Tucked away in a neighborhood on the East side of Austin lies a small, nondescript, rust-red shack with a few lights along the roof and a painted white sign that reads "Scoot Inn" in red stenciled letters. What used to be a hole in the wall Tejano bar currently houses one of the best "get aways" in Austin: Night Fever. A monthly event that demands you wear your dancing shoes and check your inhibitions at the door, Night Fever allows you to escape from the daily grind and groove the night away.
Jeff Strange of Strangetribe Productions and Papa Chop of Soul of the Boot Entertainment have an affinity for sharing their positive energy with others. Night Fever is their newest venture that brings the gamut of turn-tablism into an energy-fueled, five-hour frenzy on the last Saturday of each month.
In collaboration with Wax Poetics Magazine, Jeff Strange and Scott Romero (aka Papa Chop) brought this unique concept to fruition, with the help of local creatives such as painter, b.e. Strange, and Zappy Springs Photography, among others. Night Fever is not just another party with a DJ; it is a living, dancing entity with heart and soul. It’s a sexy night under the stars, a night to unwind. It’s an experience to look forward to month after month.
Amy and I met Jeff and Papa Chop at Cipolinna’s for lunch. We learned about their vision behind Night Fever, its conception, and a glimpse of what is coming up. This is a labor of love for these two hard working music promoters, which became evident within the first few minutes with them.
Jeff: We came together because of sharing a similar taste in music and Chop was always reaching out to me, giving me love, sending me props on events. He was in school for music and I was doing music, it built really fast. We became friends and then we became partners.
Papa Chop: Yeah, I didn't really know anybody. I figured I had to get to know the one that was doin’ the freshest stuff and we could go from there.
Meg: What was the first event that you did together?
Jeff: Umm, my birthday party, August of 2009. It was at Social, the old Whisky Bar… Night Fever Volume IV (August 28) marked our one year anniversary.
Papa Chop: Peligrosa was on the bill… I was very green to the actual live event and the logistics that goes into putting together an event and lining everybody, getting the right people acquainted and then actually taking care of the business. You know, you take care of the pay outs, you need to take care of all that stuff, so I was broken in right off the bat...
Jeff: He's in charge of all the paper work.
Papa Chop: Because I'm good at it, and because I don’t mind doin’ it… We know what each other’s strengths and weaknesses are and we feel each other out so we kinda just acclimate into what duties we need to do… Jeff has a lot of years on me as far as negotiating and putting things together and there are certain things that he is really good at. He has a lot of ties to the artists, sponsors, venue owners and people here too.
Jeff: I'm glad you said that because I wasn't quite sure what my strength was.
Papa Chop: Well that's okay man, I mean that's why we partners, for lack of a better word.
Meg: Can you please explain the concept of Night Fever from its inception?
Jeff: We did not want Night Fever to be any specific repetitive night. We did not want it to be your normal hip-hop night or house music night or funk night. You know, we are music lovers. We did not want to go one directional so we came up with the concept of exploring all the genres of music… So that’s what made us come up with the idea of booking the talent and genres and then marketing each month as a different theme. And outside of that it's not even just about the music, you know, it's more like art and culture to us. So that is why we like to have all of these other things going on at the same time. We have the record fair and we have the live art, just to have different twist and different things going on within the night itself.
Papa Chop: Yeah, I mean, I see it like we both have two separate entities. Jeff has Strangetribe, which has been livin’ and breathin’ and I have Soul of the Boot. You know, we are both individual owners of these entities so we were running parallel but we also needed to meet somewhere where we have in common, something that we shared… I mean, a lot of people think that it was all driven by Wax Poetics, but it really wasn't. It was driven by our experience with Wax Poetics during SXSW in seeing that they had a lot of love for Austin and what was going on here.
So in essence, we proposed to Wax Poetics, if they wanted to be a part of it and if they would give us the inside track what the bimonthly issue content was going to be… You know, we’ve done three themed events and they give us the inside scoop. So every other month is driven by the issue release but the in-betweens we select the genres that we prefer to work…You know, we want it to be consistent; we are trying to reflect the rich publication that it is, because it really is. It is one of the finest publications for music lovers and for people who dig, like to see something that is not top 40, something that you will not hear on the radio.
Amy: We want to know about Halloween. Do ya’ll know what your costumes are going to be?
Jeff: I’m going as Papa Chop.
Papa Chop: And I’m going as Jeff Strange.
Jeff: (points to Papa Chop's hat) can I borrow this? I’m going to cut my beard the way you do. Ima borrow your jeans so I can wear ‘em extra tight.
Papa Chop: I was thinking about going as our headliner.
Jeff: Like a flat billed hat and big-rimmed glasses?
Papa Chop: Big Puma shoes, all black, and skinny jeans.
Jeff: Maybe like, a fedora sitting just on top of your head.
Papa Chop: And maybe a scarf, even though he’s still in Austin, a light weight scarf… big, big, black rimmed glasses, nice shadowed beard, of Puerto Rican descent.
Meg: Wait, Chico Mann? That sounds amazing.
Papa Chop: Their new album is going to be released by Wax Poetics. They have a record label so the record release is officially October 26 and we’re doing the Austin release party for Night Fever Volume VI.
Meg: I thought he played one of the best shows during SXSW.
Jeff: Yes, a lot of people would agree.
Papa Chop: That’s one of the reasons he’s coming back because he knows that he influenced some people. They really have a unique sound, amazing personalities and just wonderful creativity and I mean last time at SXSW during their Funk Aid, their set got cut to like 30 minutes.
Jeff: Everyone was booin’ and…
Papa Chop: They were totally murdering their set, so they’re going to get as much time as they possibly can. If they possibly, I mean, if they want two hours, they gonna get it this time, if they wanna play every song they got, whatever they wanna do, it’s gonna be their show case. So they comin’ back, for Halloween.
Jeff: The Saturday night before Halloween, the 30th
Papa Chop: So just picture some big piñatas hanging in the rafters and having like, a piñata contest, like, it’s gonna be really great. Of course, it would be hard not to be Latin themed with Peligrosa and Chico Mann because they are very much embedded in the new Latin sound, electronic Latin sound. It’s gonna be Latin themed.
Jeff: Latin freestyle Halloween.
Papa Chop: That’s what it should be.
Photos courtesy of Suburbane Style