s an exchange of energy, a recognition and appreciation of sound, and how it combines and vibrates to go deep within the person.
The same way Leonard Cohen has stayed lodged in my veins since the first time I heard Like a Bird on a Wire.
So while I can’t write music reviews of the three DJs I’ve heard, I can describe the exchange between them and the crowd. Each one different, yet the same.
Already admittedly not the one to ask, here’s my best:
Great sweater. He’s from the UK, so I wasn’t surprised. It was this amazing cardigan. Adorable guy. (I’m assuming his music is fantastic because the crowd loved him.)
Felix da Housecat
When Felix da Housecat was there on December 23rd, it could have been because it was a holiday the following day, Tuesday, and no one had to be anywhere. But I’m guessing it is because this DJ, who started his career when he was 15-years old, has a following that could stretch as far as from his home in Chicago to LA. And he has charisma that’s rock star. I met a fan of his who is in his early 30’s that has been listening to Felix for twelve years!
Striking about Felix: I’ve never seen half-naked girls in cages dressed as kittens, pawing and playing with each other—while all eyes are fixed in the exact opposite direction on the real cat—Felix da Housecat.
Okay, I have one word to describe Nicole Moudaber: What?
Maybe it was the third time’s a charm, but I forgot about Leonard Cohen, and we stayed until she ended her set at 4am, and I saw my first DJ bow—with begs for an encore and Moudaber’s most polite refusal.
This is one of those people who quietly walks into a room and then lights it up, keeps it lit, and drifts away, leaving just a trace of that good, good vibe. Unbelievable.
Listen to a sound clip from Nicole Moudaber’s SoundCloud account, where you can also find more clips and ways to connect with her.[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/108989169″ iframe=”true” /]
Upcoming DJ Talent
Legendary Pete Tong begins monthly spot “All Gone Pete Tong” at Sound Nightclub on Friday, January 24, 2014. Resident DJ Lauren Lane starts off the night!
Sound Nightclub Business Details
Opened: January 2013
1642 Las Palmas Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90028