Danny Grishka of Death Throes Booking shares what's going on in the DIY DC/Baltimore area right now!
1. So you’ve recently stared a DIY event space in the D.C. area called HELL. What prompted you to start it?
HELL was created with the goal of providing a stage for talented artists who have not yet established a DC audience. I also created HELL with the goal of booking artists who are entirely too big to be playing a DIY basement but miss the energy.
HELL has now evolved into a space where I can pull the trigger on any out of the box ideas I had for Death Throes Booking shows that the majority of DC venues would not allow. In HELL not only do I have the financial freedom of not having to worry about venue overheads but I also have carte blanche to execute any outlandish, irresponsible, pipe dream show idea that comes to my mind. Now that I have had a taste of the creative freedom of booking without the tethers of your average Washington DC venue I have almost completely shifted my booking and promotion focus to my own house.
2. How long have you been living in the D.C. area? And do you think this is something that the area really was craving?
I grew up in Rockville, MD so I was honestly pretty removed from the DC scene as a kid and young man. My only connection to extreme music at that point was that because I grew up in Rockville I wound up being exposed to bands like Pig Destroyer, Magrudergrind, and Dying Fetus very early on in life because they too are from my hometown.
Despite only being in the scene for about 5-6 years I can definitely say with confidence that the hybrid-event format of HELL shows is something that seems to have piqued the interest of many different corners of the DC nightlife scene—not just metal and punk.
3. What sort of events/shows do you plan on hosting in the space?
In HELL I plan on pairing a full bill of live music with a complimentary performance of a different variety for each show. For example, for my last show (HELL Vol. 3) I planned a drag night with 4 grind and punk bands, hosted by and starring the illustrious Dabatha Christie who graced us with a dance number to a nu metal version of Toxic by Britney Spears at the end of the night.
My goal in these hybrid-events is primarily to provide an over the top experience that would usually entail going to multiple venues in a night to just one singular venue. I also hope that through intermingling these different elements of DC nightlife I can create a more diverse and vast community around these events.
4. I noticed on the first flyer that you are asking people who want to attend to “as a punk for address”. Is this something that you think will make the events even more special?
The primary purpose of “ASK A PUNK FOR ADDRESS” being written on the flyers is privacy. HELL is my home and I don’t want my physical address to be on the internet for safety reasons but I also believe that the “ASK A PUNK” stipulation serves a vital gatekeeping purpose in that it allows me to vet folks who message me on social media for the address before I actually give it to them. I also live in an area with a lot of police activity so to avoid pigs coming to my house I try to keep the location of HELL as private as possible on public forums.
5. I know you have worked with Atlas brewery in the area. Do you think you might do some more collaborations with them?
I love Atlas Brew Works and they are absolutely wonderful to work with. I most definitely plan on doing more work and collaborations with them in the future. Atlas is the only DC area venue I plan on booking with in the foreseeable future outside of HELL.
6. What are your hopes for the space going into the future?
My hopes are that the events and our audience will only continue to grow in scale as time goes on and that I will continue to have the ability to throw shows in HELL for a long time to come. I have moved every single year since moving out of my parents’ house and I finally feel at home here and plan on staying as long as I possibly can. I also hope that the positive and inclusive atmosphere in HELL will permeate the landscape of the DC scene at large.
Full Death Match is available to watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/v4rxUwdAy9k
7. I dig that you are going to have pro wrestlers doing a no rules “death match”. That sounds really fun, so how did that come about?
My first metal festival I ever went to was Necrofest in Brooklyn and it was a huge turning point and inspiration for me as that was the weekend I decided to dive headfirst into pursuing music. The format of the festival was 2 days full of music and then at a separate venue each night there was also a Death Match as an after party. This concept was mind blowing to me and I knew that I wanted to bring over the top hybrid events like this to DC.
My first Death Match I booked was in the garage of my house with Casanova Valentine, Killian McMurphy, and Dust. The match came about because I had noticed Casanova Valentine had recently started following and interacting with the GRISHKA instagram account. I had been a huge fan of Casanova’s for a while and immediately asked if he would be interested in setting up an event together and then we organized HELL Vol. 2. At that point my roommates and I had only just recently reclaimed our garage from our sketchball landlords so it felt really good to watch Casanova paint the room with his and Killian’s blood. Casanova will be returning to HELL February 26th.
8. You also sing in the band Grishka, do you have any plans for touring or doing anything special with the band coming up?
We just returned from our first tour (NECROTHROES 2021 w/ No/Mas and Come Mierda) and are now gearing up for a weekend run of New England with Ritual Blade. GRISHKA 2 is almost completely written and we will be going back into the studio in the next coming months.
9. If you had to choose one thing to keep between singing, laughing, or walking, which one would you keep while losing the others?
This is definitely a tough decision but if I can’t sing then I wont be very much use to the band anymore so I’ll keep singing and invest in a segue.
10. Any additional things you want to share?
HELL Vol. 4 (Krampusnacht) is Dec. 18, HELL Vol. 5 (Goth/Kink Night) is Jan. 15 – you do not want to miss that one, HELL Vol. 6 (Grindcore Death Match Night) is Feb 26 – the return of Casanova Valentine.
Stay tuned for GRISHKA 2 and also music from a new band I have recently joined with some of my favorite musicians active in DC today.