The following is a submission to THINK ACT CONNECT, a platform to share action, inspiration, work, resilience, and justice
My insane quarantine project was to recreate a setlist of every song I played at Antioch College’s twice-weekly dances Fall ’89-Spring ’94, in the order of which they would’ve been played.
The resulting 80 hour (!) Spotify playlist is compiled here.
Listen on random if you must, but you’ll be missing out on the very precise sequencing.
I learned a lot of things at Antioch College, but one of the things I learned the most about was how to successfully DJ a 2 to 4 hour set that had to please a wide spectrum of folks looking to get their groove on. Everyone from hippies to hip-hop heads to rave kidz to ’80s pop fanatics to alt-rock fans, to radical queers to those newly discovering and exploring their sexualities and beyond.
Antioch had dances twice a week (Wednesdays and Saturdays)and one major one at the end of the quarter called Div Dance. For real some of the best times I had in college was playing music for that crazy assortment of folk. I loved feeding off their approving energy as I laid down the groove and inched my way from genre to genre. These days, I’d be called an Open Format DJ — throwing in a little bit of everything like @questlove or @ztrip or the late, great DJ A/M.
Anyway, my college pal Melaina reached out to me saying she was tired of dancing in quarantine to her 10 fave songs and was curious to see if I had a playlist of the tunes I played at Antioch she could dance to. I did not, so I shared with her my Spotify workout playlist– which is basically 1900 of my fave songs that are all filled with the good groove from different genres she was looking for. Here’s that one.
But that request got me to thinking: perhaps I *should* have a playlist of the songs I played at Antioch College. What else do I have to do aside from respond to listings for jobs that won’t actually be hiring for a month (at best)? So, I did it. I made a massive Spotify playlist of basically every song I ever played at an Antioch dance [excluding De La Soul, whose best albums are not available to stream due to rights issues & music biz politics. And no Dr. Dre. because The Chronic isn’t on Spotify].
[Which makes this playlist almost entirely invalid: on a good night I could really just play De La->Tribe->Public Enemy->Beastie Boys->Cypress Hill->Dr. Dre->Arrested Development->Prince->Madonna->Aretha Franklin->Michael Jackson in a cycle and people would lose their shit.]
Since I had nothing better to do, this is actually curated in a sequence as if it was one long set– the first 20 hours or so of it are songs I would’ve played from 10 – 11:30-ish IN ORDER THEY WOULD BE PLAYED.
Then the next 52 hours are bangers and crowd faves I would’ve played 11:30 – 01:00 IN ORDER THEY WOULD BE PLAYED.
And then closing it out with 8 hours or so of slower songs and more esoteric choices designed to send people off to bed that I woulda played 01:00 – 02:00 again IN ORDER THEY WOULD BE PLAYED.
If you’re looking at this playlist and saying “Nice, but I never heard you play ‘Saborosa’ by the Beastie Boys,” well to you I say you never showed up early enough to hear it.
Samsies if you’re saying “You never played ‘Into The Groove(y)’ by Sonic Youth side project Ciccone Youth. I’m very hip, I would remember that.” To you I say, you never stayed long enough to hear me play it to get people to clear the dance floor and go to bed.
Because I am insane, I was very careful to only include songs released before I graduated in June 1994. I researched release dates for edge-cases. Very intense work.
And I went deep. Examples: Thanks to my pal Jacqueline, who brought the song to my attention, Austin band Bouffant Jellyfish’s “Shrimp and Chicken Jambo” became a funk-thrash classic at least to those of us in Yellow Springs, OH. And, miraculously, it’s on Spotify!
If you’re anything like me, you have fond memories of singing along at the top of your lungs to 2 Nice Girls’ “The Queer Song” but somehow haven’t thought of it in 26 years. It’s here on this playlist, sandwiched between Iggy Pop’ and Violent Femmes.
About Randy Reiss '94
Randy Reiss, Class of 1994—the pride of Birmingham, MI— is a Digital Content Production Operations Manager who moved to San Francisco the Fall after he graduated to chase his very early, ahead of the curve dot-com dreams. He never left and by hook or by crook was able to slap together a career in the online entertainment space with stints at Sony, Apple, Shazam, and Google (among others).
Thank you so much for all of these great throw backs! Makes being in quarantine so much smoother!
Can’t wait to dance to some of these on Saturday Night. Great playlist.