Ask the underground electronic dance music heads who frequent downtown Miami and Wynwood hotpots why they avoid South Beach nightlife, and they'll invariably say it's at least in part because of VIP culture and the way bottle-service customers dictate musical programming at SoBe nightclubs.
The most controversial examples in recent memory are Dennis Ferrer and DJ Shadow getting booted off the decks at Mansion, allegedly after high-rolling VIP patrons complained to management that the music wasn't to their satisfaction, i.e. not commercial enough.
But a new club called Do No Sit on the Furniture will be different.
The bottom line is SoBe seems to mostly cater to those patrons who drop serious money reserving tables and ordering bottle service. And this appears to buy them the right to select the music on behalf of the rest of the clubgoers. The very idea of a table at a dance club kills the dance-floor experience, which is the only reason that true dance music enthusiasts pay the price of admission to begin with.
Now, it takes balls and vision to fight this trend on its own turf. So leave it to two of Miami's seasoned underground nightlife badasses to do so -- internationally renowned DJ-producer Behrouz, and Will Renuart, resident DJ and co-owner of underground mecca the Electric Pickle. Their new joint venture, Do Not Sit on the Furniture (or Don't Sit for short) aims to turn the VIP sense of entitlement on its head, and put the dance back into dance club.
"When I moved to Miami from San Francisco, I had a rough time adapting to clubs in Miami because most of them were supercommercially motivated and not about the music," Behrouz tells Crossfade. "I met Will, and he told me he used to live in San Francisco, and I noticed he is totally into good music and good vibes, and we shared a lot of common ideas, and above all, we are both big music lovers. I have been in the music business for over 25 years, and I'm still traveling and playing all over the world. But I live in Miami, and I decided to contribute something good to the scene.
"Since both Will and I lived in San Francisco, I came up with an old name of a party from SF: Do Not Sit On The Furniture, and thought let's use this name," he explains. "Everything on the Beach is about tables and bottle service, and we both thought it's a cool name and fun concept to run with."
Renuart, whose commitment to championing the music above all other aspects of a nightclub is evidenced by the Electric Pickle's stellar international DJ bookings and live music programming, and he's also adamant about continuing this mission with the new SoBe venue.
"[Do Not Sit] is all about a studio anolog sound system," he tells us. "It's a little intimate room, and not about big bookings. You never know who's going to be playing. First of all, the club's smaller than the Electric Pickle, and this will be more like a membership establishment, as it's so small -- but not in a pretentious way. Membership is for people who are enthusiasts about the music.
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"You are in our living room -- in our house," adds Berhouz. "It's a house party made by DJs for DJs and music lovers. Our concept is about a small venue with a good sound system, proper DJ booth, and no bullshit.
"A DJ can come and play vinyl all night. You get to see DJs perform unplugged. Our concept is about people having fun, and a cool atmosphere for people coming together to listen to good music.
"This is also a place we like to give a chance to local DJs and up-and-coming DJs to play, and give them a platform to perform. This is a place where you will see more local people. We like to give something back to the people and dance community in Miami."