Veronica Lamaak's neighbor Craig Sandoval was shot investigating a burglary at her home earlier this month (the perpetrators were later caught). An electronic-music promoter, Lamaak decided to throw a benefit party at the Black Box club for Sandoval, showcasing Dutch techno artist A Made Up Sound (aka 2562). The event is one in a long line of rave-like parties Lamaak has booked under the name Sorted.
The promoter got her start in electronic music as a fourteen-year-old, going to raves around Pueblo to escape the cliques of her high school, and then at Denver clubs like the Snake Pit in the late ’90s. In 2005, she moved to the Mile High City, where she started handing out fliers for promoter Ryan Dykstra during his Club Sin days and learning from Nicole Cacciavillano of Sub.Mission.
We recently spoke with Lamaak about the women who mentored her in the electronic-music scene, how Sorted became a legal event even while working with unconventional spaces, and her benefit show for Sandoval.
Westword: You have a very different path to becoming a promoter, because most of your mentors in the music scene aren't what some people might expect.
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Veronica Lamaak: It's cool that a lot of what I've learned from the music business has been from women, between Nicole, Maggie and Kate Lesta, formerly with Communikey. It's a rare thing. The music community is very male-dominated, so I feel fortunate to have such strong women as mentors teaching me what I know now. A few years ago, my partner in Sorted, Wally Winfrey, approached me and asked me to join forces with Mother Earth Sound System. He wanted me to bring some female energy into the mix, because it's a bunch of dudes. They'd been around for twenty years when I became a part of Mother Earth Sound System, and we're now planning the next Full Moon Gathering for the third week of June. The exact date will coincide with the full moon, of course.
The first Sorted led to a way to make your underground parties legitimate?
Our friends who were leasing [the original location of Eko House in Englewood] were stoked to let us use it, but they didn't necessarily want us to run a bar. But we needed a bar to make it worthwhile. It's pretty expensive when you're flying someone in from the U.K. and they're staying a week and only doing a few stops. So we researched some laws and decided to go the route of a social club, because with a social club, if you have a members-only party, you can have alcohol as long as you're not charging.
So we started the social club, and I think for a $35 membership for a year, you got free entry into the party, and it was open bar all night. We sold out, hit capacity and thought we had this social club, and we had to do something with it. So we decided to continue on and book additional shows. One of the perks of being a Sorted social-club member was that we would throw a members-only free party and you would get exclusive access to the recordings of our shows. So Pev & Kowton let us record the show, and a few months later we released it to the social club, and now it's been released more widely as part of one of our Sorted podcasts.
We could get a 501(c)3 and special-event liquor licenses, and it went from there. That's part of the name. We wanted to convey the message of, yeah, we're doing underground shows, but we've got our shit sorted. We're not doing illegal parties; we're actually getting permitted. We're trying to be legitimate to make sure that we're offering value to the crowd, and it has worked out for us pretty well.
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This next Sorted event is a benefit for your neighbor, who was shot after he questioned some people who had broken into your house.
We decided to put any profit we make from this show toward my neighbor, Craig Sandoval, who was shot when people were robbing my home on February 5. It was in the morning after I left my house at around 10:40 to get a biscuit, and when I got home at around 11, it had all gone down. My house had been broken into, my garage door in the back yard kicked down, my house was completely trashed. In the midst of all of that, one of the guys had a sawed-off shotgun and shot my neighbor from about a four-foot distance. He had turned sideways, and the bullet had hit his arm and went through his side and out the other side through his stomach and intestines. His arm ended up getting broken in two spots because of the impact.
If that hadn't happened, those robbers might have still been in my home, and I could have been shot dead. I've been doing a lot of fundraising for [Sandoval], and we figured, why not make the show go toward those efforts as well? There is a GoFundMe page for him at gofundme.com/heroneighbormedicalfund. People can donate that way, but if they want to check out the Black Box or a Sorted event or A Made Up Sound, all the profits from the show will go to Craig.
Sorted presents A Made Up Sound with Newnumbertwo, Terry Donovan, Ghostboy Jones and Cory Magamoll, Friday, February 17, at 9 p.m., at the Black Box. For more information, call 303-831-6207 or go to the event's Facebook page.. Tickets are $10 in advance and $20at the door.