DJ Sergio of Go BANG!: The New Gay Interview
As one of the events editors for San Francisco, I have had the opportunity to meet some fascinating and creative people who make the city so colorful. One of my favorite events to cover (and to dance and get drunk at) has been the Go BANG! party at Deco Lounge in part because it’s, well, BANGING, and also because of the unabashed passion that party co-founder, Sergio Fedasz, puts into every fourth Saturday night. It’s fun, it’s energetic, it’s sweaty and it’s banging. Sergio himself has become a fixture in the club scene from Go BANG! to his radio show on KALX, to Friday nights at Cafe Flore and through the endless collaborations with other DJs across the city. It’s no surprise that he won SF Weekly’s Readers’ Poll for Best DJ in 2010. This Saturday, Go BANG! sets to explode at the Deco Lounge, and Sergio took some time to answer a few questions for The New Gay.
The New Gay: Hello, honey! Let’s start out with an easy question or two. How did Go BANG! get started? And what was the inspiration for the name?
Sergio Fedasz: In general, the disco scene is a friendly, sweaty, dancing crowd. As I went to many parties, I made friends and became a fan of some amazing DJs with great parties, including Nicky B (from Gemini Disco), Stanley Frank (from Viennetta Discotheque) and Ken Vulsion (from Honey Soundsystem). One day someone asked if I wanted to throw together a last-minute party. I called on a few friends and we all quickly formed a party consisting of a “super group” of DJs from other parties coming together to play together: Stanley, Nicky, Ken, DJ Flight, Eddy Bauer, and Stanley’s friend, Stephen You Guys, as our host and doorperson.
We all brainstormed a name and “Go BANG!” made sense given the party’s goal of gathering all our friends at once to DANCE and SWEAT in a safe, friendly, positive environment. And the reference to the classic Arthur Russell-produced song of the same name also was a great bonus. Taking inspiration from the classic Dinosaur L. song
“I wanna see all my friends at once
I’ll do anything to get a chance to
TNG: Local DJ legend, Steve Fabus, is a frequent collaborator, and Go BANG! usually features a rotating cast of local talent in its DJ line-ups. How do you choose who to work with?
SF: After the first party, we have evolved and grown from that “super group” concept to now regularly showcase guest DJs and occasional live and drag performances.
Also, since the start, our family has also evolved and grown to include:
- LEGENDARY DJ Steve Fabus. Steve Fabus has been a huge help with how the party has evolved, has quickly become one of my most beloved and trusted friends and collaborators, and he and I handle most of the day-to-day Go BANG! decisions. Steve Fabus was one of the first nationally recognized US DJs from the West Coast! He began his career playing loft parties and the baths of late ’70s San Francisco, whose guest list included pre-disco Sylvester, then a member of the radical drag troupe “The Cockettes,” and Harvey Milk. While playing the city’s infamous all-night loft party, Boiler Room in 1977, Steve was recruited to spin San Francisco’s first large venue disco, The I-Beam. Trocadero Transfer opened shortly thereafter where Steve shared the booth with Bobby Viteritti. In 1980, Steve became a resident of San Francisco’s legendary EndUp. His shift was the 6 AM to 2 AM slot on Sunday mornings and many people credit him for starting what is still known to this day as “Church”. He has DJed continuously since then and is still an AMAZING DJ and person with a wonderful heart and great energy.
- New hotshot East Bay DJ and Production Duo Tres Lingerie – Jordan Presnick and Johan Churchill. These guys are very great, and it’s so great to see a group in its early stages with such great potential and with their star rising. They often do live performances with a great lead singer, James Anthony. They are the type of contemporary straight dance music youths who I admire– they are professional, responsible, talented and very comfortable in their own skin and with who they are that they can easily navigate any scene and be comfortable in any type of environment, from yuppie straight scenes to sweaty and funky queer-mixed scenes such as Go BANG!
- Ronald Johnson as our Decoration Guru– for the past 6 months he has handled the monthly conceptual and decoration aspects of the party and is immensely talented.
- Darwin Bell and Monty Suwannukul as our photographers
- Alexandra Munson and Jon Avery as our coat check queen and king.
We also have a strong cast of unsung family and friends – Ericka Yanina, Amy Woloszyn, Stacy Lucier, Emily Coalson, Lel’Ephant, the Hard French crew, Doc Sleep, Eddie House, Andre Lucero, and more– who help us in many aspects of the party.
TNG: Was it easy to establish a club party at the Deco Lounge in San Francisco? How do you differentiate your party from the rest?
SF: Our party did not really get its feet under it and a reputation built up until a year after it began. Because Ron Rios and Roger Klein (as well as Paul Xavier and the other Deco Lounge owners) saw that we were investing a lot of our time to promoting, decorating and had a very specific and loving approach to the party, they gave us a lot more time and leeway to get our party off the ground. When it did finally hit its stride in January 2010 (after starting in November 2008) it has been a wonderful ride since then, with us all being successful and having fun and each month bringing a different type of excitement. But at least now– due to our loyal audience and friends and the positive reputation and goodwill we’ve received by the scene and the press (including The New Gay)– we know it’ll be a rager, it’s just what kind of a rager will it be now?
