Despite its size, Houston is not known for its strength in the electronic music world. And while there may not be space for mainstream clout, there is ample room for a smaller, richer scene to develop. Josh Dupont and James Reed, the dynamic two-some behind Kinda Super Disco, have taken it as their personal mission to lead this charge over the last few years. In 2017 they booked legend after legend, bringing the likes of Richie Hawtin, Green Velvet, Sasha, Âme, and Tiga to play unique, intimate affairs at a handful of Houston's most incredible venues.
In the new year, they've changed tactics, focusing their efforts on achieving a herculean task: book a premiere DJ each and every Friday for the rest of the year. Aiming for consistency, they've chosen to host their weekly party at Rich's Houston, the cities most outstanding dance club. A multi-story den composed of equal parts lasers and velvet, it's the perfect setting for any performer to present an unforgettable night to a Texas crowd hungry for the finest of house and techno. This Friday, kicking off this landmark year, KSD has booked BLOND:ISH, who will present a stereotype smashing, genre bending set that they are so well renowned for. Keep your eyes peeled for fresh booking announcements from Kinda Super Disco, or, better yet, show up at Rich's any given Friday to see firsthand!
Tickets to Friday's event here: BLOND:ISH at Rich's Houston, January 12th
Magnetic Magazine: How can you tell ahead of time if the party is going to be good?
Josh Dupont: First and foremost it starts with the artist. James and I rotate who picks them up from the airport and usually the first question we ask each other is “are they cool? Do they have a good sense of humor?” For us, it completely sets the mood for the night right away.
MM: Have the personalities of any artists surprised you?
Josh Dupont: Dubfire was one of the ones who blew us away. He’s such a huge act, we kind of expected a diva attitude but he was super cool, very chill, definitely easygoing.
James Reed: He was one of the coolest, most relaxed people we've ever met.
MM: Do you guys ever decline a booking if you know the artist is difficult to work with?
Josh Dupont: Nope, it's purely musical.
James Reed: We give everybody a try. There are some people that we’ve heard were difficult but they all ended up being really easy to work with. Once you get get past a little bit of the bureaucracy of the agents it comes down to us and the artists. From that point on everything is generally great.
MM: What is difficult about booking artists?
James Reed: A lot of the difficulty has to do with the fact that often most have a big team working with them. You talk to one person and then get passed onto the next person, so on and so forth. The red tape slows things down and can be kind of annoying. Negotiating to bring people into town is a 24/7 process, because we really want to bring the best guys down. It's a little hard to bring people to Houston, you know? Especially the guys from Europe. If they're only going to come to the states to play a few shows they obviously want to go to New York, Miami, and L.A., so we have to work a bit harder to get them to come here.
MM: What are your best sales tactics?
Josh Dupont: We've been lucky in the sense that our reputation has gotten around. Maybe it helps that the artists have low expectations for Houston but they always end up enjoying themselves. These big time DJs talk to each other so they’ll recommend us to other agents. Also, most of the time these DJs play huge stages at massive events so we give them the opportunity to play to intimate parties, which they like.
MM: Do you have a favorite aspect of the Houston crowd that you don't see in other cities?
Josh Dupont: It's super international. The best thing about Houston are the people that live here. It's one of the most diverse cities I've ever seen in the United States.
James Reed: People are knowledgeable and interesting. They're going to bring something different to the table.
Josh Dupont: It's the opposite of monochromatic.
MM: What do you look for in a venue?
Josh Dupont: One of the most difficult things we’ve had here in Houston is finding the right venue. We’ve made our home in some really interesting places but they certainly weren’t typical; dive bars, warehouses, anything outside of the bottle service clubs. It gave a lot of variety but then it got a little confusing as to where the party is actually going to be at. Now we have our home at Rich’s, which is, to us, the best space in houston.
James Reed: It’s the best real nightclub in the city. The greatest part about Rich’s, I feel, is that it’s pure escapism. You can go in there and forget about what happened yesterday and forget about what’s going to happen tomorrow. There’s no dress code or pretentious attitude. On top of it all is the fact that it’s a DJ’s dream; a plug and play setup with amazing lights, laser, and sound. You can go anywhere and the crowd will follow with you.
MM: What's one thing that you know today that you wish you knew 6 years ago?
James Reed: I wish we'd known more about sound. The commitment to bringing high quality speakers was one of the biggest things that shifted when KSD started gaining traction.
MM: How exactly does sound quality factor into the party experience?
James Reed: Well if you're gonna hear music that you've never heard before you have to hear it right. If you're dancing to a Britney Spears you've heard a thousand times, you know, your brain kind of just...
Josh Dupont: It fills in the blanks. But if you're hearing a new song on some crappy sound system it's not gonna give you the feeling the artist intended. It’s interesting, people will be having a blast without knowing why and half the time it's because they're listening to a really great sound system.
MM: Are there certain things that you thought would be helpful to build the experience that turned out not to help at all?
Josh Dupont: I'll tell you one thing that we did that we thought was gonna be kind of fun but ending up turned into something way better than we ever imagined. So we built these cubes, the Kinda Super Disco cubes. At first the idea was just to have them as a DJ booth decoration but now they’re the life of the party. They float through the crowds and everyone wants to take photos with them. They’ve even gotten stolen!
James Reed: Someone thought they could take it and walked out with it. She posted a picture of it on Facebook and her friend called her out. It was a whole huge story on the internet; there were memes and everything. But in the end, the mystery was solved within 24 hours and the cube came back. It felt like watching a television show!
MM: What type of business entity is Kinda Super Disco?
James Reed: We just formed an s-corp, so we're legit now. It’s unbelievably fun to do this but it’s getting so big that we have to run it like a business.
Josh Dupont: It started off as a party for me and James to play music that we liked for our friends. Fast forward 6 years and now we're incorporated with 3 other employees.
James Reed: With 52 shows in one year ahead of us.
MM: Do you two ever butt heads?
Josh Dupont: Not really. James and I are best friends. We've been best friends for the whole time we've been friends, which is about 15 years. There's not much James could do to make me mad, and if there is, I know him so well I’d just forgive him anyway. I'm sure it's the same way both ways. I can't stay mad at you.
James Reed: I know, I can't stay mad at you either man.
MM: What's your favorite part about the job?
Josh Dupont: I like watching the crowd. One of my favorite moments during any party is when I find a perch and sit there for 15 minutes watching everything from afar.
James Reed: Taking it all in.
Josh Dupont: Because if not, it'll just fly by in an instant. Then it's like man, the party's over, what happened?