In order to document the vibrant, ever-growing electronic music scene in Richmond and surrounding regions, Radio RVA gets “In the Mix” through our electronic mix series digging into artists’ musical flavors. For our latest edition, we present Elliott Ness! Elliott Ness is a veteran mainstay on the Richmond DJ scene, but these days he’s best known for holding it down frequently — sometimes multiple nights per week — at The Jungle Room on Broad St. If you’ve gotten your groove on there in recent months, Elliott Ness has probably been on the turntables at some point during the evening. Ness also leads a crew of DJs called The Butter Co, who spread their love of psychedelic funk and nu-disco all around the river city.
Elliott’s mix for RVA spotlights his set from a recent Friday night at the Jungle Room, where he threw on a popping set of house, funk, soul, disco, and more for all the folks out there who love to dance. Get your groove on to this one. Then read on for our interview with the untouchable Elliott Ness.
ELLIOTT NESS // RVA MAG MIX 2022
Poolside & Fatnotronic – Onda
P-Sol – Moon Parade
Fingerman – Tell Me Luv
Vanilla – Suede
Onra – Gonna Make You Mine
Soulwax – Is It Always Binary
DoctorSoul – Sing It
Phenomenal Handclap Band – Judge Not (Ray Mang Disco Mix)
Tony Adams – Estou Livre
Twin Shadow – Is There Any Love
Liam de Bruin – Lavender
Róisín Murphy – Incapable (The Reflex Revision)
Flamingo Pier – Hold It
Sentimental Animals feat. Nikki B – Love Vibration (Yuksek Remix)
40 Thieves feat. Qzen – Don’t Turn It Off
How would you describe your overall sound to someone?
BUTTER. Why butter? Butter is smooth, butter is slick and greasy, butter brings it all together. Also, I love food. Anyway, to make it ghee, it’s a healthy combination of Soul, Funk, Disco and Hip Hop with House, Nu-Disco and, well, more disco as of late! But it is always psychedelic, there’s always a message through the journey. The ultimate beauty of BUTTER is that it is eternally evolving. The future is determined by each experience.
Tell us about this mix. What sounds and vibe make up this mix?
This mix is actually a live recording of one of my recent warm up/opening sets, and it’s completely improvised. I love being the first act of the night, as it’s such an incredible opportunity to connect with everyone at the start and essentially guide them away from their seats and onto the dance floor. For me, slow and steady is always the key here; we got to build a groove, you feel me? I enter the joint with lots of space, lower tempos, big funky instrumentals, and soulful vocal samples on thick, driving kicks to establish the groove and set the tone. We’re here to disconnect from our devices. We’re here to connect with the music, with others, and especially with our true selves. And most importantly, we are here to fucking boogie.
So it’s like I’ve encouraged everyone, so far, to engage and hopefully feel comfortable doing so. But opening up in public can feel awkward sometimes, and as a living being I can relate. So then I flex my true inner weirdo with “Is It Always Binary.” The goal here is to show everyone, through such a choice cut, that I believe it’s dope AF to be weird and true to yourself. I also truly appreciate the contrast of the airy vocals repeating “You’re so fine, gonna make you mine” over the mathematical drums and sequential synth bass line that you can only expect from the DEEWEE founders and label heads, Soulwax. Consider this one track a subtle tease of what’s in store for the night, yeah? Anyway, back to the familiarity of funk, disco and that steady 4/4 rhythm. I’ve been really digging this Ray Mang disco mix of “Judge Not,” and as one who doesn’t really cling to full lyrics in my mixing, I absolutely adore the words of this one. So fucking uplifting: “Pray on, pray on! Play on, play on! Strive on, strive on! Thrive on, thrive on!” Now I notice I’m turning this answer into a full page write-up on the mix, so I’m going to wrap it up.
