Kelly Bruce’s Birthday Bash at Stash, My Birthday Next Tuesday at Avenue

A freak injury involving a work boot, an immovable object, and an unfortunate little toe has made this a slow news day. I blew off yesterday with pain pills and bandages, just mobilizing enough to DJ last night. I had a tumbly, tossy night of  medicated dreams and am coming at this late in the day. Normally, I’m up at 7am, but the painkillers convinced me my pillow was where my fortunes lie. Of course, they lied and my editor is going to hurt another toe or something.

I plan on limping over to Stash tonight for Kelly Bruce’s Massively Epic Birthday Bash. Kelly left Blackbook just a few days ago and I have been inconsolable since. Stash just got a fab mention in New York Magazine’s Design Hunting section …much thanks to Wendy Goodman. I will then pop into The Darby for a peek; they finally got their marquee up. It looks fabulous and makes the place look even more elegant. I’m a proud papa. Then it’s Provocatuer to be amazed. It never ceases to amaze me.

Nightlife is getting bigger and better, except sometimes when it gets smaller and chicer. Fashion week looms and everyone is getting ready to slam into the new season. Club operators are getting ready to unveil or, at least, have polished the silverware and brought out the good china. New spots like Le Baron will help define the night. XL will be a game-changer as well. Christina Visca is having a good old- fashioned grand opening tea. Be there this Sunday for the boys and girls who need a place of there own. It starts at 5pm and ends at 10pm so there are no "tomorrow’s a work day" excuses.

Of no significance at all is my birthday bash at Avenue this coming Tuesday. I will be older than the wind but still young at heart. I’ll DJ for a half an hour with pals DJ Sinatra and Todd Smolar. I will pop a couple bottles of Beau Joie Champagne and promise myself that this year I will offer no more teenage excuses. The people at Avenue, Lavo, Marquee, and  the great team at Tao Strategic Group are family to me and I am honored they are offering me a party. It’s what they do best. Shout out/ Happy Birthday to the Group’s Judy Tepperberg.

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.

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.