Inside Out — Title Town
On Thursday, June 10, enjoy happy hour in the museum's outdoor sculpture courtyard with tunes provided by the DJs behind the all-vinyl soul and funk dance party, Title Town.
Bring your appetite, too! Regional food trucks and a bar created by Café Carnegie offering custom snacks, kid-friendly treats, local beers, delicious wines, and more will be on-site.
While you’re at Inside Out, participate in art-making activities for all ages.
Inside Out events are FREE, open to all ages, have limited capacity, and are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Make a day of it and reserve your timed tickets to visit the museum before or after you enjoy Inside Out!
TITLE TOWN “a funky, feel-good 45 journey”
feat. DJs J Malls, Gordy G, & Buscrates
Interview with Inside Out co-producer Lauren Goshinski
LG: Well hello. If it isn’t 3 of Pittsburgh’s OG crate diggers! You have each carried this city through close to 2 decades of booty-shaking. How has DJ-ing all-vinyl nights of soul, funk, rare cuts, and 45s been part of Pittsburgh’s music & nightlife story?
JM: Well, we still do it like they used to do it in the 20th Century – with all vinyl. At TITLE TOWN we play all 45’s exclusively. The concept of DJ’s playing “old records”, rather than the newest music, began in Pittsburgh with radio DJ Porky Chedwick, just as much as any other place. Growing up in the 80’s, in Pittsburgh as the son of a huge Porky Chedwick fan, I honestly had little appreciation for this, but was influenced more by stories of the Hip Hop DJ’s in the Bronx playing these “secret” records (ie. breakbeats) with the labels blacked out. Then eventually I learned this was a very common practice by Pittsburgh DJ’s that dated back to the 1960’s. Mad Mike Metrovich, one of Pittsburgh’s most notorious and most eccentric DJ’s, is the primary influence. So there’s a long lineage of DJ’s, record store history, and of course DJ PARTIES in Pittsburgh. We’re just a chapter to this story.
GG: Pittsburgh is really the perfect place to do what we’re doing. It’s big enough to support many unique parties and styles of music, but small enough to allow a handful of DJs to really focus on and build great parties with dedicated followings. Like Jay, I grew up hearing stories about places like the White Elephant and the Red Rooster, and of course Porky Chedwick and Mad Mike. Pittsburgh has always been a big record town and DJs like Porky and Mad Mike were known for spinning underground and underplayed sounds from regional scenes around the U.S. I feel like we’re continuing that tradition somewhat with TITLE TOWN. We’re still finding new records to play all the time - we’ll never be a greatest hits party. The music is old, but it’s still fresh.
LG: Before Covid hit, Title Town had a monthly residency at Spirit, in Lawrenceville. What was a regular event like this doing for Pittsburgh’s nightlife and social scenes?
JM: We have a lot of supporters who look forward to coming out and dancing each month. We’re providing people with another option for something to do, which I think is unique. When I first started doing events like this there weren’t a ton of different nightlife options in Pittsburgh, not if you were looking for something outside of mainstream/popular music. You had a lot of top 40 nights and Hip Hop nights, 80’s nights, New Wave/Alternative nights, some Reggae nights, etc. There were bars like Kelly’s in East Liberty that would let you play old soul records, but they had no dance floor. So when this wave of Soul parties started popping up 15-20 years ago I really think it provided people with a different kind of nightlife experience that Pittsburgh had been missing for a few decades. We’ve been promoting TITLE TOWN as a “dance party” since day one. A lot of other events it takes a while for the dance floor to pop off. You walk into our party at 10 PM and people are either ordering drinks or they’re on the dance floor already. You’ll actually find very few pics from our parties posted on social media because the majority of the attendees are typically too busy socializing and dancing. People are not standing around bored on their phones, so – in my opinion - apparently we’re getting something right.
GG: First and foremost, people come to TITLE TOWN to dance. It’s not about what you’re wearing, who you’re with, or anything else - we work really hard at creating a feel-good, inclusive atmosphere where people feel comfortable letting loose to music that’s really impossible not to move your feet to. Our event brings out an older generation earlier in the night with folks enjoying pizza, drinks, and some dancing and steadily transitions into a frenzied dance party as the night moves on when a younger audience begins to show up.
LG: How are music nights like TT part of creating and preserving community in Pittsburgh? Who is TT for?
JM: Ideally TITLE TOWN is for the more adventurous music listener who WANTS to hear (old) music that’s new to them. We mix it up quite a bit, but we can guarantee that you’re going to hear a lot of seldom-heard old records - many of which will be new to you. If you require hearing hit after hit, after hit … you’re probably not going to get much out of what we’re doing. Historically we’ve capitalized on Pittsburgh’s student community for attendance, but at the same time we’ve struck a unique balance demographic-wise. Our typical party draws a wide strata of ages and ethnicities. Lots of students as well as long-time locals. Pittsburgh needs more opportunities for eclectic groups of people to mingle and dance together.
