With the recent spike in ostentatious theatrics like live horses at nightclubs, it's refreshing to know there are still parties that emulate the spirit of a laid-back house party with friends playing quality records. Throwing its first event five years ago in Oakland, the 45 Sessions was conceived by a group of DJs who wanted a place outside of their bedrooms to play 45s. While it began with the simplest of intentions, it has grown into a showcase that's featured guests like Rhettmatic and Just Blaze, as well as a place that vinyl lovers can unite to hear their favorite tracks spun on a 7-inch.
Although the party is going on a hiatus after this Friday's celebration, we got a chance to catch up with founder DJ Platurn about its resident DJs, some favorite moments, and the future of the party. The 45 Sessions takes place this Friday, July 17, at The Legionnaire Saloon in Oakland from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. with feature headliners The Butta Bros (DJs Skeme Richards and Supreme La Rock).
What's been the most rewarding accomplishment in the past five years?
Seeing it last this long. Honestly, we had no plans for all this. The fact that enough people gave a shit to keep us going for five years was an unforeseen blessing. Thank you Bay Area, and thank you everyone from around the world for urging us to keep on keepin' on.
What were some of the factors in deciding to end the monthly residency, with hopes you will be back in 2016?
Sometimes you just need to take a break to reassess some things. The future is uncertain, but for now the Sessions needs to lay dormant and figure out its place in the world of music.
Most of the resident DJs have been Bay Area staples for over a decade. What has been most challenging in maintaining a steady career?
Reinventing yourself. The industry will inevitably alter beyond your control, and knowing how to adjust while maintaining your integrity is key. If you want to stay relevant, you have to stay aware.
Who has been the most memorable guest at the 45 Sessions?
Matthew Africa. Rest in peace, brother. Gone but never forgotten. You will forever be missed. We love you.
Do you think the arguments of old school vs. new school DJing in media is having an impact on the local DJ scene?
To an extent, yes. It's both a technology and access to music issue. Based on the general public's perception of what DJing is, basically anyone can learn to press a few buttons and play some mp3s. That part isn't hard. What's hard is having your personality play a part. If you don't have style, you basically ain't shit.
How hard is it to sustain a residency in the Bay Area music scene?
For a format-based party like the Sessions, increasingly difficult. But it comes in waves. There's a lot of hype right now around 45s (which oversaturates the scene), and that hype will eventually fade away. Meanwhile, we'll still keep buying and spinning these little records for folks who actually care.
Where do you see the art of spinning 45s or all-vinyl parties in general going in the next couple of years?
The hype will level off, and those of us who really care about this thing will still be here while the toys jump ship and sell all their pricey Record Store Day releases for exorbitant prices on eBay. I've seen it happen many times. The truly dedicated will remain, trying their hardest to see this culture live while the rest of the industry follows the newest trends. It will go underground again, and that's just the way we like it.
What record are you looking forward to spinning at the last (for now) 45 Sessions party?
Ray Charles – “Let's Go Get Stoned.” We've played that 45 at the end of the Sessions more times than I can remember.