Hot Stuff at Hotel Chantelle, Surf’s Up, and Gay Pride

Help me, I’m melting! I actually need someone to pour water over me as I just don’t do well in the heat. In a heat-of-the-moment decision, I decided to DJ for free, something my manager Adam over at 4AM frowns upon. The occasion was the Surf’s Up soiree over at Aspen Social Club, which was converted to “Aspen Surf Club” to catch the wave. When I got settled and shook a bunch of hands and kissed the babes on the cheeks I went to the DJ booth where DJ Life was killing it. His offerings of hip-hop, pop, and R&B was just what they wanted so I opted out and headed to Hotel Chantelle where I really wanted to catch Luc Carl’s set.

The Aspen Surf Lodge event had a door proceeds benefactor in the Rockaway Beach Alliance. Every hipster I know is heading out to beaches in Fort Tilden and Rockaway these days. The night before at The Darby I dined with Marky Ramone and his wonderfully-made Marion and my gal Amanda. Marky felt strongly that a street in Rockaway should be named after Dee Dee Ramone, who penned the classic Ramones track “Rockaway Beach.”

That song has tourists from all over the globe flocking there. Marky pointed out that Joey Ramone Place is at 2nd Street and  Bowery, just a hop, skip, and jump from what is affectionately called the Ramone’s loft. It is actually the loft of artist, lighting designer, road guru and all-around genius Arturo Vega who I named my Chihuahua after. “Rockaway Beach” is one of the most recognized tracks from this seminal NY punk band, and a street for Dee Dee would indeed be sweet.
The air-conditioning failed to meet the test at Chantelle and, although we DJs did our best and the crowd tried to make a go of it, everybody ended up on the roof and partied under the stars. I had fun playing tracks that had some sort of heat reference including "Hot Stuff" by The Rolling Stones, "I’ll Melt with You" by Modern English, and eventually "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana. They say the air will be fixed, but it was a bit too late for last night’s party. I’ve always been taught to "never let them see you sweat"…last night, I failed.

I would be remiss and subjugated to much emotional distress by my friends celebrating Gay Pride if I didn’t mention it. My fabulous friend and fiend Patrick Duffy has done it again. A fabulous event will mark my introduction to OUThouse within the THE OUT NYC resort complex. The space is behind a red unmarked door at 510 west 41st Street between 10th and 11th. This is a private affair with a $50 6pm-9pm champagne-and-curated- cocktail reception so if you want into OUThouse you better hustle.

The gift bags are a "must" with “a gorgeous equality candle, jewelry by Chris Habana, and a skin spa gift and much more. The gala has a name: “The Garden of Earthly Delights," a very special Pride benefit for the Courage Campaign and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Campaign. The shindig is hosted by the ever-fabulous Amy Sacco, Peter Davis, Christopher Valiante, Michael Warner, and of course Patrick Duffy. DJ Angola will set the tone, and my favorite Monday Night Bingo buddy Murray Hill will perform. I wouldn’t miss it for the world …unless their air conditioning is on the fritz.

A Conversation with 4AM DJs Co-Owner Adam Alpert

Adam Alpert interned for me when I was running Spa. He was going to the University of Pennsylvania, as was my very significant other. I used to commute everyday from NY to Philadelphia and back to be with her. I even helped renew and rebrand a joint down there, Egypt, and design and brand a new joint called Shampoo. Shampoo is still there, and it’s over 10 years old. Adam had the stuff I was looking for: educated but cool, and having the itch to work at night. Now he is my manager for my DJ career, and he works very hard for my money.

This Thursday, he is part of a unique experience which I am watching very closely. He is part of a concert at Irving Plaza where some of his DJs will perform in concert, rather than the traditional club setting. Sure, I am aware of the Tiesto/Paul Van Dyk kind of festival gigs, and bookings of super DJs in clubs, but I think there is a subtle but significant difference in this event. These DJs enjoy a world wide reputation but are mash-up or mixed format DJs, not the house gods usually associated with advance ticket sales and such.

Adam Alpert, you are the co-owner of 4AM DJs and Talent Management. And you are partners with Johnny Lennon.
Jus-Ske and Jesse Marco and myself

Did the name have anything to do with AM the DJ?
No, the reason we call it 4am is because we’re from New York City, and that’s what time New York City closes, as opposed to our friends on the West coast who close at 2am.

On the West coast are you called 2am?
Still four when we go there.

