Dark Wave Disco rings in five years at the forefront of the local electro scene.
By Joshua P. Ferguson
Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 04.15.10
With its ability to push sound systems into the red and induce fits of fist-pumping fury, electro has taken over as the hottest of hot club sounds. For further evidence, simply look to Deadmau5’s recent celebrity appearance on Gossip Girl, where he (and his Mau5 head) provided the beats for a fashion show. But electro’s rise has been relatively meteoric: Five years ago, it was barely a blip on the music industry’s radar—but not for Greg Corner, Mark Gertz or Miguel Martin, the main DJs of Chicago-based indie electro outfit Dark Wave Disco.
The trio—often joined by Arturo Valle on live visuals and Paul Rodriguez as host and graphic designer—started throwing packed indie-rock and electro ragers at Sonotheque in 2005 and kept them running through the summer of 2009. They also branched out to other venues, garnering high-profile bookings at Smart Bar, Vision and elsewhere—with their gothic-hipster following in tow.
“When we started the party, there was no MSTRKRFT, there was no Justice, there weren’t any of those guys,” says Corner, 35, the punky-haired bassist for local rock band Kill Hannah. “At one of our first parties, I remember bringing Justice in and playing that for the guys and them being like, ‘What the fuck is that?’” Fast-forward to earlier last month, when the group celebrated its five-year anniversary at Beauty Bar.
Dark Wave Disco has introduced Chicago to many of electro’s biggest acts. Headliners have included A-Trak, Steve Aoki, the Teenagers, Villains and Uffie; the latter was one of the party’s most successful nights. “[Uffie] was sitting there slamming drinks,” Gertz, 32, recalls with a laugh. “She’s this teeny little girl sitting in the VIP area, super wasted, and I’m thinking she can barely stand up. But she staggered up to the stage, grabbed the microphone and started spitting fire. She had the whole room going nuts and crowd surfing.”