AVR #02 – (Hosted by Jake Stellarwell) feat Grand Afair w/ Edward Navarro and Scotty Oh!

Shouts to all that ‘tuned in’ for AVR 01 with Star Creature, was a nice kickoff indeed.

For Episode 2, I’ve invited the boys of Grand Affair in Phoenix, Scotty Oh! and Edward Navarro. These guys work really hard making Phoenix a fun place to live. And, their open-air, day-into-night party at ThirdSpace has played host to the likes of: Kai Alce, Tim Zawada, Jimpster, Zernell, Eddie C, and many others. Early on, I had the pleasure of helping them get the party off the ground and know first-hand what care they bestow upon their events, so it’s with great pleasure that I get to introduce them to you.

Check out the Interview with Grand Affair below

Interview with Grand Affair

Jake: Scott, you were already DJing a bit when I first met you 10 or so years ago. How/when did you first get started and is it true you were ‘house party DJing’ with Avalon Emerson around this time?

Scott (Grand Affair): The first gigs that took me out of my bedroom were actually breakdance battles in ‘05. I checked out a newly formed hip-hop group at ASU and it ended up being all Bboys and myself as the only aspiring DJ. My tastes at the time were more rooted in Funk and Hip-Hop, so it was a great fit and an inspiring introduction to what DJing was and could be about. At this point, I was good friends with Avalon. She had a number of house parties and I remember DJing at least a couple of them. She even wore the headphones and went hands-on on a few occasions. It’s a nice thought to think if those times had any influence on her pursuing the craft as wholeheartedly as she’s done. I’m proud of what she’s accomplished.

Edward, I know you grew up around dance music and DJing in some form. When was it you first started buying/playing records?

Edward (Grand Affair): Around ’96, I began to inherit record collections and practice at my uncle’s house, whose roommate was a DJ. By ’97, I started to purchase records with allowance money at Circles Records & Tapes, Style Rock Shop, Swell Records and Tracks in Wax; I would play them on two Gemini belt-drive turntables.

Scott, you buy & sell records right? How long have you been doing that? And, what’s some of the more exciting pieces you’ve come across over the years?

Scott (Grand Affair): I started selling 5 years ago, but have been buying and digging since around ’05. Shout out to my antique dealing mom, who contributed greatly to my digging through garage sale trips and even a few leads on superb estate sale collections. My most exciting collection score is probably from a Phoenix DJ that was active in the ‘80s/’90s. Through this collection, I learned about the small but great little Funk/Boogie/Soul scene Phoenix had in the early ‘80s. I scored 45s from labels like OK&T, Sunrise/Sunryse, and Star Charts. Another recent core was for the funky underground classic, ‘Knock U Out’ by Slang. Can’t beat $6 shipped for a VG+!

Edward, didn’t you attend school for Music Production/Audio Engineering in the Bay Area? When was this and how was your time there? Has that education informed your DJing at all?

Edward (Grand Affair): I attended The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences in AZ, but completed the program with an internship at Asphodel; a record label and recording studio that was located in the Bay. This was summer of 2004. My experience was incredible, memorable and educational, but also a bit of a culture-shock at times, as the desert is quite different than Northern CA. Some of the knowledge gained can carry over to DJing, but it applies more to the production aspects of running an event.

Scott, what makes Grand Affair such a special event? I ask because it has such a great vibe, what’s the secret?

Scott (Grand Affair): Since the beginning, we committed to creating a space of inclusion & comfort, while showcasing music with feeling. Inclusion from the artists we book, to the local guests we showcase, to the welcoming atmosphere where even families drop by without feeling out of place. A unique appeal to Grand Affair, is its day-into-night approach. Starting at 4 pm and wrapping up at 10, this timing allows the music programming to be more varied, fostering a journey-esque approach showcasing many different styles.

Edward, when and how did the GA event get started? The party has hosted some pretty big names along with lesser known talent, how do you decide who gets to play a Grand Affair party?

Edward (Grand Affair): Grand Affair begin in 2015. We didn’t have any residencies at the time, so we brainstormed and searched for venues and when we found ThirdSpace we approached them with our idea. There weren’t any open-air parties happening in Phoenix at the time, so it made sense. The first one was a near disaster – it rained! We were forced to move the “outdoor” party indoors (sorry Eddie C). Looking back at the last four years though, we’re honored to have hosted all that talent, but there’s no rhyme or reason as to who get’s to play. Let’s see what the future has in store!

What would you like people to know about the underground music scene in Phoenix?

Edward (Grand Affair): Phoenix has more talent and history than it get’s credit for. You just have to weed through all the EDM/Tech House stuff.

Scott (Grand Affair): Our scene is young, but spirited and growing. What we lack in world-class clubs, we make up for in passion and a DIY spirit.

Thanks for the Q&A routine, much appreciated. Can you tell the readers about the mix you’ve provided?

Scott & Edward: The mix consists of mostly vinyl selections of timeless and relevant music. It’s representative of what can be heard at a Grand Affair party.