Dru Cutler Discusses Unit J

Dru Cutler along with some roommates helped develop Unit J. A venue of sorts that has the most intimate and collaborative music, movie, spaces in all of Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York! Since it's formation and opening, Unit J has had some of the best artists and bands rock the stage with no plans on closing down!

1. Can you give me a rundown of what Unit J is all about. Is it an artist, band, or something totally different?

Unit J is a music collective. We’re a group of strangers who moved into a giant loft on the outskirts of Bushwick about 6 years ago and slowly transformed our living room into an intimate live music venue. It was a long, slow journey.Along the way, tried it all: raging DJ parties, film screenings, art shows, improv theatre and more.

We really hit our stride about a year ago when we starting hosting folk and rock shows. People like the idea of being both “in our living room” and “at a venue”. It’s unique. Shortly after that, we were nominated for “Best Live Music Venue in Brooklyn” by Brooklyn.com and invited to host a showcase at Brooklyn’s Northside Festival.

2. When, why, and whose idea was it to create Unit J?

To be honest, it happened by accident. We were just throwing late night parties. Eli would finish a gig at 3am and still want to play music, so I would be sharply awoken by a bunch of screaming maniacs in my living room at 5am. Fun times.

We even had a dude who lived on our couch upstairs. At a particularly raging Halloween party, he decided that it would be cool if he “borrowed a roomie’s bedroom” to get naked with a patron at the party. Fun times.

It became “organize this thing or be eaten alive by it”.

So I worked to find roommates who were committed to the cause. Little by little, we organized in a very organic way. We try to recognize and play off each other’s strengths.

3. Why go with the name Unit J, what does it symbolize and represent to you individually as well as for the place as a whole?

It’s more that just our physical address, “Unit J" represents the energy people feel at our shows. I’ll describe it as a combination of the “harsh" industrial brick that makes up our walls and the “warm”, welcoming energy you feel in our living room. Particularly when our dog, Maya comes to greet you when you walk in.

4. What can be found when entering the Unit J establishment?

It’s a simple space. One part living room. One part kitchen. One part stage. What’s more important is what you’ll feel (I know it exists, because many people have mentioned it to me). When you’re are in our living room, you’ll let down your guard slightly. You’ll pay attention the the sounds and the atmosphere a little more than you would at a venue in midtown. It’s intimate.  Ultimately, Unit J allows artists to tell great stores, and connect with the crowd in a very personal way.

5. How can the public help out, if they wanted to go out of the way to do so for Unit J?

Email us. Volunteer. Work the bar. Work the door. Come swing by. Say hello. See a show. Then, tell a friend.

6. Where is Unit J located, when is it open to the public for those who want to stop bye and say hi!

We’re not open to the public unless we’re hosting a show. :) Folks can’t just “pop in on a Tuesday night” and expect magic. Join our mailing list to find out about shows.


Unit J
338 Moffat St
Brooklyn, NY

7. What are the plans for Unit J between now and the rest of this year, leading right into this next year?

We’re hosting a GIANT block party at this year’s Northside Festival on 6/9/17. It features 16 bands (that we know and love) across two venues for $5. It’s gonna rock.

Unit J Block Party (FB)

8. If you had not thought up Unit J, what would you have done in terms of Unit J in the form of another type of medium?

I have been making art and organizing people since I was 12, so I would be doing the same thing somewhere else. Perhaps it would have looked more like a recording studio and less like a venue. Perhaps it would be a recycled island near Nantucket?

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