Interview with J Sun
of Deep Groove Society
Interview by Jeri Vergil and Kiana Vigil-Gibbs
Photography by Jesse Rather
Back in the day, Arcata had a club called Brew n’ Beats on the plaza. It was live. Anyone of that era remembers how their hearts dropped when they first saw the mural (by the pool tables) had been painted over. From Cafe Tomo to Jambalaya, Hefe’s to Siren’s Song Tavern, we love to dance our “mules” off! What about Humboldt Brewery (now HumBrews)? Do you remember Bradley of Sublime smashing through the front window and the crowd moshing with delight? I do, because imprinted on my soul is the music that moves me. Arcata Theatre Lounge, Sidelines, Palm Lounge, Red Fox Tavern, 330 Club, Mateel Community Center, The Alibi, Six Rivers Brewery, Ocean Grove, and all the others out there in our community, thank you for providing our “church.”
When the music hits, you feel no pain. Most people want a piece of that liberation. Who are the torch carriers? How does it stay alive? Who feeds the hunger? There’s a saying about “it takes a village”, and one of those villages is Deep Groove Society, born and raised since 2000 in our very own Humboldt County!
On a Sunday afternoon in Bayside, Ca., my daughter Kiana and I got a chance to chat it up with one of the founding DJ’s of this eclectic group, J Sun. Walking into his studio was comfortable and welcoming. We sat situated on a vintage velvet couch surrounded by hundreds of records and all kinds of equipment that makes the magic happen. This is his element, and the perfect place to reminisce.
J Sun’s love of the electronic music scene started at age 13. With two older brothers paving the way down in Southern California where J Sun grew up, he knew he wanted a piece of the action. When the brothers were away doing gigs he was too young to be at, J Sun would practice at home spinning vinyl. By the age of 15, he had his first garage gig! From there he started building his music library and DJ equipment and hasn’t stopped. In 1999 he was offered a paid gig in Blue Lake, and shortly after that started throwing parties up in Northern Humboldt. In 2005 he graduated from Humboldt State University when the electronic dance music scene was exploding! During that time, J Sun and some of his DJ friends decided to form Deep Groove Society. What started out as an all ages Sunday afternoon outdoor social gathering is now an eclectic group of artists with many differing talents such as visual graphics, fire dancing, hooping, and other creative forces that help bring people to a state of true essence.
When asked what he thinks one of the high moments for their group is, J Sun speaks of a festival called Firefall that has grown from a little over a hundred to over five hundred people in just a few years. He talks about how amazing it is to be able to bring guest DJ’s that he loves from around the globe and throw a legit party in our lil’ neck of the woods. Earning the respect from the new and the older of the scene is a positive outcome from the group’s collective effort. Though Humboldt may be smaller than where the majority of big electronic music scenes may come from, J Sun boasts humbly about how Humboldt has what it takes to throw down an amazing party as worthy as any other in a large city. And J Sun would know, because he has traveled to various areas of the US playing parties, as well as international venues in countries such as Spain and Greece.
Each question we asked J Sun was answered with true depth and perception, which showed us he truly embodies a passion and love for music. This in turn makes him a perfect channel to deliver beats that move the soul. When asked to look forward to 2030 and how much technology will up the game, he explains that regardless of technology, the true competition is how the crowd responds, and that will never change. One thing that has made it a bit easier, J Sun points out, is the ability to deliver an abundance of selection by accessing music through digital means, instead of lugging a hundred pounds of records into the club. Personally, I love records, but I can say I see his point! As a parent of a teenager who is about to go to a huge outdoor electronic music festival called SnowGlobe in Tahoe, I wanted her to hear words of advice from a seasoned insider of the scene on making wise choices. J Sun looked at Kiana and said how important it is to confide in the people who love you. There are many things in the world that sparkle and shine and it doesn’t mean they are good for you. He talked of altered-verses-sober states of mind, and he urges people to get to know the music through its pure state so that you can see it doesn’t take a drug to escape. The music, vibe, and your open heart are enough. Liberation is there and available to access without the help of a little blue pill. There are good and bad trips, and J Sun talks of the many lost due to unwise decisions and altered substances.
What do we have to look forward to in 2015 from Deep Groove Society? They will continue to do their weekly Sunday party at the Jambalaya, as well as a once-a-month, come-dressed-to-impress at the Pearl Lounge. J Sun says there are other things brewing and to check out their Facebook page for upcoming events. Also,
J Sun wants people to feel free to suggest ideas and add talents to Deep Groove Society. For this group, the circle is open but never broken, and that’s just the type of foundation that will keep the beats alive and bumping! May the beat go on and on and on!!!!!