The Maui House Collective is a tribe of seven Maui-based DJs: Dustin Roberts, Benjamin Jay, Del Sol, Scotty D, Markiss Knobs, Thee-O, and Andrew Dana. All are familiar names in Maui’s nightlife scene – some even nationally – and the collective formed out of an appreciation for house music, a passion for dancing, and the love of community.
In the past few years, MHC DJs have played Maui venues alongside house music icons like Dj Skribble, Marques Wyatt, Anthony Attalla, and more.
In the next few months, Maui’s house music and dance lovers are in for a handful of exciting DJ showcases and events. MHC’s “Summer of House” will feature a combination of club events, beach parties, and happy hour house music sessions around the Valley Isle. Visiting DJs include Mario Navarro (from LA), Mark Farina (CHI and SF), Rescue (Colo. and Bangkok) & Louis IV, DJ Dan (LA), Natural Rhythm & Dean DeCosta (LA), Trent Cantrelle (LA and LV), Steve Castro (LA), Joel DeMarzo (LA), and Galen of Sunset Sound System (SF).
When I talked story with DJ Dustin Roberts, he told me that the MHC feels that the values of the house music community are completely in line with the spirit of aloha. “Building this community in Maui has at times been a struggle, but over the last couple of years we have seen the scene grow by leaps and bounds,” he said. “The attitudes have shifted away from more edgy, extreme types of electronic music styles to those that promote happiness and community.”
The inclusive message is reflected in the collective’s mission statement, “To provide a space for house lovers of all ages, backgrounds, and beliefs to come together in the spirit of aloha.”
DJ Benjamin Jay emphasized how the Maui House Collective wants to bring people together. “House music is historically not just a music genre, but a culture,” he said. “It’s defined by unity, acceptance, and love for all people no matter your age, gender, color, or sexual orientation.”
Jay explained how his past experiences have influenced the group’s house music values. “Growing up around the underground party scene, it was common to hear the term ‘PLUR,’ which stands for peace, love, unity, and respect,” he said. “With the Maui House Collective, our goal is to stay true to the old school house music culture by creating events that emphasize these core values. We believe that once people share that experience, they will truly understand house music and fall in love with it, too.”
For those, like myself, who have long been in love with house music, it’s pretty awesome to see Maui’s house music scene growing! It’s a chance to introduce people to the genre’s culture and many music types.
All things considered, there are still misconceptions about house music culture. For one, many do not seem to understand that it’s a foundation for many popular music genres, including pop, hip-hop, trap, electronic dance music (EDM), and other mainstream electronic music. MHC members definitely understand this, and aim to not only create amazing parties, but to help to educate Maui residents on music history.
“The biggest misconception about house music is not necessarily a misconception, but a lack of understanding and appreciation for where it began and what it stands for,” said Jay. “If people haven’t experienced underground parties or a thriving house music scene, they likely haven’t had a memorable experience with the music itself – so they would benefit even more from learning about the history and evolution of house music. Also, if people haven’t traveled internationally to places where house music is the primary form of club and party music, they are more likely to be unfamiliar with it, and then the misconception becomes that it is some obscure music that isn’t widely appreciated around the world.”
Although all of the MHC members had been playing gigs around the island for some time, it wasn’t until 2017 that the group was formed. In fact, after speaking with MHC DJs, I learned that their introduction was jump-started around the time that DJ Skribble played a Saturday night at The Dirty Monkey in Lahaina.
Matthew (“Matty”) Robb, owner of The Dirty Monkey, had planned a beach party with DJ Skribble for the following Sunday. A couple of the now-founding members of MHC were asked to help with the beach party planning, and lent a hand with mobile sound equipment. On that day, the Maui House Collective was formed, new members joined, and the rest is history.
Dustin Roberts and Benjamin Jay both expressed that Robb was instrumental to the formation of the Maui House Collective. He had already been booking a variety of live music and comedy shows, plus bringing world-class house music DJs to his Lahaina venue, like DJ Skribble, Steve Castro, DJ Dik, Party Rock DJs, Da Hypeman, Furroshus, DJ Highpockets, DJ Eva Kane, Miss Twee, DJ Louie Mole, Danger House, DJ Little John, Donald Glaude, Marques Wyatt, and DJ Scotty Boy. By providing a space for a growing Maui house music scene to thrive and be exposed to new music, Robb and The Dirty Monkey’s continued support has been pivotal.