So next Thursday, you have an event, and it’s unique. It’s a foray into new ground for you guys, and you’re killing it. Right now your DJs are everywhere.
We had ten DJs going down to Art Basel where we did tons of events. Some DJs did as many as four events in one day. We did events for brands like Dior, Architectural Digest, Scope, Louis Vuitton, and a lot of cool stuff.

You’ve taken the DJ, and made him a commodity that’s absolutely needed now more than ever. A name DJ who is reliable and accountable is required all over the United States, wherever things are happening. DGI is another agency that also does this: Yoni Goldberg and Damon DeGraff own that.
Yes, they’re great.

And you’re all friends.
Yes. Nightlife in New York City, as you know better than anyone, is not the same as it was during the days of Life and Spa. People want something different all the time and that comes down to talent and entertainment. People want great music no matter what, and they are looking to DJs that produce, that make remixes, that do clever mashups, ones that they’re fans of and listen to. And that’s why DJs are the new celebrity. They’re sweeping the world.

Tell me about this event coming up next Thursday.
Our DJs, not only do they produce and do nightclubs and private events, but they really are the show these days, and we wanted to create a different kind of experience for our New York fans, in the form of the a live concert. This is something that has been sweeping the world in the festival arena, live concert arena, everything from Electric Zoo to Coachella, and 4am is a part of that, and we wanted to do a 4am DJs concert. We partnered with our friends at brobible.com, which is a great website, and they throw a lot of great concerts, and we were happy to be partners with them. And we have Jesse Marco and Jus-Ske headlining, Mia Moretti will do her DJ and violin set with violinist Caitlyn Moe, and DJ Sinatra and DJ Price will also do some sets, with some special guest surprise performances.

Did you guys rent Irving Plaza?
No, we didn’t rent it. We’re doing a regular concert along with Live Nation who owns the venue. Tickets are for sale on livenation.com, they’re $15 in advance, $20 at the door.  

How is it being promoted?
It’s being promoted as a regular concert. We’re promoting it to our VIPs and friends. We encourage anyone and all people that love great music, and want to dance and have a special night, and maybe not necessarily go to a nightclub can come and have fun.

What are the hours?
Doors open at eight, the show will get started around nine, and we go until one.

Are you nervous about it or do you think it’s going to sell out?
We’re definitely going to sell out. I’m not nervous about that. I’m looking forward to seeing the show that my guys put on.

And you think you can sustain an energy at like, say, 11 at night?
Absolutely. I mean, we’ve got a lot of talent that’s going to be performing, and they’re all doing something different. You’re going to hear original music you’ve never heard before, you’re going to see some surprise performers come out, and we have a lot in store for all five senses.

We were talking before about the West coast being 2am. People are not used to  leaving a dance party that early, in this town anyway. They’re going to a dance party at 9 o’clock at night. I think that’s your biggest hurdle.
Well, I think you’re limiting yourself to a younger demographic, and our fans range from 21-61, so I think that there will be a more mature, diverse crowd at this, but definitely entertaining for all ages.

I would go, but you have me booked for next Thursday at Hotel Chantelle, so I actually cannot go and see this. You used to intern for me when you were a young stud. You were a great intern, and you went on to do this, and now I work for you.
I work for you, Steve. I’m the manager, you’re the artist.

There you go. But you also used to work with Scott Sartiano, who also worked with me. You went to work with him at 1Oak, and I guess you left the club business and moved on to doing this. You, like Scott, who went to Columbia, have a big education. You went to UPenn. Most club owners and operators don’t have that kind of resume. You spent a lot of time in clubs. I always write about exit strategies, how do people get out of the club business. I think I probably had that speech with you when you worked with me. The old roller-coaster speech, which I always lay on newbies:  You get on the roller coaster and first thing is you go up the big hill, and you think you see the whole world, but you’re only seeing a little bit more in reality, then it’s a fast ride, a lot of turns. But for most part, they end up in the same place they started in. Tell me when you decided, I’ve got to get the  fuck out of the club business. Of course, you’re still in it a little bit and using the knowledge you’ve learned from me and Scott and others. So when did you want to get out, why did you get out, and how did you come up with this idea?
Well, you and Scott and Richie are definitely on my list of mentors, and definitely helped get me to where I am today. The thing that attracted me to nightlife was how you get to interact with people in all different industries, all different demographics. You get to work with people in fashion, in film, in banking, in music, in finance, in TV. And I love that part about it, and I love working with people from all different industries, because nowadays, all these different industries are intertwined. And you know, although I knew that I loved that industry, owning nightclubs and working in nightclubs wasn’t best suited for a New Yorker who went to UPenn. I knew it was just my first step. Jesse Marco, Jus-Ske, and Lennon were good friends of mine. We realized the void for a DJ management agency in New York City. We all had a lot of contacts over our collective fifty years in the nightlife business, and we knew that we could take our friends, the DJs that were already killing it in New York, and take them to Tokyo,  Paris, Milan, Russia, LA, and Vegas.

