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GETTING INTIMATE WITH SJS

When Slow Jam Sundays sparked in June 2012 as a reunion with friends – featuring favorite 90’s RnB songs with music videos projected onto a sheet – no one predicted just how quickly they’d be selling out the Commodore, nor that they’d be bringing their unique baby-making-practice-party to the Squamish Valley Music Festival through August 8, 9th & 10, giving festival-goers a chance to romance under the Squamish sky.

Its success may be unpredicted, but it’s not surprising: all the SJS crew are pretty driven in their fields. While Marlon and Patrick – aka Marlon J English and P-Luv – are both established DJs in their own right, with decades of experience under their belts, Ariel and Aaron are established party-starters: their “dance-walks,” or roving dance parties are an indication of the adventurous natures that draw people to their parties. The synthesis of good music, nostalgia, visual captivation and a rowdy spirit is what has made SJS the party to be at.

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Aaron recalls the first Slow Jam Sunday, where “everyone’s voices were hoarse. I remember walking around and seeing so many smiles on peoples faces,” an early indication that there was something to this Sunday Night party. Since then, SJS has played host to some pretty huge acts, including Big Daddy Kane, Ginuwine, Glenn Lewis, Dru Hill and Dwele…not to mention selling out the Commodore when they hosted The Dream.

“People laughed at us originally,” recalls Ariel, who brings “the woman factor” to the team, alongside a sailor’s mouth, hot friends and some badass dance moves. Patrick adds that “we make its look easy because we’re doing the same stuff that we were 10 years ago but with videos,” and Marlon adds, due to his 15-plus years in the industry, “I’ve taken what I’ve learned and applied it to what SJS is for all of us. It’s our baby.”

SJS brands itself as baby-making music…or at least practice, and many a couple has found themselves making out on the dance floor, immersed in the romantic notions of everyone from Frank Ocean to Jodeci to Mary J Blige and feeling pretty loose off those drinks – if that’s not a recipe for love, what is? The team has seen it happen again and again as the chemistry of the slow jam takes over and makes magic, and Aaron affirms that “we love to see people making out.”

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Slow Jam Sundays draws a different kind of crowd, a less-aggressive group than usual club-goers – they’re the kind who love to love. Marlon adds that the average SJS-goer is 25-35, though a whole new generation are showing an interest, some of them whose older siblings listened to his and P-luv’s mixes from back in the day, and now are old enough to attend themselves.

With momentum gaining, the SJS crew is only getting more involved: August 16 and Labour day will both feature SJS club nights, but first is the Squamish Valley Music Festival, where the crew will share the stage with some of their faves, including Bruno Mars, The Roots, Nas, Arcade Fire and A Tribe Called Red.

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The team isn’t completely sure what to expect, though Patrick plans emphatically to “go in there and give it my 100,” and Marlon maintains that “as long as we have 20 people we’ll have a good time,” with Aaron chiming in that “There’s gonna be stickers on asses and some singing going on.”

You can catch Slow Jam Sundays at the Squamish Valley Music Festival, running August 8-10. You can also stay current on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

– Amalia Nickel

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