Interview: CLLCTV’s Paul Francois and Malcolm Gray ride the Wave through Cambridge’s dance scene
Have you heard of The Wave?
Well, the monthly gathering of genuinely soulful r&b, hip hop, reggae, & dance vibes is about to wash your sins away with a special slow jams edition this upcoming Sunday @ Middlesex Lounge. The group that presents the event is known as CLLCTV BOSTON: A fusion of creatives, each with distinct talent aiming to continue to build our beloved town as a “Destination City”. The perfumed fragrance of sea salt has caught the attention of many an eclectic crowd along with Boston Magazine’s annual “Best Of Boston” hat tip. We exchanged words with associates Paul Francois & Malcolm Gray regarding a fateful visit to Brooklyn, inadvertently distinguishing oneself, the lineup of mutual dreams & the best being yet to come.
Georgette Moiselle: How did each of your personal involvements with CLLCTV BOSTON transpire?
Paul Francois: The idea for CLLCTV BOSTON came after visiting my sister in Brooklyn. I went there for a Celtics game and ended up being invited to an Adidas event by my friend Mick Boogie, at an area sneaker shop called Kith. The event featured Brooklyn based DJs and musicians. The audience ranged from your local sneakerheads, to models, to young professionals, to popular professional athletes. Everyone in attendance seemed so excited to be where they were, and seemed so proud to be from Brooklyn. I knew about cool things going on in Boston, and knew that Boston had a really cool and connected underground scene. I felt that I really wanted to be a part of a similar experience in Boston. From there I got home, and started talking to friends on the scene. I helped put a few events together at a few area spots, but CLLCTV BOSTON as it is currently constituted did not begin until I became involved with the current members. Each current member of CLLCTV Boston was already excelling at something in the city. So we just sat down, had a few meetings, and then started working on ideas. From there we were able to make what we wanted to see in the city happen.
Malcolm Gray: I was brought into the group by Paul and Ray Leroy, who are the founders and whom I knew from different events and scenes in the city. At the time, I was working at WERS 88.9 as the Urban Program Director and was heavily involved in the local music scene. I also had a lot of marketing and event experience so when Paul told me the initial vision that he had, I was on board.
How did it feel to have The Wave be selected as the best party of 2015, according to Boston Magazine? What qualities do you think distinguishes the event from any competition?
Francois: It was a blessing to be recognized as the Best Dance Party by Boston Magazine. We work really hard, and have sacrificed a lot of time and our own resources to make The Wave Boston what it has become. It was sort of a validation of that effort, and an indicator that people outside of our circle were taking notice of what we set out to build.
I think the biggest things that set us apart from any other party or event in the city is the community that we have helped connect, and the energy associated with the party. To see people who have become friends because they see each other at The Wave, or to talk to people in the street that I saw at last month’s party is amazing to me. Our first edition of The Wave Boston was comprised of friends, and people that weren’t that into sports — our first Wave Boston was held during a Patriot playoff game. From there we have only expanded upon the friendly environment that people experience at our event. When you come to The Wave Boston, you can be yourself, meet people that you can actually talk to outside of a party, and connect with creative minds that share similar visions for what Boston should and can be. The music is also very important, because the diverse range of DJ’s we have commissioned to play the event can hit on several genre’s and force people to step out what they are used to at the usual events they attend.
Gray: It was an incredible and surprising feeling. I didn’t even know we were nominated but I couldn’t have been happier. I really wouldn’t say The Wave is competing with other events intentionally. When we started The Wave, there weren’t any other recurring day parties.
I think what really distinguishes The Wave from other events is the music. We focus on curating great lineups. We have themes for each month based on the DJs we bring in. You won’t hear the same songs every time you come to The Wave and that’s important to us. We have been lucky to attract a really great crowd of people. As we approach our two year anniversary, we haven’t really had any major issues. We’ve been able to attract all walks of life regardless of age, income, race, etc. Everybody that comes to The Wave is part of or community and people respect that. Everyone is there to hear great music, meet great people, and have a great time and then regret it on Monday morning.
The performers booked seem to be successful because of their individual work ethic, such as local act Durkin & Los Angeles’ SOSUPERSAM who you have booked for the forthcoming 143 Slow Jams Edition — what is the process of selecting talent? Has the live experience of any of the acts surprised you?
Gray: We have a few DJs in the crew and I am an obsessive Soundcloud digger. So we are always sharing music and discovering new artists. So when we brainstorm artists for the next event, we try to select people who play well together and can create the type of vibe we’re looking for. We want to create an environment in Boston where people can hear and discover new music for an affordable price.
Francois: We all share similar tastes, so we are on the same page when it comes to booking talent. Bosq of the Whiskey Barons‘ set was the most captivating guest set that we have had in my opinion. He hit on so many different genre’s and pushed people outside of what they were used to, and the crowd absolutely loved it. As a DJ, I get really excited to hear my peers move crowds with their music. Its refreshing.
The Wave begins during the afternoon & transitions into the evening. What can an attendee expect to experience during those promising hours?
Gray: Since we wanted Sundays, we had to understand our market. Boston is a nine-to-five city. Most people have corporate jobs so they’ll have to work on Monday. We decided to start at four and end at 10 so people can come party for a few hours and still make it home for bed and make it to work on time the next day.
Francois: I agree with Malcolm. It’s the last part of the weekend that you get to enjoy.
Can you envision the lineup of a lifetime?
Francois: For me, I’d definitely want a DJ set by Kaytranada, Michael Christmas, Cousin Stizz, and Skepta to do a few raps, and Black El & Durkin to do a performance…
Gray: This is a tough one. Personally, I think my perfect lineup would be Questlove, Kaytranada as well, & A-Trak.
Are there any future undertakings for the CLLCTV you can share information about?
Grey: We have been blessed this year to throw our first concert and help organize Bean Fest in August, a collab with Treehouse Entertainment and Lawn On D. Basically we teamed up to help showcase the diverse talent that Boston has in each of its neighborhoods, where everyone can come together and celebrate homegrown art and music. I can say that we plan to do a lot more of those.
Francois: Our group member Kibbee Miller just designed our website cllctvboston.com, so we plan to release more visual and written content on there. We just want to continue to create, and help expand upon the growing arts and entertainment scene in the city.
THE WAVE 143 EDITION WITH DJs DURKIN + SIIK + SOSUPERSAM :: Sunday, October 25 at Middlesex Lounge, 315 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge, MA :: 4:30 p.m., 21=plus, $10 online presale and $15 at the door :: Facebook event page