Saturday January 23rd 2016 marks “Sneak Peak Opening” of #Afterlife being held at the Annex Night Club. The following weekend (Jan 29-30) will mark the inaugural night of the club’s resurgence into the Chicago scene. The Annex is located at 1958 W North Ave, on the edge of Wicker Park & Bucktown. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Bobby De Maria (Managing Partner/ Creator of #Afterlife) to get to scoop on everything and anything you’d like to know about this new event and hot spot. But first a little background on Annex:
Most notably the space was home to the locally famous Red Dog Nightclub in the early 90’s. Red Dog was one of the premier spots for true House Music during its existence. The club was often competing for acts with Crobar at the time. For several years the club also played host to the World Famous Boom Boom Room, which went on to become the longest running House party in the United States – roughly 24 years. Following Red Dog, the space had a stint where it was known as Ohm, which saw its better days as a Hip Hop Club.
WSC: How did #Afterlife get into talks to resurrect the club?
Bobby: Honestly, a lot of it was good timing. The owners were thinking about remodeling the club, but wanted to be sure they had some solid brands and parties involved before they made the call. They had just hired our boy Joey Swanson ( Radio host of 101.1fm’s Electric Playground & Creator of Boom Boom Room) to coordinate the remodel/ re-brand. In turn Joey gave me a call and asked if I wanted to be involved with the space. I said of course and I went in for a meeting and pitched #Afterlife. The owner and the GM, Mike Cho, loved the concept of the night. They thought the branding behind the party was great and the “Come as you are, be who you are” vibe was perfect for the spot. A lot of the shows they did at Red Dog were similar to what we do, so I could only imagine that’s why we all vibed so well.
WSC: Seems like you guys are the only official promoter (is it right to call you guys a promoter of the club?)
Bobby: At this time we are the only party going on at Annex. They are doing a really good job of picking and choosing who they want to be a part of the club, as well as not creating duplicate nights. For example, any DJ’s or promoters that are similar to myself or #Afterlife are being directed to speak with me about doing events. The one thing you won’t see at Annex or #Afterlife is a night full of DJ’s being booked based on “How Many Heads They Can Bring In.” We all take music very seriously. The only other clue I can give you at this time is there may or may not be a resurrection of a certain famous Monday night House Party in the works 😉
WSC: The #Afterlife event moved away from its weekly party at Grandbar, will it now transition only to the Annex?
Bobby: As soon as Annex launches with #Afterlife it will be the only place in IL to be part of the Movement. We plan to continue to do our out-of-state shows with the brand as well as our warehouse parties The #Afterlife Underground Series.
WSC: Anyone else involved in the Resurrection that should be mentioned?
Bobby: Yes! This is actually a massive team effort between Myself, Dominic Bellini, Erik Johnson (Kings of Class) & Goodsex.
I would also and, most importantly, like to give a shout out to Robert Nikho. Nikho is too often lost in the shuffle, forgotten about, but without him none of this would be possible. I spend HOURS on the phone with this kid daily setting things up. He runs the entire back-end to all our company assets (United2nite, House Music Saved My Life, #Afterlife & More). He takes care of everything from www.housemusicsavedmylife.com, to our data base management via text/email services, our merchandise, our blog coverage & managing our bigger production collaborations in Portland with MadHouse PDX. I can’t say enough positive things about this guy, he’s a soldier.
WSC: Anyone new to the Brand:
Bobby: For this time around with #Afterlife, we created some partnerships with other companies to blow this movement up even bigger. First, DN Records, now known as Unlisted, has teamed up with us to present the party on a weekly basis. These guys are awesome! They are amazing DJ’s and their schools of thought about music match up perfectly with ours. They did the closing party for #Afterlife with us a Grand-bar and it was musical perfection. I’d honestly say their Transmit Tuesday party at Spybar is my favorite party in the city right now, outside of #Afterlife of course lol.
Another awesome addition to the team is DangerWayne. Danger and his new company Syndicate will be running our late night push on Saturdays. Danger is also a resident on 101.1fm’s Electric Playground with us (Kings of Class). So you know he’s sick!
WSC: Who are the acts for the opening?
Bobby: We will be hosting our “Sneak Peak Opening” on Jan 23rd. This is our trial night to work out all the kinks if you will. We would like to invite anyone that’s been to our past parties or is in the scene to come check it out! Our line up that night is:
- 10-11- J. Mc Nally
- 11-12- Pershan
- 12-1- GoodSex b2b Sendin (bday set)
- 1-145- U2N/ GS- Nikho
- 145-245- RSRVD
- 245-330- Kings of Class
- 330- 430- Danger…
The Grand opening of Annex/ #Afterlife is the weekend of the 29th & 30th.
Our line up on the 30th is:
- 10-11- B. Hebda
- 11-12- RSRVD
- 12-1- Nikho
- 1-145- Dbot
- 145-245- Pershan
- 245-330- Kings of Class
- 330- 430- Dangerwayne
WSC: Any acts worth mentioning moving forward a few weeks?
Bobby: YES! Already confirmed to play shows we have some great internationally known House acts such as:
- Sharam Jey
- Alex Kenji
- Guests can also expect to see #Afterlife favorites such as Hatiras, Ron Carroll Mc Flipside to return.
We also has some great Chicago/ regional guest coming in..
- Hugh Jeffner
- Russ Christopher
- Phil Rizzo
- & Many More
+ We are also putting together collaboration nights with other well-known Chicago Entertainment groups such as Pool House & Wealthy Habits.
WSC: What will make it stand apart from the rest of the city?
Bobby: As far as #Afterlife goes it will be the same points that always have set it apart from the rest of Chicago. We truly believe this is more than just a party. We call #Afterlife a “Movement” or “Musical Revolution” not as a marketing ploy, but because we believe it. #Afterlife has always been about self-expression. We work hard to create an atmosphere where you can be comfortable in your own skin. Nightlife is about having fun. Music was meant for dancing. Too much of the key principles HOUSE MUSIC was created on have been lost in this city. Masked corporate structures have taken over nightlife and made it about buying bottles, being “Cool” enough to get in and judging people by their physical appearance. I think that’s FUCKED… Am I allowed to say fuck in this interview? Oh well Fuck it. 🙂 But seriously, we love everyone for who they are. That’s where our tag line “Come as you are, be who you are” comes from. We pass that along to our DJs as well. We don’t want them to come in and play “The Hits”. We want these guys/ girls to be creative and bridge the gap between the main stream and the underground. We want them to play stuff that if it’s your first time at #Afterlife and all you listen to is B96 you can at least recognize some samples or bass lines. The reason is if it’s slightly familiar people will open their minds and actually start to listen. Once that happens we got them! This allows us to show them just how much more there is to what they think “EDM” stands for. When asked what is #Afterlife, we have been saying the same thing for years:
“Where your 9-5 Doesn’t matter. Where the social norms and constraints of society don’t exists. Where self expression is essential and you are free to get lost in the music and vibe around you… This is YOUR AFTERLIFE… So Live it”
As far as Annex goes I would say, to me at least, the most attractive point of the place is the aarchitectural lay out. So many clubs are in spaces that are just giant squares or rectangles. This place is split into different rooms and levels. There is an entire other room in a loft above the main floor. At points you can look up and see 28 ft high cathedral ceilings. To me that’s cool because it’s different. Oh, and wait to you see this smart lighting and hear this sound system BOOM!
Anyone who is looking to get involved in this movement please contact Bobby at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also please the #Afterlife team at:
Instagram at “TheKingsOfClass” Or “Afterlife_Chi”
Twitter @united2nite or @_kingsofclass
Thanks again! Hope to see everyone out on the 23rd!