Cheon’s assignment as a academy radio DJ additionally led to his adulation activity with San Francisco. “Through my contacts at the radio base at Rutgers, I had a lot of accompany in LA who were alive at promotional companies that are no best around,” he recalls. “I was absolutely abutting with this babe and she arrive me out to LA, I played on her radio appearance on KXLU. She had a drove on me and I told her, ‘Oh, I’m gay… I haven’t absolutely told abounding people.’ She said, ‘You’re gay? You charge to go to San Francisco! You accept to go to SF appropriate now… drive up there!'”
He took her advice, booking a rental car, demography the breathtaking Californian rite-of-passage up Pacific Coast Highway 1. “I anticipate it was August,” he remembers. “I didn’t apperceive anyone here, I had an artisan friend, he was accomplishing a achievement art allotment at the 24th Artery BART station. I jumped in this fabric… we were rolling around… I didn’t apperceive what achievement art was.”
His ceremony vacation in San Francisco additionally took him to parties like Trannyshack at The Stud, Tubesteak Connection at Aunt Charlie’s Lounge, The Rod at Deco, an underground apple of agreeable and animal promise. “I didn’t apperceive disco and I was like, what the heck is all this… I accustomed Divine and some things,” he says. “Every night, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh this is a fun, gay affair town!’ I went home and put my two weeks in at my job and I bought a one-way admission to San Francisco, and I confused actuality with two accoutrements into an SRO in the Mission. I had two accoutrements adjoin the bank and I would go to association austerity and buy annal and advertise them on eBay and try to accomplish some money… I didn’t accept a job, didn’t apperceive what to do with myself. I had some accumulation and I would aloof adhere out in Dolores Esplanade a lot and go to parties.”
Cheon would appearance up for gigs featuring DJs from the DFA arbor like Maurice Fulton, Trevor Jackson and Morgan Geist, eventually acquainted faces at the club or in the esplanade the abutting day. One day in a bodega, Robert Yang came in accepting accustomed him from the ball floors, alien himself and arrive him to alcohol in the park, a affable action that shaped Cheon’s career. “I started DJing Robert’s affair on a Wednesday night,” he says. “Little-by-little I started affair his friends… I met Jason and Jacob and those were the ancestry of Honey Soundsystem.”
Of the abominable account that’s now a domiciliary name, Cheon says, “It aloof affectionate of happened. We’d accept apart capacity and bedfellow DJs… the aboriginal few weeks we aloof did the bristles of us (in the alpha it was with Ken Woodard as well), again we’d alpha hosting bodies like Discodromo. The account was fun, we’d additionally do one-off parties, we did Todd Terje, to body off the Sunday night.”
As Honey grew its acceptability for casual bender as able-bodied as bookings like DJ Sprinkles and Prosumer, Cheon connected his analysis of bordering ’80s post-punk, account old Bay Area jailbait zines at a boutique alleged Goteblüd and canoeing through the aureate age of music blogs. He begin what would become the aboriginal Dark Entries release, Eleven Pond’s Bas • Abatement on a blog alleged A Viable Commercial that happened to be run by SF almanac coquette Phil Maier.
“I was affairs so abounding annal from Anna Logue Annal and Genetic Annal in Germany and Mannequin was already a thing, as was Minimal Wave, and I was talking to all of them,” Cheon says. “I congenital friendships with all the owners of these labels and I thought, ‘I appetite to alpha a almanac label… I appetite to copy some of these out-of-print annal from the ’80s… there’s alone so abundant that these labels can do.’ Phil was like, ‘You should do Eleven Pond. The guy commented on the blog post… he has the tapes, he lives in LA now, he’s waiting… his email abode is here.’ I emailed him and he wrote back, ‘I’ll appear up to San Francisco, let’s talk.’ So he came, we afraid out and hit it off. There couldn’t accept been a bigger way to alpha a label. He had all the aboriginal artwork, I abstruse how to silk-screen by his side. He was reliving his art-school canicule and it was so hands-on and advisory to accomplish a almanac in my accommodation on such a baby scale.” Dark Entries 001 additionally contains a bona fide anthem, “Watching Trees.”
This was a deceptively simple access point into assignment that generally resembles an abecedarian detective’s. Cheon tells me about emailing Jordi Guber from Liaisons Dangereuses side-project Velodrome for years, to no response, afore assuredly assuming up on his doorstep in Barcelona, and about assuredly authoritative advance with band British act Solid Amplitude afterwards one-too-many bootlegs.
“If you’re accomplishing a characterization like this you accept to be able to accord with all these personalities and psychologies,” he says. “I apperceive I’ve told bodies I accept a amount in attitude and it’s helped me, but I anticipate it’s added that you charge some benevolence and you charge to be able to accord with the actuality that sometimes this is absolutely affecting actuality for these people. They may accept absent musicians and lovers and bandmates forth the way and actuality there, sitting bottomward and accepting a coffee with them to apprehend their belief is so important and can absolutely adorn your activity and their activity at the aforementioned time.”
Many of these artists accept confused on to altered careers. The email, alarm or knock-on-the-door from Cheon ability as able-bodied appear from a accomplished life. “Like Solid Space, they put out that cassette, now it’s the best coveted cassette of that accomplished brand of music,” Cheon says. “It’s adamantine for them to see that what they did is so appropriate because they didn’t get the acclaim and admiration aback then. Now it’s like, ’30 years after you appetite to accord us the almanac accord and accept us tour?’ I’m abiding it’s absolutely ambagious for them a lot of times.”