You haven’t even gotten me to the Bronx.
You’re new. You’re the oldest new DJ we have.

I replaced Ani Quinn, I understand. He was the oldest before me.
He was the oldest but he works like nobody else I know.

What I’m Missing While I’m At The Beach

I am on a beach in an exotic land and not inclined to speak much today. I’ll take a break from the 86 degrees, surf, and pina coladas to just say this: tonight the amazing Murray Hill and Linda Simpson will celebrate both their birthdays at Hotel Chantelle at their weekly Monday night BINGO. I go every week, but this figures to be gigantic. Alas, I am stuck here on this beach. You should go in my stead as it is the most fun nightlife has to offer.

I’ll be back with a serious tan and a new tattoo Thursday night for my DJ gig at the same Chantelle which me and my team is in the process of renovating. The good operators don’t rest on their laurels; they keep improving and correcting. That’s why they remain successful. Ravi Patel, Frank Alessio, Tim Spuches, Kyle, Tristen, and the rest of the crew keep trying to make it better and that’s why they are crowded and that’s why I talk about them. But this week, BINGO will go on without me and I it.

As the 4AM DJ that I am, I’ll be hosting a shindig that the DJ company is having on Saturday at Highline Ballroom, 431 W. 16th St. Other hosts include Jus-Ske, Jonny "the Lover" Lennon, and Chrissie Miller. It’s all about the 4AM electronic division, with DJs The Chainsmokers, Dalton, Ani Quinn, and Orazio Rispo providing the sounds. There will be performances by Mia Moretti, Caitlin Moe, Pink Cashmere. 

 Oh, the girl in the bikini is beckoning me…sorry, just got to go.

Halos, Heartbeats, & Rosewood Land in NYC Tonight

Tonight sees the opening of Rosewood (5 E.19th Street). I’ll be there. I like everyone involved in the project and well…yes, they are paying me. I will be DJing in the lower-level den which the press release describes is for "a more eclectic crowd.” That’s me. I’m opening for the fabulous Kelle Calco, one of my favorite DJs. Upstairs, Danny Rockz and Zeke Thomas provide the music. They had some preview thing the other night and it was a major celebrity fest. The building space has been many clubs, mostly with silly names like Roam and Boudoir. Nobody went to these places, so it will feel real new now. Naysayers and nut jobs will say it’s cursed. Bah humbug! My first of many this season, says I. There is nothing wrong with the space that a little experience, some love, good DJs, and common sense won’t solve.

The experience comes in the form of Redd Stylez who, as Gary Oldman once quipped in True Romance is practically related to me. Redd has been associated with a dozen places over 15 or more years. He is the creative guy; the guy tasked to fill the room and make it sing and swing. He will do just that. Hiring Ruben Rivera to do the door is a great start. Ruben has a great following and a solid eye for what works. Like all great door folk, he is not afraid to say no and also not afraid to say yes. The latter part is something that newbie door folk rarely understand. Creating a mix and letting in that borderline patron and making a club money at the same time is the difference between red and black ink. Redd doesn’t want red ink.

Inside Rosewood will be one of the fastest and, he will tell you, best-looking bartenders in this ‘Burg: Blaise Johnson. Heis fast. There’s some drink he made up called the “White Rose” which I will try after I turn things over to Kelle. It’s Appleton Rum, Chambord, and blood orange puree. Sounds yummy. Rosewood will open Tuesday through Saturday, and I’m hoping they do well.

Saturday night I attended the 4AM electronic dance music event at the Highline Ballroom. I didn’t know what to expect. The place was sold out, jammed with a crowd down the block. When I arrived, DJ Dalton was frenzying the crowd. Promoter pal Cody Pruitt and I discussed how refreshing it is to attend events outside the usual boxes…the familiar clubs. He helped me out at that Dos Equis party at Masonic Hall a few weeks ago. Then, and over the weekend and seemingly always, he brings a great crowd to any party. He is singlehandedly convincing me that promoters, who usually referred to me as the "P-word," are not all bad. Last I saw him, he was going to cut off his long locks. Alas, it was only a couple inches and I feel mislead.

