It has been a minute since my last post. Finals have been a little overwhelming. This, coupled with all the personal wars I tend to wage on a regular basis and the move to NYC looming, has rendered me pretty blogless.
This upcoming weekend, though, has been giving me a little light to look forward to and a lot of inspiration to channel. Saved by the Bounce is a throwback dance party focused on unity, dancing, and just being yourself. Where other parties are charging outrageous sums of money, putting pressures on you to look a certain way, expecting you to dance a certain way, or requiring you to be of a certain subset of humans, Saved by the Bounce is encouraging you to come as you are. They are standing as a beacon of inclusion, acceptance, and fun in an industry overrun by a focus on image and prestige.
In his second appearance on this blog, I talk to DJ TRST about what this party means to him, why he started it, and what it might mean for the rest of us.
1. What is saved by the bounce? Why does it exist?
Saved By The Bounce (SBTB) is a back-to-basics throwback party. It’s a big dance party for people who need to dance, but also not stress out about how much money they’re spending on their night. SBTB came about from the frustrations that my partner Jovito and I experienced in the NYC nightlife scene as DJs, specifically with the subliminal discrimination and subtext demands from owners/venues/promoters along with the shift in power moving towards favoring promoters over DJs. We’ve seen people of color get denied at the doors of clubs because of how they look, their “status”, or because of the shoes they are wearing. I got tired of that. I had a moment where I was calling that shit out all the time, but then I realized and said “why not create a space/environment where people can feel safe?”
2. How did you guys pull this party together?
Aw man. The idea came from both Jovito and myself deciding one day to create our own party; we wanted it to be a haven for people to feel dope vibes. We reached out to an old friend of ours (Jeremy) and we all partnered up to make this party happen. We were the bartenders, the DJs, and the promoters of the party and we did everything on our own.
3. How has it grown since its inception?
We aimed to make Saved By The Bounce a house party. We wanted to bring those Sean Paul “Get Busy” house parties back to the scene and what ended up happening was we created an environment where the culture can thrive and be respected with B-Boys/B-Girls, dancers and just overall music lovers. I recruited a young lady I met at a 305 Fitness class, Elyssa, to be a partner, as well. With her innovative ideas and experience in marketing, we have seen crazy improvements. We got a dope #FeelingBouncy neon sign for our parties that is a staple of who we are. We have added art work to our parties for an opportunity to showcase dope pieces from artists we respect and want to see thrive. That artwork also serves as a great conversation starter. We started to brand the party carefully and steadily; we named our signature drink Michael’s Secret Stuff (from Space Jam) and we are debuting two new signature drinks at our party this weekend.
4. What kind of music do you play?
We play the stuff that isn’t played in clubs. 90s/early 2000s Hip-Hop, 90s Dancehall/reggae, Dirty pop, Funk/Disco, 90s House music, a dash of soca and latin music and (as always) a little sprinkle of trap music, because everyone is trying to get LIT! It’s just overall a good healthy mix of everything!
5. What is your hope for what people get out of a party like this?
I want people to get back to the days where DJs are looked up to and respected: the days when you would say “Oh DJ TRST is deejaying that ill party tonight, let’s get the crew!!” Our mission with this party is to unite people from all races and beliefs and have them leave their drama at the door, and just dance the night away. SBTB is a sanctuary for the ones that feel like they don’t belong.
6. How does seeing the results of your work (happy people dancing) make you guys feel?
Seeing people dancing and feeling good when we play songs we know they’ll love? It feels amazing. The fact that the party is the reason that people have a memorable, positive night is priceless. It feels great to know we have created something for the culture, not for just money and greed like so many nightclubs and promoters do in Manhattan.
7. How/why are parties like this important for unity and strength in Trump’s America?
At SBTB, we are about unity, respect, and love. A lot of “parties” and nightclubs out there like to promote their weekend nights as a “different experience,” but really all their nights are just expensive covers, shitty staff, expensive drinks and bottle service, and shitty music and shitty DJs that ALL play the same thing every where in the city! You see fights break out because of petty differences and egos going wild. Our party doesn’t promote that. We don’t promote flexing or showing off money. We keep our prices low and our music dope to let everyone feel equal. Right now, in Trump’s America, it’s vital that we stay united no matter our differences and keep pushing forward with love and respect! This party reinforces that.
In addition to talking with DJ TRST, I also reached out to some party-goers to see if their feelings about the party matched his. And by and large, they did. The overwhelming response seems to be that this space, created by TRST, Jovito, and Elyssa, has provided millennials with a space to dance, be themselves, and not worry about “image.” It’s not about “getting fucked up” or “hooking up.” It is instead about really connecting with other people and dancing to music that makes you feel good and happy.
And when asked if they believed a party like this could be an act of resistance in and of itself, the answer was yes. One party-goer said, “… if coming into a space to enjoy each other’s company” regardless of where we come from is act of defiance in today’s society, then this party is absolutely that. The party was described as not overtly political, but an example of how natural and normal diversity should be. “They’re not deliberate in their political power; they’re natural, in that diversity shouldn’t be a staple of political progression, but [instead just a staple of] normalcy.”
A party like SBTB is vital in Trump’s America. Millennials are, by and large, a very liberal group. Having been thrown face first into a world of conservative hatred, many are scrounging for spaces that are safe and progressive in nature. In other words, millennials are looking for a way to escape Trump’s America and reconnect with their values and one another.
Millennials, unlike any generation before us, tend to forge many of their connections with other people via social media. Not surprisingly, a lot of us take things one step forward and wage some form of resistance using that platform. However, this can get exhausting and we end up needing positive, face to face interactions with people who respect and accept us for who we are. We need to come together, vibe together, and remember what this generation is really all about: unity. We need to find a space to dance and live and lean on one another, especially in times like this. Parties like SBTB provide people with a safe space to recharge and reconnect. In Trump’s America, this is priceless.
Want to go to Saved By the Bounce this Saturday April 29 at 10pm? Buy tickets here.
Want to follow the party/creators on Instagram? Click below.