Relentless Beats

RB Exclusive Interview: The Man, The Myth, The Dirty Disco Legend, Sam Groove

So if you’re in Phoenix, alive, and breathing oxygen, then you’ve heard of Dirty Disco coming up this weekend on Saturday, May 21st. It’s Arizona’s very own native and local grown show put on by Hades Entertainment. Six years ago in February of 2010 it started out as just a party in the desert for friends to gather and listen to music under the stars. Little did anyone know that soon it was going to blow up into what it has become today. With just over 3,000 people saying they are going to attend this year on Facebook, Dirty Disco is for sure going to be the dirtiest event of the whole year and will continue to be for a long time.

I had the opportunity to get to talk with the man behind Dirty Disco and the reason it is here today. His name is Sam Groove and he’s the man. To give a little background on the history of this guy, he’s been raving for 11 years since 2005. He started DJing a year after going to shows and lived out at the deserts usually being there until sunrise, even asking the promoter if he could spin when everything finally shut down. In total he has been throwing raves for about 8 years now and has been the promotions manager at Hades for 3 years, since 2013. Literally the title isn’t lying when it says this guy is a legend, especially here among the locals. Of course with the rapid growth of Dirty Disco and the whole AZ scene itself, I thought it might be worth to take the time to ask some questions and share it with the rest of everyone who is new in the last couple of years.


What gave you the idea to plan and create Dirty Disco?

“I started throwing raves in 2008 with a business minded approach, including a long term plan for a branded event with targeted marketing. When I lost thousands of dollars two years in a row, I decided it was time I stopped taking things seriously. I then shifted my intentions towards having fun with a party, rather than trying to make money. The desert was my first destination for many reasons, but mainly because I have more fun outside under the stars than anywhere else. I decided to book my homies to DJ because I knew they would play good sets, and they wouldn’t be mad about not getting paid if I lost my ass lol. The name of the party was derived from my first event called “Discotropolis”, which was supposed to symbolize a city of dance music. Since I took my event out to the desert, the disco became dirty, and the rest is history.”

There are lots of people attending Dirty Disco for their first time this year. What was the event like in the past?

“The first event we ever did in February of 2010, the craziest storm hit Phoenix that day. Luckily the rain stopped once the event had started, but the ground was super muddy. Since we had to protect the equipment with tarps, we were hardly able to provide any sort of visual production. The weather had stopped a lot of people from driving out to the desert, but nonetheless we had a decent crowd dancing in the mud and watching the fire performers. The next one we did a few months later, we had clear skies and nothing to stop people from coming out. There was a thick vibe that everyone was connected with and a raw energy that pushed people to the edge, but kept everyone together and close. With well over a thousand people dancing out in the middle of nowhere until the sun came up, this was the night that set the tone for Dirty Disco events for years to come.”

How has this event evolved over the years? What have been some of the biggest challenges that you’ve faced?

“Each year has been different and unique in it’s own way. Since this was originally an illegal event, we changed locations every year to keep the authorities off our tail. That has been one of our biggest challenges. After our show in 2011, I knew that if this brand was to continue we would have to begin taking steps in the right direction to legitimize the event. So in 2012 I teamed up with Hades Entertainment to devise a long term plan for Dirty Disco. This was the first year that we had a private venue that could legally host an event like ours, but unfortunately the local authorities did not like our plans. The worst part is we found out the day before and had to change locations last minute, which was a total nightmare. Only a couple hours into the event, the local police and fire department showed up and actually shut us down. After about 20 minutes, they saw we had everything under control and let us continue with a compliment on our production and security. The biggest kick to the nuts came in 2014 when we lost a fully legal and established venue that we had used in 2013. Even though the property owners invited us back, the local authorities once again did not share the same view. I was absolutely crushed to announce that we were no longer able to produce an event that year. Luckily we were able to bring back the event in 2015 to Rawhide. This has allowed us to dramatically step things up with both our lineup and our production, without having the burden of heavy scrutiny from the authorities trying to stop our fun.”

Has it been hard to keep an “underground” feel to the event as it gets bigger and bigger?

“It has definitely been a challenge, especially with the rapid growth and evolution of this event as well as our entire scene. Dance music has reached the masses, and there is a blurred line between mainstream and the underground. People live on all points of that spectrum. The tricky part is finding the happy medium to fit the overall program of our event. Venue location is also key to an underground feel. Although some of the older ravers and the kids that attend today’s renegade desert parties will argue that this event is now mainstream being held at Rawhide, I feel like we do a good job at keeping things as underground as possible holding a large scale event in the rodeo arena. We still dance outdoors on the dirt, we still have pyrotechnics, and we not only allow rave gear, we encourage people to bring it. Dirty Disco is definitely not a renegade desert party anymore, but it still has a dirty rave feel.”

What are some of the trademarks that are special to Dirty Disco?

“We get dirty, literally. It’s not just a clever name for a party. Arrive early and leave ugly? Maybe, it depends on how hard you wanna go. I’ve seen people go absolutely bananas over the years, it’s really cool though. There’s not many events where you can let loose like that if you really want to. Fire has also played a major role with this event. From amateur poi and staff spinners to professional grade propane cannons, pyrotechnics have been entertaining our guests since day one. It adds an element of instability to the vibe of the party. While we do have everything handled professionally, it pushes people to the edge where they think things are out of control. Some people are taken out of their comfort zone and it really adds to the entire experience of the event. Last but not least, the music. Each year we book a diverse lineup that covers as many different genres of dance music as we can possibly fit in the show. We go hard though. Psy-trance and drum & bass has always been represented at Dirty Disco. The high BPMs and aggressive sounds stir the energy of an event unlike any other genre of electronic music, especially outdoors. As far as the rest of the lineup, there’s everything but chill music. Nothing to stand still and feel. This is hard hitting music that’s meant to move you. After all this is a dance party, right?”

Did you ever envision Dirty Disco to grow to the size that it is today?

“The first year, no way. I was barely prepared for a thousand people to show up, let alone thinking about a future for this event. This was just supposed to be a fun night out in the desert, but after the second year’s growing success I knew I had something to build on. So we kept building, and we started growing even more, and here we are today with the biggest event we’ve produced to date. It’s been a wild ride lol”

Where do you see Dirty Disco going in the future from this point in time?

“I’m not the type of person who counts their chickens before they hatch, so I’m taking it one step at a time to ensure we have an amazing event this year and that people will want to come back next year. However, I do have a future vision for Dirty Disco. It is very exciting, but I won’t go into any details. All I can say is that it will take a lot of hard work over the years.”

So hopefully this gives everybody a little bit on insight on the history of Dirty Disco. It’s absolutely amazing watching something grow and develop right in front of our eyes, and it doesn’t get any better than Dirty Disco if that’s what you are looking for. If you want to know more about Dirty Disco this year, go ahead and scroll on over to this article right here. Our wonderful Melissa McCann wrote this up already and she did a wonderful job on it so I don’t want to repeat her words!

If you want to buy tickets to Dirty Disco go ahead and grab them from this link right here! (You should really by tickets though) Additionally if you want to know more about the man, the myth, and the legend himself, Sam Groove, check out the social media links below!

Connect with Sam Groove: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

Show Comments