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The GoPride.com Interview

Locoya Hill

Locoya Hill brings west coast "I Just Wanna F***in' Dance" to Chicago

"I've always loved bringing people together to enjoy a good time."

by Matt Inawat
The widely popular "I Just Wanna F***in' Dance" party from the west coast arrives in Chicago on April 28th at Hydrate Nightclub.

With a solid following in San Francisco, the dance event has made its expansion this year to Los Angeles and now the Windy City.

The visionary behind the event, promoter and event producer Locoya Hill, started "I Just Wanna F***in' Dance" to create a new experience and atmosphere where people "could just dance and have fun."

Hill took a moment to chat with GoPride about the upcoming Chicago event, which also features local DJ favorite Phil DaBeatz, and the origins and evolution of "IJWFD".

MI: (Matt Inawat) Hi, Locoya! Let's start out talking about you and how you started producing "I Just Wanna F***in' Dance."

LH: (Locoya Hill) I'm originally from North Carolina and had a successful photography career there doing portfolio development for male models. A few years ago, I began coming to San Francisco as a photographer for NextDoor Studios while I was working out plans to move to NYC. But I fell in love with San Francisco during a longer visit after one of those shoots and knew that I had to be here.

So I went back home to North Carolina, sold everything and returned back to the city with a suitcase and a laptop and ready to see what would happen. My original plan was to only be here for two years but that was five years ago and I still don't see myself leaving anytime soon. It's definitely become my home.

I Just Wanna F***in' Dance was originally the brainchild of BeatBox owners Andy Zivic and Paul Saccone. Andy had this vision of a party that he'd always dreamed of having and he started pulling all the pieces together. I was brought in to help lead it and eventually took it on as my own production.

MI: Where did the name come from?

LH: "I Just Wanna F***in' Dance" was named by the owners of BeatBox who had produced the event once before I took over. But, upon hearing the name I realized that it fit me so perfectly because it was literally the statement I had been making on Saturday nights for some time before.

On non-event weekends it was hard to find a party or a place to just dance and have fun. I'm not a huge fan of just standing in a crowd. What's the point of just standing there? If I hear good music… I just wanna F***in' dance!!!

MI: What gave you that initial push?

LH: The first couple of IJWFD's were focused on the production and building a base. Getting people used to paying a bit more on a regular weekend but making sure they understood that it was a totally different experience. We brought in gadgets and accessories for our dancers to entertain the crowd. We focused on the music and the lights. We throw out these tangible items that the crowd loves and we give a great performance of our namesake song.

Where IJWFD took off was at my birthday party last year. I decided to up the ante. I brought in Derek Monteiro from LA to DJ with DJ/Pornstar Tristan Jaxx and DJ Kevin Lee, a San Francisco local that I love working with. Then we had the amazing FLAVA perform to give a late night energy to the crowd. To surprise the crowd, I flew in 2 of my best friends (1 from Boston and 1 from NYC)

who had previously been go-go dancers in San Francisco and unveiled them during the namesake song. The crowd went wild and knew that this was something that was only going to get better.

MI: What was the first event you ever played at/put on?

LH: Even before I moved to San Francisco, I did an annual Christmas Party in North Carolina that was pretty popular. It started off with a group of 20 of my friends and by the 4th year I did it, it was close to 100 people with friends flying in from all over just to be there. I've always loved bringing people together to enjoy a good time.

In San Francisco, it was my birthday party the first year I was here. Each year, my birthday is the one time that I am completely selfish and I throw a party catering exactly to what I want to see but also making sure that it's something my friends would love too. It has gone from 75 people to almost 400 people last year. It's become something that people know is going to be creative and over the top.

The question is, what will I do this year?

MI: Which other cities have you played/put parties on?

LH: I've done a lot of different events in San Francisco and all around North Carolina. I've hosted events in LA as well. This year is the year that we intend to expand. The first focus was to build a solid base in San Francisco and then take it on the road.

