If fun were money, Keith Milgaten would be a very rich man. From his totally un-ironic use of Auto-Tune to his kitschy outfits—onstage, he’s been known to wear a colorful gypsy vest and a floppy Goofy hat he bought at Disneyland—the Jamuel Saxon frontman brings a lot of lightheartedness to the local indie scene.
Apparently, though, the indie scene just isn’t fun enough for Milgaten. On Get Sweaty, a new solo album he’s released under the name Keith Sweaty, he forgoes indie-style artiness entirely and embraces the rave-ready sounds of electronic dance music, or EDM. In his track “Time Lordz,” he even dishes out Skrillex-style, Listerine-gargling dubstep bass.
Talking to CityBeat, Milgaten makes it clear that he’s looking to DJ and perform at venues that aren’t hipster havens like Soda Bar and The Casbah. “Hopefully putting out this record will get the attention of people at Voyeur and Fluxx to have me open bigger shows,” he says, referring to a couple of Downtown’s trendiest clubs.
Though he initially made cheesy dance tracks in an ironic manner, he says he got inspired when he and some friends went to the dance stage at UCSD’s Sun God Festival last year.
“We just straight-up did ecstasy and danced our asses off all day and night,” he says. “The entire time I was freak-dancing this girl, but also observing the music very closely with my mind.”
As it happens, Keith Sweaty is a sober project. When Milgaten started it almost a year ago, he’d just quit drinking and doing drugs after having a near-death experience. In the 10 months since, he says he’s stayed off booze and hard drugs, like cocaine.
“I actually have been considering starting to drink moderately again, once I reach a year of sobriety,” he says. “But I never wanna be the guy that’s on cocaine and wasted and DJing, you know what I mean? I wanna always remain basically completely sober when I’m doing my shows.”
Milgaten plans to move early next year to New York City, where the electro scene is much bigger and, he feels, more supportive. While he acknowledges that hipper music fans tend to look down on EDM, he says it’s full of undeniable talent.
“That’s the thing with [EDM], is people who are into it are super into it, and people that don’t get it hate it,” he says. “But 100 percent of the people at the club are all loving it, and that’s what I like about the dance scene. It’s so much less judgmental-y than indie.”
Keith Sweaty plays at The Propagandist on Thursday, Aug. 30.