“It’s funny. I just got into it because there was a need at some point, and I loved the music scene and the club scene,” he recalls. “Before you know it, it was ten years, and I’m like, ‘Wow.’”
Camacho currently works as a freelance graphic designer and hosts regular dance parties, like Motown Groove and Soul4You. Over the years, he has worked as a manager and promoter at places like the former Club Synergy and the original Tracks, which was located at 20th and Wewatta.
His love for throwing events was evident in his first few years living in Denver in the ’90s.
“We would throw parties at [my friend Brian’s] house, but he didn’t know until the day of,” Camacho describes. “We’d go to the library and make fliers and then go, ‘Hey, we’re throwing a party at your house.’ He’d be like ‘What? Why didn’t you tell me?!’”
While still living in Los Angeles, Camacho loved the music in the local ska and punk scenes. So upon arriving in Denver, he asked a friend where he could go to listen to hip-hop, R&B and neo-soul music. On his friend’s recommendation, he attended a party called So What! while it was still held at City Spirit.
“I went there, and it blew my mind,” he says.
Then, while he was working at Beauty Bar (now Pearl’s) in 2011, he seized the opportunity to throw his own dance party, where he could DJ and play funk and soul music. Motown Thursdays, now called Motown Groove, soon became a weekly staple.
In throwing parties like Motown Groove, Camacho hopes to create an open, non-judgmental space.
“Everybody is about 23 to 25 [years old],” he says. “Then you get people who are sixty, fifty or forty [years old], and they’re all dancing to the same music. That’s what music should be about; that’s why I throw those parties. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you are. Everybody should be dancing to the same thing. There shouldn’t be attitudes.”
Motown Groove remained in Capitol Hill until March 9, 2017, even as it transitioned from Beauty Bar to Pearl's. In April 2017, the event moved to Goosetown Tavern on East Colfax. Camacho prefers to throw parties on the outskirts of downtown, because it’s where he feels there is more of that old-school Denver flavor.
“Downtown used to be the main underground thing,” he says. “You only used to go to downtown to go to Rock Island, Soapy Smith’s, City Spirit back in the ’90s. Now it’s the main mecca; those underground parties have gone somewhere else. ... Everybody merges to other places. That’s what I think keeps the music scene alive: You go back into these areas.”
“Punk, soul, rock and independent bands” thrive on East Colfax, says Camacho.
“Anywhere from Streets of London to the Bluebird to [Goosetown] — they always bring local bands and support the local bands,” he continues. “That’s why I like East Colfax.”
The Denver music scene, he says, is born of collaboration: “The good thing about our scene — everybody promotes everybody’s night," and local support has remained strong over the years.
“It’s so dope, because a lot of the bands that are here, they come to our nights and we’ll go to their shows," he says. "That’s how the scene thrives. Other people come and go, but the people who are in the scene are the ones who support it. We eat, live and love this stuff.”
Camacho also notes that a majority of staffers at Goosetown Tavern are local musicians or artists themselves. He typically ends Motown Groove with a friendly reminder to guests to tip their bartenders and be kind to the doorman on the way out. He wants to ensure that respect is extended to everyone involved in the evening, from bartenders to the guests themselves.
“DJs are not jukeboxes,” he says. “You should respect them, and bartenders as well. You want to be respected at your own job. Even though it’s entertainment and it’s a bar, you should respect people. They’re the ones giving you the environment to let off your steam.”
Ultimately, he hopes parties like Motown Groove offer more than a typical night out, introduce people to new music and give people a chance to connect.
“I think it gives people somewhere where they don’t have to worry about stuff, music that doesn’t influence you one way or another,” he says. “Right now, we have so much stuff going on, and you just want to go to a place and just listen to good music and probably meet people. ... My whole vision is that it doesn’t matter who you are. Everyone is on the same playing field when you’re on that dance floor.”
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