Reflections on Bring the Noise



There was an electricity in the air, cliche as it sounds. Curators, tastemakers, artisans, musicians. D.C. based performers and creatives filled the Howard that night: a warm night in February, itself a sign of changing atmospheres.

D.C. culture has been changing for some time. One Love Massive has been on the forefront of this shift, championing countless DMV based talents and sounds, forward thinking businesses, and spaces for art throughout the last decade and a half. This is in the face of gentrification and a cityscape which bustles faster than ever; in the face of an evolving populace with new tastes and palettes. Now, is our time, however – a sentiment shared by One Love Massive’s founder, Molly Ruland, who has stayed here in D.C. and is surviving. And she wants the creatives of the DMV to survive, as well, by helping construct and perpetuate a culture of family, collaboration, and a respect for each other’s hustle.

Hence, Bring the Noise was born.

The Howard, a cultural cornerstone of Washington, D.C. nightlife, was our landscape. Steeped in history, a pillar of everything that represents struggle for the sake of art, identity for the sake of visibility, and community for the sake of family, the Howard Theatre is a place where magic is born. With this landmark as our backdrop, Bring the Noise commenced.

Featuring a line-up of talents from the DMV such as DJ Kool, Reesa Renee, Rare Essence, and Born I Music, Bring the Noise was a culmination in everything which makes D.C. so spectacular for artists. Sharing a space with a crowd primarily consisting of the area’s movers, shakers, artists, and tastemakers, an environment which promoted stout camaraderie, the Howard became a home for us. A place where everyone vibed, understood, and had an appreciation for each other’s time, talent, and love for their scene.

It was a historic time during a historic time: a breeding ground filled with a hive mind of left-of-center individuals with the shared interest of having their voices heard and making an inclusive circle of positive thinking entertainers. In other words, Bring the Noise was the kind of thing we see in documentaries 20 years after the fact. The kind of stories which becomes legends: Kool Herc’s first party in the Bronx; Shep Gordon’s hotel room at the Landmark in the 60s; Skrillex handing “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” to deadmau5 backstage at a HARD Events party. We were channeling something bigger than ourselves that night – drafting a launchpad which screamed, “Even if its just us against the world, at least there’s enough of us here who share the same ideals and commitment to where we’re coming from.”

It was an intimate crowd, but an important memory. Seeing the legendary DJ Kool share the stage with D.C. O.G. go-go act Rare Essence or the enigmatic Jody VHS rip bars alongside Ezko, all while people who cared made up the bodies at the bar, in the wings, in the balcony, was inspiring and bred goodwill. By the time Crossrhodes hit the stage, for a soulful nightcap of warm hip-hop tinged grooves, the crowd had thinned, but the spirit had blossomed. For a night centered around building out One Love Massive’s studio, for the scene and its collective members, the point was expertly driven home.

We brought the noise. It was witnessed. There’s nothing that can take that away from our culture and, as long as we have the hunger or the fight or the chutzpah to have our voices heard, in the halls of venues like the Howard or otherwise, we have strength. That strength comes from the camaraderie, from the sense of family, from the fact that we have each other, and we have outlets like One Love Massive who support us – and the select few who support them. And the voices which rung out that night, on the stage of the Howard, will forever ring out in the annals of this strip off Florida, just around the corner from U Street, cementing a place in history. Our history.

About David Everett

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