For some, the Eugene music scene is about dancing barefoot in the grass to a jam band or some reggae-rock hybrid. But for nearly a decade, Ghost House has been presenting a monthly DJ dance night for fans of music in a darker vein.
“Broadly, I’d call it a goth night,” Erin Wilson says. She frequently DJs for Ghost House as DJ Perfidia and helps out with event promotion. The program also includes a lot of industrial, darkwave, electronic and indie hits of the ’80s, she says.
Wilson fell in love with bands like The Cure in high school. “This music is my soundtrack!” she recalls. At first listening to music like she plays at Ghost House helped her feel less lonely. “Knowing artists could articulate things I couldn’t, saved me over and over again,” she says. “Now I really love watching people on the dance floor and sculpting a mood.”
In addition to hosting monthly dance events at Old Nick’s, Ghost House presents the annual Emerald Gothic Weekend as well as events like a bonus Halloween edition of Ghost House —“because that is our holiest day,” Wilson says — and every March, Ghost House does a “dark” Alice in Wonderland night. Occasionally, Ghost House even invites a live band to town.
The June edition of Ghost House has a theme from the ’80s, a decade thought of by many as the golden age for this musical style. In addition to bands like The Cure, expect to hear hits from The Smiths, Joy Division, Bauhaus and more.
This time, the DJ known only as Refugium will be joined by DJ SpiderSound, current host of the long-running KWVA radio show Latent ’80s, as well as DJ John the Revelator, known for deejaying ’80s night, a Eugene nightlife institution.
Some might consider music like this too downtempo, or too — for lack of a better word — depressing to dance to. I ask Wilson if she agrees with this characterization.
“It’s just not for everyone,” she says. But you’ll find a lot of variation in the tempo of the music played at Ghost House, and, of course, not everyone dances, she says. All abilities, sizes and genders are welcome at the event.
“One thing I’ve learned about the goth scene is that we all seem to know what it’s like to be judged, so we are careful not to do it too quickly ourselves.”
Attending Ghost House, she says, is a little bit like walking into a scary movie — in a fun way. “We might look like we take ourselves really seriously,” she adds, “but it’s just the goth kid look. We have so much fun and a lot of laughs.”
“Some of the music is definitely less accessible, but that’s what I find interesting,” Wilson says. “Depressing, maybe. But if you’re already depressed it’s nice to label it and then dance it out, right? Without darkness there’s no light.”
Ghost House June is 9 pm Saturday, June 8, at Old Nick’s; $4, 21-Plus.