The Night I Fell in Love With Dance Music: Armand Van Helden
Boston-bred DJ and producer Armand Van Helden pens this story about the moment that he fell in love with dance music.This article originally appeared on Insomniac
Here, in his own words, Van Helden tells the story of the night he fell in love with house music.
One night, a friend of mine goes, “Hey, let’s go to this after-hours, this underground thing.” All the clubs in Boston ended at 2am. I was like, “Okay, sure.” I had heard of house music maybe a year or two before that. People had been like, “Hey, have you heard of house music?” and I was like, “Yeah, I don’t like it because the beat never changes.” It was the same beat, the kick drum kind of just repeating; it didn’t break up like it did in hip-hop or freestyle. I kind of pushed it off to the side, but I hadn’t experienced it.
So, I went to this club in Boston called Club M. This was winter of 1988. It was cold. I remember showing up to the place, and steam was coming out of the windows. I’m dead serious. It looked like an abandoned warehouse with steam coming out of the windows. I was like, “What is this place?” You had to walk up a kind of fire escape to enter.
We walked in, and it was dark. There were maybe a couple lights, a strobe, and a tiny disco ball. The place was steaming hot, and maybe 98 percent black. I obviously can’t pass for black, and my friend was Puerto Rican, so we kind of stood out in a sense, but he had been there before, so people knew him. There wasn’t any racial beef anyway, but if you go to something that’s all one race, you tend to feel out of your element, in a sense. There were definitely no white people. Everyone was black, with a few Spanish people.
Editors note: This article has been abridged to exclusively include an excerpt from Armand's personal narrative.