Watch Compound LA's Return to the Underground

Mar 22, 2022

Melisa Yuriar

4 min read

As states begin to end indoor mask mandates for vaccinated people across the US, we reflect on nightlife venues' journey to organize safe gatherings for the masses over the past two years. Navigating life with COVID and its variants hasn't been an easy task, but one group of event organizers demonstrated how to efficiently and safely coordinate incredible shows for vaccinated Southern California club-goers.

The COMPOUND venue has been throwing parties nonstop in Los Angeles since 2007. Looking out for their longevity and the community, they decided to press pause on events at the location in the months following the COVID-19 pandemic breakout in 2020. When lockdown ended in June last year, artists Ønyx and Insical asked if they could document the return of COMPOUND.

Nightlife organizations COMPOUNDINCOGNITO6AMDirty Epic, and Synthetik Minds worked together to produce an unforgettable event to commemorate the long-awaited return to the dance floor after all mass gatherings, and live events ground to a halt. Returning to the Dancefloor depicts their story as it came to a brilliant apex in Los Angeles earlier this year.

"This video is a story of that," said organizers from the house and techno club INCOGNITO in a statement. "…and a reminder that we must continue to do what is right by each other so that we can keep our community dancing safely."

As seen in the documentary, the stunning festival-sized return of COMPOUND was an incredible affair. With state-of-the-art light shows, an incredible sound system, and plenty of open-air passages for increased ventilation, the massive warehouse party was a celebration of music and community. 

Featuring techno acts like Modus, Jeremy Olander, Sophia Saze, Nur Jaber, Regis, Orly Gal, and so many more, the two-night event was an eagerly anticipated event that exceeded expectations.

In an exclusive interview with Gray Area, Dirty Epic founder-curator Andrew Souto shared his frustration about not being able to work in nightlife these past two unprecedented years of almost opening and then being let down when officials deemed it unsafe at the last minute. 

"We had been anticipating the reopening for many months and were even putting artist holds as soon as we were given a date of reopening. Foreign artists were still barred from entering even with a working visa so we had to focus on Americans only which was really fun but became more difficult as the excitement about events being open waned and we had started running out of new options for bookings," said Souto.

In the months since events & nightlife have started up again, Souto says returning has meant everything and more to him.

"Not just throwing events but just the social aspect of talking with strangers, and having some good laughs. Getting closer with my core group was great for a while but that diversity is necessary."

The COMPOUND party continues, with many more underground techno events lined up for winter 2022. The organizers shared that they will continue to remain consistent with guidelines from health authorities, requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of an event. The promoters continue unwavering in their commitment to throw safe, enjoyable events as the world proceeds with navigating through life with COVID and its variants.

"Life needs to return to normal at some point," said Souto. "I'm happy to shut down business again if we have to, but this thing can't have a massive influence on our lives forever." 

Stream the Compound LA documentary on Youtube.

Words by: Melisa Yuriar

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