Also of note is tonight’s charitable event Halos and Heartbeats, hosted by the ever-fabulous Tish and Snooky at the new Cutting Room. Tish and Snooky of Manic Panic fame sold me my first pair of pointy shoes when they had their store on St Marks. I ruined them and a brand new leopard-print sports jacket while going over a barbed wire fence one typical night a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. They are the most wonderful of people. Their hair dyes are coveted to this day. Tonight’s event features performances by Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle. It will benefit Frankie’s Friends foundation, which funds grants for life-saving veterinary services from their Hope Fund to treat pets whose families cannot afford the cost of care. There is a live, silent, and online auction to raise funds. For tickets to tonight’s event, see here.

This Just In: DJs Erick Morillo & Afrojack Join Pacha Benefit

This old guy once wrote: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way…." The quote begins Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.  He continued  "…in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only." Mr. Dickens offered this tome in 1859, but was referring back to the French Revolution days. He might as well have been talking about now, for New York is a tale of two cities. While many of us are sipping lattes and talking football and going to parties, others are struggling in the cold, displaced and in despair.  It is the worst of times for so many of our neighbors while most of us are busy as bees, forgetting the destruction and "inconvenience" the storm brought, and readying for the holidays.

Last night at BINGO at Hotel Chantelle, a packed house laughed and squealed with joy as regular hosts Murray Hill and Linda Simpson returned to the stage after a two-week Sandy-induced hiatus. They were joined by Michael Musto who proved to be a joy. Like almost every event worth mentioning these days, this night was dedicated to raising money for victims of Sandy. Specifically, BINGO raised much-needed funds for the Ali Forney Center which was flooded by the imperfect storm. Homeless LGBTQ homeless youth can drop in when they need a place. 

Tonight I will party like nothing ever happened at The Electric Room where the dapper Nick Marc will celebrate yet another birthday. Partner-in-crime Justine D. will DJ. Kodi Najm of Hypernova will host. There are rumors of a proper English celebration with everyone involved partaking in heavy drinking and partying. This is rock and roll, followed by some rock and roll and then quite a bit more rock and roll. I’ll be there.

Tomorrow night, Richie Romero will celebrate his birthday and has tasked me to open up for real DJs Jesse Marco and ?uestlove. This affair is at 1OAK and I am very excited about it. I love the staff of OAK and, of course, Mr. Romero. As is his way, Richie was complaining about his age and other trivialities. I’m going to play tracks older than him to cheer him up. I reminded him that I have shoes that are older than he.

As I wrote the other day, I will then whisk myself up to Pacha for their Help Heal New York Sandy benefit where they have me bartending. Since I will have my CDs and headphones with me, I stand ready to pitch in if one of the following DJs fail to deliver: DANNY TENAGLIA, FRANCOIS K, SUNNERY JAMES & RYAN MARCIANO,  Chainsmoker, SHERMANOLOGY, DANNY AVILA, D BERRIE, AUDIEN HARRY, CHOO CHOO ROMERO, SHAWNEE TAYLOR (live), CARL KENNEDY, HECTOR ROMERO ,DAVID WAXMAN, CEVIN FISHER ,THEO, HEX HECTOR, PAUL RAFFAELE, CODES, ROXY COTTONTAIL ,SAZON BOOYA, DALTON, SIK DUO, CARL LOUIS & MARTIN DANIELLE, PAIGE, BAMBI and THAT KID CHRIS. 

Just added as we go to press are superstar DJs Erick Morillo and Afrojack. This is a serious not to be missed event. There are some fabulous surprises that, because of conflicts and dotted i’s and such, can’t be listed here but will be appreciated there. Among that illustrious crew are DJs from my management company 4AM. Chainsmokers are whisking in from Singapore and are off on tour but are stopping by for this fundraiser. Dalton has been debuting his new house tracks along the Northeast corridor, making stops in D.C., Boston, and Philly. 4AM just booked me for New Year’s Eve … yeah, it’s coming up fast.

Please help those still without, and as the holidays approach, be aware of those unable to have a normal celebration. Help where you can.