I love the funk, I love the disco, I love that weird shit (especially the sweet subtle weirdness), I love full vocals with lyrics when the message feels pure, loving and encouraging, and I love what I do. I think the amount of times the word “love” is mentioned in this hour, basically, kind of sums up the whole thing. I did feel the need to end it on a bit of different note, though, with “Know Me” – Demigosh’s lyrics resonate with me, and it felt like a cool way to kind of tell the crowd that there’s always more to everyone than that which may appear, so keep it real and judge not.
Who are your past inspirations and current ones in the electronic music genre?
OK, rapidfire round!
Past inspo: Kill The Noise (pre-2010), Treasure Fingers, Rusko, Caspa, Benga, Skream, A-Trak/Fool’s Gold, A.Skillz, Krafty Kuts, Afrojack, Dave Nada/Nadastrom (moombahton), Tittsworth, Chase & Status, Nero, Diplo/Mad Decent.
Current: Crazy P, Hot Toddy, Ron Basejam, Faze Action, Róisín Murphy, Greg Wilson, The Reflex, Soulwax/DEEWEE, Emmanuelle, Asa Moto, Charlotte Adigéry, Channel Tres, Kamaal Williams/Henry Wu, ANDERSON .PAAK — I cannot stress this one enough (I know he’s not necessarily electronic, but he’s carving a path for everyone everywhere to do them), Thundercat, FlyLo/Brainfeeder, Little Dragon, everything Ninja Tune, my big G Nick Hook — steadily pushing the envelope and staying true to music, not genres. Ahh man, there are so many… did I mention I listened to 3300 different artists on Spotify last year? My year wouldn’t have been complete without Spotify’s WRAPPED. What were we talking about?
What are your three favorite tracks to play of all time?
Quite possibly the most difficult question I’ve ever tried to answer, but I think I got it.
• Róisín Murphy – Less Is More
• The Joubert Singers – Stand on the Word
• Gwen Guthrie – Peanut Butter (Larry Levan Mix)
What is the first thing you look for when listening to a new track to add to a set?
What positive changes have you seen in the electronic music scene?
I feel I’ve witnessed a larger audience begin to open up to house and dance music. That’s a huge positive change for me; as far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier. House music is home, and everyone deserves a home. I keep my heart and mind open for everyone, and I feel I receive the very same from others in the scene, whether they’re seasoned or attending their first “edm” event. It’s beautiful. That’s why I do this. It’s so important for us to be able to set aside our differences and share something with one another.
What kind of future projects would you like to accomplish?
A few tings: 1) See The Jungle Room reach the point that we know it can, and beyond. We’re hungry to start bringing dope DJs and producers to Richmond that have otherwise never been here before. 2) Production. I can sort of play a handful of different instruments, definitely got rhythm, but I love the process of creating joints from samples. With that said, I’d love to collaborate with all the homies I regularly work with and absolutely adore and admire in the Richmond hip hop scene. I’ve been hearing some really dope sort of crossover jams in my head. 3) Learn and get certified by Waves Audio. I think I see the most sustainable and enjoyable future for me in music behind a massive mixing board, spicing up others’ music, cleaning it up, making it stand out, you get the drift. Music Mixing, potentially Mastering.
Who do you often work with?
Everyone who’s trying to work with me! Vague, I know. Aimée, Joey, Alex aka Agent, Ryan aka Wrath, Jon Jar, my first partner in this DJ thing Perri aka Mass FX, the one and only John Reinhold (not as often as I’d like), Brandon Pearson (owner/total visionary and beyond at Sabai and The Jungle Room), EVERYONE AT GRITTY CITY – truly my people. I feel I’m often working with a lot of different people, and I love that because everything is fresh all the time with so many different perspectives and styles constantly in the mix.
Lastly, can you give us the scoop on when/where to tune in, and any of your upcoming events?
One hundo! I’ll be rocking first Fridays for Manchester Manifest in April and May, with the plan to return in September and close out the year with them. Also, on each of these first Fridays, I’ll be holding down the night at The Jungle Room, alongside my super triple OG and legitimate cousin Joey. Outside of those, I’m regularly hanging in The Jungle Room, which I’m rather humbled to announce my involvement and collaboration with.
The Butter Co.:
The Jungle Room:
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