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Whirling Dervish Productions: “Dancing is an opportunity to remind us that we are all one”

Whirling Dervish Productions came together out of the need for higher quality underground music experiences for adults in the Denver area. A collaboration between Brown Elvis Presents and Mental of the Fantastic Hosts, Whirling Dervish Productions delivers more than just underground events, producing events that are profound experiences for the discerning music and live performance aficionados in Denver.

EG caught up with the team at Whirling Dervish Productions to learn more about their ethos, their background, upcoming events, plans for the future, and more.

EG: Hi Casey! Kaz! Welcome. It’s an absolute treat to have you with us today. How have you been? How was 2021 for Whirling Dervish?

Casey & Kaz: Thanks for the invite. 2021 was an amazing year for us. We came out of the pandemic restrictions strong with our first event in May, Deep Dish. We continued all the way through the end of the year with shows including Sasha + Digweed, Camelphat, Steve Lawler, Hernan Cattaneo & Nick Warren, Nick Fanciulli and Derrick Carter, Danny Tenaglia, Nicole Moudaber, and Yousef, and finally New Year’s Day with our Last Night on Earth show featuring Sasha, Öona Dahl, Quivver, and a host of Denver local DJ’s.

EG: Tell us, what has Whirling Dervish been up to since the start of the year?

Casey & Kaz: We kicked off 2022 with our Sasha Last Night on Earth show, and we have been keeping steady with what we consider to be great shows. We have had a series of what we consider to be more “intimate” shows, including Guy Mantzur, Roger Sanchez, and Markus Schulz doing his open-to-close ‘Down The Rabbit Hole’. Then we turned up the heat a bit with the first-ever performance of Sven Väth in Colorado for our last show on February 25th.

Sydney Blu will be playing alongside Joyce Muniz at Reelworks, Denver on March 12th, 2022. Grab your tickets here.

EG: We know you have confirmed some really special dates in Denver already with Guy J on March 26th, Sydney Blu & Joyce Muniz on March 12th, and Art Department & DJ Harvey appearing on March 19th. What can we expect from these and other incoming events?

Casey & Kaz: You can be assured that for each of our events, our artist will play extended sets of 3 hours and more because that is what we deliver for our guests. And production including lighting and sound will always be on point. Aside from these shows you mentioned, we have also recently announced Dennis Ferrer and Steve Lawler coming April 9th; the Kompakt showcase featuring Michael Mayer, Gui Boratto, and John Tejada. And just this week, we just announced some real blockbusters: The return of John Digweed on May 14th. Nick Warren’s The Soundgarden with Audiofly, Goldcap, and Sabo on May 21st. And a huge announcement for us: the founder of Drumcode Records, Adam Beyer, with Francesca Lombardo appearing May 28th!

EG: In which ways have Whirling Dervish had to adapt since the beginning of the pandemic? Were you still able to participate in the scene in one way or another?

Casey & Kaz: Our last show of 2020, and the last large show in Denver, was Carl Cox and Josh Wink. As our event style requires close interaction to have intimate moments on the dance floor, we were completely shut down for in-person events until our next show in May of 2021, when we brought Deep Dish. While we were shut down, we worked with ReelWorks on their transformation of the EXDO space and planning for the reopening strategy. We also worked with ClipoLabs to put together virtual events in their multiverse for the virtual burning man, and a fundraiser for the Empyrean temple. For Deep Dish, which was the first large post-pandemic electronic show in Denver, we required proof of vaccination or a negative covid test to enter. We also worked with the ReelWorks team to administer over 400 covid tests on-site for our guests. We always followed the guidelines for large events in 2021 and had no reported outbreaks, which we are thankful for.

“We try to create an environment where the music, sound, lighting, and environment allow people to vibrate, resonate and connect with their fellow dancers creating sacred moments on the dancefloor”

EG: How did Whirling Dervish come about? Why did you settle on that particular name? Why did you guys decide to work together?

Casey & Kaz: Kaz and I have each been putting together parties in Denver and elsewhere for over 20 years. We came together 6 years ago with the goal of bringing artists that we love to Denver, and to create experiences that we had long ago on the dancefloors. The Whirling Dervish name and logo symbolize many things. One aspect is the symbol of the Sufi dancers of the middle east that are a spiritual group whose members spin and dance to connect with the sacred. This is in line with the experiences we try to enable for our guests on the dancefloor. We try to create an environment where the music, sound, lighting, and environment allow people to vibrate, resonate and connect with their fellow dancers creating sacred moments on the dancefloor. We feel that these moments can be life-changing for people and are important for our communities. The world seems to be focused on what makes us different from one another – dancing is an opportunity to remind us that we are all one.

We also focus on longer sets for our DJs. We book artists who are storytellers and giving them a few hours to work their craft creates amazing experiences. We think that people respond to this critical difference we provide with our events.

EG: And now you guys are on the verge of celebrating your 6th year with John Digweed! You must be really looking forwards to that particular night!

Casey & Kaz: John was one of the first artists we brought to Denver as Whirling Dervish. He is a great friend to us and an amazing artist. He loves Denver and Denver loves him back, so we know this will be another special and amazing night for everyone.

EG: Just how much work goes into every event you plan? Do you have a blueprint you can go to? Or does every event demand to start from scratch?

Casey & Kaz: We have been putting together events for decades, so we have a great deal of experience to draw from. However, each event requires its own planning as we like to make each event special. We take time to imagine the crowd that would attend, and how we can make each experience unique for our guests and artists. There are many moving parts for each event from lighting, sound, logistics, equipment, staffing, and marketing. Each event requires a great deal of planning to ensure that it runs smoothly from start to finish.

EG: What else can we expect from Whirling Dervish in the near future? What new milestones are you looking out for in the coming months?

Casey & Kaz: We have lots of shows remaining to announce for 2022. Our goal is to do about 2 per month, and the ones we have already contracted but have not yet announced are truly mind-blowing. We can’t wait to tell everyone about them, but you will have to wait and keep an eye on our website, our Facebook and Instagram accounts, and our emailers.

EG: Thank you so much for your time guys! We wish you all the best for the future!

Casey & Kaz: Thank you! See you on the dancefloor!

Sydney Blu will be playing alongside Joyce Muniz at Reelworks, Denver on March 12th, 2022. Grab your tickets here.

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