Detroit’s Geoffrey LaRue is a DJ and artist with an authentic inspiration for fashion. He has a creative, visual mind and an ear for sound that is unique and artful. Even before his teenage years he has always had a drive to curate music.
“The first mix CD I ever put together was exclusively comprised of songs from Spongebob Squarepants and The Simpsons that I’d downloaded off of Kazaa and was made when I was 12 so I’d have something to listen to while quietly playing Pokémon during lunch. I made a few more (expanding the repertoire to include Weird Al) but quickly found myself abandoning the hobby to focus on my budding career in the high school’s theater department,” he says. “It was at Detroit’s long-running Macho City that I first fell in love with disco and when I finally moved into the city I wound up with a DJ roommate who’d turned our kitchen into a club so I started collecting records because why not? It was pretty serendipitous.”
Eventually he started throwing parties, starting with Rainbow Bus Club in 2013 at Temple Bar. “I played by myself for the first few months, but invited Bill [Spencer] to play back-to-back with me one month and we had such a great time that it was decided that it’d be way less fun for me to keep going by myself,” LaRue says. “It’s such a wonderful partnership and I feel like the reason it works is that our record collections have distinct voices (which is why I refer to it as a conversation), but complement each other perfectly. I started recording our sets during this period so we’d have something fun to listen to on the busier nights at the restaurant we were working at while he made pizza and I made trouble.”
A year and half later they shifted to Donovan’s Pub which was a smaller venue “since being at Temple was kind of a ‘run before you can walk’ situation for me and I really needed to learn how to walk.” It was in this space LaRue started incorporating video elements and the party’s name evolved to Suck It! The “above-ground underground” monthly disco party moved to UFO Factory in 2016. Eventually the parties featured “queer rock bands, house singers, slapstick lounge lizards, tape-loop poets, and punk drag acts. Soft-rock sensation Whitmore Barnes (who disappeared into the desert shortly after the release of his highly influential 1983 smash-miss “Barnesburner”) made a synthesized comeback with a little help from some shamanic strawberries, Avalon Altamont had her second abortion on the big table in front of the pinball machine while lip-syncing to Doctor Love, and Sam Carmello even used some hair-care tips he picked up from Charlie’s Angels to finally get the blood out of his hair because truly anything can happen when you Suck It!”
It’s been several months from the last shindig since “structural damage caused the bar to temporarily close last summer so we’ve been on hiatus while waiting for it to reopen. Hold tight.”
As a DJ his taste is eclectic and when it comes to his sets he says, “I’m a planner, but only if I’m eager to impress.” He delves into DJing this past summer at Honcho Campout and the revered Buttons for a 46 hour party.
Honcho Camp is a queer sanctuary marathon weekend. The Hemlock Hole is a quiet and gorgeous space scattered with trees near a creek and watering hole where you could both heat things up and cool down.
“I want my music to be the sonic equivalent of those checkpoints where people pass out water and cookies to help everyone get past the finish line.” – GEOFFREY LARUE
He had two sets: one of upbeat disco sounds on Friday morning, and a second set of “sleazy listening” on Sunday morning. “I was exhausted during the first one thanks to running up and down those damn hills to that damn parking lot in that damn humidity but still had a lot of fun and was very grateful for the chance to play a lot of my favorite dance jams for the campers. I thought that I’d be more nervous for Sunday’s set, but wound up feeling really relaxed. I kind of wish I’d had a rope swing so that I could have jumped into the creek at the end, but I’d probably have cracked my head open so it’s good that I didn’t.”
The Buttons 46-hour was held in June at Berlin’s ://about blank featuring sets from Prosumer, The Carry Nation, Clark Price, Fred P, and L.Sangre, to name a few. LaRue says, “My goal was to kill the dance floor and then sadistically tease it back to life. I succeeded but wound up dancing so hard that I nearly threw up when it was all over. I really enjoyed that space. The garden is so lush and felt like camp in miniature. Also, there’s an amazing sandwich vendor who moves like a ghost, but I hear he goes to all the clubs so I’ll need to get his schedule before I go back.”
What’s coming up for LaRue in 2018? “I’ll be providing sound/judgment at a John Waters costume contest in April and then it’s off to Pittsburgh to Suck It! behind an Intergalactic Spacedump for Nite Lite. I’ll also be heading back to Denver in June to try to top the look in the photo that’s at the top of this interview. It’s going to be difficult, but I believe in myself.”
For now, enjoy this exclusive mix – “a more contemporary sound” – from our gracious guest, Geoffrey LaRue.
1. Den Haan – “Increase The Beast”
2. Devo – “Jerking Back And Forth”
3. Metroplex – “No UFO’s (D-Mix)”
4. Magic Touch and Sapphire Slows – “Just Wanna Feel (I-Cube Remix)”
5. Dexter – “Senderwahl”
6. Bezier – “Templar”
7. Rinder & Lewis – “Gluttony”
8. Elleorde – “Europe From Mars”
9. Looky Looky – “Crotch Rocket”
10. Kraftwerk – “The Telephone Call”
11. Psychic TV – “Discopravity”
12. Azoto – “San Salvador”
13. Ambar Connection – “Hang Glider”
14. Quartz – “Quartz”
15. Synergy – “Delta One”
16. Cerrone – “Phonic”
17. Fleetwood Mac – “Big Love (Extended Mix)”
18. A Number Of Names – “Sharivari”
19. New Edition – “Funkytown”