This devilish flirtation with darkness initiates at 8pm, and goes til late.  Free entry before 8:30 pm.

DJ Venom

Volume Productions // Hard House // Rumford

DJ Venom, real name David R. Schifino, has been playing the rave circuit since the early 90’s, but he began his career as a part-time hip-hop radio disc jockey in 1989. In fact, it was a group of fellow DJs who coaxed him into his first techno/house event, which was so overwhelming he eventually left hip-hop behind.

Venom first purchased a pair of turntables and a mixer to lay down beats and scratches for all the aspiring MCs in his hometown of Providence. He then spent the next few years honing his skills, playing dozens of house parties and halls, mixing hip-hop, reggae, and house music. Meanwhile his addiction to vinyl worsened, causing milk crates to overflow with the likes of Boogie Down Productions, Ninjaman, and Todd Terry among others. Every dime made went towards the purchase of additional records and blank cassettes in order to produce more mix tapes.

Then in 1991, Michelangelo came to Providence. It was the first rave in the area, and its impact on Venom’s DJ career was huge. He had always loved house music, but the harder side of techno captured his attention, and instead of hip-hop, his next trip to the record store found him leaving with Jeff Mills, Praga Khan, and Prodigy.

Around the same time, Venom began working at the radio station WXIN, 88.1 on the FM dial. Despite his lack of seniority, Venom’s turntable talent earned him two radio shows: “Sounds of the Streets,” a hip-hop/reggae show and “Utopia,” a house and techno mix. He continued these shows for many years, promoting both scenes and cultures all the while gaining notoriety. Over time, Venom focused his attention more on the rave scene, hooking up with fellow DJs Carnage and Jedi to start Force Productions. Together they began throwing illegal parties known as the Insomnia raves, as well as a club night, “Genesis.” They also started a small publication entitled Force magazine. Venom’s DJ style found a place with the hardcore breakbeat sounds of 2 Bad Mice, Acen, and SL2.

In addition, he continued to play house at Club Babyhead, which became a local legend. In 1994, Venom split from Force to start his own company, Volume Productions, quickly cementing itself in Providence’s rave history. Their own magazine soon hit the masses, and Volume was quickly recognized as the biggest promotional crew from Rhode Island.

That year also marked Venom’s first DJ competition. His set, consisting of scratching, body tricks, hip hop beats, and a blend of a brand new musical style called “jungle” earned him second place in the New England DJ Spin-off. As both Volume Productions and Venom’s popularity continued to grow, his mix tapes, whether happy hardcore, jungle or house, were selling off the shelves.

Soon his name began appearing on tons of flyers, and the whole crew began a new weekly Tuesday night called “Energy” at the Living Room, which is still going on today with Venom as the resident DJ. The DJ Battle circuit saw Venom take home awards in three more competitions. In 1997, he took first place in the New England DJ Battle and placed second in both the 1998 and 1999 Winter Music Conference DJ Competions, losing only to DMC champ, Craze. With over 80 underground mix tapes and CDs under his belt, Venom wanted to take thing a bit further with a licensed project.

The Chicago-based Underground Construction label took notice of his coast-to-coast performances and liked the hard house sound of his recent CDs. They offered Venom a deal, which lead to a chain of succesful CD releases including Straight Bangin: 1&2 and House Blends 7&8, not to mention House Blends Classics. Venom later pushed production to the forefront. Hard house releases on various labels as well as his own RetroTech label demonstrated his diversity and ability to produce new music with the oldschool breakbeat feel that first drew him to the rave scene.

Venom continues to play drum & bass under the guise of DJ Eddie Brock and his CD, I See Dead People was praised by many. His newest CD release, Raise the Volume is due out on Warlock records new techno offshoot Surge Recordings while his own productions are scheduled to be released on Vagabond records with five monthly releases starting in October. In addtition, his side project, record label Kerubim Entertainment, is a trip into the goth/industrial world.

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