The Sound of Music: 4AM DJs, WMC, Women

With the Winter Music Conference blasting Miami, a great many of the DJ staples are not at their usual haunts. Sure, they often enlighten us, educate us, and take us to a different place, but all too often they play the same tracks in the same order as their brethren. With Vinyl and CD’s heading in the same direction as the Eastern Ghost Cat and the Dodo — extinction, if you didn’t catch my drift — the loss of ingenuity looms dangerously, as redundancy threatens.

Miami’s gain can be ours too, as new DJs and sounds will have a chance to spin. While the cats are away, the mice might play at a club near you. Things might be getting a bit too desperate, bookers may indeed be scraping the bottom of the barrel. Example: Rob Fernandez has asked me to spin at Pacha real soon. Don’t panic, house heads: the only house I play is at home with my Amanda. It’s a rock and roll event.

Since some people who don’t pay attention, or are maybe just a bit lost, are asking me to DJ, I think I will take up 4AM’s offer, and sign with them. The DJ/talent and management agency is hosting a WMC soiree on Thursday night at 10PM ‘til 1AM in celebration of their one year anniversary. It will be held at the Soho Beach House. Featured DJs include Jus-Ske, Jesse Marco, Ani Quinn, Brooklyn Dawn, Mia Moretti, Orazio Rispo, Phresh, Price, Sinatra, Suss One, and Theory. Now, it may become a conflict of interest if I am writing about someone I am getting work for, but that would concede the fact that there is actually interest in my talents, or lack of. I will disclose.

If I was in Miami I would have attended last night’s Def Mix the Godfathers of House Descend Official Opening Party for WMC 201, held at the Vagabond. Frankie Knuckles, David Morales, and Hector Romero were in charge of the music. The other day was International Women’s Day: a shout out to all the women in nightlife who struggle in what James Brown would surely call “A Man’s World.” Jayma Cardoza is killing it over at Lavo, and there are a few other ladies of the night out there, but the cards are stacked against them. The awareness day hits home in an industry where women are generally categorized as commodities. On the night of International Women’s Day I happened to be at a joint sipping a Diet Coke with some friends when a lovely lass left the mayhem of a promoter’s table to say hello. She thanked me earnestly, through once prettier eyes, for always taking care of her at clubs I associated with. Still drop-dead gorgeous, I imagined she cocktailed somewhere when she wasn’t getting plastered. I declined credit for her entry into clubdom, and kissed her on her cheeks. I remembered the words of Scott Lipps, head honcho over at One Model Management. He told me recently that you never see the real girls at the clubs, as they’re too busy working. So the sad scene of the “C” model, with the “C” promoter, at the see and be seen table, was sad. (Editor’s note: What? She couldn’t just be out having fun? Blowing off steam after working all day as a hedge fund analyst? You never know! Love you, Uncle Steve) I guess they aren’t all getting what they want, but maybe what they need, as the girls are indeed having fun making connections for small work, and meeting cool guys. The promoters are delivering talent to the club, which is scoring on the bottles that the suits at the adjacent table were Black-Carding. Now there is no reason to change too much, but it would be nice if owners possibly hired a few women promoters to bring some model boys to the bar. Patty Doria used to do that, and worked everywhere. Now, of course, she keeps things smooth at the Chateau Marmont in Beverly Hills. Maybe International Women’s Day should be a monthly.

4AM Tour Diary: DJ Sinatra Spends NYE 2011 in Miami

As a manager and partner at 4AM DJs, I’m constantly arranging performances, events, and photo shoots around the world. Every day, I get reports back from my DJs filled with the kind of wild adventures I rarely get to be a part of as a desk – rather than a disk – jockey. The people who flock to these stellar international events get to experience the end result of months of prep, but do they really know what a day in the life of a DJ is like? In this column, you’ll hear first-hand accounts of DJ war stories, with photos and videos from the world’s best to show for it. In this third 4AM DJ Tour Diary, you’ll read about DJ Sinatra‘s insane week leading up to New Year’s Eve in Miami. Yours truly, Adam Alpert.

Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010: My lovely girlfriend Vanessa and I left the great blizzard of 2010 in NYC and headed to sunny South Beach for our NYE 2011 celebration. The driver picked us up at 8am to drive us to the airport. There was 30 inches of snow and the roads were terrible. A lot of flights were delayed, so we weren’t sure if we would even get out. When we got there, our flight was delayed until 2pm. What to do at the airport at 9 in the morning? The answer: Drink bloody marys! We must have had 3 or 4 during breakfast, and I couldn’t wait to get down to South Beach to ring in the New Year with my 4AM DJ family.

