DJ Justin Case hosts Red Velvet Nights, billed as "Music You Can Smoke To," on alternating Sundays at the Lava Lounge (including this Sunday, October 4). He's also a buyer for Easy Street Records in West Seattle and a writer for The Big Takeover, a super-smart music zine from New York City. He's a shy little thing--and one of the most loyal local music patrons this town has.
So how would you define "music you can smoke to"? "It's a cinematic style--think of a red velvet lounge with cool grooves and lots of shadows. It ranges from Nick Cave to Portishead, Dean Martin to the Dandy Warhols... Peggy Lee and Anita Lane--just music that makes you want to lean back, nod your head to the rhythm, and enjoy being in the night with smoke curling up over your drink. It's definitely about the right beat."
Does it work? Are a lot of folks puffing away when you play? "I'm not sure if the music I play increases the amount of smoke, but I just try and make it more of a pleasure thing. Smoother, you know?"
What song makes you want to put your cigarette out? "Oh, probably anything by Pearl Jam or Lenny Kravitz. 'Are You Gonna Go My Way'--can't smoke to that."
Name one band that critics seem to love but you don't. "Well, right now, I'd have to say the Strokes."
Why? "I love all of their obvious influences, but I think they need some more time to find their own voice. I'm sure they'll be amazing in a couple of years, but for now I'll pass."
What about the inverse? Any uncool guilty pleasures? "Guilty pleasures? I don't feel guilty about listening to any music, but the 'uncoolest' would probably be the Thompson Twins. I still pull out Into the Gap from time to time. Or maybe Ned's Atomic Dustbin."