Statick: Interview with DJ Jason Ash

Tell us a little bit of the history behind how Statick began. How long have you been doing Statick now? Why the name “Statick”?

Jason Ash: The idea for Statick started with me doing a guest DJ set at another venue. It’d been a while since my last gig… and it made me want to start something new. Something closer to Eastown. I knew I could draw more people, if they didn’t have to drive as far as some of the other venues…and worry about getting arrested. So, I sent a message to Lyndi (manager Billy’s + Mulligan’s), inquiring about doing it at Billy’s. After the discussion and hype started…we decided to transform a storage space connected to Mulligan’s, and open it as the ::other side:: . A venue.

Now tell us a little bit about yourself as a DJ and musician. How long have you been creating your own music? Your time as a DJ? What got you started in each field? What keeps you going?

JA: From mix tapes and remixes as a kid, to playing shows and recording albums in bands, to working solo…I’d say my whole life. But, honesty working hard at it…probably around 12 years.

I had my first DJ gig back in ‘99-‘00 at the old Liquid Room…co DJ’d a night with Colin Clive, called (R)evolution @ Jukes back in ‘05 or something like that, that lasted a year before I quit, and other random guest DJ slots. The highlight for me was DJ’ing the Seabound + De/vision tour earlier this year in Chicago. I had waited years to see both groups, and to open for them was a minor dream come true.

I keep going because I have to. It’s an obsession…and making/playing/listening to music makes my life feel worth it…like I’m successful at something. Without it…without the arts/creativity…I’d imagine my life would feel very empty.

What might someone expect from a first visit to Statick?

My hope, is that they see underground culture is alive and well in Grand Rapids. I hope they see it in the look of the place, the music that’s played, and the people that make it a monthly success.

What variety of styles do you play at Statick? How does the music you create yourself compare?

The listing says something like synthpop/ebm-industrial/retro…I chose the titles/genres..because I love 80’s synthpop, and I love the effect EBM/Industrial has had…making it harsher, or darker…or just plain meaningful. The retro songs I play are basically thrown in to provide a history lesson…a bridge to where we are now in the genres.

The music I make in Assemble The Ash (assembletheash.com) is quite different. Though, had you asked me this 2 years ago..I would have said they were similar in some respects. ATA is a different mental journey entirely…though it is still electronic.

Do you feel a connection to a specific genre more than any other?

Synthpop. From Depeche Mode to VNV…you just can’t go wrong.

If for some reason you were no longer able to host this night at Mulligan’s, would you try to find another venue? Do you think there is another venue in this town that is really suited to a night like this?

I love a lot of venues in this town! I would love to have Statick at Crush or Moxie w/ our crowd! Crush…ha! It’d be awesome to rock the B.O.B. with some Combichrist!

How much work goes into your preparation each month for this night? Is there any desire to host this night a second time (or more) in a month? Or do you feel once is plenty considering the Grand Rapids climate?

OMG…it’s a never ending thing with me. I’m constantly reading articles on new groups, new releases, who’s playing what, reactions to different songs…etc. That’s an almost daily thing with me that feeds into Statick. Statick is current! That was my desire all along…to be cutting edge and current with the new releases + remixes.

Once a month is perfect. The scene couldn’t handle more than that…nor could I. I put sooo much work into this before the actual event kicks off…that to do it once more I’d want the venue to make my rent payment just to have me. It looks easy, but it’s exhausting.

Tell us about the lovely platform dancers. Who they are, why they are, etc? Do you feel there would be a real void without them?

The Devil Dolls.

Miss Pussykatt has her paws in a lot of things, and we’re lucky to have her. Mulligan’s wanted to add the go-go boxes and dancers…and I was like, alright let’s get this thing going!

How would you rate the Grand Rapids scene as compared with similar scenes in Detroit, Chicago, and other cities with more dedicated clubs? Not to mention Europe…

Grand Rapids is on par. Just a much much smaller scale. I think Statick has allowed the “freaks” to really come out and play once a month. And, just like all the other cities…we have a mix of “just checking it out” too.

Is there anything you would like to say to the locals about Statick? The regulars, the occasionals, the people in Mulligan’s who stay in the regular bar area while it is going on, the people who have no idea what this night is…

Hmmm…

To the locals…If you used to like some of the older clubs here in town, you should make the trip. It’ll be a retro trip for you.

To those who drink in the bar…”hey, the bar looks nice and full with you…out there”

To those who have no idea…Statick is a dance night that caters to the Industrial/Goth/Alternative scenes…but, you may hear some Ice Cube too…who knows? As with most nights…to truly gauge it, you need to form your own opinion by actually checking it out…

Do you have special plans for a Halloween edition of Statick that you can share?

It’s our 1 year Anniversary, our 13 edition, and it falls on Devils Night….so, yea we’ll have a theme of some sort tba…sorry 😉

Is there anything you would like to ask of anyone out there? Any other comments or remarks of any kind?

Ask of anyone…nope.

Just a simple Thank You to everyone for your support of Statick, Assemble The Ash and GR’s Underground scene. *cheers*

Thank you for your time!