Diana Reilly's cookbook calls for 30 pounds of vinyl, two turntables, a mini disco ball and a fistful of blue marbles. For Scott Hershowitz, the concoction is a little more bizarre: two conga drums, a twisty little mallet, a roll of duct tape and two elastic strands beaded with camel toenails.
Mix it all together, and the duo claims their musical elixir is better than a vitamin B shot, capable of injecting life into the deadest months of an Island winter and possibly even erasing the need for that trip to New York city.
Imagine, says Ms. Reilly, hearing Islanders declare: "I'm stoked to stay on the Vineyard for the winter."
Meet Indi - her DJ tag - and her percussive sidekick, Scott. Most people know him as the guy serving up coffee and smiles at Mocha Mott's in Oak Bluffs. That's his day job. Ms. Reilly's a housepainter. He's 33. She's 30.
They perform Saturday nights in the basement bar at Atria in Edgartown, and next month, they will start Thursdays at Offshore Ale in Oak Bluffs.
Their brand of music is more collage than composition, explains Indi, who's just back from DJ academy in New York. She spins the records, sometimes two at a time, blending, mixing and joining sounds.
One moment, she's laying a heavy bass line over some mellow jazz saxophone, and the next, she's found some words to add to the brew: a stentorian voice saying, "In some ways music is the most mysterious of all."
The effect is something entirely avant-garde, not the pounding disco you expect when you hear someone say DJ. And with Indi's repertoire, no single genre dominates. In fact, anything goes: funk, techno, blues, Cuban and maybe even some Donny and Marie tossed in.
Ms. Reilly calls the shots. Mr. Hershowitz, camped out next to the DJ table, goes with the flow, improvising with his impressive array of shakers, triangles, drums and tambourines. "I love the idea that the entire time I have no idea what's going to come up next," he says.
As the solo master of the drum and perscussion section, he manages to dedicate just about every movable body part to the effort. Minutes before the show starts, you can find Mr. Hershowitz tearing off pieces of duct tape and affixing bells over the left foot of his Converse high-tops and a mini-tambourine over the right foot.
Cinched around his upper arms are the bands of jangly camel toenails. "I think maybe they're from Somalia," he says Saturday night at Atria. "I didn't know what they were at first, then I was playing and getting sweaty, and they really smelled. It smelled like a barn."
Mr. Hershowitz has an easy laugh. "People want to see a show," he says.
Downstairs at the upscale Atria, Mr. Hershowitz has already screwed blue lightbulbs into all the sockets, casting a dark glow over the stuffed chairs and wire barstools. The billiards table is covered in black cloth and adorned with candles and blue marbles and Ms. Reilly's silver turntables with purple platters. A disco ball throws dappled light onto her camouflage T-shirt.
When these two take over at Offshore Ale, they transform the place into a jungle scene they call the Voodoo Lounge. "We have fake tiki torches," says Mr. Hershowitz, his smile widening. "And I have tons of fake plants."
As goofy as that sounds, these two admit that in nearby cities such as Boston and New York, their style would hardly cause a ripple.
"This has been done before," says Ms. Reilly in a moment of self-deprecation. "I'd be useless in New York, standing there with a sign: ‘Will spin for food.'"
But there's no doubt, they have attracted a considerable following on the Island, especially among the 20 and 30-somethings craving offbeat entertainment in the off-season.
"It's fun to bring an urban element to the Island," says Ms. Reilly. "There are a lot of artistic people here, and they seem to be really digging on it . . . that's what makes it work."
They also relish their Edgartown gig for the simple reason that it's in Edgartown, whose rather stodgy reputation makes their presence all the more remarkable. The setting underneath a tony restaurant affords them the chance to expose their hip scene to some of the more unsuspecting folks who wander down for a drink.
"One night, there was this older couple slow-dancing to one of our house tracks," says Ms. Reilly. "It was this anachronism, and it was awesome."
And for Indi, it's a small victory that their Saturday shows have compelled the so-called "hippies" from up-Island to make the winter trek to Edgartown when they wouldn't dare come to town in the summer.
Like many musicians, this duo feeds off the energy of the crowd. "You have to pay attention to them. You can feel the vibe," says the DJ. Sometimes she goes for the dance mode. Other times, it's "super chill," she says.
But Indi would rather leave it up to her own intuition. "The worst thing is when someone comes up and asks, ‘Can you play something I can dance to?'" she says. "I'd rather have them throw tomatoes at me."
To Ms. Reilly, the DJ table is her canvas. "There is actually an art to it," she says. "You can tell a story with it."
Her technique of improvisation and layering of sounds takes its cue from jazz, she says. "It owes everything to that," she adds. "To some people, we're ripping it off. To me, it's the highest compliment."
The youngest child in a large family, Ms. Reilly played the flute and had a drum set for a short while as a child. "My parents gave it away because I was so bad," she says.
What influenced her more were her older siblings and their record collections, the music she would hear as she walked past their bedrooms. "I was buying records before I had a turntable," she says.
Now, when she travels, she returns home laden with more LPs. "The funnest thing about a new town has got to be the record shops and thrift stores," she says. "You never know what you're going to find."
For Mr. Hershowitz, two songs stand out in his memory: Wipeout and the Little Drummer Boy. By his teens, he was hooked on the drums. On a whim, he traveled to Ireland and ended up spending the better part of three years there, playing gigs with a band he idolized and working in a Dublin bar owned by U2.
It was a just a few years back that Mr. Hershowitz spotted Indi spinning at Offshore. Immediately, he ran back to his car to fetch his drums and offered to sit in on a set with her.
"I don't really socialize very well," he says. "As a cop-out, I play musical instruments rather than having to mingle."
But the collaboration stuck. They became a team, each one now convinced that the other has the harder job. "You're good at it," says Indi, looking squarely at her partner. "You're really good at it."
Their intensity for the music is hard to miss. Mr. Hershowitz lowers his head and closes his eyes while he bangs out a drum beat. Ms. Reilly flips through her milk crate of albums with lightning speed, then leans over a turntable, hovering a candle above the record to get a bead on the stylus and how far along it is on a particular track.
And while the rest of us eye escape hatches from the cold months, rest assured that Indi and Scott are staying put, committed not only to energizing the off-season nightlife but also to making you reconsider that weekend away.
Reasons to get excited about an Island winter? As Ms. Reilly sees it, "It's all our jobs to create that for one another."