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Peter Croce

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When you delve into the mind of Peter Croce, founder of Rocksteady Disco, it is very clear that his knowledge and passion for music has been his driving force. He spoke with Sequencer in depth about what inspired his efforts to create a specific atmosphere through the label and events in Detroit. Croce hosts a monthly event – †Sermon† – at Temple Bar in Detroit. During the June installation of that party, the Orlando tragedy was fresh and heavy weight feelings were forefront.

This Sequencer Soundcast is a particularly special one featuring an exclusive release of Croce’s set during the June †Sermon†. He provided Sequencer with a discourse about his set, the atmosphere and the significance of it all.

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I started †Sermon† at Temple Bar as my first proper DJ residency back in March of 2014. Temple Bar occupies a neighborhood in Detroit formerly and notoriously known as the Cass Corridor which is now rapidly being redeveloped/gentrified/rebranded as Midtown to the north and The District to the south. Temple Bar is almost 100 years old, and is currently owned by the stiff-drink-pourer and relentlessly-woke George Boukas. Temple has actually been in George’s family for generations, and that point of pride shines through in what George does.

It’s unreal really that the Temple is still holding out in this fairly gnarly and abandoned part of town, given the city’s eagerness to do just about anything to put new developments in that area. This makes me play every one of my sets at Temple Bar like it could be the last— the power elite that runs Detroit wants our little sanctuary out so that, presumably, they can put in a Buffalo Wild Wings.

Historically the Temple has been a black gay bar. More recently Temple Bar has gotten significantly younger and whiter, but unlike most culturally-changing Detroit locations Temple Bar still upholds pansexual come-as-you-are underground values. This is what makes the Temple so special. I know my sets are working if I see all kinds of couples making out on the dance floor.

Following the tragedy in Orlando I couldn’t help but feel like I had to use my pew as a way to express strength and pride. What happened at Pulse could have happened at Temple Bar; it could’ve happened at any discotheque that is our sanctuary.

I rarely plan my sets, but since Michael Ignagni and Deon Jamar played before me I decided to use my hour and 45 minutes to make a statement on what †Sermon† actually is— that is, spiritual, sexy, deep yet light, fun yet serious.

I felt it only appropriate to start my set with gay pride anthems that always give me goosebumps, such as Chrissy’s gorgeous edit of Carl Bean’s “Born This Way,” Byron Stingily’s “Get Up Everybody,” and Dan Shake’s reinterpretation of Sylvester’s “Over & Over.” From there I wanted to take us down a disco influenced house tip. Once I had the crowd with me I wanted to go deeper, before exploding into some highlife/afrobeat/benga bangers. Out of that sonic chapter I wanted to go deeper again and elevate the dance floor to higher consciousness, before finally ending with some hands-in-the-air-make-out-with-your-partner disco to close out the night.

This was undoubtedly my favorite †Sermon† ever. Michael Ignagni made his Temple Bar debut earlier in the night, laying down an undeniably groovy and sexy Detroit Deep House set that would have you thinking he’s been DJ’ing for longer than he has. Deon Jamar followed Michael with his savage blend of higher consciousness dance music. My fiancée surprised me and brought peanut butter M&M’s into the DJ booth around 1:30 a.m. All I had to do was play some music to lift some spirits.”

 

1. Carl Bean – “I Was Born This Way (Chrissy Edit)” [WEB]
2. Dimitri From Paris – “French Affair” [Disco Deviance]
3. Floorplan – “Tell You No Lie” [M-PLANT]
4. Byron Stingily – “Get Up Everybody (Parade Mix)” [Manifesto]
5. Dan Shake – “Buy Yourself Friends” [Shake]
6. Boe & Zak – “Loop For Love” [Editainment]
7. Shoes – “Sun, Sun, Sun” [Shoes]
8. George Duke – “I Want You For Myself (Edit)” [White Label]
9. Voilaaa feat. Pat Kalla – “On Te L’avait Dit” [Favorite]
10. Ajukaja – “Benga Benga (Edit)” [Porridge Bullet]
11. Tom Of Brooklyn – “Make Me Wonder” [Sol Power Sound]
12. Doc Daneeka – “Walk On In” [Numbers]
13. Ge-Ology feat. Mark De Clive-Lowe – “Moon Circuitry” [Sound Signature]
14. Josh Milan & Louie Vega – “Thinking About Your Body (Louie Vega Dance Ritual Mix)” [Vega]
15. Floorplan – “Never Grow Old” [M-PLANT]
16. Pontchartrain – “Rock Your Baby” [Rocksteady Disco]
17. The Jacksons – “Can You Feel It (Digital Visions Re-Edit)” [LegitMix]
18. Nad – “Hold On Castro” [Bastedos]
19. Seven Davis Jr – “All Kinds” [Must Have]