Dancing to the beat of The Rapture

By Meryl Fulinara

In Chicago, Halloween is synonymous with one thing-parties. And this year, Columbia is no different.

The Student Programming Board will host a Halloween dance party on Oct. 30 in the Hokin Annex of the Wabash Campus Building, 623 S. Wabash Ave., where students can dance to records spun by The Rapture, a band most notable for their indie-rock music with hard-hitting dance beats.

The Rapture’s drummer Vito Roccoforte; bassist Matt Safer; and keyboardist, saxophonist and percussionist Gabriel Andruzzi collaborated on their new mix CD showcasing their DJ skills that fuse together house, dance and hip-hop records.

With a new mix to be released on Nov. 20 on !K7 Records, The Chronicle spoke with Andruzzi to discuss the upcoming release, their deejaying style and the popularity of dance music in today’s culture.

The Chronicle: Tell us about your new mix CD.

Gabriel Andruzzi: It’s a part of a new mix series called Tapes on !K7 Records. We [recorded the] mix over the summer. We’re excited about it, but it’s in the back of all our heads since we are also working on other things. A mix CD is new for us and what’s nice about it [is that] three out of four of us have deejayed, played records and have done parties for a long time; whether it is weekly parties in New York or traveling and touring. People know us as a band, obviously, because that’s what we do. But we are a band that likes to have fun, play dance music, be goofy and dance around. So playing records is a part of that and always has been.

How does this mix differ from the records The Rapture has released?

It’s other people’s records, so it is completely different from our records [as a real band]. It is somewhat different from how we [deejay and] play records at parties. There is a different flexibility than when you are actually out at a party playing.

How was the process of making your first mix?

We all threw out a list of songs that we thought [we wanted to incorporate into the mix]. We shared them with each other, and we all kind of picked out themes, songs that we each really wanted to have. Matty, Vito and I sat down for a day and just played the records, mixed them and saw what was going to work together. We tried to figure out how they were all going to work as an arch. A good mix should have some sort of narrative or movement from one place to another.

How long did it take to mix?

It just sort of happened-we made it pretty quickly-in just a couple days we sorted out the orders, how to put things together and just mixed [the songs].

Do you guys have plans in the coming months to put out another DJ mix?

We just deejay on the weekends; [other than that] we’re in the studio near our homes, and we are just kind of writing. We’ve written two records so far, but we just don’t like them, so we started over from scratch two weeks ago.

Is there a certain genre of music the band chose to feature on the mix?

Usually when we deejay, our firmest grounding is in house and disco music, and that affects the music we play as a band as well. There is one hip-hop song and there are go-go songs. Matty and I grew up in Washington, D.C., [where] go-go music is centric. It’s D.C.’s own brand of funk that crosses into hip-hop. Supposedly, !K7 has been marketing it as having some sort of New York theme, which I guess it does. But it also has sort of a political theme.

Did the upcoming elections influence the political theme of the mix?

It was just accidental; there were songs on there that were pointed out by a friend of mine, not by any one of us. But no, the elections had no influence on [the mix at all]. At least not consciously; we all watch the debates and read a lot of news, but that would really be the only way.

Who are some of your favorite DJs?

My favorite DJ is this guy Thomas Bullock who has been based in New York for a long time and now deejays with [Eric Duncan, they call themselves] Rub ‘N’ Tug. I also like Carl Craig and DJ Cashmere; there are a lot of great DJs. I’ve been deejaying kind of consistently for about six or seven years. When I was a lot younger, I used to deejay, playing soul records. Then I stopped deejaying and [when I picked it back up], I started playing more house music.

Why do you think so many people have started to embrace dance music?

[Dance music has] grown over the years. Popular music and hip-hop are embracing house beats, and everything is just coming together. There are a lot more DJs [who] approach it like they are playing rock ‘n’ roll. Whether it is Justice or Erol Alkin, they are playing aggressively and playing records like it is a rock set. Everybody just wants to have fun and dance. Everybody got tired of going and watching boring bands, not dancing and staring at their feet.

What got you into deejaying and why do you like it?

In some ways I’m less happy to deejay, and I’d rather be dancing. I find myself dancing less and deejaying more. My love for records and dance music was just to go out and dance because it was something that I liked to do. When I’m deejaying and it’s going well, I’m dancing while I’m [doing my set], I’m excited to play the next record and the audience is responding to what I’m playing.

The Rapture will play Columbia’s Halloween Dance Party on Oct. 30 at the Wabash Campus Building, 623. S. Wabash Ave., in the Hokin Annex. The event is free. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.