When I asked Robb what motivated him to bring house music to The Dirty Monkey, he said, “On Maui, we have these beautiful beaches and no beach parties with amazing music. There wasn’t a venue supporting house music, and I was missing the music that I truly loved, from DJs like Erick Morillo to Bad Boy Bill, Miguel Migs, Mark Farina, and many more. I wanted to bring some of that energy and love I have for the music to Maui.”
He continued by sharing some of the reasons he created a spot for nightlife on Maui. “We wanted to create a hub for great talent to perform. From a comedy show transforming in a matter of minutes into a dance floor with amazing sound, The Dirty Monkey is a place that no matter what kind of music you like – hip-hop, trap, country, live bands, or house music – I can guarantee that when guests come through our doors they’ll enjoy the most talented artists and DJs from around the world,” said Robb.
Booking live music shows and DJs is not a new venture for Robb. In fact, Robb has been a member of the house music community since his early clubbing years in the Bay Area of California. After making years of connections through his life experiences and entrepreneurial ventures in Northern California, Southern California, and Las Vegas, Robb only saw it as natural to share this music with the Maui community. Providing the bomb JBL Pro sound system and a home for nightlife events at The Dirty Monkey is only part of it. Booking world class house music DJs and involving MHC members in the production is the icing on the cake.
For the Summer of House, Robb has booked Mark Farina, DJ Dan, Trent Cantrelle, and Steve Castro. Insiders even say that Maui can quite possibly look forward to hearing Felix da Housecat, Stafford Brothers, and Z Trip in the upcoming Fall and Winter months.
As a house music lover myself, it’s exciting to not only be a spectator of the Maui House Collective’s rise to success, but also a member of the community that they’re building on Maui. In the 14 years I’ve lived on Maui, nobody has been able to achieve this. Now, the scene is finally changing for the better.
Maui music and dance lovers can now look forward to a collective effort off DJs, entrepreneurs, and expert party planners bringing world-class house music DJs to Maui. Expect the hashtags #mauihousecollective and #summerofhouse to blow up this summer – follow and use them to find your tribe!
In addition to the big shows, Maui House Collective will also be presenting a host of beach parties and weekly and monthly events on the Valley Isle this summer. You can also join them at their Friday DJ Sets events at the Paia Bay Coffee Bar on Friday, May 24, and every third Friday after. For more information about MHC events, follow Maui House Collective on Facebook and Instagram.
Summer of House Events
Sunday May 19 – Location TBA
Mario Navarro (Groove Ventures Music) w/ Opening Sets by MHC DJs
Bio: With influences ranging from early ‘70s-80s disco, funk, hip-hop turntablism, techno, and house ranging from tribal to tech, DJ Navarro successfully straddles the line between a well respected Hollywood club DJ and knowledgeable remixer and producer. Navarro’s sound is best known for his grooving, pounding, in-your-face drum patterns, and driving baselines with a hearty dose of latin elements.
Thursday June 13
The Dirty Monkey, Lahaina
Mark Farina (Great Lakes Audio Recordings & Mushroom Jazz) w/ Opening Sets by MHC DJs
Bio: Mark Farina has solidified himself in the world of dance music as a trailblazing DJ, producer, tastemaker, and bonafide house music icon. After three decades crisscrossing the globe, he shows no signs of slowing down, remaining innovative, humble, and firmly rooted in the underground. As an early house music pioneer in the late ‘80s, Farina’s history includes an impressive long-standing residency at Smart Bar Chicago and a job at the legendary Gramaphone Records. In the ‘90s, Mark pushed musical boundaries and blended genres to create “Mushroom Jazz.”
