Tonight: The return of weekly club night The Root Down
In a notoriously transient city like Los Angeles, 13 years of throwing a weekly party qualifies for a Lou Gehrig-level of longevity. And in terms of any discussion pertaining to Hall of Fame club nights, The Root Down deserves a prominent place in the conversation.
So after "Music Man" Miles Tackett and his partner Loslito decided to take a hiatus last year from the weekly ritual, it was tempting to wonder whether it was the end of an era. Thankfully, after a period to regroup and for Tackett to tour the globe with his Breakestra, the seminal funk and hip-hop night has returned to the former Gabah at 4916 Hollywood Blvd.
Boasting a powerhouse slate of DJ's in Music Man Miles, Loslito, Sloe Poke, DJ Expo, Ervin Arana, DJ Jedi and Burt Blackarach, the night's history includes performances from nearly every legendary underground hip-hop group, including Latyrx, the early Black Eyed Peas, Jurassic 5, Company Flow, Dilated Peoples and Freestyle Fellowship.
In honor of the weekly's return to the realm of the living, Pop & Hiss spoke to Tackett about his plans for the night and why he decided to continue to kick it root down.
Why did you guys decide to take the Root Down hiatus?
After doing it for 13 years, my partner and I needed a break. We were always very hands-on about doing the night, and between dealing with booking agents and all the details, it grew tiresome. Plus, the location we were at [El Cid] wasn’t the best place -- it felt awkward there. So we decided we deserved a break. Plus, I was just about to start the new Breakestra record and touring and wasn’t going to be able to put much time into it.
Did you ever think you wouldn't come back to doing Root Down?
We didn’t have any real plans for the future. We never said never, but we knew that there was no guarantee that we'd do it again. Although we actually did three nights over at the original spot before it was demolished. We were tempted to just do monthly and random one-offs, but the owner of the new spot approached us and we said, why not. We still get hit up by a lot of people who ask, 'When are you bringing Root Down back?' We felt like it was an obligation. There are other things out there, but there's really nothing like Root Down that's filled the void.
For someone who has never been to Root Down, how would you describe it?
It’s a spot that connects the dots between old and new funk and hip hop. It's from a DJ's musical standpoint and there's often live music and guest performances. It's a home for styles that often don’t have a place. An island of abandoned toys for funk and rap music.
Are there any big guest performers planned in the next few weeks?
I’m bringing Breakestra through next week, and this week is the relaunch with just the DJs. For now, we’re going to keep it open and have it not be as guest-heavy. We're trying to keep it more for the DJs. We've got a very big sound system.
What else is going to be different about this new incarnation of Root Down?
We’re welcoming a new member, an MC/host, KG Superstar. He’s a really good host and party MC. We're always doing Root Down in the memory of DJ Dusk -- he's always in our minds and hearts.
What have you been listening to lately?
I'm always listening to a lot of different sounds, but I haven’t been listening to a lot of new stuff lately. I really liked the last Quantic record, the last Quadron record and Cut Chemist's new mix. His ear for mixing things is really outstanding. I still do Funky Sole every Saturday night, and I'm always going through rare groove and funk records. There's always something new to find.
-- Jeff Weiss