In late July a fire destroyed Mucho Culo, a near-west-side studio, performance space, and multimedia outlet as well as the home of local DJ and musician Erik Voit, aka Pranas. Voit made it out of the building with his laptop, hard drive, and Maschine Studio controller, but he had to abandon the rest of his music gear—keyboards, turntables, guitars, basses, microphones, synths—and audio/video equipment. “I estimate I had about $60,000 to $70,000 worth of stuff,” he says.
Voit launched a GoFundMe campaign a few days later and has since raised nearly $4,000 to help recover from the fire. On Saturday his friends pitch in with a fund-raiser at Subterranean headlined by Teklife producers DJ Earl and Heavee; the benefit also features Billa, DJ Demchuk, Fatboy, and Pranas.
Voit had been operating out of the studio on 128 N. Campbell for a few years before launching Mucho Culo in early 2013. “We were trying to do an online magazine,” he says. “It was an idea that myself and a couple friends cooked up one night. We were joking around and liked the name—liked the sound of it—and I think I said it would be a fun name for a club night.” Voit and those friends—DJ Demchuk and Fatboy—got to work booking a series of Mucho Culo events. The first was at Voit’s studio in March 2013, with juke godfather Gant-Man headlining and sets by Ultrademon, Demchuk, and Ratchet and Clank.
Voit set up a live webcast of the first Mucho Culo show through video site Ustream—he compares the broadcasts to those by international pop-up party series Boiler Room, which was gaining steam at around the same time. “I did the research and whatever else to make the video project come together, and I was the one responsible for streaming and posting the content,” he says. Mucho Culo branched out into podcasts of DJ mixes, which were hosted on RWD.FM, a Web radio station focused on electronic music. The team drew on Demchuk and Fatboy’s extensive network of local producers for its DJ nights and shows, and they hosted an array of great local talents—among them FeelTrip cofounder Starfoxxx, Teklife founders DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn, juke and footwork veteran Traxman, and young Teklife heavyweight DJ Earl.
After the fire, Earl offered his services to help get Voit back on his feet, which led to Saturday’s benefit show. The event is part of a slow re-emergence for Mucho Culo; after Voit’s studio and home burned down, he moved to Pilsen and began assembling a new studio setup. “I hadn’t really done any gigs right away, but I’ve been starting—in the past few months—to play out a little bit,” he says. His Mucho Culo collaborators wanted to get back to organizing club nights, though Voit wasn’t so keen on the idea at first. “I wanted to focus more on original production and not really worry so much about booking shows and getting acts together—not really doing parties again,” he says.
But when Demchuk landed a monthly slot at Subterranean, Voit changed his mind, and in November the Mucho Culo team hosted the first night of its new series at the venue. The Mucho Culo DJs have been playing out elsewhere too—on January 2 they helped ghetto-house legend Paul Johnson celebrate his 45th birthday at Evil Olive. Saturday’s benefit leans more toward fast post-house, and dance crew TOG sponsors the evening’s footwork battle. Part of the proceeds of the fund-raiser will go to the Daniel V. Capuano Memorial Fund, which benefits the family of a local firefighter who died fighting a warehouse blaze last month. “I have no connection to [Capuano] whatsoever,” Voit says. “I just wanted to do something good to support the people who would do what they could to help me out.”
The Mucho Culo Studio Fire Benefit begins at 10 PM and costs $10.