DJ Guest List: Live From Envy 07/25/1998
Like the Keyser Söze of kitsch '90s house, the prologue preceding the following mix from DJ Guest List deserves a place on the list, true story or not.
"During the summer, there are lots of garage and moving away sales in my neighborhood. Most of the time theres nothing but old kitchen wares and chachkis for sale, but once in a while you can find an absolute treasure. A few weeks ago I found this amazing boombox for sale amidst a bunch of clunkers at a garage sale, and I couldn’t resist getting it and lugging it home. When I put in some new batteries, however, I realized there was an old cassette, with nothing but “DJ GUEST LIST - 07/25/1998” written on it in masking tape. What I found on that cassette was incredibly in tune with what I love to spin and love to hear played out, and couldn’t believe everything was from almost 20 years ago.
The next day I went back to the person who sold me it, a nice old guy in his 40s who seemed permanently zenned out. With the cassette in hand, I asked if he had any idea who or what 'DJ Guest List' was. He popped it in to one of the other tape players he had and when the music started playing, I could see the euphoria and nostalgia flood through him. He excused himself for a second, went back inside his house, and came back with a huge binder filled with 90s rave posters and bills, filled with some of the more hideous and incredible art I had seen in recent years. Flipping through the pages, he found the event in question, called “ENVY”, and told me how he came to own this recording.
Back throughout the 90s, dave (the garage sale man) and his friends used to organize and run raves throughout the midwest, becoming semi-successful before burning out from the business all together. His role in the operations was running sound, making sure the empty warehouses and abandoned lots could handle huge sound systems and keeping an eye on sound levels throughout the night. After a while, he started recording the opening sets whenever the DJs asked him to, usually so that they had promo materials to send out to other promoters and events, trying to elevate their states and increase awareness of their styles to hopefully build a career out of their passion. Most of the opening DJs were pretty basic, so he never really made copies of what he recorded, except for when the odd big name came through their event.
During the summer of ’98 however, they had a new out of town DJ come and guest on this new event they were throwing called ENVY at a brand new warehouse they had scoped out. no one was really sure how the DJ scored this gig, since he wasn’t really close with anyone throwing the event. Regardless, the DJ came the day of with their own modded out turntables and mixer. Dave remembered DJ Guest List because the pitch sliders on the turntables he brought raised and lowered the speed way higher than what was considered “normal” at the time. But they were a breeze to set up and he seemed to know what he was doing, so it was a relatively painless soundcheck.
When it came for DJ Guest List to start spinning, he opened with a classic at the time, Strike's 'U Sure Do' but sped way up to 145 bpm, which sounded totally different compared to the relatively tame acid house set that preceded them. He recalled it being right at the start of peak time, when there were enough people inside that it started to feel just full enough to dance but not too crowded, where most peoples drugs were starting to kick into high gear, and the mood was optimistic and strong.
After the set, DJ Guest List packed up his things and left, without even sticking around to get paid or hear the rest of the night. Dave and his friends never heard from him again, mainly because there was no way to contact them since no one really knew who they were. But Dave made several copies of the recording and gave them out to the crew, hoping to one day hear from the DJ again. They never did.
tl;dr Mystery DJ showed up to a party in the American Midwest, played some banging tunes, and left. This is the recording. Maybe.