A GoPride Interview

DJ Greg Haus

Boystown, and perhaps Chicago’s, longest DJ residency celebrates its nineteenth anniversary

Tue. July 22, 2014  by Adam Guerino

I think that it's something unique in Boystown, and appreciate that it's the kind of event that everyone feels welcome at whether they are LGBT or straight.
DJ Greg Haus
DJ Greg Haus has been a respected part of Chicago's electronic music scene since the mid '90s. His sound is edgy but accessible, drawing inspiration from the fringes of club culture to blend some of the most unique and infectious mixes of music you'll hear anywhere in the United States. Greg is fiercely dedicated to bringing new sounds to the masses but always manages to throw in a few classics or rare versions of more mainstream tunes. He currently specializes in multimedia music and video DJ sets, utilizing the Serato video technology controlled by vinyl or CD turntables.

Recently, he has played sets with electro-sleaze goddess Peaches, Diplo, Boys Noize, Ladytron, Riton, The Juan Maclean, Nancy Whang (LCD Soundsystem), Buzz McCoy of My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, Miss Kittin & The Hacker, JD Samson of Le Tigre / MEN, Donald Glaude, Nomi Ruiz (Jessica 6/Hercules & Love Affair), Lady Miss Kier (Deee-Lite), Dean Coleman, Ssion, Plastic Plates, Yelle/Tepr, Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters, Ethan of Crystal Castles, Leslie & The Lys, & Cazwell. In 2011, he was honored to be part of the historic Wax Trax! Retrospectacle at Metro, which featured many talented DJs associated with the label and live shows by Front 242, Revolting Cocks, Thrill Kill Kult, members of KMFDM, & more.

Greg has brought his talents to clubs and festivals throughout the country, and has worked as a freelance music journalist for several local and national music publications. He produced his debut remix release for the track "Gotta Know" by NYC vocalist Madelin Zero (who has collaborated with Circ & ATB) and is currently working on new remix projects.

"Cosmix" – his weekly Friday residency at Berlin Nightclub – has been a popular, critically acclaimed late night destination for over almost 19 years. This week, Haus celebrates the 19 year anniversary of Cosmix. To celebrate, we sat down with him to ask him about the popular long-lasting night as well as the history and trajectory.

AG: (Adam Guerino) What is Cosmix?

GH: (Greg Haus) Cosmix is a weekly dance party dedicated to a wide variety of alternative electronic music and video. It spans many genres - house, industrial, electro, techno, drum and bass, trip-hop, etc. I was inspired by DJs & clubs I frequented in the 80s like Medusa's on Sheffield, where it was common to mix different styles of music seamlessly. Everything from Skinny Puppy to Lil Louis. The crowd is just as diverse as the music, which is why Berlin has been the perfect home.

AG: How has it changed?

GH: I've always incorporated music video into my sets, but with the advent of Serato Video technology, I can seamlessly blend videos in to my set as if I was mixing on Vinyl or CDJs. It's really made the show a true multimedia experience. As music has evolved, so has Cosmix.

AG: I'm sorry, Mr DJ, what is Serato Video technology? Or CDJs?

GH: CDJs are CD "turntables". Serato is a software program that allows DJs to control music and/or video files in a variety of ways. There are controllers designed specifically for it, but there is also an interface designed by Rane that allows DJs to control it using turntables or CDJs as well. It's really given me a lot of creative flexibility that I didn't have back when I first started doing this, which is extraordinary.

AG: As Boystown's longest residency, what is it's staying power?

GH: There have been other events that have been around longer (Boom Boom Room & Nocturna, for example), but "Cosmix" is the longest running nightclub event to be hosted at a single nightclub on the same night in Chicago. Boom Boom Room & Nocturna have been hosted at a variety of venues over the years, but "Cosmix" has been exclusively at Berlin for it's entire run. I think that it's something unique in Boystown, and appreciate that it's the kind of event that everyone feels welcome at whether they are LGBT or straight.

AG: OK, so almost two decades of Cosmix--What is the driving force, the passion that keeps you moving forward?

GH: Berlin gives me complete creative freedom, which I definitely appreciate. The main reason I do this is to expose people to underground but accessible artists they might not have heard of otherwise. Many of the musical acts I play might have started small but have gone on to have huge success. I have a film, video, theatre, and arts background, and Berlin/Cosmix allows me to incorporate all of my creative skills in a nightlife setting - be it through custom video editing, collaborating on live performances, or helping to curate art installations. Having the ability to combine a dance party with other artistic passions makes it quite special to me.

AG: Out of all of the amazing artists you've worked with, who are your favorites?

GH: Peaches is simply extraordinary and a tremendous talent, both as a musician and a DJ. She's a sweetheart and puts on a great show. I also have tremendous respect for Cazwell, JD Samson, and Juan Maclean, all of whom I've done gigs with on multiple occasions.

AG: Any artists you have yet to work with but hope to do so in the future?

GH: Well, Björk is my favorite musician and greatest inspiration (I host the only regular Björk artist feature event that I know of). I've crafted some decent bootleg remixes of her songs, but I would be extremely honored to work with her on something official. That said, my respect and admiration for her is so massive that I might be too intimidated to speak if we met, and I'm not the type of person to be starstruck.

AG: What can we expect from the anniversary special?

GH: You can expect to hear some of the most popular tracks from the past 19 years of the event. We're also hosting a contest for 3-Day passes to Lollapalooza this year. It's a free raffle that starts at 11pm. Legendary artist & nightlife personality Jojo Baby will be hosting & performing, and I might have a few surprise guest DJs play sets during the night.

AG: Thanks, Greg!

You can catch Cosmix and Greg Haus every Friday til 4 am at Berlin nightclub, 954 W Belmont. And Friday July 25th, you can celebrate its 19th anniversary and possibly snag 3 tickets to Lollapalooza! For more info: http://berlinchicago.com/Berlin_Nightclub_Friday.html#cosmixann.

Interviewed by Adam Guerino