(Update: Mark Farina will also be playing at Casanova in Makawao on Saturday, June 15th. Opening sets by MHC DJs)
Saturday June 22 – The Dirty Monkey, Lahaina
Rescue (Instereo, Guesthouse Music) w/ Opening Sets by MHC DJs Benjamin Jay & Markiss Knobs
Bio: Rescue’s signature blend of funk and soul combined with heavy dancefloor-driven beats has been consistently pushing the envelope within the house community, and the world has taken notice. With over 200 original tracks and remixes (many reaching Top 10 on Traxsource and Beatport charts) and with releases on some of the industries top labels such as Guesthouse, In Stereo, Lingo, Tango, Beatdown, Jungle Funk, and many more, Rescue’s style has proven to be a highly sought-after dance floor combination.
Saturday July 6
The Dirty Monkey, Lahaina
DJ Dan (Instereo) w/ Opening Sets by MHC DJs Thee-o and Markiss Knobs
Bio: DJ Dan has been a leading force in the dance community for more than 25 years. Dan’s music brings the party to new high levels with his mix of funky tech house, techno, and house. Dan’s widely-renowned, Los Angeles-based label InStereo Recordings has further etched his name into dance music’s core for the past 15 years. With DJ Sneak, Antoine Clamaran, TJR, Wolfgang Gartner, Hatiras, and DJ Dan being amongst the many artists featured on the InStereo Recordings, the label is hard to ignore in the industry.
Saturday July 27 – Location TBA
Natural Rhythm (Natural Rhythm Music, Guesthouse Music) & Dean DeCosta (Miso Records, Background Records, Immigrant Records) w/ Opening Sets by MHC DJs
Bio: Based in Orange County, Natural Rhythm duo Thomas White and Pete Williams were independently inspired to learn to DJ in the early ‘90s. Shortly after meeting at a DJ gig they formed a connection to each other based on underground house music which has grown into a lifelong partnership. From early studio ventures in 1996 to present day, they have kept a core direction for their sound, creating deep, driving, underground house rhythms with a soul-funk flavor, incorporating analog synthesizer textures over swinging 4×4 beats.
Saturday August 3
The Dirty Monkey, Lahaina
Trent Cantrelle (Sounds Like, Sirius XM Radio)
Bio: Cantrelle is someone who is as comfortable headlining marquee stages at Electric Daisy Carnival and Coachella as he is crafting soundtracks to subterranean warehouse parties. Ministry of Sound, Spinnin,’ Toolroom, and Steve Angello’s Size X have all released his music to date, with fans including Radio 1’s Pete Tong. Cantrelle also runs his own parties under the Sounds Like name where installation art and DJ culture go hand in hand. He also happens to be king of the Las Vegas afterparty scene.
Saturday August 17th – The Dirty Monkey, Lahaina
“LA Takeover” w/ Steve Castro and Special Guest
Bio: Born and raised in Los Angeles, it was during his years of touring through Europe and residing in London and Amsterdam in the ‘90s that Steve Castro realized the potential for electronic dance music back home in LA. He launched “Reality” in 1996 at Billboard Live (now The Key Club) the city’s first weekly “electronic music” club featuring international DJs.
Saturday August 31
The Dirty Monkey, Lahaina
Joel DeMarzo (True House Records, LA) w/ Opening Sets by MHC DJs
Bio: An internationally known DJ, Joel is the creative leader at True House LA and has been playing and producing music for over 20 years. His diverse taste in music is always front and center in all of his live performances. His influences range from reggae, hip-hop, disco, funk, soul, and Motown with a little rock and roll. He’s a resident at Global House Movement Radio and True House LA.
Saturday September 27
The Dirty Monkey, Lahaina
Galen (Roam Recordings, Sunset Sound System, SF) w/ Opening Sets by MHC DJs
Bio: Galen founded Sunset Sound System in 1994 in Berkeley, California. It began as a small outdoor dance party, set against the backdrop of the sun setting in the beautiful San Francisco Bay. Within just a few years, Sunset became an internationally recognized production company drawing thousands of attendees to sold-out events throughout the year.
Cover design by Darris Hurst. Cover image courtesy Maui House Collective
Photos 2 & 3 courtesy Maui House Collective
Photo 4 courtesy Facebook/Mark Farina
Photo 5 courtesy Facebook/DJ Dan
Photo 6 courtesy Facebook/Trent Cantrelle
Photo 7 courtesy Facebook/Galen