Mile High Soul Club is one of the longer running soul clubs I’ve interviewed so far. Consisting of 3 DJs and starting about 15 years ago, MHSC has since won ‘Best Club Night’ multiple times from Denver’s alternative weekly newspaper Westword and migrated through a few venues. Today they play every month at HQ Denver.
I recently was able to interview Tyler from MHSC..
Who is involved with putting on MHSC and how long has it been going?
We’ve been doing MHSC since Sept of 2008. The resident lineup is Tyler Jacobson, Steve Cervantes, and DJ DogBoy.
When MHSC started, were there any other regular soul nights in the Denver area?
There weren’t. There was a soul night in town headed up by Reggie Blanding and one of our former resident DJs, Jason Heller, but that had ended several months before the birth of MHSC.
How did you get into soul music?
Very likely via the radio. I really loved Smoke Robinson & The Miracles and Otis Redding in my early to mid teen years. When the film The Commitments came out, my love and knowledge of soul was expanded upon in ways I’m still figuring out. My first love is new wave which fed into Madchester and Brit-pop. I’m definitely an anglophile and that is deeply rooted in soul.
How did you get into the ‘Soul Club’ or ‘Northern Soul’ scene?
I was throwing soul tracks into my Lipgloss sets – which was a wildly popular indie dance night that my friends and I had started in 2001. I didn’t have a frame of reference for Northern Soul at the time because, frankly, if it’s a banger it’s a banger and why confine yourself if no one is asking you to? DogBoy asked me to help form MHSC with him when his other partner had dropped out. This meant that I needed to get very serious about collecting and that’s how I found Northern Soul. I still maintain that perspective that I’m going to play a strong soul set, sub-genres be damned. I know a lot of places won’t let you get away with that. Luckily, the blessing of Denver is that it’s not too hardcore about most things.
Do you have any relationships with others putting on regular soul nights in North America?
For sure. Some are close, some are loose connections – but we all tend to cheer each other on virtually and share spaces in person when we can.
Are there any specific records where you can’t wait to unleash them on the crowd?
100%. Soul Feeling by Eddie G Giles, Skunk Juice by The Pazant Brothers, Do The Pearl Girl by The Matta Baby to name a couple.
Are you aware of any soul music that came out of the Denver area in the ‘60s or ‘70s? If so, do you play much that came out of that scene?
I’m not. I feel like we’ve looked into it but… I don’t think I’ve found anything. Steve and Dog might have some knowledge around that.
Have you had a chance to meet any of the artists whose records you spin? If so, what do they think about their music being played in clubs so many years later?
Yeah. I did the Soul Invasion weekender in Las Vegas, thrown by Marv Mack, that had Billy Prince of the Precisions and Brenda Holloway performing. I didn’t get to hear wha they think about their music still being played though.
One time the Delfonics just happened to appear at Mile High Soul Club. I didn’t have any of their 45s on me, but they closed the place down and started singing some of their songs acapella for us at their table once the crowd cleared out. It was pretty amazing.
So much obscure or forgotten soul has been reissued by labels such as Numero, Kent, Soul Jazz, etc in the past two decades. Do you feel like you’ve dug into everything that’s out there or are you still stumbling upon and discovering soul you were unfamiliar with?
I don’t think we’ll ever bleed that vein dry. I mean, how much incredible music was produced in that decade between 1964 and 1974? There’s always going to be a new deposit of gold to dig into.
Have you had any part in contributing to any resissues or compilations over the years?
No. We’d love to and we’ve investigated it a bit, but as of yet, it hasn’t happened.
Have you noticed any changes in the crowd that attends since MHSC began?
Oh yes. We’re coming on 15 years so it went from the scooter scene, to the mainstream, to swing dancers, to jam band fans. It’s pretty diverse. Luckily, across these mixed genres, you see people who are discovering a love for this music. They start getting into it and request some deep shit by the third or fourth time they’ve experienced the night. It’s gratifying to experience that with them.
Are you, or have you been, involved in anything else music-wise, besides MHSC?
For sure. I’ve been spinning music since 1996. Mostly brit-pop and Madchester, indie pop, and such. I’ve put out original music with members of Kingmaker (Hull, UK) and Thievery Corporation. I’m a founding member of Lipgloss, which may be the longest running night in the US at this point, and I have another monthly night called Casual Fridays that’s shoegaze, brit-pop, and Madchester.
Lastly, what are your goals for MHSC in the future?
Some more Festival gigs would be cool, especially out of state/country.
You can up with MHSC through the following:
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