writes on March 7, 2017
How do you turn your passion for music into something bigger? Some will play an instrument, sing, or join a band. But a few will bring people together and unite them in having a great time and listening to loud music. One of those people is Phil Santos who created USA Today’s #2 Best Dance Club event in Orlando: Body//Talk.
Also voted #1 Underground Dance Party by Orlando Magazine and #2 Best Club Night by Orlando Weekly, Body//Talk has managed to become a success while remaining true to its founder’s Message.
“It was a natural progression… I just wanted to have fun with my friends. It was so simple,” Santos says of the idea to host events.
“I’m not having enough fun. I’m not seeing my people enough and [then] ‘Oh this is great. People are having fun. Let’s do it again and then, you know four years later it’s turned into something even bigger.”
The intention of connecting people through music events comes from Santos’ early years and followed him into adulthood. Though he may not have had many friends growing up, even describing himself as “kind of a loner,” he eventually found a community of them through music.
“I was a little fourteen-year-old with a little afro, going into ska shows and hardcore shows,” Santos says.
“When I look back there is a through-line that makes sense that music was always a big part of that.”
So when Santos saw a vacuum in Orlando nightlife, he took the opportunity. Tired of watching all the creators of a hipster culture move west to LA, Santos developed events with some progressive ideas.
“Burning man meets a backyard house party,” says Santos.
Body//Talk’s website describes how they achieve this balance with “a quiet talking area [that] contrasts a bumping dance floor. Social games like fortunes, face paint, and name tags get the creativity flowing.” Their last event also introduced a game of “speed friending.”
“Loud music is so great because you want to feel immersed. But it’s amazing to have an outdoor space away from the music, where you can hear what the f*** someone’s saying… [It’s] giving people more to do than buying a drink and dancing.”
In October Body//Talk packed Sandwich Bar and Spacebar for The Decades Party, featuring themed music and costumed attendees. Acts like Thrift House, Transcendental Telecom, Fiona Trapple, Jonathan Santino, and Phil Santos performed while V00d00 Jenga and a Chillout Tent complemented the event. In March they held “A Party to Believe In” called Bernie Fest, with over twenty acts across three stages.
Santos credits the success of Body//Talk to its ability to foster connections with and listen to their audience.
“It’s not like, ‘Hey buy this thing,’” Santos says. “It’s, ‘Hey what do you guys want? What do you guys want us to create? Comment here.’ And then replying to everyone.”
“Knowing people in person I think is really big. The only people who really comment are people I’ve shook hands with.”
So what can people expect from their next event: Contact Music Festival, Saturday, March 18?
“You can expect the dopest lineup of local musicians,” Santos says with a smile. “You’re gonna be blown away by the local music scene that we have here. It’s incredible.”
“Millionyoung from Miami… Gary Lazer Eyes, who won best Rock’N Roll Act last year,” and seventeen other artists are scheduled to perform.
Body//Talk’s Facebook page describes it as an “underground music, art, and activism” event for “an overlooked city experiencing a cultural renaissance.”
Festival panels will include workshops on How to Organize a Grassroots Political Campaign, Growing Your Music Brand on a DIY Budget, a Tantric Meditation Workshop, and how to “Learn to Build a ‘Give Pack’ to Combat Orlando’s Homeless Epidemic.”
Phil Santos’ most anticipated part of the upcoming event embodies the passion that led him to create Body//Talk in the first place. He’s going to perform.
“It’s so selfish. I”m going to close out the festival at 1AM… I like to DJ… I just like to play.”