Remember fun? Going out to a club to pay too much for drinks and dance to great music in the tropical Miami heat? The Corona virus, like cold sores, is the destroying everyone’s ability to socialize face to face. However, Alexandre Merbouti and Monica McGivern, of the band Haute Tension, have found a way to expand their regular Wednesday DJ night at Gramps to a live stream dance party. Let’s be clear, the video stream is flawed, it jumps and pauses in weird places and the hosts are definitely going off the cuff, but the charm is in the lo-fi nature of the video and the killer tunes being spun behind the decks. Merbouti and McGivern are 100% the perfect duo for this type of show, they are highly entertaining and totally know what tracks are going to work in getting the party started. We caught up with them to ask some questions regarding the future of the live stream and the party at Gramps:

Can you tell us about the Haute Happy Hour and how that came about?

Haute Happy Hour came about from an idea that we had while booking our 31 day tour. I made some loose rules for putting a show together every day in the same city. They included staying away from traditional venues and never booking the same place twice. After weeks of calling bowling alleys, skating rinks, and city parks, Alexandre had the idea to make Gramps a weekly “home base” we could come back to. We loved hanging out there during happy hour so it seemed natural to hold a space for local live music. The first few were successful and when our tour ended, the owner of Gramps asked us if we’d like to keep it going. The momentum hasn’t stopped since.

The Haute Happy Hour is a cornucopia of great music from all over the world. Is there a formula for picking what you play, or is it whatever feels right in the moment?

The musical inspiration for Haute Happy Hour lies in the tropical laid back atmosphere of the Gramps patio. We originally wanted to create the perfect soundtrack to enjoy a drink with a good slice of pizza, with the added element of catching a great local band. Our first few playlists are on Spotify and served as a way for us to explore music from around the world. We’ve since pooled our record collections and learned how to spin vinyl. The records we buy usually reflect the same original inspiration of something interesting and fun to dance to. There’s no concrete formula. Sometimes we’ll have certain themes or eras we’ll explore, but mostly it’s what feels good in the moment.

Will you continue the Haute Happy Hour when we can all socialize together, or is this an act of necessity in these crazy times?

Music is a necessity. We can’t say for sure what the future of in person gatherings hold, but we do know it’s important to keep sharing music and to maintain space for independent and experimental live shows in the community.

Until we can party on the patio together at Gramps, tune in every Wednesday from 7-9pm for the Haute Tension Happy Hour.

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