By Noah Hubbell
By Kiernan Maletsky
By Tom Murphy
By Noah Hubbell
By Alex Distefano
By Darryl Smyers
By Jon Solomon
By Britt Chester
He now spins four nights a week, a schedule he's grown into over the last six years. He's done time, intermittently, at other clubs along the way, including the now-defunct Club Proteus on 17th Avenue. But his first love in Denver is the club with the almost ominous name. "The Compound has a lot of different personalities to it, and people classify it in a lot of different ways," he says. That's putting it mildly: Some of Denver's more A-list gay boys think of the dark, metal-accented bar as nothing more than a dive with a boxy dance floor. But like the Lion's Lair on East Colfax, the Compound has burnished its rough edges and industrial decor into a cutting-edge space that attracts the city's brightest DJ talents as well as hipsters and bohemians of all persuasions.
"We're not pretentious," Meyers says. "And even though it's a predominantly gay-male bar, everyone is welcome, every facet of the community. You don't necessarily have to be gay, either. I've always found that the best parties, and the best times, are when you have a mixed crowd of gay and straight." Such share-the-love platitudes are familiar; they're the kinds of statements we've come to expect from almost every DJ in the world. With Meyers, though, there's something about the peace in his backyard and the cat crawling around his studio apartment that makes his bromides ring with authenticity.
In particular, his sets -- when the back room with the DJ booth and the dance floor are open -- attract eclectic crowds who apreciate his edgy taste in music ("heavier trance and techno with a little house thrown in there"). Meyers's sets reach a series of anthemic peaks that, along with his tightly honed mixing skills, make him a beacon in the region's trance community. His background in classical music enhances his take on the genre: Like a wall-of-sound subgenre for the electronica world, trance sweeps along on big, booming patches of beautiful (and sometimes complex) programming arrangements. Paul Van Dyk and Paul Oakenfold, two of trance's brand-name international DJs, have a knack for smoothly mixing pulse-quickening drum beds and radiant synth washes, a skill Meyers seems to understand intuitively during his own mixing sessions.
"What I like about trance is that it has more of that melodic, almost classical structure," Meyers says. "Trance can be heavy and fast, but when it gets into the breaks, it still gives that whole orchestral feel. I like that dynamism.
"When I first started spinning, one of my favorite labels was Oakenfold's Perfecto," he says of the UK DJ's long-running imprint. "And one of my first trance-y records was 'It's Not Over,' by Grace. I'll still throw that in occasionally." Meyers lists the intelligent and experimental trance/house DJs Tiesto and Timo Mass as current personal favorites. "And I'm liking 'Ordinary World,' by Aurora, on the Positiva label. The lyrics to that song really strike me: 'When I wake each day/Trying to find my way/In an ordinary world.' Because the world is not ordinary; we try to make it that way, but it's not."
Meyers has found a small but serviceable following by honoring originality and avoiding the obvious: You'll hear no Top 40 hits or obvious Madonna anthems during one of his sets. "I don't have any time to play crap," he says. "I find it more of a challenge if I can fill a dance floor and everyone's having a good time, then throw in some records they don't know. And I think that goes with the Compound's reputation, that it has always allowed for that." His synergy with the club's mission explains why he's now the main man behind the turntables.
"It's been a long time coming," he says, "and it's paid off. If you stick to your integrity and work hard, it comes around."
Next month, Meyers will make his first-ever trip to Europe for a club-hopping tour centered around London hot spots. When asked if he has any concerns over international travel in light of current events, his response is -- typically -- thoughtful and calm. "If it's my time to go, it's just my time," he says. "It doesn't matter if I'm in a plane or if a plane falls out of the sky and hits me right here in my back yard. You can't control that. I'm scared about all the ramifications of what's going to be happening for us as Americans, but you can't stop living."
In fact, Meyers says the world-altering catastrophe has brought to light an aspect of his profession that he had not fully explored.
"September 11 was a major tragedy that really made us realize how vulnerable we all are," he says. "And I think that's why people like to go out to begin with. They like to let go of their worries, the anxieties of the day, and just relax. I do like to think that, as a DJ, I help people to do that."