In just eight months, Behind City Lights went from throwing parties in garages to holding weekly and monthly residencies throughout Downtown. The group, which is comprised of several DJs and producers, holds residencies at Beauty Bar, Velveteen Rabbit, Hard Hat Lounge and Vanguard Lounge. They insist on being called “a movement,” and they might just be the next big thing to come out of Las Vegas. We spoke with DJ/producers—and brothers—Astro Gold (a.k.a. Christopher Sicuso Jr.) and Texxtile (a.k.a. Charles Sicuso) about the group’s goals, influences and the Las Vegas underground music scene. Catch a few of the artists weekly at Beauty Bar for RINSED Mondays.
What exactly is the Behind City Lights collective?
Gold: Basically, we’re called a “collective” because that’s how it started, but it’s actually turned into something much bigger. I’d say it’s very similar to the Boiler Room. If you haven’t heard of that, go look it up. We’re basically a music event. We’ve branched out recently and done hip-hop, and we might even venture into indie bands. We’re trying to bring sounds to Vegas that we feel aren’t really played here, and try to build a little scene for that. Our aim is to get artists who are established in other parts of the world out here, and actually have an audience for them.
Texxtile: We’re trying to create culture in certain places that aren’t here. There are so many missing bubbles. Vegas is a really hard city to hit with. The stakes are so high with the big clubs, so we’re just trying to get through those loops and bring in the culture. It might take a while, but that’s OK. Behind City Lights is a culture-curating thing.
Gold: We definitely don’t feel like the only ones. There’s a movement happening in Vegas. Anyone you talk to will say it’s an open market. Whoever jumps on this shit first will be the first to build it up. We’re the first ones who bring the techno and deep-house sounds to this city.
Who are the members of the group?
Gold: Right now, it’s Astro Gold, Promeethus, Texxtile, Night Rumors, Boogie Snacks, L.A. Loser, Diatone, Low Sodium and DSKOVR. That’s the core group.
What about Byra Tanks? You have a weekly residency with him at Beauty Bar’s Rinsed Mondays. Is he part of the group?
Gold: He’s 100 percent part of it! He’s helped us more than anybody. Now, whoever wants to be part of the group can be part of it. If we can help out other talented individuals, we’re all about it.
Who are some artists you would love to bring to Las Vegas?
Gold: Let’s take Brodinski or Bromance Records, for example. That’s shooting a little high, but if we can establish a good chunk of people to come out and see them, they’ll be more obligated to come out. Certain scenes—hard-core/punk and indie—are so successful here, if you could build it here, you can have it all. I’ve seen people dance to our music and dig it, but they just don’t know what to call it. If nobody is there to teach and/or share it with everyone, it’s never gonna spread. So that’s our job. And there’s a bunch of people who do that: Techno Taco Tuesdays, Soul Kitchen … I can go on. We’re in talks with UNLV, and we want to do something like Rebelpalooza.
What’s next for Behind City Lights?
Gold: Well, in the group, there are maybe five people who produce, and we know 100 percent that we want them to get signed. You want power? Pull? That’s the way to go. That’s the next step: Get signed and get recognized by some renowned touring artists. We’ve already sent a few artists our shit and gotten critiques. When we get a little more funding, I’d like to branch out to visual, sound, quality, everything. We go out to Sound Nightclub in L.A. pretty often and there are no chairs; everybody is dancing. And the speakers—my God!—we’d like to do the same for the scene here, and once we get that funding, we’ll keep building the experience.
What got you into electronic music?
Texxtile: The electro stuff: Designer Drugs, Justice, Daft Punk and Breakbot. Then I got into [DJ/producers] Gesaffelstein and Brodinski, and I completely switched over.
Gold: Those two [Gessaffelstein and Brodinski], the way they do techno, their reach is so wide. They can play a huge festival, but at the same time they can also play some super underground party in Europe.
Speaking of festivals, EDC Las Vegas just happened. As an “underground” group, how do you feel about those kinds of festivals?
Gold: We hate generic, cookie-cutter, Top 40 stuff, but at the same time, we have to get money, so it’s a struggle. We’ve been putting in a lot of work with very little pay. But places like Beauty Bar are starting to trust us a little bit. It’s wild, because we’re playing shit that’s not accepted here, and to see people walk out sometimes, you just have to stay strong. There are nights when people in my group want to sell out. They’d be like, “Dude, let me just throw in a couple of bangers—some club shit just to get the people in!” But I tell them, “We have to be us, or it’s just not gonna work. We’ll be contradicting what we’re doing. Our vision is gone.”
Texxtile: What I would love is to have a venue. Look at [Los Angeles’] Low End Theory, for example. There’s always a line; there’s never a night when it isn’t packed. I’d love to be able to have that. If everybody is there for the music, and is down to get down, that’s all I care about.
No chairs, right?
Texxtile: No chairs!