You’ve never been to a dance party like Secret Soul Club. The music is comprised of some of the catchiest, grooviest soul singles from the ‘50s and ‘60s — some so rare, they seem like they’ve been waiting to be played exclusively at Secret Soul Club.
The dense, noxious cloud of sweat emanating from a pulsating mob of dancers hits you immediately. The colored lights wash over the crowd hypnotically. It’s overwhelmingly sexy.
You might also notice the three shadowy figures standing on the stage, hunched over the turntables like mad scientists over a chemistry set, swaying to the results of their experiments. Instigated and invigorated by the longtime friends and DJ’s Tom Dechristofaro (Alr!ght), Antoine Henderson (Pops), and Dave Petrovich (Party Sweat), Secret Soul Club just celebrated its third-year anniversary.
They talk enthusiastically about the prospect of record hunting, having gone as far as Pittsburgh and Columbus to track down an elusive cut, and getting in countless online bidding wars.
Tom: You’re always outbidding like fifteen other people that want it. Other times, there are records I’ve been searching for… years that I still haven’t found.
Dave: What I find really exciting is looking for original versions of songs, and cover versions of songs that are way crazier.
They only play 45’s, even though it would be easier to find reissued pressings of the singles on LP formats. The sonic qualities of a record at 45 RPM are much better than one at 33 1/3.
Tom: The records feel very alive. There’s something about the 45 RPM format with this style of music, there’s some weird magic to it that I just can’t figure out. It sounds like the records are coming through guitar amps or something. It doesn’t sound like your typical PA.
Antoine: It’s way louder, there’s a reverb that you can’t reproduce when it’s digital.
Dave: With 45’s there’s a live, loudness-mixture… the same song on a clean LP at the same volume just seems choked.
Antoine: It actually makes us better DJ’s. If people are dancing and going crazy, it’s like feedback for you.
The energy at Secret Soul Club is indeed contagious.
Tom: I catch myself just kind of staring sometimes and you kind of get lost in it because you’re focused on one person…Then you see it kind of ripple over. It’s interesting to see.
Dave: It’s very soulful. It’s very much about dancing… about completely surrendering and giving in, and letting us play records that you probably don’t know. That sort of trust thing is really cool because it makes everybody feel like it’s all happening together, like everything’s happening at the same time.
That passion that Tom, Antoine, and Dave share is what makes Secret Soul Club so special. They have a rare gift, transpiring their love for music with hundreds of strangers. The sense of togetherness at Secret Soul Club is powerful, and the experience is one of a kind: uniquely fun and uniquely Cleveland.