This Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of global bass party Subsuelo. The monthly club night in Boyle Heights’ Eastside Luv has grown in that time from a small, club affair to an all-out, bodies-to-the-wall, dance-until-your-feet-go-numb fiesta with DJs, live perscussion and a live flamenco show.
“I came from a throwing-parties-for-the-fun-of-throwing-parties background,” says Subsuelo co-founder Canyon Cody, “and a birthday party is the best reason in the world to throw a party. There’s gonna be cake, there’s gonna be dancing and there’s gonna be some surprises.”
Cody, a.k.a. El Canyonazo, launched Subsuelo with DJ Gozar, photographer Farah Sosa, and Gnotes, who’s been his decade-long partner in crime with Gnawledge, as a monthly club night that maintained the vibe of an intimate house party.
As the months went by, they added new elements to the party. Turntablist DJ Ethos was brought on board as was host Gazoo. Cody met flamenco dancer La Tigresa while working on a documentary and she and flamenco guitarist Gerardo Morales (an original member of the Black Eyes Peas’ band) were added to the roster. Juxli, host of local radio show Culture Remixed, was added as the VJ and there’s live percussion courtesy of Fabian Mauricio and Daunte Jerrell.
“With Subsuelo, we wanted to do something different than just a regular dance club,” he says. “We wanted to incorporate elements of live performance, of theatricality that was a little bit different than just playing at a big club. We also really wanted to keep the feeling of a house party, which is how I ended up in Boyle Heights in the first place.”
Cody knows a thing or two about throwing a proper house party. He was taking over other people’s house parties while an International Studies major in Boston. He would show up and replace other people’s CDs with his own mixes.
“I saw all these parties where the music wasn’t very good,” he says, “and I took responsibility for it.”
He continued honing his DJ skills in Granada, Spain where he studied flamenco as a Fulbright scholar and recorded an album, Granada Doaba, before returning to his hometown of L.A. He guest DJ’ed around town with the crews from Afro Funke, Tumbe, Malabomba and others before he launched Subsuelo.
Subsuelo, in a nutshell, is the combination of all these sounds and styles Cody and his peers have been working on for the past few years. It‘s the crossroads of modern dance, cumbia, funk, Afro-Caribbean sounds, hip-hop, flamenco and a party atmosphere that‘s open and inviting.
“We’re definitely not a niche-type party,” says Cody. “You gotta have that broad taste in order to get down for a whole night.”
That broad taste makes for a very diverse, eclectic and friendly crowd. The world’s friendliest cholos were there in March to see Sick Jacken of Psycho Realm perform with Ritmo Machine. Surprise guest Money Mark (The Beastie Boys, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group) was seen on the dance floor later that night battling a few of the regulars. It’s also not surprising to see flamenco dancers who are old enough to be WWII veterans teach the new generation a thing or two on any given night.
The party, which starts at 10, includes guests DJ sets by Mochilla, a.k.a. B+ (Brian Cross) and Eric Coleman, and DJ Dacel from Chile. There will also be a number of surprise guests announced throughout the night.
“We have a couple of special guests coming through that are my all-time favorite artists,” adds Cody. “I’ve got my list of people that I want to see play at Subsuelo and a couple of them are coming through this month.”