What is your name and role within The Magic Message?
We are Jeffrey Bouchard and Sean Hearn.
Where are you currently based?
Based in Philadelphia, PA
You have re-instituted your late night side project called ETC, which features you (The Magic Message – Sean Hearn & Jeffrey Bouchard) and a two other friends / DJs – Tony Modica and Dave Tidey. Your mainly playing deeper house/techno/acid tracks at a local recording studio, The Boom Room in an intimate setting.
How did ETC come about?
We have been putting together Magic Message parties for a few years in a club setting (which was more of a classic disco / house sound) and wanted to break into a deeper / more heady vibe that would focus more on house / techno in a late night setting. Some of our ETC events would go until 7 in the morning. J- ETC kind of happened by mistake. Dave Tidey and I did a party called Keep it Casual, at Kung fu necktie. We had Eli Escobar and Nomi Ruiz of Jessica 6 djing with us as part of their tour with Holy Ghost. Our friend Bruce Easley stopped in towards the end of the night and asked if we want to do an after party at a spot across the street. The spot had sound but no decks or mixer. So I jumped at the chance, and left our party to go pick up equipment at my house. We had the crowd just cross the street once Kung Fu Necktie closed at 2am. That was how we got our foot in the door at boom room.
How is it playing as foursome?
We all have been DJing together since we started in some capacity, so our tastes and selections have been very similar in musical direction. When we play ETC, we keep a loose set style and frequently go back to back, track for track, or play smaller set blocks of 2 or 3 tracks each. This kept the dancefloor on their toes and would change the vibe frequently throughout the party creating a more interesting cohesive DJ set.
Do you each have different roles?
Putting on events from scratch takes ALOT of work. We aren’t just the DJs. In today’s climate, you also have to be the promoter, graphic designer, front office, sell tickets, set up equipment / lighting, etc. We try to divide the workload up according to each of our strengths, which seems to work out well. Jeffrey does all our graphic design work as is one of the best in the city. It takes a lot of coordination to produce an event we are proud of and we put every ounce of energy into all the details. We even created large white letters the same dimensions as the ETC logo that light up and change colors during the parties. It really adds a lot to aesthetic!
Your most recent event was August 4th (the whole event was recorded live and posted on The Magic Message Facebook page). How did you prepare for the show?
We’re always on the hunt for new music. We always follow the latest record releases and even acquire unreleased tracks from friends of ours that run record labels all over the world. We put a lot of effort in selecting the appropriate tracks for the vibe that we strive to create for each and every party. We all also have extensive record collections so whether it’s a new track or and old favorite, we always try to play things that translate well to a high energy dancefloor.
What were the highlights of the show?
I think the biggest highlight of the previous ETC was the reactions and feedback we received from party goers after the event was over. We were flooded with texts and messages from our friends and folks we didn’t even know commenting on how much fun they had and great the energy and pace of the night went. The venue we use is intimate and we believe that adds value to vibe of the party. People don’t usually make it a point to thank the event producers after everything has ended, and we felt a lot of love that night and it was an amazing feeling to receive a lot of positive feedback. It’s nice to create lasting memories rather than just another regular ‘party’ or ‘club night.’
You have another ETC event coming up on 10/20. What an we expect from this show?
The next event will be a lot like the previous. We try to stick to the script and keep the vibe the same. The music, on the other hand, is always new and fresh. We try not to play the same tracks over and over again, but some particular ones have become ‘ETC classics’ As long as the energy is electric and the dancefloor is hopping, we’re not going to try and fix something that aint broken!
For The Magic Message party, your history is a little more eclectic. You started this party 7 years ago at a now defunct legendary Philly club called Fluid, then moved to another beloved underground center city club (which is now closed) Medusa Lounge. You remained at Medusa until the opening of The Dolphin Tavern in South Philly where you were featured opening for countless world class guests.
How did The Magic Message start?
The Magic Message actually started as a paring down of an already too large group of friends and DJs. It got too confusing so had to break off and basically start something new. The lineup began with Sean, Jeffrey, and Tony but then pared down to just Jeffrey and Sean and moved around to other venues. We usually booked an out of town guest that we were fans of to add to the already eclectic music scene Philly was a champion of.
