The Brooklyn-based D.J. Jubilee, whose real name is Jessica Gentile, is one-third of the crew behind Flashing Lights, NYC’s best (and only) house-techno-disco rave in a Chinese restaurant. With Nick Catchdubs and D.J. Ayres, Jubilee hosted Flashing Lights in assorted venues around the city for more than a year before landing at 88 Palace, a Chinatown dim-sum joint. The monthly dance night pulls in huge crowds thanks to bass-heavy jams and well-known guests (including A-Trak, Flosstradamus, and La Roux). We spoke to Jubilee about switching from TV to raves, convincing people to come to Manhattan, and what exactly Rave Juice is made of.
How did Flashing Lights start?
I’ve known Nick [Catchdubs] and Ayres for a little while, and Nick and I were really good friends. We shared the same interest in funny hip-hop — Trick Daddy and Trina, stuff like that. Ayres and I used to play Scrabble online all the time, and that’s where it came up: “Hey, I’m thinking of doing this night so we can play dance music.”
You’ve moved a couple of times since then. Did you just outgrow the venues you were in?
New York is hard right now. It’s very hard to get people to pay to get in. We moved it around on purpose for a while so we could keep it interesting, but people really love the Chinatown thing [at 88 Palace]. It’s kind of like an underground dance vibe … You have to bring your own bar, you have to bring your own sound, everything. It’s a long night.
Before this, you were mostly playing in Brooklyn. Has the vibe changed a lot since you moved to Chinatown? I was expecting a lot of Brooklyn hipsters, really, but …
But it’s not! One night, these hard-style rave kids from — who knows where they were from — came early, because they didn’t know what time to come. They had glowsticks in their shoes, and they were doing the shuffle rave dance on the floor. It’s really every type of person. I feel really comfortable inviting everybody to it.
Okay, what’s rave juice?
It’s a plastic bag — I don’t know why it’s in a plastic bag — and it’s Red Bull and vodka, and there’s a glowstick in there. Sometimes they put some whiskey in there, depending on the venue. It just looks cool, so everyone winds up buying the rave juice in the bag. “Is there gonna be rave juice there?” If we forget the plastic bags, someone has to run to the store right away.
Where did that idea come from?
They do it in Australia at festivals. I’m going to give the Australians credit for that one.
The next Flashing Lights is tonight at 88 Palace, 88 East Broadway, with guests Nadastrom and Proper Villains.