When Avicii died on April 20 th I reminisced for days and days about the countless shows we all went to and how many great people I met through his music over the years, especially my sweet and cherished friend, Spencer. Tim Bergling’s death – at only 29 years old – was inconceivably sad and shocked everyone in the dance music world. Just one month later, sadly, we are faced with the tragic and untimely loss of EDMNYC and EDMPENN writer and photographer, Spencer Callahan, who passed away this week – the day before his 31 st birthday.
Although most people know our story, please allow me to pay tribute to him in the way he would most appreciate it – one final “Swedeheart” review for EDMNYC.
I met Spencer through the Avicii Facebook page (how crazy is that?) back in 2011. When I discovered that we lived only five miles apart, I was beyond ecstatic … finally, someone who lived locally, loved dance music, and was eager to join me in my quest to fulfill a lifelong desire to see the sun come up after a night of dancing (over and over again.) Spencer and I hit it off immediately – we shared music with each other around the clock, made a bucketlist of all the artists we wanted to see (and quickly began checking them off), and virtually 99% of our discussions revolved around house music. Spencer and I were two househead peas in a pod, referring to each other as our “PIC” – partner in clubbing!
During those first few months, I connected him with David Guzman (our beloved friend) and he joined me in writing reviews and taking photos of our nightclubbing adventures. People even started recognizing us in clubs, and DJs we interviewed became more like friends to us as time went on — things couldn’t have been more perfect!
We went to Pacha NYC, Cielo, Webster Hall, District 36 (remember that one?), Lavo, HQ, Surf Club (another blast in the past), Lit Ultrabar and Rumor in Philly, Output, Mister East, Mixx, Electric Zoo and EDC festivals, plus so many other venues I’m probably forgetting many of them. In just one year, we had been to more than 50 shows! We had the absolute best time of our lives together and I was so unbelievably happy to have him by my side – from the dance floor to the DJ booth. Every show included custom kandi bracelets or custom t-shirts, and our Halloween costumes in 2011 were even custom Swedish soccer jerseys with “INGROSSO” and “ANGELLO” and the number “1” on the back. Spencer was always down for whatever crazy club-related idea I had, and I simply loved that about him.
Spencer and I dated for more than 10 months but were better suited as great friends. In fact, we enjoyed more than seven years of great memories together; memories I’ll cherish forever. From Yankees games to Broadway shows to hanging out with a pink poodle in Atlantic City with Sunnery and Ryan, we were always laughing and smiling together … this is how I will remember him! There are literally hundreds of photos and videos of us over the years, including our first video interview with Antranig at Cielo and doing shots with Sebastian Ingrosso at Highline Ballroom upstairs in the artist lounge. We truly did it all and I will never forget our myriad of private jokes, his infectious laugh, those gorgeous green eyes, “piano fingers” in the club, our British accent personalities “William” and “Mary,” and our shared love of conservative politics and 99-cent pizza at 4am.
Although his musical taste evolved over the years, some of his early loves during the 2011-2014 years included Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano (easily his all-time favorites), Steve Angello, Swedish House Mafia, Avicii, Jaz von D, Umek, Stefano Noferini, Gregori Klosman, Hard Rock Sofa, Chuckie, and Afrojack. While Spencer loved tech house as much as I did, he often preferred the grimy chainsaw sounds of electro house and the “big room” progressive anthems of those years. He even traveled to Florida to see his favorite duo, Sunnery and Ryan, in Tampa. He was so extraordinarily dedicated to the music and the blogger lifestyle. Regardless of the beats or location, one thing was for sure – he was always dancing and prancing, moving and grooving (you know the words …)
One of our last experiences together was on September 30, 2017 – my wedding day. I remember walking to the back of the church while everyone stood as I was about to make my way down the aisle, and through my veil I spotted him in the back row with his wonderful mom, smiling at me. He was the first person I saw – it was special. Then, at the reception (which, of course had house music) I roped him onto the dance floor with me as we made our fingertips join together in the air in a roof formation – one of our signature gestures that meant we were going in the “tent” for some “house” (a private joke that was born during our time together at Electric Zoo during Umek’s set.) We danced together one last time that night, and I was so enamored that he even wore my favorite color, purple, to commemorate my special day!
Happy birthday in heaven, my sweet PIC. I am already missing you so much and wish I could give you one more long, tight hug and see your awesome smile. Thank you for all of our fun memories and excursions on the dance floor. Thank you for the laughs, the Dropbox filth, the many nights at “Club gh0st” – playing music just for me as “DJ van Callahan.” Thank you for helping me to finally have all of those amazing nightlife experiences I yearned for while everyone was off having babies. You will always be “fucking amazing” to me! I will see you again someday under the shiny disco ball – make sure you pull the air horn when I arrive. Love you, wild one!
Spencer’s obituary link is here: https://everdays.com/r/memorial/5b2bff4b7856937928bf2b54
PS: Please enjoy his 2011-2014 EDMNYC coverage links here: https://edmnyc.com/author/spence