The DJ and Pink Room Project co-founder plays what he likes.
In another timeline, Lil Jodeci is a really dope landlord.
About eight years ago, the DJ and founding member of the artist and party collective Pink Room Project had a bit of money and a decision to make.
“At the time, I was working a sh*tty job. And I just wasn’t f*cking with it,” Jodeci explained in a recent interview with Very Local. “I had came across some money, man and I was going to invest in some real estate sh*t or some DJing sh*t and I just took that route.”
The 7th Ward native started DJing, and it’s safe to say that the decision paid off. Jodeci found that he enjoyed bridging the gap between hip-hop and electronic music, throwing his own parties in search of like-minded musical omnivores and forming a collective that generated enough buzz to warrant national media attention.
When asked about the Pink Room Project and his blended DJ nights, Jodeci balks at the idea that he set out to effect change. He was just playing what he liked and hoping that he would find other people who also liked it.
“It wasn’t like a scene with like black kids. It wasn’t together,” he explained of the era when he started spinning a mixture of electronic music and hip hop. ” I’ve been trying to blend the two. Social media makes sh*t easier to connect. In 2011, 2012, it wasn’t like that. It was more separate.”
Word got around about Jodeci’s parties. People with a wide-ranging musical diet that centered around wanting to dance found a kindred spirit in Jodeci and his Pink Room co-conspirators.
“We were just doing what we liked and people responded to it. We weren’t trying to get any accolades for it. We were just trying to fill a void in the city,” he said. “And the kids like it.”
For the house-music-loving Jodeci, blending together sounds that typically fall into their own nights at distinct venues was a natural sort-of progression. Putting house sounds together with hip-hop and disco was just a nod to the origins of all of them.
“That’s how house music was originally played,” he explained. “It’s a mix of everything. It’s a baby of disco music and electronic music together.”
In spite of the fact that social media allows fans of many different genres to find their tribe, Pink Room Project generated notoriety by intentionally eschewing promotion on internet platforms. To learn about Pink Room parties, you had to sign up for a hotline and wait to hear back about the next party’s location.
“That was [Pink Room co-founder] Brandon [Ares’] idea. We were just trying to find new ways to get people intrigued in parties. And we don’t really like to do a lot of heavy promotion,” he said. “We’re going to promote it through the phone where you have to hit us up for the address. It just keeps people engaged. You know?”
He added that the crowded calendar in the city makes it hard to keep people interested.
“People forget, especially in New Orleans. We have so much stuff going on. You get lost,” he said.
Jodeci’s parties, both with the rest of Pink Room and on his own, do more than enough to earn that interest, though. He’s maintained his headstrong sense of playing what he likes. His parties like Set De Flo’ at Hi-Ho Lounge are fully curated experiences and stepping into them is signing yourself over to what he wants the night to be.
“My thing is, bruh, they have so many places where you can go to hear Top 40,” he said. “People come up with requests. I’m like ‘Nah. You can go down the street and hear what you want to hear, if that’s the case.'”
“We’re just trying to give you an experience. If you don’t like it, cool. I’m good with that,” he continued. “It might not be for you. You know, some people don’t eat meat. You’re not going to go to a [steakhouse] and ask for a veggie burger. This is not the veggie spot, you feel me?”