By: David Tulloch
The Daily Grind Café is like any other, quiet and calm with patrons going about their private business. The lighting is dim and graphic-style pictures with bold colours hang from the walls. Seven tables are scattered around the small room, and in one corner is a small sound set-up.
A quiet, unassuming man sits behind a laptop hooked up to a few large speakers. He wears a black sweater, small wire-frame glasses, and has a grey cap perched on his head. At first glance, he could easily pass for a painter, or perhaps a jazz musician. In just a few hours, however, this man with his laptop will fill the café with the darkest, heaviest sounds heard in Ottawa.
He is DJ Reverie, and he will be hosting La Danse Macabre.
Organized by DJ Reverie, 31, and girlfriend Kelly Taylor, 28, La Danse Macabre begins at 9 p.m. on the second Friday of every month, filling the small café with death rock, goth rock, post-punk, industrial, and all other sorts of alternative sounds. The night will typically run until well past midnight as visitors dance, socialize with friends, and enjoy the music.
Reverie was originally the resident DJ at Death Disco, an alternative club in Ottawa. “On the Facebook group that we had, there were people saying there wasn’t enough gothic music being played,” said Reverie. “So because of that we decided to start a night that filled that gap for people, and that’s how La Danse Macabre came to be.”
The idea for the name and atmosphere of the night came from Taylor.
“I started getting interested in what they call ‘gothic music’ since I was 16 or 17,” Taylor explained. “I was reading Shakespeare and Poe since I was nine.” With such a background in gothic culture, Taylor felt that it was important for there to a club dedicated to that scene in Ottawa.
Taylor describes herself as a “lover of the older stuff,” such as Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, The Cure, and other pioneers of the gothic genre. By starting La Danse Macabre, Taylor felt that she and Reverie were “filling in the void” left by the other, more industrial-focused clubs.
Lately though, waning numbers have forced Reverie and Taylor to reconsider the theme of the night, which is why May will usher in the beginning of Synthesis Fridays.
“I was thinking that maybe with Synthesis, it would get more people out,” said Reverie. “And I think that some of the post-punk that we play, like Joy Division or The Smiths, also appeals to the crowd that listens to indie-electro stuff.”
Ultimately, Reverie is just happy to be out there seeing the crowds having a good time. “I wanted to become a DJ that got people to dance,” he said. From the reception of the crowd, he certainly attained that goal.
Amy Jane von Purr, 25, loves La Danse.
“They always play great music. There’s no place I can go to that plays this specific brand of music.” Dancing about in a black corset and a white unicorn cap, von Purr feels right at home. “I’m a grown up,” she said with a laugh. “I work an academic job. I wear suits. By the end of the day, I want to play and be a kid.”
Lawrence Inutiq-Sackett, 27, and Jordan MacMillan, 22, opted to sit and talk quietly over drinks, but their calm demeanor in no way indicated unhappiness. In fact, Inutiq-Sackett has been attending La Danse since the first night in July, 2012. “It’s a very easy going atmosphere,” he said. “The music is very down-tempo. It’s more of a gathering place.”
MacMillan agreed. “It’s my first time,” he admitted. “Nice atmosphere, I like it. It’s a better crowd than the ravers.”
For more information on La Danse Macabre, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ladansemacabreottawa