Saturday Night Retro-Disco at Oil Can Harry's has become one on the most influential nights in L.A. The Disco era is alive and well!
Capturing the Disco-mood of the 1970s-82 with a splash of 90s and current can be heard. The focus and concentration, though, has always been the classic sounds of Disco!
Even before you enter OCHs, you can feel the vibration of the dance beat. The adrenaline and energy take over and you suddenly find yourself in a unique dance club that has more characters than a Disney film.
ABBA *Olivia Newton-John* The Village People *Donna Summer* Wham! *classic Madonna* classic Michael Jackson *Diana Ross* Bee Gees *Earth, Wind & Fire* Aretha Franklin *Kylie Minogue* and hundreds of more titles & Artists!
I had the pleasure of experiencing Saturday Night Retro-Disco recently and got the chance to chat with Saturday Night resident DJ, Myles. He broke down the night for me and explained how OCHs has impacted the overall dance and club scene nationwide and how The Can is truly an American treasure:
Waide- Myles, when did you start DJing and what inspired you?
Myles- I started DJing in 1984 when I had my own radio show at Eastern Kentucky University's radio station. '80s music inspired me to start DJing. Every band was so eclectic from the other in look and sound. There wasn't the corporate fear in the music industry for everyone to sound alike so each band had their own look, style, sound and approach. It made me want to play their music and promote them on my weekly radio show.
W- You wear many Artistic hats, tell us about your accomplishments.
M - I was a photographer in the United States Army and that transitioned when I got out into videography once I got to Los Angeles in 1995 where I filmed (pre-digital and pre-cell phone) many live concerts of bands I befriended... comedy shows... and fashion shows. I still do it today each Monday at Micky's ... filming (digitally this time) Showgirls, their weekly Drag show, and uploading each performance to their YouTube page I created, Showgirlsweho.
I'm also an actor and beginning at Eastern Kentucky University where I studied Theatre Acting and when I went back to the University in Southern Illinois At Carbondale, after completing the Army, I was 30 to everybody's 20 and got several leading roles in a handful of main stage productions. Also, while there I had my own weekly music video show on the University TV channel where I was host and producer as well as a weekly radio show where I was host and program director of my show. Once here in LA, I was in commercials, an extra in TV shows and films and took many an acting class and workshop, including Playhouse West with actor/teacher Jeff Goldblum and Steppenwolf Classes West with actor/teacher Jeff Perry. I've also acted in several music videos as part of the LA area band Devin Taft & The Traitors.
I'm a drummer and am the drummer of Devin Tait & The Traitors, a local dance, pop, retro band as well as a session/live drummer for hire including a stint I did playing for Erotic City, a Prince Tribute band. We've performed at many an LA venue including, The Viper Room, Saint Rocke, Rainbow Room and others.
I'm also a painter/artist and have created a couple dozen large size acrylic on canvases of Prince and other related artists for a reoccurring club night dedicated to Prince and the many Minneapolis artists he inspired like Vanity 6, Sheila E and many others. The club night was called HEAD. I produced, designed, decorated and DJ/VJed at the now defunct 'The Palms' in WeHo.
My day job is as a writer's assistant for a famous TV/Film comedy writer. I've worked for her over a decade, and before that, as her ex-writing partner for 5 years. During this period, I've learned more from them than any school could offer, becoming a better writer myself.
My other day job is in construction where I work for a waterproofing company. It's creative in its own unique, artistic way.
W- You are a man of many talents... Oil Can Harry's ... You are the resident Disco DJ there on Saturday nights. How long have you been working at the Can and did you have to audition?
M- I've been working at Oil Can Harry's for over a decade. I began there when Bob was alive. A mutual DJ friend, Rick Dominguez, needed a fill-in back when he did the Retro Disco Night and I came on board. I auditioned the first night to see if I was a good fit for the night and it worked great. I left a couple years later due to other obligations but came back on board after Bob passed away and have been there ever since playing the best mix of music, visuals and music videos I can find.
W- What do you see as far as 'trends' in Disco/Dance music at the Can? Or, does it pretty much stay the same and is consistent?
M- The only trends I see are when massive songs like Bruno Mars' Uptown Funk come along. Because the music has such a retro, throwback, funk and disco vibe, people love to request it. It always fills the floor. Other than that, the Retro Disco night stays consistent and the floor is always packed. The classics and even the deep cuts from the Disco era never grow old.
W- As a DJ, when you are spinning, what do you look for on the dance floor to 'invigorate the energy'?
M- Well, the main thing I know is that the better the crowd knows the songs, the more invigorated they'll become and the energy will go through the roof. It's all about the song!!
W- What Artist or Song always packs the dance floor at Oil Cans?
M- ABBA, Sylvester, KC and the Sunshine Band, Xanadu, It's Raining Men, anything by Donna Summer and Diana Ross.
W- What's your favorite decade of music and genre?
M- My favorite decade is the '80s.' If I had to pick a genre it would be New Wave. The style, fashion, music and difference between bands in the '80s' was amazing and no other decade comes close to matching the variety. The '80s' were wonderful. And, Disco in the '70s' was so much more than just the Top 40 hits. All the deep cuts were wonderful too.
W- What's your favorite song and artist?
M- My favorite artist is PRINCE. As for favorite song, that's really, really hard because I love so many through so many of the decades. If I had to choose just ONE favorite song...it would be The Beatles' A Day in the Life.
W- What's your favorite color?
M- My favorite color is a dark, rich, yet vibrant blue.
W- What's your favorite book?
M- So many to choose from. My favorite TYPE of book are biographies. Mainly of music artists because music is my number 1 passion! If I had to choose ONE book? Fiction, would be Stephen King's The Stand. Self Help would be The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.
W- What's your favorite movie?
M- My favorite movie, hands down, is PURPLE RAIN. The musical performances, the cinematography, the solid performances out of acting novices and the best acting Prince ever did. It's really a wondrous musical film.
W- What other clubs have you and do you spin at?
M- Going back to the beginning, I've DJed in bars and clubs in Augsburg, Germany while stationed there in the Army. Illinois while there for college, Dallas, Texas at Moby Dick Video Bar in the gay community while there in the early 2000s for a couple years and in Los Angeles at numerous clubs and bars. Beginning in 1995, my first DJ/VJ job was at the video bar Revolver. The biggest, most important DJ gigs I got was opening DJ for Erasure in 1997 for their Greatest Hits tour at American Legion Hall in LA. The many clubs I've worked at are Firehouse, MJ's, Rage, Love Lounge, The Palms Bar, The Eagle, Cobra, Firehouse, Club Ripples, Mineshaft, The Brit... Presently, on a weekly basis, and for the past decade, or more, I DJ/VJ at Micky's, Trunks Bar, Oil Can Harry's and Bullet Bar.
W- You are one busy man! Thank you, Myles, for sharing your time with me and giving the world a glimpse at what it takes to keep the musical pulse beating at Oil Can Harry's.
Oil Can Harry's is located at 11502 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604/ 818-760-9749
FB: Oil Can Harry's-Studio City
To contact DJ Myles Matisse: firstname.lastname@example.org
FB: Myles Matisse