To more directly answer some of your questions. It is VERY hard to establish a club party and get it successfully going. Without Deco we would not have had the success that we do. We choose who to work with and differentiate our party by having a very strong personal connection with our dancers and guest DJs and make it a very family type of feel. That personal touch is what has helped us grow, and what keeps people coming back for more. I think that is a very important thing that many parties I respect do, but not a lot of parties do in general.
TNG: Retro soul, funk and disco is your forte. What is it about this type of music that appeals to you?
SF: I first started DJing on KALX 90.7 FM in Berkeley in 1997 (I still do), and I began live club DJing a couple of years after. As I continued to DJ, and especially after reading Last Night a DJ Saved My Life in 2000, my “musical vision” crystallized into wanting to present the spectrum of dance music– disco, house, funk, jazz, boogie and more– while preserving and paying respect to the vibe of the legendary clubs of Disco’s Golden Age.
A major reason I love this music, is that it is fairly reflective of my not-so-common type of personality and energy. I love that the music is bombastic, tambourines and divas yelling, sexy and sleazy and upfront and loud! The funky tunes, with often-sexual or suggestive or double entendre lyrics are so cool! It’s the music that has joy and whimsy and just puts a smile on your face. As you delve more into its gay, latino-and-black roots, you realize that this is the music that helped a disenfranchised community gather in a positive and joyous way to be themselves, to celebrate life, to find acceptance where they otherwise may not. And when AIDS struck, it was how people could be together to celebrate life in the midst of tragedy, and be together as a family even if that’s all the family you have. And that socio-political aspect of the music, and especially how that evolved in San Francisco, is one of the most wonderful things about it.
TNG: You’re not gay, but you’re obviously very friendly with the gay community. Do you feel any stigma associated with being a gay club party?
SF: While I may not be gay, my energy is different than most straight men’s, and its been through being in the gay scene that I have found the most acceptance of who I am, no matter what I am. Jim Provenzano of BARtab called Go BANG! a “queer-mixed” party, and we proudly wear that title.
When Go BANG! first started, there were one or two instances where some people or parties asked to not be associated with us, but that’s their insecurity and problem. And, frankly, anyone who is into any form of dance music who is not comfortable with it gay roots does not really understand the music, and I have no respect for them. I strongly believe in living life in the way that makes you happy and if someone throws you some negative vibes, just not to deal with them. As time goes on, their own negativity will be their own demons to deal with.
TNG: So where does Go BANG! go from here? Do you have any plans to mix up the formula? Any upcoming DJs that we should be looking out for?
SF: Well, I’m very excited about this month!
This month is an all-vinyl edition! We do those on occasion. We have a strict NO COMPUTER DJ policy, and if it weren’t for us liking to play new disco edits by our friends which we can only get on CD, we’d always be vinyl-only, to keep the aesthetic pure.
We are SO PSYCHED to have a Gemini Disco reunion at Go BANG! Nicky B is a Go BANG! Founding Father and has played with us since the very first Go BANG! until April of last year when he left the city. He is still away, but coming back to visit in April!
We’re also featuring the San Francisco Premiere of Atlanta’s DJ Osmose. He’s great, and is proudly vinyl-only when DJing!
Tres Lingerie will be rocking it as usual!!
And it will be the first time that me and Steve Fabus DJ in public as a duo. We’ve DJed together when he’s guested on my KALX show, but we’re gonna start tag-teaming in the nightclubs a bit more regularly as a fun way to mix things up for Go BANG! and also in preparation for the first time Go BANG! goes national! We have some gigs lined up which we can’t divulge yet. However what we can say is that Steve and myself will be traveling to Chicago with Ken Vulsion in August for Market Days! It’ll be a “From San Francisco with Love” Tour, and we know some San Francisco folks will be going, so stay tuned for more info on that! As time goes on, we do hope to have other Go BANG!s established in other major cities. Presently, we’re focusing on getting more bookings for the Go BANG! Residents on a national level, in order to further get our name and concept out there. So get in touch with us for tour bookings!
Looking forward to Go BANG!, we’ll have guests including Paul Goodyear, DJ PeePlay of Honey Soundsystem for Go PRIDE!, LaBerge, Munga!, Marke B of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Mattski, Phillip Mezzatesta, Allen Craig, Glenn Rivera, and stay tuned for Go BANG!’s New Year’s Eve blow-out!
Presently, we’re focusing on getting more bookings for the Go BANG! Residents on a national level, in order to further get our name and concept out there. So get in touch with us for tour bookings with the email address firstname.lastname@example.org!
So ya wanna Go BANG? Check out the club party every fourth Saturday of the month at Deco Lounge. The next edition is this Saturday, April 23. Special guest DJs include Nicky B and Derrick Love of Gemini Disco and featuring Atlanta’s DJ Osmose’s San Francisco premiere. Resident DJs Steve Fabus, Sergio and Tres Lingerie’s Jordan Presnick and Johan Churchill will also be manning the decks.
Saturday, April 23
510 Larkin Street @ Turk
Doors open at 9 PM
Free before 10 PM, $5 after
Listen or download DJ Sergio Remixes:
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