For stalwart DC house and disco DJ Patrick Gordy, a journey that started as a way to gain “self-respect” has evolved into a way to create a “positive and sustainable reality” in Washington’s developing, top-tier dance industry. DJ Provoke has discovered a unique tie that binds hip-hop culture, boogie-ready disco tracks, modern soul anthems and house music. In doing so, he’s carved a place for himself in the DC area as a well-respected one-stop shop for underground grooves that expand expectations for those willing to take a step just past mainstream offerings and into a very funky party atmosphere.
Provoke tells On Tap that he’s been a DJ and/or producer for 14 years, starting before digital technology was a such a huge part of the DJ industry.
He notes, “If you wanted to play a track, you had to go to the record store and dig for it.”
His tastes significantly erred toward “positive and ‘intelligent’ rap songs,” namely Public Enemy’s 1990 funk-sampling hit, “Fight The Power.”
“I always try to include songs that help humanity and encourage people to not fall in line in my [DJ] sets.”
Underground dance’s desire to not “fall in line” is one of the driving forces behind the success of U Street Corridor disco, house and techno hotspot Flash, where Provoke and fellow underground-loving house artist DJ Ozker have a residency every other Saturday of each month. He notes that Flash has a “top-notch” sound system and a clientele of “open-minded” dance fanatics who welcome DJs “nerding out” on obscure dance tracks. Provoke can also be heard on Marvin’s roof deck every second and fourth Sunday of the month, and on Eighteenth Street Lounge’s patio about once a month.
The DJ is particularly fond of the fact that a lot of people are potentially looking to expand their dance tastes, because so much of the traditional DC workforce is comprised of government employees who may be tired of “long hours and hard work at their desks,” and could be “looking for something different.”
Provoke is looking forward to starting a label that shares a name with his monthly MOdERN CLASS party at Haydee’s in Mount Pleasant. He’s promising limited vinyl pressings of many of the versions of tracks he regularly plays in his sets, plus originals from a slew of fellow local DJs and producers. Regarding the skills that keep his calendar routinely filled, Provoke breaks down his success simply.
“My sets are part house, hip-hop, funk and boogie, and are danceable across all age ranges.”
His DJ schedule showcases the level of respect and renown his skills have garnered as he prepares to travel to Brooklyn, Manhattan, Richmond, Chicago, LA and San Francisco this summer and fall. However, regarding the nation’s capital, he notes that there’s a thriving scene here of bars and clubs opening, succeeding and, aforementioned as important to the DJ/ producer, “sustaining themselves.”
Clearly, when a skilled creative like Provoke and party-ready clubgoers unite, not only a scene, but a DJ too, can excel.