Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish spin from substance — especially when people position themselves as a brand.
On social media, Amber Dehn and Mike Handby, the pair behind the DJ act DoubleCrush, appear to have it all. They met while pursuing their passion for music — first producing tracks together, then developing a friendship and, eventually, a romance. Now they’re living the millennial dream of self-employed nomadic entrepreneurship. They’ve found a way to make a living on the road, following their passion for producing music, traveling the world and owning a handful of businesses.
DoubleCrush’s mission is simple: “Full Time Love.”
Amber and Mike describe themselves as a “DJ duo and couple that performs at celebrations all over the globe; anything that revolves around love.” This includes weddings, nightclub events and parties galore.
When confronted with this take-life-by-the-balls romance-happy pair, it’s hard not to be skeptical that they’re as delighted with life as their promotional materials suggest. After all, Dehn is a seasoned marketing professional, and the lifestyle that DoubleCrush is peddling is the stuff of influencers — hip, envy-inducing and probably too good to be true. From DoubleCrush’s chronicles of living and deejaying on a Bermuda-bound cruise to getting engaged at Everest Base Camp, everything about DoubleCrush seems calculated to be hashtag-trendy.
When we met, they rolled extravagantly into a Denver coffee shop. Hello, suit, sequins and heels. Without so much as a question from me, they launched into their spiel about DoubleCrush: their music, their lives, and their vision of love and adventure.
“What makes our [music] production different is that we capture sounds from all over the world,” Dehn explained. “Yak bells in Nepal, trains going by. We’ll walk through construction yards and hit things together. Sometimes it’ll be a stream or a river or a waterfall, and all of those sounds are in our house music.” They’ve even created a “really impressive sound” by rifling through the pages of The Alchemist.
“We’re sound hunters,” Handby chimed in.
When I asked if Colorado is DoubleCrush’s home base, he grinned and said, “We’re kind of, like, citizens of the world. Colorado’s a great base for us, it’s the center of our country — but we’ll live anywhere.”
Handby was born in Germany, but spent much of his childhood in Castle Rock. As for Dehn, she’s from Wisconsin, but came to Denver for college.
“We both travel a lot. We’ve both traveled the world,” Handby says proudly. “That’s why the traveling DJ thing works for us.” DoubleCrush will drop its newest single, “don’t,” this week at Abraxas Studios in Denver.
Without financial assistance, Dehn and Handby have created their own version of luxury, selling their cars, giving up their apartment, and investing in a truck and a 35-foot trailer so that they can take their lives on the road. Now, unencumbered by rent, geography or the woes of spending life unloved, they’re building toward their future.
“We, for years, have put our energy back into ourselves. We’re shining examples of the FIRE movement: financial independence, retire early,” Handby explained. “Us putting our own time into our own companies, and us putting our money into our own place, even if it’s just a trailer, is super-important. Once you do that, you open up your world to this next level of existence.”
“If it’s not fun, we don’t want to do it,” Dehn added. “But that’s because we’ve worked really hard to get there. We use every part of our day to be productive and have fun. And if we can’t hold hands while we’re doing it...” they paused, and reached toward one another.
Beneath the candy-coated theatrics, DoubleCrush has good intentions. The couple aims to “wake people up” and bring people “to the present moment, to being alive.”
Handby and Dehn said they’ve encouraged each other to leverage their individual and collective skills to create their brand, as well as develop their own unique ventures; their upcoming web series, Our Show on the Road; and their soon-to-be-announced underground dance parties, “Secret Dance Addiction.” The latter will be introduced through a text-only invite system, harking back to the roots of the underground dance scene.
“I read this morning that philosophy is observation but Zen is participation,” said Dehn.
And Zen is what they’re after.
“We don’t drink,” Dehn noted. “We’re completely sober DJs. It’s that assumption with dance music that drugs or alcohol need to be involved, when I’ve gotten high as a kite off of just relaxing and enjoying myself.”
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The couple quit drinking and consuming sugar when they were training to climb to Everest Base Camp in the spring of 2018, and the notable changes to their health have inspired them to continue on that path. Now they want to throw parties based in “community and connection” instead of drink fests.
“We’re showing people, ‘You can do it, too,’” Dehn said, beaming.
“If we aren’t in the right place, then we can change it,” said Handby, with a big get-after-your-dreams smile. “That’s the most beautiful part about this world: You can just get up and change it at any time.”
DoubleCrush Single Release
9 p.m. Friday, August 2, Abraxas Studios, 910 Santa Fe Drive, Unit 1.