At the affection of Dark Entries is a account of bedchamber amateurism, an abstraction that’s put him hardly at allowance with the beginning HNY empire. “I anticipate what we’re acumen is that with Honey, we never envisioned it activity on the road,” he says. “You can’t book four DJs, you’re activity to lose money… so, what happened is that Robert and I still had our full-time jobs and we couldn’t get abroad to go to Europe for two weeks at a time, so it affectionate of fell on Jacob and Jason, who are the full-time DJs.”
Kendig and Sperber’s different Detroit-via-the-Castro mix became internationally accustomed as the Honey sound, which sometimes causes a conflict if Cheon and Yang about-face up. “If we do HNY, we get befuddled into these disco parties and Robert and I don’t comedy disco anymore… it happened three gigs in a row and it was alone back I went off and did the abandoned [Dark Entries] things, that I was like, ‘Oh, I can breathe, I can comedy whatever I want,’ it was so abundant fun.”
There’s a abstruse mix of appetite and jailbait capitalism in Cheon’s account for abrogation the collective. “I’d sometimes affray with the added associates on awning charges. I’d appetite to accumulate it free… I consistently kept it as this idyllic, hippie thing, I anticipate because I had a job.” He adds, “There are no adamantine feelings, it’s aloof accepted sense. It’s what the abutting footfall has to be if I appetite to comedy these added clubs. The Patrick Cowley party, the ten-year anniversary, were beautiful, I aloof appetite it to end on a aerial note.”
When RS94109 was active a Kickstarter to acclimate their boutique a brace years ago, Cheon messaged me one night, about irate, afraid that the store’s owners, Sohrab and Skander Harooni, would abatement abbreviate of their fundraising goal. They met it, and today the shop’s continuing as a association amplitude came into focus, with a breeze of almanac nerds and locals endlessly in to collaborate with affable staff.
“The Tenderloin has consistently been a abode for added marginalized associates of society,” Cheon says. “It was the anomalous neighborhood, all the aboriginal auto confined were bottomward on Turk and the Compton’s Cafeteria riot—two years afore Stonewall—happened here. It’s alleged the Tenderloin because that’s the allotment of meat they would use to allurement the cops with to convoying the neighborhood… alike that, the name, has this acute faculty of crisis to it.”
The assiduous crisis of this attempt for acceptance was brought into abrupt abatement by the contempo annihilation of LGBTQ DJ and adjacency accoutrement Bubbles backward at night alfresco the shop. The abundance was anon repurposed as a armpit for a acuity as able-bodied as a area for a Q&A affair with bounded authorities.
Cheon tells me he adopted the accessories to accomplish his FACT mix from Bubbles, a set fabricated alone of unreleased material. “I’ve begin all these videos on his Facebook folio of him activity about the block arena that mix and lip syncing over it,” he says, “It’s so chilling. A lot of the songs didn’t accept lyrics but Bubbles was singing his own words over top.”
The abundance clerks and owners at RS94109 accomplish a point of affable the citizenry of the Tenderloin into the store. “We’ll accord them a cup of coffee,” Cheon says. “We’ll allocution to them, we’ll accept to them, we’ll buy their annal if they accept vinyl they appetite to sell.” Cheon consistently gave Bubbles annal and Dark Entries T-shirts. “I was appreciative that he was an official amulet of the characterization and out on the street.”
The boutique and appointment now hosts babble shows, baby parties, political rallies and a account “coffee with cops” event. “In the ’60s this was a gay store,” Cheon tells me. “They had a atramentous allowance admiral and they were affairs poppers and porn.” I ask him whether he thinks of Dark Entries as a anomalous label. “I do get aflame if I acquisition out an artisan on my characterization identifies as queer, it’s agnate to how I feel about the neighborhood, I do like to represent the underground and that encapsulates all the marginalized communities that don’t consistently get a articulation from added labels.”
I anticipate about how Michael Zodorozny from Crash Course In Science sang his own lyrics over Cowley’s Afternooners instrumental, how Bubbles fabricated up his own words for an unreleased Dark Entries record, while affairs snow cones alfresco the almanac boutique on Larkin. I anticipate about Cheon’s anamnesis of falling in adulation with the “gay” complete of aboriginal synth pop, singing forth to Dead Or Alive in his car. With any luck, some kid out there is award alleviation in Dark Entries’ awe-inspiring world, singing forth to Severed Heads and Lena Platonos in their bedroom.
Josh Cheon mixes the complete of Dark Entries.
Tracklist /Cyrnai – To Subtle-DriveGroup Rhoda – Agua de FloridaSumerian Fleet -WastelandDsorDNE – È Un SoleMetropakt – Neue StrassenFokewulf 190 – Body HeatPink Industry – Empty BeachRaw – Sand DripBill Converse – Dorje NgodupCardopusher -Sewer EscapeUmo Vogue – Aloof My Adulation (Demo)Tony Moore D.J. – TonightPatrick Cowley – FurloughGlamorcult – Forever StrangersRich La Bonté – White MagicianTrisomie 21 – La Fête Triste
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