It started over tacos… Aubrey and I, connected through a mutual musician friend, were on a professional “blind date” of sorts – just two DJs talking shop at a neighborhood spot in the Highlands. We soon discovered that our lives shared almost eerily cohesive backgrounds. Carnitas with a side of synchronicity… and guac.
We both had recently relocated to Colorado from Los Angeles. In LA, we each co-owned successful DJ collectives (RedShoe and Haute Mobile Disco) and we’d played at many of the same spots around the city. We both cut our teeth on Hip-Hop and built a careers out of something we had initially done for free – for the love of the music and parties. Aubrey and I were both commuting every other weekend back to California to spin and, though neither of us could claim “Native” stickers, we each had plans to build something fresh in our new home state.
“I want to keep it non-cheesy.”
“I like a boutique, non-catalog DJ company. Clients need to know the person they initially meet with will be the same face they see behind the decks at the party.”
“Collaboration is what keeps curating music for parties exciting creatively. I have the most success when getting specific input from clients so that I can customize each part of the soundtrack to reflect their tastes.”
“Also, as DJs, we’re playing music for people to dance to at parties, you can’t take yourself too seriously or be too precious about what you play. You have to have fun for the crowd to have fun.”
“I totally agree.”
Then the big one…
“I think it’s essential that a DJ actually mixes the music together. That you beat match and blend, synch tracks, mix in key, tease, use loops and samples – that you capitalize on the tools at your disposal to heighten the work of the artists whose songs you’re showcasing in your sets in order to more effectively engage the crowd.”
So Aubrey and I started DJing around Denver as a duo and discovered that our individual DJ styles were heightened when playing off each other. Her skills and track selections meshed and elevated my own. It was clear that what had started out as a serendipitous meet-and-greet was turning into a full-fledged creative partnership. And, with that, The Get Down was born.
As a husky lad growing up in Galesburg, Illinois, my friends and I collected and traded hip-hop and R&B the way most kids did baseball cards. From our favorite songs on each album, I started making mixtapes which were highly sought after by the musically insulated yet vice-enticed student body of my Catholic elementary school.
One of the more explicit of these gems fell into the hands of Sister Catherine, the most formidable and fearsome nun to prowl our (or any) halls. I had earned my first school suspension. However, I had also unwittingly built my reputation as the guy with the music. Now, if you were throwing a party you had to invite Tony and his tapes.
Time marched, tapes gave way to CDs, which had somehow time-machined back to Vinyl by the time I arrived in LA for college at USC. I attended my first desert rave and was completely upended by the experience. It was a complete reimagining of what a DJ could do and what a party could be. Not just a place to be social and be seen, but a true communal celebration where people let their guard down and detached, while the DJ orchestrated the journey through carefully selected beats and rhythms, melody and sound.
While at USC, I met Ian, my best friend, and a musical kindred spirit. We went to dance parties every weekend and before long we had four turntables set up in our dorm. We were theater majors and aspiring actors and badly needed money. So we started making some cash DJing at the same desert parties we used to attend. We expanded into clubs, art parties, greek events – we’d play for anyone who was willing to pay us (and often when they weren’t.)
Fourteen years later, Ian and I along with the extremely talented performers on our roster, have built our collective, RedShoe, into one of the most respected DJ companies in Southern California.
I moved to Colorado in 2015 and have been flying back to California to DJ about every other week. I was excited to build a new company based in Denver but I was a little overwhelmed at the prospect of doing it all by myself.
And then a musician friend of mine from LA called and told me I should connect with this talented and hip DJ named Aubrey.
Growing up in Shreveport Louisiana, a full drum kit held court in Aubrey’s living room. Friends with members of various touring bands, her Mom had installed the set for impromptu jam sessions. This early domestic exposure to beats led to Aubrey to audition for the snare drum in middle school, but sadly, she was soon demoted to playing the triangle.
After high school, Aubrey and her mom moved to California where she first exposed to DJ culture. At a weekly party called “Banana Split,” she heard DJ AM, a master of blending rock with hip-hop. Inspired, Aubrey saved up and bought her first set of decks from a pair of club regulars named Joe and Big Sexy.
“The first time I touched turntables it just felt like everything was in the right place. I often have lots of things going on in my head simultaneously. With DJing, I got to listen to a bunch of songs at the same time and it made sense. Things were in sync.”
Soon she was DJing at perennial LA venues like The Viper Room, The Echo, and The Standard. It was there that she met Michelle, a fellow DJ on the roster. The two quickly became friends and would go on to found Haute Mobile Disco, a premiere DJ collective based in LA.
Since moving to Colorado, Aubrey has split time between DJs events in Denver metro and the mountains and traveling back to California to perform for HMD.
“I love sharing music ideas and the process of getting to the ‘yeah, me too’ look from someone dancing to your sounds.”
That appreciative nod from a fan on the dancefloor reacting to an obscure but funky track is supplemented by more popular tracks – when the whole room reacts as if to collectively say “this is my song.” And she loves mixing the old with the new.
“I’m always confused when I play an old, soul jam and someone says ‘I can’t believe you know this song.’ Why wouldn’t I know this song? Good music is ageless, timeless.”