story by Jarrett Fontaine
His name might not be familiar, but his message sure is.
Bringing people together. It’s an easy sentiment to say, but much harder to flesh out in the real world. Enter Brent Crampton, a 26-year old DJ, journalist, events promoter and graphic designer. Strip away all those labels, and what’s left is Crampton’s core appeal- being a community unifier.
Where others simply talk peace and unity, Crampton lives it. The beats he mixes and scratches are the soundtracks to loom- a monthly multicultural dance party he created. He stopped by the studio, where I asked him what made him decide to become a DJ.
"I wanted to share my love for music with others."
Crampton takes pride in being a cultural cross-pollinator of sorts, so I wondered where he got the inspiration.
"Well, I have to find what my passions are, and then whatever that is, just consider that my life gift," he says thoughtfully.
At age 20, Crampton realized that his biggest gift was bringing people together. Even in high school, Crampton had a penchant for being a social butterfly connecting disparate groups of friends together.
"It seemed awkward being able to do that at the time, but I think that’s what eventually led me to become a DJ. I have a mind for bringing people together, and essentially that’s what you do as a DJ."
An adopted child himself, Crampton channels that innate sense of wanting to belong into his passionate sets. He opens up the dance floor and invites any and all to join him on this journey. So what happens when people who are hungry for this kind of no-holds-barred community inclusion all show up? Things get a little crazy!
"Loomweaves Brazil last Saturday at Nomad was off the chain," he says, sounding surprised. "I mean, I knew it was gonna be a good party, but we got almost twice as many people as I expected."
His loom shows typically include sound systems set up in the front and back, with people working the dance floor everywhere in between. Themed costumes are optional, but positive attitudes are a must. "When you start getting that many people together, it’s tricky to keep the energy and the peace. It was pretty magical how the positivity maintained throughout."
When Crampton’s not putting his journalism degree to use, or promoting his events or designing artwork, he’s spending his free time finding music that he can use as a DJ. For loom, he plays anything from deep house tracks to disco, and has a flair for world flavors that include salsa, samba and afrobeat. It’s not just your little brother’s videogame-techno music; it’s a healthy dish of diverse flavors, tunes that are sure to please any palate.
I asked Brent if he had any plans to drop a formal record of his own.
"I’m 99% all DJ," he replies, "My motivation with being involved in music is bringing people together and being a connector. That really hasn’t led me to getting into music production yet."
Crampton’s style isn’t being cooped up in some recording booth anyways, nah, he’s all about the live experience. He’s a stylish guy who sports the swagger of Johnny Depp, and he’s found himself an unwitting spokesman for Omaha when he’s hyping up the scene to others. People from out of state often have low expectations for the largest city in Nebraska, but Crampton has helped champion the cause to put it in people’s heads that it’s okay to dig this city.
"Omaha is a hidden gem in the Midwest. What I love about Omaha is that if I have an idea or an ambition, all the tools and people are there to make it happen. I don’t feel creatively stifled here, which is nice."
And when creativity is in bloom, magic happens. But are we putting any of that potential to good use? Are we embracing our diversity, or letting it destroy us?
It’s not easy fighting the tides of lingering racism in Omaha, but Crampton stays optimistic. His loom shows are now five years strong into helping bridge the culture gap.
"Diversity is definitely growing in Omaha. I see a lot more open-mindedness than I did when I was first coming up as a DJ."
Crampton uses his music and shows to connect the dots in our growing bohemia. Loom’s motto is "weaving the social fabric through dance", which I think is fancy talk for just dance, and leave your worries at the door.
"The most important part is the intention, the atmosphere of coming and letting go, being yourself and connecting with other people," Crampton reiterates. He sees the dance floor as a place for society to release, to tear down the walls we build up between ourselves.
Loom has been dubbed "Omaha’s longest running dance party", and is typically held the first Thursday of the month at Espana Tapas Bar in Benson, with other special events throughout the city. He often features guest performers and themes such as the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Crampton’s loom is active in the underground community and has helped facilitate various outreaches, from race relations dialogues to film premiers.
Crampton says he is willing to run with this passion as far as it lets him.
"Thankfully I have my youth right now and I don’t have any kids, so I’m in a place where I can follow art and just pop with that. In the long run, I would love to take the momentum of loom and put it into an actual venue."
Until then, feel free to follow Brent at brentcrampton.com, and why not hit up a loom show while you’re at it?
Video// Volume 1 Issue #2 Midstarz Magazine and Brent Crampton discuss the secrets of LOOM and its 5 years of expanding events