• Local producer creates intermedia art out of DJ gig
By Katie Emerick
There’s little doubt that Homer’s been building itself up as a substantial place to hear live music. Almost nightly, one of the town’s various stages will offer up a demonstration of its many local musical talents. Often absent from the spectrum, however, are the DJs. With the exception of the Alibi, which has long delivered electronic recordings from various mixers, an evening of DJ compilations has remained largely occasional. Team Danger hopes to change that. Combining both audio and visual medias for the total dance experience, Kevin Co is flush with diverse arrays of underground pop and world beat sounds accompanied by wildly weird projections.
Co, a local filmmaker and multimedia producer who’s been lending his skills to many different projects around town and state for years now, was the mastermind behind the detailed projections that created a setting for last summer’s production of Hedwig. His work gave the essentially prop-less show an added depth that touched not only the imagination, but also symbols of reality.
In fact, it was from Hedwig that the idea for Team Danger manifested. According to Eve Cook, who is in charge of booking acts at Kharacters, it was during bar performances by the Hedwig band that Co would fill set breaks with playlists off his IPod.
“Kevin would put on these mixes and I’d look up to see all of these people dancing,” Cook said.
In the current economic climate, where paying for a full band to perform can be difficult, Cook said she was looking for further entertainment options that are more easily affordable. Enter Co and Team Danger.
In addition to his extravaganza of projected visual barrages, Co brings a musical mix full of an urban sense of diversity and artistry. Born and based in New York City before resettling in Homer, Co received his college education at the Brooklyn-based Pratt Institute.
“Team Danger is a direct off-shoot of Hedwig as a side project,” Co explained. “In another way, it’s a continuation of the small rooftop parties I’d go to in Brooklyn. Team Danger provides a space for me to experiment with new ideas and share cool things that I’ve seen each week.”
Co’s exposure and experience to the underground music and art scene of NYC is something that comes across in his musical selection — as well as in the contemporary artistry he shows in the montage of footage used in his projections. Danceable world rhythms from such bands as the Balkan Beat Box to the Brooklyn electronic pop ensemble, “Chairlift,” bring dancers to the floor. As Co described, “A lot of the music I play comes directly from my old zip code.”
But Team Danger is also an inclusive event that draws off crowd participation and requests.
“There’s a lot of singing involved too,” said Co. “I play a lot of older stuff too, like Rocky Horror; music people know. I was a thespian in high school and there are certain things all thespians understand — like Gypsy Rose Lee and Grease — I include that too.”
It’s that element of communal interaction that makes Team Danger a unique event. As Co sees it, everyone contributes to the night whether through requests of songs or the videos displayed. There’s an emotional content to each song, and to the videos, but it’s the audience that links the two.
Projections from old movies, Sesame Street, cartoons, astrology videos and particularly footage created by personal friends’ projects, everything is controlled via Co’s computer and assimilates into the music; moving and changing with the beats.
“As a video editor, I’m constantly seeing new things,” Co explained. “Team Danger is a big pot that I keep throwing different things into. I would never be satisfied simply sitting there and playing music. The video moves the event beyond simply passively listening to music, it creates more of a spectacle.”
Often the presence of live performers, which has included Co himself on the accordion, adds to the crazy mix of intoxicating madness. Even die-hard non-dancers have a hard time avoiding the dance floor.
“I think Kevin’s an extremely creative person,” Cook said of Co. “He brings a different type of music that veers from the popular mainstream genre, but is still very danceable. Where else can you hear the Night Rider theme with songs from Peter and the Wolf being played over it?”
The ingenuity of what Co is ultimately doing is creating a weekly demonstration that bridges live entertainment into a world that encourages intermedia performance art. And the effect has been successful. What began as sporadic shows have led to regular gigs for Co, not only at Kharacters, but other venues as well.
“Kevin’s tapping into a different spectrum and he’s developed a following,” Cook said. “He’s not afraid to explore musically, and with his projections, he puts on a really creative show. You never know what to expect.”
When: Saturday, 10 p.m.
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