Enoch DeMar, a longtime member of his parents’ African drumbeat band, Xangwe, wanted to expand Indianapolis’ music horizons and assemble public-venue events that brought the feeling of the house party to the wider masses. It turns out he wasn’t alone. Along with Doug Morris, Robert Hornberger, Kyle Hodges and Jarred Patterson, he formed Old Soul Entertainment to bring this concept to the people, mostly through two monthly events: Soul Session (focusing on the DJ and house party concept) and Root Movements (jazz and live music). The events started in November 2005 and the central ideas have evolved and changed since then. The next show combines the two concepts, as MabLab and various DJs perform at the Jazz Kitchen this Friday, with Soul Session following the show.
NUVO: What’s the genesis of Old Soul, and what are you trying to accomplish?
DEMAR: I didn’t really like the music that they were playing at the clubs, and I thought that there should be an alternative where we could get some different genres and styles of music all rolled up into one party, where the atmosphere and dress codes were relaxed — almost like a house party, but at a club. That was the basic concept. My thoughts were to change the diet of what people ask for in Indianapolis.
MORRIS: We’re trying to push the boundaries on what exactly is considered good music. A lot of times, it’s not that people aren’t interested; it’s that people are scared to venture out of their comfort zone.
HODGES: They don’t even know they’ll like it. You can tell them “Afrobeat,” and they’ll be like, “What?” But you play them some and get the idea. [Get] people to sit down with an open ear. A lot of it was their parents’ music, the old classic stuff. People keep asking, “Can you go weekly?” But we don’t want to burn it out. We want to keep it fresh and keep it coming. When somebody’s going to play Root Movements, they make sure they’re going to pull out all the bells and whistles. We want to keep that kind of level all the time, so when people show up they know they’re going to get more than your average Wednesday night performance. But it’s a good problem to have.
NUVO: What can people expect from this week’s show?
HODGES: It’s like a mash-up of both events, with DJs on the deck and patio area outside and MabLab performing from 10 p.m. to midnight, with another DJ afterward. MabLab has been working on new stuff, and they’re bringing in guest musicians. It’s going to be stellar.
MORRIS: That’s the other push: to expose Indy to our local talent. People complain about Indy not having anything going on, but there’s a lot of talent here and a lot of events going on that don’t get the exposure. We’re trying to push the whole front of what the scene here is, and not box it in.