GG: TITLE TOWN is for everyone. We work really hard at creating an inclusive space for people to enjoy the music we are so passionate about. Since we’ve been doing this party for 10+ years, TITLE TOWN sees people of all ages and demographics - from our start at the Shadow Lounge in East Liberty, then to the Brillobox, and other venues - we’ve really been all over the East End of Pittsburgh and feel pretty good that we’re drawing people from different areas and backgrounds. A college student at Pitt may be hearing these songs for the very first time or an older Pittsburgh-based artist like Spanky Wilson may actually hear her music from the ‘70s being played at TITLE TOWN, original 45s and all.
LG: Drop some knowledge. What are the sources of your music inspiration?
Or, is there anything you wish people knew more about Pittsburgh music & nightlife?
JM: Pittsburgh has a rich musical history that is so underappreciated. I’m talking about all of the genres of music. I’ve been working in record stores and selling records to people all over the world for 20 plus years. People located all over the world have an appreciation for Pittsburgh records, but your average Pittsburgher does not so much. Pittsburgh doesn’t need to bring specialists in from Austin to critique our music scene. They need to invest money into programming to educate folks about the amount of recording and music history that is languishing here. If people knew they would build on it and support it. We could easily be on par with other cities internationally known for their music scenes. We’re still the best kept secret.
GG: For me, it’s about the energy of the night. I grew up listening to punk rock and going to small shows at independent venues around the region in the ‘90s and early 2000s. I never was in a band or played an instrument and this is the closest thing, I think, to that feeling of seeing and feeling a room full of people dance and come together with a song. As a DJ, there’s the challenge of crafting a 5 hour set of music, using our limited tools of the trade...45 RPM records, 2 turntables, and a 2-channel mixer - and this is what really makes it fun. We stick to the basics, but provide a fresh new sound for our guests - it's a unique mix of ‘60s and ‘70s soul, 50’s rhythm and blues, Latin boogaloo, rare and Northern Soul, disco, boogie, and even some reggae mixed in. Every single party has a different vibe. My inspiration comes the artists and musicians, like Chicago’s Renaldo Domino or even Sharon Jones or Charles Bradley, who gave their blood, sweat, and tears to make this music we’re able to play and enjoy today, and especially the ones who never quite broke through or earned the success they really deserve so much.
LG: How can people help music & nightlife in Pittsburgh recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19? Anything on the horizon folks should attend or support?
JM: Find some way to support the music venues that managed to keep their doors open through the pandemic. We can’t do events without venues. I mean we can, but I’m a fan of having a fully stocked bar. Maybe if the pandemic is to teach us anything, it should be not to take what we have going on here for granted.
GG: Get vaccinated and help your friends and family get vaccinated. When the time is right and folks feel comfortable - go out and support live music, DJs, and artists. Show up early and have some dinner at a venue if you can and stick around to buy some merchandise. The large, corporate venues with touring acts will be just fine - the most important thing you can do is support independent venues and local music.
LG: For you, why is music & nightlife an essential part of culture at large?
JM: Life doesn’t end when the sun goes down, therefore we need nightlife. And what would we shake our butts to without music? Nightlife gives like-minded people places to find each other and music gives us a way to share our feelings and ideas with one another. It’s all quite essential I think.
GG: Music is the thread that binds us all together. I met my wife on the dance floor and made connections and relationships that will last a lifetime through records, music, art, and cultural events. It’s been a long, difficult year for everyone and we need music now more than ever.
LG: Name a track you’re rinsing right now, that we might hear at Inside Out.
JM: Adam Wade “Brother On The Run” (1973 Perception)
GG: The Brothers of Soul “Come on Back” (1968 Boo)
LG: Describe a Title Town night or your sound in 5 words or less
JM: Very special vinyl selections
GG: A funky, feel-good 45 journey
About the Artists:
Title Town: Pittsburgh’s J.Malls and Gordy G. are the creators and resident DJs at TITLE TOWN, the high-octane, all-vinyl soul and funk dance party making bodies move since 2009. Inspired by legendary Pittsburgh DJs like Porky Chedwick and Mad Mike, TITLE TOWN upholds their legacy by blending an appreciation of the classic and forgotten sounds of decades past – namely Northern soul, funk, disco, and vintage rhythm & blues – with a contemporary edge, turned all the way up. The duo navigates genres and eras, blending the best of Motown, Stax, and Chess with hand-picked 45rpm rarities from regional soul scenes around the country – turning dedicated crowds into feel-good dance floor frenzies.
About Inside Out:
Inside Out is Carnegie Museum of Art’s new outdoor summer event series celebrating and supporting Pittsburgh’s rich cultural landscape. Running from June 5 through September 4 on Thursdays from 4-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 12-5 p.m., the museum is partnering with over 28 regional artists and small arts organizations to transform the museum’s outdoor Sculpture Courtyard into the season’s go-to destination with a robust schedule of pop-up performances, DJs, art-making activities, local food trucks and beverages, kid-friendly treats, and more. See the full schedule of events here.