Spotlight

BUTT Mixtape: Contact High Mix by Chris Cruse

Mixtape by Chris Cruse
Photography by Daniel Trese
Interview by Danny Calvi
Chris Cruse scouts out tonight's not-so-secret location.

There hasn’t been a Spotlight party since May and expectations are sky high. Spotlight (the name of the party a comment on how L.A. nightlife had sadly become all about social media hogging) has quietly charmed the pants off L.A. homos and a cute line-up of international deejay talent, dropping in after hours and staying til sunrise. So hooray that Spotlight’s finally switched back on this Saturday, and that for the occasion, resident Chris Cruse has recorded a yummy hour-long mixtape — one, you could say, for the water crowd.

Play the ‘Contact High Mix’ by Chris Cruse

I catch an UberPool and whisk myself over to Silver Lake. L.A. is currently enjoying an extended magic carpet ride courtesy of medicinal marijuana co-ops and no more worrying about who will be the designated driver. It’s changed L.A. nightlife for the better. Chris moved here from Richmond, Virginia when he turned eighteen. That’s when he really got the deejay bug. 

Danny: Is Chris Cruse your real name?
Chris: Yes.
It sounds like a porn name, don’t you think?
I used to hate it — I guess it would be more funny if I were in porn though.
How long have you been putting on Spotlight parties?
The first one was in December of 2012, it actually coincided with my thirtieth birthday.
What’s your like secret weapon on the dance floor?
There’s a track that I always play by State of Grace called ‘That’s When We’ll Be Free’. Do you know this song? It’s not like a dance floor smasher, but it’s like a theme song almost. It might sound cheesy, I always play it because I feel like it’s got a nice feeling to it — like ‘I come here to be happy’.
Do you still use vinyl records or are you like just plugging in the memory stick.
When I’m playing at Spotlight, I do play mostly vinyl because I’m there setting up the sound system… I know that the turntables are gonna work, they’re gonna be grounded, and everything goes through an analog mixer — the signal’s preserved from the needle all the way out to the speaker.
When it comes to records, what are your guilty pleasures?
Um, you know, I’m a sucker though for divas singing over house tracks. But people can start to put their hands to their ears and walk out if you play too much of some wailing lady just going on and on. I have to curb that a bit…
What’s your dream location for a Spotlight party?
In the beginning, we actually looked into a few bathhouses here, but they weren’t very conducive to having a party. You can’t have alcohol in the bathhouse — not that alcohol is what makes a party — but it’s very sobering walking into a bathhouse with all of their disclaimers and stipulations. You have to sign, basically saying you’re a sex offender, if you’d like to visit a bathhouse here in L.A. We’ve moved onto more non-traditional venues, places that are not actual party places during the day or night-time. We did one where you walk through a 24-hour store front, walk down aisles full of piñatas and soup cans, and then at the end of one of the aisles, you check-in and walk through to the warehouse where the music was. That was like always a dream of mine, to walk through one place that’s supposed to be something else, and then it turns into a party in the back.
Have you guys ever been shut down?
No. When Black Madonna played last year, we were really close to the Staples Center, and somebody called the cops. The cops came and asked us to turn it down. Like a pro, Marea quickly turned it down. And then around two a.m. — the cops change shifts, and they’re also out targeting DUIs and more important things like that — we turned it back up and the party went off. She played that song by Electronic, ‘Getting Away With It’. That was a pretty fantastic moment.
The way you do Spotlight, it’s sort of private party anyways, no? Like guests have to RSVP.
Yeah, for all intents and purposes, it’s a private party. People have to go through some hoops in order to come. Like, after they get dropped off or park, there’s a long walk down like some deserted train tracks, and there might be nothing indicating that there’s a party going on. You have to have a little bit of a sense of adventure in order to go if you’re used to like an air-conditioned venue, where everything is perfectly put together.

Spotlight, with music by Prosumer, Murat Tepeli and Chris Cruse, happens tomorrow Saturday, 26 September 2015, from 10 P.M. to 5 A.M. RSVP for Loz Feliz-ish location at www.spotlightparty.com
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Download the ‘Contact High Mix’ by Chris Cruse as MP3