Les Voss

Narrow speaks with May :IN session artist, Les Voss.

 By Zahra Musgrave

You are the founder of local event curator, Over Easy Creative. Tell us about how you got started & what the journey’s been like thus far.

Over Easy Creative started after several years of being involved in bigger electronic shows around town, where I really just wasn't satisfied with what constituted a “show.” It was the same old formula of booking a big artist, throwing them in a big room, and yelling HEY COME TO THIS SHOW/PARTY. I was eager to create something new that was more immersive and focused on the experience as a whole. We threw our first event, Over Easy Fest, at The Jam in Spring 2013, which featured lots of locals doing their thing, whether it was food, painting, glass blowing, or playing music. #HEARSEEFEEL became our guiding force. The journey has been beautiful, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world being able to connect so many friends and create life long memories for the people I’ve met along the way.

What are some of the most memorable things you’ve learned about yourself/others since participating actively as a performer/business entrepreneur?

Everything is art. Interacting with so many creatives has really made me realize that no matter what your craft, there’s room for creativity.

Last year, you left Gainesville, FL bound for New Orleans. Tell us more about the events you DJ’d /produced there, & your impetus for bringing your efforts back home?

I moved to NOLA with a feeling that I needed to get away to grow as a creator and as a human. I had been throwing events on a weekly basis in Gainesville for over 5 years, and lived here since 2011. Within a month of moving out there I started throwing a weekly party in a little Creole mansion turned cocktail bar in the French Quarter called The Starlight,
built in 1788. Our party was every Friday from midnight to sunrise, and it was amazing - it had a disco tinged house music vibe to it. We called it Our House, and we brought lots of buds from Florida such as True Vine (III Points) plus some others like Michael Rosa (Desert Hearts) and Ciszak from Dirtybird, as well as the core crew of New Orleans
house/disco DJs.   After a weird turn of events, I came back to Florida for a few weeks in October to throw a few shows including Christian Martin at The Atlantic. While I was home I did some soul searching, and Simon and I had a long talk where he basically asked me to come back to Gainesville and work alongside him. Simon is one of my biggest inspirations I’ve ever had, and the chance to work and learn from someone I’ve looked up to for years as we restored a legendary building back to its glory brought me back. I couldn’t be happier to be here. Gainesville really has a place in my heart and I couldn’t stay away.

House n tacos is my favorite weekly event. What do you think has led to its now (almost third) year running success, and in what ways has a recent venue change altered the experience?

H&T has really held its ground the last few years. I think there’s staying power because it’s so unique - creating a spot for more casual music listening paired with active conversation and dank food is the move for early / mid-week when people aren’t so interested in a sweaty dance party. We started the party at Elixir, moved to High Dive, found a home at Dutton’s Vault for a year or so, and now we’re more or less permanently home at Signal. H&T was definitely an influence when we
started designing Signal - we wanted to be sure to integrate those elements that made H&T work best, such as quieter areas within the room for dialogue, lots of seating, and a banging system on the dance floor. These focuses on what we wanted in the room circled back to make H&T even better.

Gainesville’s newest music venue to hear music every Tues-Sat is now open! What has been the process of conceptualizing, building, & opening up Signal’s doors to the public?

We started working on the room in November 2018, and we spent about four and a half months of insane hours to get it done. It all started with an idea between Simon and I. We were dying to transform Rain, which to us resembled the inside of a Marlboro reds cigarette box - wide with low ceilings, and red, white and black everywhere. Previous tenants had
painted over all of the beautiful woodwork from the 90s when the room was Plasma Lounge, and it really just wasn’t warm the way we pictured the room. When it comes to adding immersive deco and art to my events I always go straight to Tyler Hale (Eclectic Electric) and so of course that was the first phone call, and it really worked out perfectly because Simon shares my belief in letting creators create. Tyler really treated the room like a canvas. There were many days and nights of what looked like next to no progress, frustrating sometimes. But that would be followed by coming in the next day and just being blown away because all of the visualization had finally been executed and realized. Tyler, as well as Jeremy French, who’s his apprentice of sorts, really stepped up and proved themselves with this one; hell its 5,000 square
feet of eye candy and immersion, and I’m beyond proud of what we created together and with the help of all of our friends. It was really a group effort.

I know you wear a lot of hats. How do you juggle so many roles?

You know, I’m not really sure. There’s always room for more. I’ve always wanted to have my hands in the things that I love. I think when there’s passion, the rest just comes naturally and you find the time to get things done when they’re important to you.

Describe Signal for those who are curious, yet may not have been?

Signal is a 1960s atomic age, nautical themed cocktail bar and music venue. Lots to look at, a banging sound system, full stage, projection mapping, live art, and tasty drinks. For summer we’re open 9-2 Tues-Saturday, but we’ll be returning to 7pm doors/happy hour in the Fall.

Any upcoming shows in the works that you would like to highlight?

My lips are sealed for now. Keep up to date with our calendar at Facebook.com/SignalGNV.

dave kosciolek