We headed over to our gate and there was my homie, DJ MOS. We hung out until we boarded the flight. We were lucky to be flying. When we touched down in Miami, it was cold but better than New York, so no complaining from us. My first night in Miami, I deejayed the ill Tuesday party at The Wall nightclub at the W South Beach, called “Favela Beach.” I was amped because I was DJing with a good friend of mine, DJ Ross One. The party was hosted by Tatanka, Paolo, Flip, Sebastian, Roy, Los, Navin Chatani, Karim Masri, and of course, Nicola Siervo. It was insane, packed wall-to-wall. Nicola was on the mic going nuts, and called out DJ Vice to come spin with us. We had a surprise DJ cipher with Vice, Ross, and myself. The energy in the room was next level, as we kicked off NYE week in style.

Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010: I was exhausted from working and traveling. I really didn’t get much sleep, so I had to recharge my battery. That night, Vanessa and I hit up our favorite Mexican restaurant on Lincoln Road. After we ate, we met up with our buddy Jack Furious, who was down from New York. We rolled over to Coco de Ville were I DJed that night. We hung out with Sebastian, Jack, Iron Lyon, and Eric even came through – always a good venue, run by my buddies of OneFifty.

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Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010: One of my best friends, DJ Vitale, arrived, and we were ready to party. The weather was getting nice and we decided to go check out DJ Jacamino, who was spinning Derek & Daniel Koch of Dual Groupe’s “Day & Night” brunch party at Vita. We hung out for a little, had some laughs, and then went back to the hotel to get ready for another night of DJing! I was spinning at Louis at the Gansevoort South. I had never spun there before, so I was excited to go in. The room was packed and the energy was in the air. A few Patron’s later and the night was a blur. From what I remember, though, we had another great night.

Friday, Dec. 31, 2010: It was the night we all had been waiting for: The 4AM 2011 New Year’s Eve party at The Wall at the W South Beach with Drake performing. I was DJing the biggest stage of the year and couldn’t believe it. When Vanessa and I arrived, we were greeted by my manager at 4AM, Adam Alpert, and he walked us in straight to the red carpet. What seemed like a million photographers were shooting me from every angle. With flashing lights everywhere, I couldn’t have been more excited. Questions were being thrown at me, one after the other. It was amazing and fun and I just rolled with it. Vanessa was a pro and joined me for a few photos. We then headed to the 4AM DJs cabana and listened to my 4AM family member DJ Phresh, who was spinning by the pool. Fast forward to 10 minutes left in 2010, and Drake jumps on the table and drops “Runaway” and “B.M.F.” The place is going nuts. We saw so many people from New York and my Miami peeps, Mr. Mauricio and Raul. When the clock struck 12, I kissed my lady and we made a video to send to all our family and friends. We looked up, and Drake was performing right in front of us. Bottles were flowing. Then it was time for me to DJ. The place was going crazy and I jumped on the mic. I said something about 2011, I can’t remember, and the club erupted. The lighting was on point and the sound was great. The Wall is truly one of my favorite clubs. I will never forget this night.

Thanks to my 4AM team, Adam, and DJ Jus-Ske, who was spinning NYE in St. Barths and who we all missed. After my set was over, we went over to meet up with DJ Vitale, DJ Riz, DJ Reach, and Los. 2010 was over and the week was such a success. It was great to be able to share it with my 4AM family and all my other DJ brothers. This trip left me so inspired and I couldn’t wait to get back work.

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See other 4AM Tour Diaries here and here.

DJ Jus Ske Shapes the Music of the Club Age

As we told you yesterday, a new DJ management company called 4AM is set to take legions of talented NYC “social” DJs national—even international (maybe even interplanetary, these guys are that good). Jon Lennon, Adam Alpert and DJ Jus Ske have the abilities, the connections and, most importantly, the respect to manage these people. The New York DJ with his Serrato, skills and charisma is sought after in LA, Vegas and all major metropolises. With a few notable exceptions, the DJs coming in from out-of-town to play here are not getting anyone’s panties wet. NY DJs are the go-to guys at store openings, festivals and events on the national party circuit. Yoni Goldberg has a roster over at DGI that includes DJ Cassidy, Paul Sevigny and Berrie. Up until now, he’s had a stronghold on the industry, catering to the smart set, the jet set, the bottle/model crowd. 4AM steps up and handles a roster that includes Ani Quinn, DJ Vitale, DJ Price, DJ Phresh, DJ Sal Marole, DJ Orazio Rispo, Jus-Ske, Suss One, DJ Theory among others. Jus_Ske is a partner at the firm along with long time friend Richie Akiva.