What equipment do you use?
We began as an all vinyl outfit (since our record collections are our most valuable asset) but with the development of CDJs and the vast amount of digital music, the move to incorporating that into the mix was essential. We still play vinyl all the time and usually our table set up contains 2 CDJ 2000s and 2 Technic 1200 turntables.
How has DJing changed since you started?
We can go on about this topic forever, both in negative and positive ways, but we don’t want to rant! Personally, we have all have evolved greatly as DJs in the same respect as a fine wine (it just gets better with time). The DJ scene in Philly has dramatically changed. It seems today there are more people in the game than there are venues to host events, but that just makes you strive to better yourself and fine tune your craft.
How did you get into music?
We’ve always been into music, it’s just in our blood.
J-I had an older brother who listened to metal, punk and hardcore in the eighties, so he definitely was an influence. High school-college I would go to punk and hardcore shows in NYC, New Brunswick & Philly. In college I also got into post punk/no wave. Around the age of 24, I started a long running party at Medusa called Bleached Black, it had a rotating cast of DJs. We played postpunk, no wave, disco, some house. I have a former dj partner, Mike Trombley of Macho City and Ron Morelli to thank for getting me into dance music. They did a tribute to paradise garage at an insane, now defunct venue called key west. It was a relic of the disco days. It was on the second floor of a gay sports bar that had a fried chicken restaurant in the front half and a room with skeeball and other arcade games.
No one was playing disco at that time in Philly. They had friends come through and guest dj, beautiful swimmers before the went by that name, lovefingers, will Burnett, etc.
Most of your guest bookings at Medusa highlighted many underground DJs from NYC and around the world included: Justin Strauss, Prince Language, Justin Vandervolgen, Jacques Renault, and even Japanese legends – Kenji Takimi and Chida. With the opening of the Dolphin and Morgan’s Pier, you provided opening support for even more disco legends like DJ Harvey, Daniele Baldelli, Social Disco Club and also more heavyweights like Tim Sweeney, Tornado Wallace, DJ Tennis, Wolf Music, Cooper Saver, & Mike Simonetti who was our honorary resident making at least 5 appearances. You are making your return to the Dolphin 11/17 and have invited Philly mainstay Sean Thomas as your guest. What is the Philly club scene like?
The Philly club scene has been recently over saturated with DJs and “theme parties” that have been taking precedence over the underground due to the high profit margins and frankly there is a severe lack of venues to throw events at. Nonetheless, we’ve still been moving forward with appearances when we can find them, weather they are guest sports or not as well as the occasional Dolphin appearances when we can get them. This was one of the reasons we brought back ETC and lucked out with the original venue we did it at, The Boom Room. Bringing back a classic certainly peaked our fan bases’ interested.
Theres a slew of great parties in this city.
Goodie, rizumu, club congress, danceteria, left rite, making time, I’m probably leaving some out.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Sean – My musical tastes are all over the place. I work full time in an office so I’m always listening to music. I can go anywhere from listen to minimal techno at 7 in the morning to classic rock. I usually tend to listen to the style of music similar to my upcoming gigs in order to discover new tracks and get into the mindset of the vibe that needs to be created. When I’m just hanging out, I usually listen to more of the current indie flavors, some favorites at the moment – The War on Drugs, LCD Soundsystem (especially the new album), but my guilty pleasure has always been Sigur Ros. Dance music side of things is a whole other beast, so you’ll just have to come out to a party to get a feel!
Jeffrey – I’ve been listening to a lot of kraut rock lately, can, cosmic jokers, etc.
What influences your sound?
Producers and DJs in the realm of the music we play has been the biggest influences. Most of the guests we book are at the top of the lists. We’ve been very fortunate to be provided countless opportunities to play events with many of our heroes!
Favorite food and place to hangout?
Sean – can’t go wrong with Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown! Amazing food and always an all vinyl DJ on the menu!
Jeffrey – Johnny Brenda’s or Lloyd.