Written by Ariana Assaf
Photo by dashgrey
It was my second night in New York City, first night going out. I got off the M train (Was it the M train? Who knows. It was the orange one.) too early because I didn’t know where I was going, then too late because I got distracted talking to one of the guys who had DJ’d the very first Emo Nite New York the night before. I felt like a “true New Yorker” convincing the pizza guy to let me pay with a credit card even though my two veggie slices were only $4 and there was a $5 minimum, and I’m pretty sure I got hit on while eating it en route to the Bowery…or maybe he was hitting on the pizza.
Even though I only arrived about five minutes after Hotel Garuda went on, the main floor was already gyrating with flailing arms and lots of people jumping in unison, including the Garuda boys themselves. Over the course of the night I saw someone do a “shoey” for no apparent reason (for those of you who don’t know, a shoey is the cringe-worthy Australian practice of chugging a beer out of one’s shoe), plenty of fangirls get quickly shuffled off stage after being bold enough to climb right up there, and some pretty unbelievable dance moves from Aseem Mangaokar in particular…you had to be there.
Aseem makes up half of the Hotel Garuda duo, alongside Chris Gavino. Both artists are known for flexing their creative muscles in a variety of ways, including individual projects: in addition to making music as Hotel Garuda, Aseem produces under solo alias Candle Weather and Chris under Manilla Killa. Chris also happens to be one of the founding members of Moving Castle, a collective that prides itself on creating an inclusive community where like-minded artists like OWSLA signee Mark Johns and genre bender Chet Porter have found the support necessary to hone their craft and make a name for themselves.
The night was full of twinkly indietronic tunes, some good ol’ deep house, and even a few very welcome hip hop samples. In all honesty, the music probably wouldn’t have been much different had I been on a particularly good one and decided to throw a party myself, and that was the best part. The no-frills show perfectly captured the friendly, unpretentious vibe you’d expect from any good house party, only the music was mixed better and Jai Wolf made an appearance (so did Aseem’s parents). Hotel Garuda’s dreamy visuals helped us all remember that we weren’t actually in someone’s living room, but the production only added to the perfect party environment the duo has clearly mastered. To really get a sense of what I’m talking about — and feast your eyes on Aseem’s truly magnificent moves — check out their tour schedule and enjoy the opportunity to come as you are.