Milty Moves Michigan

DJ brings Chicago house to Lansing's Pride festival

By Chris Azzopardi

Over in Chicago, DJ Milty Evans makes old drag queens and club kids move their butts to his soul-house beats. He's lugging them over to Lansing for Michigan Pride, where he'll close out the festival at 5:30 p.m.

The Midwest music-maker, who's been spinning for over two decades, just released his new single, "Purple Swirls." Evans rang us to chat about his label-less sexuality, homo hip-hoppers and how he got his second name, Klosed Kaption.

You're a resident DJ at Boom Boom Room at the club Green Dolphin Street on Mondays in Chicago. What's that like?

It's one of those things where people just come and be themselves. The strangest things would happen there, and nobody would be shocked. About two months ago I'm there and in walks this little person - is that what you call them now? - and he was dressed as an Oompa-Loompa from (the original) "Willy Wonka." He just walked in, and people were talking and stopped and looked at him and then went, "OK, anyway." Nobody blinked an eye.

Are you gay?

When people ask me that question, I give them this answer: I don't like to be labeled. Who's to say what's what - what's gay and what's straight and what's bi? In 2010, if you haven't tried things up until now, you're not telling the truth.

So when people ask me if I'm gay or if I'm straight, I say, I don't like to be put into labels, but I have love for everyone. I have a lot of different tastes in a lot of different things.

But you're not opposed to dating a man or a woman?

No, no. In my lifetime, no - I've spent time with a lot of different people, and my relationships were good and bad. That's probably the best way to describe it.

According to Facebook, you're married, right?

I am married. My wife is Eastern European.

How did you get interested in music?

When I went to college I ended up DJing for a while, and then when I came home I started in the club scene here and just fell in love with it because it's something where you just get such gratification from people who are coming out to have a good time.

Why two names - Milty Evans and Klosed Kaption?

I own an independent record label (Whitebear Records) and I produce soulful house, and because I also play progressive and trance in Chicago, it started getting confusing. People like the different styles I play, but they didn't know the different styles of music I play where. Klosed Kaption is my name that I DJ under, and Milty's the name I do my soul stuff under. It's easier for people to separate.

How did you come up with Klosed Kaption?

I studied for three years to be an interpreter for sign language, so I actually know sign language and speak it. It's kind of ironic that what I do for a living has everything to do with hearing, and I know a language that has nothing to do with hearing (laughs).

I'm a resident at Cocktail in Boystown in Chicago and I spin on Sunday nights, and there's actually a big deaf community that comes every week. I've met them and become friends with them.

As someone who used to be the DJ for '90s rap group Kinetic Order, why do you think rap doesn't get much love from the gay community?

It's really weird for me, because I was actually in Germany - and this was years ago - and over there they had a thing called "Homothug." So I went to these parties that were hip-hop; they all had the do-rags and the sweatpants and the gold chains. It surprised me. I didn't even know it was there. But I just thought it's part of that culture - acceptance and that whole urban feel - that being gay or straight didn't have anything to do with it. It goes back to the stereotypes of gay and straight. Just because you're gay doesn't mean you have to have a broken wrist and talk with a lisp and walk around with your hands in the air. That doesn't define what a gay person is.

How would you describe playing for a gay crowd?

When they go out to celebrate, they go out to celebrate. They want to have a good time, so that entails a lot of energy because everybody seems to get into it. The gay community also usually has their fingers on the pulse of what's pop and also what's underground, so you don't necessarily have to play Lady Gaga every five minutes - not that there's anything wrong with that.

Milty Evans

Michigan Pride, Main Stage

5:30 p.m. June 12

http://www.michiganpride.org

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