I met Jus Ske when I was running LIFE. Richie and Jus along with Mark Rose were the young, brash, in-the-know kids that I needed to have around to stay relevant and to be credible. That element, street credibility, is what separates 1Oak and some other clubs with the wannabe joints that don’t understand that edge. At LIFE, I had the high end, the euros, much of the promoter-driven crowd and wealthy men and model crowd. I added in the gays and trendoids and we had it all mixing up and had a great party. But it was the edgier crowd, the cool hip-hop crews these three dudes brought that gave that club the realness I needed. The “hip-hop” room at LIFE was always where the party was and I believe it is the model for the all the great (non house-head) places since. DJs like Mark Ronson, Funkmaster Flex, Grandmaster Flash, Kid Capri, Riz— and I’m sure many others I cant think of now—paved the way for this new generation of talent who find a market that craves their “street cred” sets.

“Mash-up” or “open format” is the musical genre of our club age. The organization of these talented DJs by 4AM and DGI will ensure career growth and fair pay. To me Jus Ske has always been there, trying to push the music forward. I have great respect for him as a DJ, but more importantly, as a person. Nobody is perfect, especially in the world of clubs where most take 2 steps forward but then 3 steps back and think they’re making it. I have always felt that Jus was in it for the art of it, while so many others around him were motivated by other things. Whether its his clothing line or his collaboration with Pharrell or his foray into club ownership, the underlying truth to DJ Jus Ske is his true-to-his-school mentality. Any beef I ever had with the man (and it was always short-lived beef) ended with his trade mark “its all good” and it surely was always a little better than that. I caught up with Jus Ske and asked him a few questions.

What’s your musical style? Open format. Good music is good music

Where are the trends in music going? Electro, retro, yet organic. Fast, yet slow—meaning 140bpm and 70bpm in between on the break down.

What are your favorite tracks? Jus Ske and Junior Sanchez electro dance remix of Drake’s “Over” called “Far From Over.” “Broken” from Gorillaz, “Flashing Room” by 2AM Club (Yacht remix), “Elevator” by Junior Sanchez featuring Good Charlotte and Maino, and “Animal” by Miike Snow (Fake Blood remix).

How did u start in the business? Steve Lewis.

How did you decide to be a DJ? What year? Probably around 1997 when I started promoting. I felt it was more fulfilling for the soul to dabble in the music aspect of the night and became a DJ.

(Editor’s Note: Yeah, you’re gonna want to download these tracks now.)

For NYC’s Most Talented DJs, It’s Always 4AM

4 AM is a way of life for thousands of people in nightlife. It is the traditional time that liquor-hawking establishments in NY state must stop selling the booze. Some places have been restricted lately to 2 AM licenses. I wonder if a place that has a 2 AM license could ring up sales on a customer’s card and his liquor could be served and enjoyed until 4:30? I’m going to find out. Although nothing can be sold after 4 AM in our clubs, bottle service has allowed the party to go on for at least another half hour. This means the service employees who make everything possible still need to hang around. One person who can’t go home is the DJ. At this time of the night it’s his job to wind things down so that the patrons can leave quietly. Adam Alpert, Jon Lennon and Jus-Ske have formed a DJ management company, the aptly titled “4am.” I met up with Adam and Jon while we connected with the touring DJ Jus-Ske via the wonders of modern technology. I’ll continue with Jus tomorrow, today Alpert and Lennon have the floor.

Give me and overview. Adam Alpert: 4AM is “4 Artist Management”. That’s what time NYC closes, as opposed to Philly, DC, Boston, LA which close at 2. The partners are myself, Jon Lennon, and Jus-Ske. DJ management is a recent trend.

But Judy Weinstein and tons of others have been doing DJ management since back in the day. AA: Back in the days of Spa and Life, Steve, you usually called a DJ directly.

This is true it was only the large floor or really famous guys who had a manager. Social/Mashup DJs generally don’t have management—outside of Yoni Goldberg’s stable. He handles a number of the best DJ’s around. AA: there are VERY talented people working the best events/clubs in NYC but are not getting marketed on a national/international level. Jon Lennon: Adam and I have been building the careers of DJ simply based on need, bringing them to events in Philly, LA, SF and thus making them irreplaceable to us.

