The Weird Flair of the DJ Mad Hatter

The Mad Hatter; photo provided courtesy of the Mad Hatter

By Jessica Tripp

Las Vegas Informer

On his Facebook, the Mad Hatter describes himself as a “DJ with a flair for the weird,” and that flair is exactly what makes him fun to listen to. You can see for yourself, of course, at Carpe Nocturn, an event that he DJ’s every Thursday at Goodtimes on Tropicana and Spencer. But while the Mad Hatter may make the music, or at least play it, the music does not make The Hatter.

He started out playing percussion as a child, when he was still known only as Chad Hutchings, and by 13 he had expanded to playing enough instruments to fill the basement of his parent’s house, jazz style.  When he hit college, however, he couldn’t take his drums with him. The restlessness caused by the lack of instruments is what led him to what could loosely be called his first brush with DJing, Shoutcasting online. Shoutcasting, for those who are unfamiliar with the term, is more like jukeboxing than actual Djing, but it was a start. His main genre then was Psychedelic Trance, featuring groups like Infected Mushroom, which he describes as “Amazing music that like 200 people in the US knew about.”

During this time, Hutchings also attended clubs in California, mainly goth clubs like the one he plays at today. These clubs showed him a new blend of the music he already knew. “I had discovered industrial and goth before that, but I was only listening to it. I had not discovered that I could blend this music, and hey, I could blend this music too. ”This method of blending would become a significant part of the future of The Mad Hatter.

While Hutchings moved to Las Vegas approximately six years ago, the Mad Hatter was not born until a few years later. He spent time just learning the scene, making friends and of course listening to music, until one fateful (and alcohol fueled) New Year’s Eve party. After that party, which Hatter himself admits was not his best performance, Scud with the future club Aftermath gave a new face a chance, which of course Hutchings accepted.

“Aftermath was a stroke of luck for me. I got to really experiment with the floor and see how I could control the ebb and flow,” says Hutchings. “We (DJ’s) have an easier entry (in Vegas) than most of the other goth scenes in the country.”

Aftermath was followed soon after by the birth of Carpe Nocturn. At its onset, the club was a small one held at the Red Hookah Lounge on Tropicana and Pecos on Thursday nights. There never has been (and never will be, except maybe for a very special event) a cover and the local Goths have flocked to the club since its onset. The small venue has held up to 175 people during some of Carpe Nocturn’s biggest nights, and The Mad Hatter has made sure to play at least one set every night.

However, Hutchings does not want people to think that Carpe was invented just as a place for him to play. Carpe, to him, is a center for creativity. Even the themed events they frequently hold are for that purpose: to give the attendees a chance to show off their creative vibes.

“Instead of just one person, you have ten people, then a hundred people doing slightly different things in a slightly common vein of creativity that makes something incredible. That is what Carpe is about. That’s what I’m about. I like facilitating, I like helping other people to test their own potential. Me, I just play pretty songs in different ways.”

The Pretty Songs that you will hear The Mad Hatter play are a bit different from the pretty songs on the playlist of Chad Hutchings Ipod. While he listens to everything from VNV Nation to Depeche Mode to Korn, his DJ list has to be centered more on the genres his audience wants to hear. The goth clubs, his favorite scene, are more centered on industrial and goth, but he will sometimes throw in something random late at night, just to keep the mood running. The way that attendees will accept most anything at goth clubs is what first drew Hutchings to them, and is a part of what keeps him there now.

Now that you have read about this local treasure, come out and hear him! He can always be found at Carpe Nocturn, now held at Goodtimes on Thursday nights from ten to whenever the DJ gets too tired. The long haired artistic type may be behind the turntables, or he may be wandering the club, listening to the guest stars that he encourages to come and play. He will also be found at Aesthetic Perfection and X-Rx on June 21 (12 cover) and Caustic and Everything Goes Cold on July 26 (10 cover). You can also see and learn more on his Facebook at The Mad Hatter: Facebook.

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