DEEP is nothing short of a phenomenon driving the dance music scene in Los Angeles and beyond. For 19 years, DEEP has prided itself on procuring and presenting the ﬁnest electronic music DJs and artists from around the world. DEEP forges on as an internationally esteemed sanctuary for house music lovers.
DEEP is much more than the sum of its parts. It is not just an inviting dance floor, deep house records and big bass speakers. It’s not just a successful business venture, a prime destination for international DJs, or a place to grab a cranberry-vodka on a weekend night. It’s not even about the individuals who come to revitalize before another long week at work. No, the true essence of DEEP isn’t visible. It exists within the collective energy of its dedicated patrons, blessing the faithful and free who dance in celebration of life, which, if only once a month, is made of pure bliss.
For 19 years, legions of music lovers have gathered to dance in freedom at LA’s longest-running house music event. The scene here is unlike any other in the city: freestyle dancers break it down along with bohemian revelers in carefree circles across the dance floor. From the old to the young, gay, straight and otherwise, a sense of unity threads together this patchwork of individual expression through music. Yes, this is so much more than a night at a dance club. This is DEEP.
DEEP has witnessed some amazing moments of serendipity, including the one that started it all 19 years ago. One nondescript night in West Hollywood, DEEP founder, Marques Wyatt (an accomplished house music DJ and producer in his own right) was hanging around the Viper Room, watching a friend’s band play. At the time, very few people knew he was looking for a new path after the end of his longstanding involvement with the after-hours event, Does Your Mama Know, but for a reason known only to the universe itself, Viper Room owner, Sal Jenco, approached Marques and asked him if he’d be interested in doing a night at the legendary rock venue. The year was 1998 and DEEP was born right then and there. At the time, the Viper Room’s walls had never heard house music, but the crowd built quickly, drawn to the energy of performances from the resident himself and house music legends like Louie Vega, David Morales, Kerri Chandler, Mark Farina, King Britt, Eric Morillo and Marques Wyatt’s musical mentor, the iconic Frankie Knuckles (RIP). There was a collective understanding of Marques Wyatt’s unflinching dedication to quality music and an open, multi-cultural atmosphere emerged. In pairing a welcoming environment with a line-up of the best electronic DJs and live acts in the world, Marques created nothing short of a phenomenon.
The range of talent performing at DEEP is among the top in the world. Grammy winners Frankie Knuckles (RIP), David Morales, and Louie Vega are all members of the DEEP family. A broad range of performers have graced DEEP, from the up-tempo soul majesty of Tony Humphries, Timmy Regisford and Osunlade to the tech house sounds of Dixon, Âme and Dennis Ferrer to the pulsing rhythms of Ben Watt, Miguel Migs and Mark Farina. Incredible highlights from the past 19 years include DJ Harvey, Dimitri from Paris, Derrick Carter, Francois K, Kaskade, Joe Claussell, Kerri Chandler, King Britt, Osunlade, Doc Martin, the Martinez Brothers and Black Coffee. Many of whom made their LA debuts at DEEP. Also “live” acts like Lisa Shaw and Tortured Soul. In the past few years DEEP has also welcomed the new fresh sounds of artists like Crazy P, Andre Lodemann, Atish, Lum, Sabo, Goldcap, Eduardo Castillo, Hyenah, Öona Dahl, Monolink and many more to keep things musically evolving. And, those beautiful right-place-right-time moments weave through these musical memories of DEEP too, adding to the rich tapestry of serendipity that has emerged within the story of this historic movement. Some of the greatest moments in DEEP's musical history occurred when Prince (RIP) emerged from the shadows and floated to the stage in his ethereal way to tinker with Kerri Chandler’s keyboard. It was absolutely unforgettable. He then came back to visit the DEEP sanctuary a few more times, including the 10 year anniversary when he was spotted next to DJ Spinna playing the air guitar during his set.
Through 19 years of dedication, DEEP has developed from a small weekly Sunday labor of love into something of a Mecca for the house music pilgrim. When DEEP's crowd burst from the seams of the Viper Room about a year after its inception, it was strange coincidence that brought Marques Wyatt and his beautiful mission to 1650. As he tells it, “After a year in existence, the small shell of the Viper Room with a capacity of 250 could no longer contain this house music juggernaut that was taking off. I received word on what was described as an ideal location and walked in the doors of 1650. The second I walked in, I saw my old friend Marc Smith [now of Edison fame] sitting on the stage. He grinned and said, ‘Marques, what took you so long? This is my venue. What night would you like?’ I said, ‘Tomorrow!’ And, that’s where DEEP lived every Sunday for the next five years.”
When DEEP needed another new home (with a larger capacity and longer operating hours), the newly refreshed and remodeled Vanguard space serendipitously popped into view as a prime choice almost four years ago. According to DEEP founder Marques Wyatt, Pasquale Rotella (EDC founder) who had taken it over approached him when he heard he was seeking a new venue. It immediately felt like home. The Hollywood Vanguard’s stellar Funktion One sound system, spacious capacity, later hours of operation, wide dance floor and Buddhist-themed lounge patio perfectly fulfilled DEEP's needs, and the collective euphoria has nestled there ever since.
Now in its 19th year, Deep has become an integral part of the lives of many Angelenos. For example, DEEP fan and friend, filmmaker Scott Peake, courted his wife Gina during the very early stages of DEEP’s existence and both have followed the energy through its evolution, still attending to this day. As if it were meant to be, DEEP became a weekly ritual in their relationship. As Scott describes, “The minute I saw her, I knew she was the one. [When we go to DEEP], we get out on the dance floor and dance together, and it’s like no one’s around but just us.” Now approaching 17 years together, 15 years of marriage and two beautiful children, DEEP has a special resonance with this couple’s story of true love. “DEEP gave us our groove in our relationship,” Gina explains. “It was very special.” The couple even came to DEEP during Gina’s two pregnancies in order to give their sons the gift of rhythm within the womb. Now 11 and 16 years old, both boys dance with the passion and soul of house music guiding their little feet.
So, yes, DEEP is a club night, but it's also so much more. It is a space for freedom and self expression. It’s a safe space for the cultivation of love in many forms. But not only is DEEP a special part of Los Angeles house music culture, it is also a globally respected brand regularly approached to collaborate on events locally and throughout the world. In addition to annual events, Marques Wyatt regularly collaborates with promoters and clubs throughout the world to plant the seeds of Deep’s profound and invisible energy. DEEP was also invited to come on board and partner with the first RHA festival in Mexico last June. Due to it’s success, DEEP has signed on for 2018 as well.
DEEP has also proven to be a high-profile stamp of approval a la Ministry of Sound in London for the resumes of DJs world-wide. Marques Wyatt and his DEEP team have dedicated themselves to bringing forward a vision to create a global infrastructure for the dance community. This vision is channeled via continual touring, an upcoming set of DEEP mix podcasts and DEEP Cares, a non-profit branch of the DEEP organization focusing on benefiting charity and promoting service to the community and beyond.
Because of its early roots, establishing itself on Sunday nights and its soulful, welcoming, cleansing essence, DEEP has become a ritual for its most dedicated followers. After many years, these veterans still refer to the musical sanctuary as “church”, as well as a “tribal affair.” DEEP has certainly maintained that spiritual quality although now mainly on Saturday nights, with the exception of Sunday pool parties and other special events. It is not a place to see and be seen, but to love and be loved. It is not a place for judgment, but acceptance. A place for freedom and the life force borne of the unseen collective energy that comes from deep within and blossoms in the presence of like minds freed by soul-release. This is DEEP.