Top of the Morning, July 8, 2014
Editor's note: This originally appeared in print on July 5, 2014.
Eleven years ago, in an effort to entertain local service industry workers such as bartenders, waiters and waitresses during the Fourth of July holiday, John Kosmopoulous created a barbecue featuring himself and other local DJs and called it Spindependence.
Staged at various downtown bars and restaurants, Spindependence provided those folks an opportunity to enjoy the holiday listening to good music, surrounded by good people while others who had the holiday off had the freedom to leave town.
The event caught on in the years following, and grew each year before taking a couple of years off before returning in 2008.
The latest Spindependence took place Thursday and Friday at Cowboy Monkey, High Dive, Soma and other downtown bars, with more than 30 local DJs and some special guests from the Chicago area, spinning in front of overflow crowds at each spot.
The event, since 2011, has been organized by Kosmopolous (DJ Kosmo) and Doug Layne (DJ Delaney).
"The idea is to bring the community together, the different DJs around here because there are so many talented ones," Layne said. "Bring them all together because we're all working different places all the time and we never get a chance to DJ together."
Kosmopolous, who's been DJing for 25 years, and Layne (16 years) say the game has changed in terms of equipment used to play for crowds. When they started, DJs used two turntables and a mixer. Now, DJs can use iPods, computers and tablets.
Kosmopolous and Layne prefer the old-school method, though if you know how to feel a room, it doesn't matter what equipment you use.
"I learned that no matter what tool you have, what gear you use, you still have to know how to rock a party. That can't be taught," Kosmopolous said.
"We both started out using vinyl," Layne said. "The computer is to hold my catalogue so I don't have to carry a bunch of records. A lot of people think the computer does everything. You're mixing by ear."
Neither Kosmopolous nor Layne enters a party or venue with a set list of songs to play that night. It's all about the feel.
"I go by what the crowd is. I have some idea based on where the party's at and you just go with the flow," Kosmopolous said.
"Wherever I'm at, feel the energy of the crowd and go off of that," Layne said.