Dance Music For Nerds

Yes, it is going to my head…
5/6/2005, 12:35 pm
Filed under: General

Article from the latest Mixer, the article is available here. Or, you can simply read it here:

Dance music for nerds
Shaking loose your inner dork in downtown Greenville

By Kristen Sgroi
When was the last time you heard Nine Inch Nails in a downtown Greenville nightclub? Come to think of it, when have most of us heard Nine Inch Nails in a nightclub, period?

Never. Exactly.

I was drinking a Newcastle and surveying the large, energetic crowd at Peasants one Thursday night, when I heard the first few bars of “Sin,” a favorite of mine from their their 1989 album, “Pretty Hate Machine,” that I used to rock out to in my room as an angsty eighth grader.

I immediately made a bee line for the dance floor and proceeded to jump and flail around (my version of dancing) and spill beer, while simultaneously acting as Mr. Reznor’s back up vocalist.

Normally, I would have felt like a nerd, except when I looked around, I noticed something.

Everyone else was doing it too.

Welcome to “Dance Music For Nerds,” a Thursday night weekly ritual at Peasants, started for music nerds, by a music nerd. The music nerd in question is Danial Rowe, but you may also know him as DJ Scrub.

Dance Music For Nerds (DMFN for short) started forming as an idea last fall. Rowe had been rolling the idea around in his head for a while and finally told friends about it over drinks one night at Christy’s Euro Pub.

“I wanted to create a night where people could dance and cut loose to something other than standard top 40,” said Rowe.

After past employment as music director of ECU’s WZMB FM, and as a sales associate at the former downtown music store CD Alley, the 31-year-old DJ and native of Carteret County had built an extensive collection of vinyl and CDs. He’d also done a couple of ’80s parties at Peasants, so when owner Dan Lovenheim mentioned he had a night that needed filling, Rowe immediately jumped on the offer. And by the end of January, things began to take off.

“Going into it, I had no idea if it would work or not,” Rowe said. “We had no idea if it was going to be a bunch of music snobs sitting around listening to the coolest jukebox in town, or if people would actually dance.”

People danced.

But then again, Rowe’s been making people dance since he got his first set of turntables and started spinning techno, house and breakbeats 11 years ago.

Dance Music for Nerds
Top 10 List

1. Rapture, “House of Jealous Lovers (Morgan Geist Version)”
2. LCD Soundsystem, “Beat Connection (Disco Dub Version)”
3. Pixeltan, “Get Up/Say What (DFA 12″ Remix)”
4. The Killers, “Mr Brightside (Josh Harris Club Mix)”
5. The Faint, “Worked Up So Sexual”
6. Go Go Go Airheart, “Sincerely P.S.”
7. New Order, “Bizarre Love Triangle (12″ Remix )”
8. Le Tigre, “Deceptacon”
9. Fisherspooner, “Emerge (Dave Clarke Remix)”
10. Sarah Vaughn, “Fever (Adam Freeland Extended Remix)”

“The whole DJ thing (was) a natural transition for a music nerd who agonized over mix tapes for girls in high school, making sure every song had two or three meanings and was placed-oh-so correctly,” Rowe said of himself. “One who always had to control the stereo when friends gathered, and would play 30-second clips of 20 songs in a row for them, ’cause ‘you have to hear this.'”

But Rowe says he always had a thing for the “silly stuff,” like mixing Miami Sound Machine over a hard techno beat, spinning Jane’s Addiction’s “Summertime Rolls” as a transition into a chill set or starting out with Simon and Garfunkel’s “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” for a change of pace.

This must be where DMFN’s eclectic song selection stems from.

“On any given Thursday night, you have even odds of hearing some post-punk off of DFA records like Rapture, the latest Killers remix, ’80s new wave, ’90s alternative, an old roller-rink favorite, Le Tigre, or Peaches.”

But Rowe doesn’t work alone — he also shares the DJ booth with fellow nerd Adam Beeby. You may know him as Self Portrait #2, of local favorite band Art Lord and The Self Portraits. However on Thursdays, he would rather you call him “Hang, The DJ” (You know, as in the old Smiths’ classic “Hang the DJ”). Rowe and Beeby met while working together at CD Alley. They’d talked about having an outlet like DMFN back then, but the time never seemed right. So, when the opportunity arose last January, Rowe asked Beeby to get his equally expansive music collection together and join him each Thursday on stage.

Rowe knew Beeby had no real experience as a DJ, and it made him a bit anxious the first night.

“I was so nervous standing over Adam the first night,” he said. “But he is truly gifted at reading the crowd and knowing what to play.”

Thanks to this dorky duo, DMFN has become what appears to be a cult favorite among many of Greenville’s self proclaimed “nerds,” and Rowe recognizes this. That’s why he decided to create, a Web site with a host of photos taken each week throughout the evening, as well as a message board where people can post their song requests that Rowe and Beeby will try to work into their set on the upcoming Thursday night. The Web site also features an opportunity for fellow music nerds to be their guest DJ.

“We let people submit playlists, and if they seem to fit with what we were going for, we let them come out and play some, Rowe says. “It doesn’t matter if you can’t mix — we can stand over and guide you through the technical part.”

Although Peasants closed at the end of April, Dance Music For Nerds will resume next fall when the club reopens as Club Aqua. However, this time, DJ Scrub won’t be manning the decks. Turns out Rowe’s nerdiness extends a lot further than his musical interests. He’s graduating this month with degrees in math and physics, and will be starting ECU’s Ph.D. program in biomedical physics this summer.

Beeby will continue to DJ and one of their proteges will slowly begin to take over. But Rowe says he’ll still make an appearance when he can.

“I’ll help out a little bit, but will have to be passing my baby along,” he said. “Of course, one of the conditions of keeping it around is that I be allowed to pop in and DJ when I want.”

OK, deal. But only if you promise to play Nine Inch Nails again.

I would like you to dance…
5/2/2005, 5:12 am
Filed under: Frustrations, General, Social

Happy Birthday to Me! Once again taking solace in the fact that Jeff is a year older. Last exam this morning, then drinking with dad, who was nice enough to come visit. Later on: Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.