Jon, you are the face of GoldBar and Adam you are the promotional director of 1Oak. You have been hiring many DJ’s in these high profile places, sometimes breaking their careers in NY and then you have booking them in other cities as well. Am I right that, up until now, there hasn’t been a cohesive plan in terms of their careers. AA: Yes, that’s our company’s purpose. This talented family of DJs are all friends, even though they are competitors they like working together. We wanted to take the help we’ve been giving them and organize it, turn it into a movement. We are a family.

So there is a group of DJs without management who have reached premium level, like DJ Sinatra who has paid his dues, but isn’t getting his due. AA: Young DJs have to be out there grinding for themselves, promoting themselves, calling owners. With our friends and relations around the world it was a win-win situation. It makes sense to secure our best DJs with gigs and fame. JL: I was working for Deckstar and Adam and Jus wanted to start an agency. I was the NY exec of Deckstar, a company that also wanted to open a NY agency. The two would’ve been in direct competition, but now we have a bridge to LA and they have one to NY.

So you are partners with NY Deckstar? AA: I like to say we have a strategic alliance.

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Tell me the names of some of the DJ’s in 4am’s roster. JL: Ani Quinn, DJ Vitale, DJ Price, DJ Phresh, DJ Sal Marole, DJ Orazio Rispo, Jus-Ske, Suss One, DJ Theory. They are all of the ‘open format’ style, except Orazio, he’s House. AA: In NY there have grown to be a lot of DJ—based nights Sunday at Goldbar, Tuesday at 1Oak—where you’ll have 5 DJs in the booth and 25 more in the crowd. Its’ a culture of camaraderie, and we wanted to organize these guys together.

When does an agency become a union? Because right now a DJ has to pay you a percentage. Your stated goal is to make DJs money, raising fees. Why wouldn’t a club go out, like I did, to find the next young stud? AA: Cause they aren’t good enough and don’t bring people.

Many DJs, basically all of them— Frankie Knuckles, David Morales—all started out as no-names at clubs that were known as venues with good music. Everyone gets there first gig. I started countless DJs, developed them, gave them higher profile spots, until the whole world clamored for them. JL: I’m from that school. My two biggest DJs were Jesse Marco and Cassidy, who I took a risk on when they had no name.

If the prices become too high, the owner will go back to the old way. However, this current crop of owners are more administrative, not from the streets and wouldn’t necessarily recognize a good new DJ. AA: Any kid can get a laptop and Serrato can call themself a DJ. It’s not like the old days where you had to buy vinyl. Being the new young kid DJ is like being a starving artist. You have to grind, call owners, promote. So every young DJ in NYC has emailed me saying “Will you rep me?” Because we have those connections. JL: On my Facebook, all day its DJs from around the world.

In the old days it was harder, Record Pool, Judy Weinstein’s management company, would distribute new tracks to 200 DJs nationally. Those DJs would have the latest greatest version. So other DJs who didn’t have the latest greatest, newest mix were considered second class. Now, with the internet, you can’t control who gets that kind of access as easily. Everybody gets everything. AA: Correct

You two work at specific clubs. Why would a rival club use you guys? AA: Because we have 12 DJs and we’re friendly with everyone in this industry. Outside of OAK, I work with Satsky in the Hamptons, Noah in Miami on New Years. These guys at other clubs are some of my best friends, who would’ve booked these DJs anyway. This has got nothing to do with 1Oak. We’re friends with everybody, every owner, every promoter. Mark Birnbaum and Eugene as well. Everyone has a different clientele. There are enough clubs and gigs and nights to go around.

How about out of state gigs? AA: Another thing I’d like to mention are the secondary, or nontraditional markets. Butter in North Carolina has the “I Heart NY DJ” series. Every Thurs a 4AM DJ flies down to Charlotte to DJ there. Now people are going out on Thursday nights there.The people in Charlotte haven’t heard anything like this before, its like night and day. Charlotte is the 25th biggest city in the US. JL: 10 of 12 of the 4AM Djs work at 1Oak and 8 of 12 work at Goldbar. We’ve sent DJs to Miami and they stop in Charlotte. Bring an LA DJ to New York City and he flops, but bring a NY DJ to LA and they’re calling him back for double.

Aspiring 4AM DJs and clubs can find out more about the talent pool at 4am.tv.