Next Wednesday, November 23rd, Thanksgiving Eve, Rebecca Lynn will present her Native New Yorker Party at Black Flamingo, 186 Borinquen Place, Brooklyn. “The Master of Disco Soul” Nicky Siano will be spinning. Nicky is the last surviving resident DJ from Studio 54, the greatest club of all time.
Nicky goes back. He is credited with starting many DJ techniques, such as beat matching. He also designed the first crossover and built the first bass horns. He was a mentor to legends Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles. But he isn’t resting on his laurels or living in the past; he’s touring to sell out crowds and producing.
Admission is free with RSVP.
I caught up with Nicky for a chat about it.
You will be playing Black Flamingo in Williamsburg, an area which arguably is the epicenter of NYC nightlife. What do you think of this shift from Manhattan?
It had to happen, since Manhattan has made it well known they want no nightlife there. People need a release, that’ss what life is all about, and Manhattan has shut its doors to that.
How much of your set is the same that you played for Mick Jagger and Bianca and Truman Capote, et al at Studio 54?
Probably none….I am now playing more of the rare jams from the early seventies and edits I have done uniquely for my appearances.
Was the disco era the most fun time in nightlife?
Absolutely, ’cause it was all new. I was thinking just today, I want to go out tonight, a Thursday night, and I didn’t know where to go. In this age of technology I had no idea where to go. But if it was the seventies, I know I could go to Hollywood and see Richie Kaczor, or go to Limelight and hear Michael Cappello, or go on over to Round Table and see a drag show. Today you have a lot of one off nights here and there, but the last club that I thought had a nightly vibe was Cielo. Now I have no idea what is happening down there.
What do you feel about EDM?
EDM is already on its way out, and has no long term lasting power. Do you think in 20 years people are going to be listening to EDM favorites on the radio? No way, ’cause people like to sing along to songs and if you don’t have words, well, it is rare that a jam hangs on without a good chorus….people are still listening to 50s radio, 60s rock, and dance from the 70s has never been bigger.
Do any old Studio 54 heads ever catch your gigs?
All the time, the old heads come out; and the new kids…I have developed this whole new crowd that is just crazy about my music.
Also tell me about beat matching, crossovers and the technical development of DJing. And do you use Serato?
No, I stopped using computers while mixing, I used to use Ableton all the time, then I was toying with Serato; but what I noticed is that people who come to the club do not like computers in the booth. Somehow they feel ripped off by that…they always think you’re cheating, and in a way, you are. It is much easier to match with Serato and Ableton especially….now I just use decks. It is harder and more time consuming, but i’m getting very used to it….and the crowd seems to be responding incredibly.