MI: What other cities do we have to look forward to seeing an IJWFD event in the next year?

LH: That's a secret strategy but I will say that I have some great working relationships all over and I wouldn't be surprised if we make another appearance somewhere this summer! Don't worry, I'm planning on coming back to Chicago as much as possible.

MI: In your opinion, who else is throwing the best parties at the moment?

LH: I'm absolutely thrilled that Matinee is finally in the US.

Last year I attended the Las Vegas premier of their US parties and I was so glad that I did. My friends and I are definitely going back this year. Alegria and Masterbeat are also a few of my favorites.

MI: So how is the scene, in your eyes?

LH: It's evolving. For awhile some places seemed very stagnant. People didn't seem very excited about going to their local parties but a lot of that had to do with the fact that they were settling for whatever they could get. The more that my friends and I traveled around, the more I realized that San Francisco needed to step up its game and that's precisely what's happening right now. San Francisco is known for some great weekends like Folsom and Pride but there's so much else out there and I'm happy to be a part of growing our expectations.

MI: Now what's the funniest thing that ever happened at an event?

LH: Once I was at an event that was celebrating my birthday and while I was on stage I was being very "sassy" and decided to kick my legs up. Well, I was wearing some thin dress shorts and they ripped right down the crotch. Man, that was one time that I wish I'd been wearing underwear. Well, luckily I'm not easily embarrassed but I think the crowd got more of an eyeful than they were expecting.

MI: What's your favorite year for dance 80's, 90's, 00's or now?

LH: I think that they all have their differences and I love them all. In the 80's I was really young but I remember dancing with my parents to Whitney's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody," the first song I remember. I've evolved as the music has and right now I can hear almost any type of music and feel the rhythm and get into it. Mostly, as long as I'm surrounded by my friends you'll see a smile on my face and me moving to the music.

MI: When all the partying is over how do you like to chill out?

LH: I love to cook, another one of my hidden passions. So I'll invite a bunch of friends over for dinner, cook a 3 course meal with a nice bottle of wine and just spend time getting to know what's going on with the people that I care about.

MI: What do you do outside of the dance music scene?

LH: Most people are surprised to know that I actually work a day job for a start up. I guess it seems that I spend so much time doing my events and hosting for other people that I wouldn't have time to. It may also be the fact that I'm normally out late most of the time so when they hear that I'm in my office by 7:30 most mornings it's puzzling. I still do photography as well but events is slowly taking over what I do with my time.

MI: Anything else you want to say? Any shouts?

LH: I'm really excited about bringing IJWFD to Chicago. I used to spend summers in Chicago during college and I've always loved the area. One of the things that I love about San Francisco is that when I get on the dance floor and I look around it really is like a big family. Everything else is overshadowed by the people who are there for the love of the music, the love of the environment and most of all, the love of each other. It is a unique experience and I hope to bring that to Chicago and anywhere we take IJWFD. Hope you guys are ready to adopt us as your West Coast Sister City.

I definitely appreciate a bunch of people who have helped put in so much work to get this off the ground there. I have a great Production Manager, Johnathan Regnier, who's able to pull together a lot of amazing ideas and we work really well together. He's on-board with my vision and we're working on some great things. I have an amazing group of friends known as "Team Famous"; it's so important to have a great support system and they're all coming to Chi-Town to help launch IJWFD.

My friend Anthony DiFiore actually gave me the idea and connected me with DJ Phil DaBeatz who put me in touch with the incredible team at Hydrate. Special thanks to our partners, Bud Light, Grab Magazine, ChicagoPride.com, Boi and Ferno. You've all been so helpful and equally excited about having us that it already feels like this party is going to be right at home.

MI: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Consider us a part of your extended family and see you when you get into town!

Locoya's "I Just Wanna F****in' Dance" party arrives in Chicago on April 28, 2012 at Hydrate. More information about the festival can be found in the event calendar.
 
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