While DJ Max Klaw has had his share of weekly club nights at various local venues, on top of a weekly residency at Carey Hart's Wasted Space club at Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, for the past year, he's been heading up Sex Panther on second Fridays at Beauty Bar. On Friday, September 9, Klaw is celebrating Sex Panther's first anniversary with New York-based dubstep act Proper Villains and residents Jah Rocker and J-Grilla. We caught up with Klaw, who's been mainly living in New York for the last six months (while still keeping a place in Denver) to talk about Sex Panther.
Westword: What's been happening with Sex Panther over the last year?
Max Klaw: It's been a really amazing year for us, just building that party at the Beauty Bar. It's just been really cool. With bass music, dubstep is very polarizing right now. It's really popular on both sides, like "We hate it. We love it." Our party is definitely less about the kids and the youth. It's a little bit older and more mature. It's like everybody. It's the hipster kids, lots of gay and straight people, models and industry people. It's just a really cool melting pot of underground culture going on.
We're really happy with that because we're trying to represent the roots of the music. It's not so much of a dubstep night. We're playing roots oriented music, like we play reggae and early dub and kind of the roots of stuff. We've kind of established ourselves being kind of the older guys who have been around the block a little bit but are picking really tasty, great tracks to play for people kind of on a mature level. There are lots of trendy sounds going around through that movement right now, so we're not really affected by the trends. We just try to stay focused on playing at really good, positive party that's somewhat outside the box.
What was your initial goal when you started the night?
I guess the initial goal was to play music that I really liked that I didn't feel like was getting a forum. I like a lot of new sub-genres of garage and dubstep, like UK funky is one genre we play, and garage and two-step. Kind of a broader brush than just straight dubstep. For me, the goal was that we do a night where we do live vocalization over stuff and we're able to toast in that tradition of the dancehall guys. We do that and try and represent it like that. Just keep it really interesting and kind of make it more of a performance based initiative than just guys up there just playing records.
We're really trying to do something to take it to the next level there. We're not trying to reinvent the wheel. We're just trying to represent it more than just like, "It's a party. DJ stuff." So we're there and we're active and we're sampling and re-sampling and remixing on the fly in a live environment. For me, the goal was to do that. You know, throw a great party. Keep it small and fun. Keep it somewhat a little more mature than most nights that you would find and play outsider music that people aren't listening to. And it's starting to catch up. After a year, people are starting to get into these genres a little bit more and understand and being bored with dubstep as a scene and sort of discovering sort of post-dubstep stuff. That's really exiting to me because it's so much more than just that one sound.
Has the night changed much over the course of the last year?
It's changed a little bit, but we stay really true to that format. Basically, the thing that's changed the most is that I've started to include guests at least four times a year. Last year we had pretty much local-centric guests. We had our friend from San Francisco come out. Cacheflow came and played. We had a guy from England come over play with us. This month we this guy who's name is Proper Villains, and he's from New York City. He's the next guy that's going to break as a big producer in the genre. He's awesome.
We're really trying to get the awareness built around like, "We do an amazing party, but then every couple of months, we're going to have a headliner who hasn't been to Denver come in and play." Emerging talent that hasn't gotten to the point to where they'd be playing Cervantes' or for Live Nation or whatever. It's another cool new way for people to get exposed to artists at the beginning before they get big. You get to see them in a small venue, up close. It just really aligns well with what we're trying to do with the night.
Sex Panther is once a month, right?
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Yeah, the second Friday of every month. We really like the frequency. I've done tons of weeklies in my life and it feels like the monthly is just a healthier deal. People don't have to commit to a weekly commitment of having to come out and support you. So once a month, it gets to the point where about two or three weeks out I've noticed people start to get excited. So, it's cool. I like the frequency of it and it allows... I'm basically spending most of my time in New York for work although I'm still established [in Denver]. But right now, I'm out here in New York and I'm using my time to forge those connections. My other resident comes out from San Francisco and Minneapolis, where he stays. We're kind of national already just being the residents. Once a month is great. I think anything more than that would dilute the idea.