"It's kind of like Jim Morrison if he had a laptop," says Niko Javan.
The Miami music producer and member of rap duo O'Grime is talking about #Yoppin Wednesdays, a new party that he launched at South Beach spot Haven last week.
Named after his "Yop = Your own path" saying, Javan's third day of the week is a synesthetic wonderland. Club music. Ambient soundscapes. Trippy visuals. And friendly strangers. All blurred together.
We went. It was bonkers.
On the topic of #Yoppin, Niko says the term originated from an old episode of the Jenny Jones talk show, in which a drill sergeant scorns a misbehaving young boy and asks him: "Do you think you bad?"
To which the boy answered, "Yop! Yop!," while nodding his head passionately.
"To me YOP always had a grimy connotation," explained Javan. Now the meaning has changed. According to Niko, "Yoppin'" is the journey to discover and define "your own path."
As a party, #Yoppin Wednesdays is the place where hamburgers are bigger than life. Where skeletons spray AK-47s and twerk in the desert. Where bananas receive oral pleasure from strange creatures, while fruits and veggies have orgies.
Picture Kim K as a mermaid in the deep abyss of South Florida, surrounded by sea life.
Those are just a few of the many graphics that covered the walls during Javan's set.
A night on South Beach with Niko Javan is similar to a state of psychedelic trance, as narrated by Tom Wolfe.
"I've been a visual artist my whole life and Haven really enhances that aspect of my artistry," he says. "I don't think #Yoppin Wednesdays will attract the Midtown Miami crowd, but I do think a lot of high rollers will be in attendance. The venue is where brain surgeons bring their side girls. I just need to work super hard and make tons of graphics."
Niko's got serious plans for #Yoppin.
He hopes to turn Wednesday nights at Haven into a showcase for his mind's most outlandish fantasies. "Futuristic music and magical imagery," he says.
"I just need to keep building my track list and high rollers will see the visuals. I see it as an introduction to South Beach. If it stays consistent for year or two it'll be epic."
For now, Javan's easing into the trippiest shit.
Take Heliconia, a new three-track EP that he's been working on.
"This is the kind of music that I would like to play at the Fillmore one day, maybe even accompanied with original visual illustrations," he says. "The song goes from a classic rock Eagles record to an EDM twerk beat."
At some point, these experiments will surely get blasted on a Wednesday night.
But how will Niko know when the moment's just right?
He'll hear that "Yop! Yop!"
-- Rob Portal
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#Yoppin Wednesdays. Every Wednesday. Haven, 1237 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. The party starts at 10 p.m. and there's no cover. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-987-8885 or visit havenlounge.com.