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.

Mia Moretti Takes a Glimpse of New York From the Inside

New York is my city, and although I travel like a mad woman all year round stomping down at music festivals, film festivals, and fashion weeks across the globe, there really is no place like home. Fashion week can feel like a whirlwind of bloggers, bustiers, models, mockeries, designers, DJs, editors, evolutionists, photographers, and phonies coming at you harder than a tornado, but when you claim New York City as your stomping ground, that’s all par for the course. Bring it on, I say. There is no better place in the world, and to prove it, I called up one of my favorite gal pals (and talented photographer) Diggy Lloyd to hit the streets with me and bring you a little taste of this beautiful, crazy city. 

Caitlin Moe and me arriving for sound check at Prabal Gurung’s carnival

DJing the carnival on top of a truck

 

Backstage prepping in my trailer

My goodluck duck from set of VH1 Master of the Mix show I just wrapped filming. 

The girls with Renzo backstage at Diesel Black Gold! (Talli Lennox, Caitlin Moe, Oh Land and me)

Oh Land going in for a punch! 

Bossy! 

Glamour outside the Jeremy Scott show at Milk

A$AP Rocky arriving at Jeremy Scott

Terry Richardson at Jeremy Scott

Lindsey Wixson closing Jeremy Scott

Pit Stop at La Grainne Cafe

Honor show at Eyebeam

Accessories

On the way to Elizabeth & James presentation

Gorgeous texture and color at Elizabeth & James

Ashley Olsen at the presentation for her and Mary-Kate’s line, Elizabeth & James

New York, you gorgeous city

4 Out of 5: Mia Moretti on Paris

Mia Moretti is a New York DJ. This is her take on four places she likes, and one place she doesn’t.

RECOMMENDED

O’Scia Pizzeria – "This is the best pizza I’ve ever had. It’s better than any pizza place in New York or Italy. There is an upstairs room that is great for a big group; you’ll stay all night eating and drinking. It’s a refreshing break during fashion week, and the staff always makes you feel like family."

Le P’tit Fernand – "This is my favorite place for lunch in Paris. It’s a darling little bistro with amazing food. There’s often a wait, so go a little before or after the lunch rush to avoid the crowd."

Le Relais de l’Entrecôte Saint Germain – "A favorite of mine. Once you’ve finished your order of steak and frites, the waiters will come around and offer you another if you’re still hungry. There are a few of them in Paris, but they are all delicious — the only downside is it’s not vegetarian-friendly, so chose your date accordingly."

La Fidelite – "The owners of Le Baron, Andre Saraiva and Lionel Bensemoun, bring a nightlife feel to this retro-chic brasserie. You are guaranteed to always run into a few friends there, if you are in the mood to socialize. There is also a little basement bar under the restaurant that always has good music."

NOT SO MUCH

Au Pied de Cochon – "I’m always on the prowl for a late-night place, and this is the only one I ever find. Always a big mistake. A three-course meal at 4am is wrong, wrong, wrong."

DJ Chelsea Leyland Creates a Fall Playlist for BlackBook

Fashion has a new favorite DJ. Chelsea Leyland is an English expat with killer style, who only made her turntable debut a little over a year ago. But don’t let her rookie status fool you – her crowd-pleasing sets and constant bookings have quickly led her to become one of fashion’s most wanted acts, a title girls like Mia Moretti and Harley Viera-Newton know a thing or two about. “Fashion parties were actually the first type of parties I started playing at,” explains Leyland. “It all started when I was recommending a female DJ friend to a few people in the fashion world. Someone finally turned to me and said, ‘Why don’t you just learn so we can hire you instead?’ So, I took classes and the rest is history.”

Speaking of history, Leyland is one of the first fashion-focused DJs to have her own documentary; she teamed up with Dove Go Fresh and MTV to document her experiences at NYFW, which you can watch here. At this rate, we wouldn’t be surprised if a designer collaboration were next. She lists Katie Gallagher and Charlotte Olympia as two of her favorites, but her dream project may be a bit too revealing for their tastes: “One day I’d love to start my own line of lingerie,” she says.

To kick off the season’s change, Leyland created a fall playlist just for BlackBook. Peep – along with her bonus commentary – below. 1. “Mother” – Danzig. This is one of my all-time favorite songs; it has a really sexy sound to it with a touch of darkness. I love playing this at the beginning of the night. It sounds good when the tempo is sped up. 2. “Pumped Up Kicks” – Foster the People. This is great summer tune that I know will carry through to the fall. It’s also nice to bring back the summer vibes when its miserable and cold outside. It has such a happy feel to it and always gets people dancing. 3. “She Drives me Crazy” – Fine Young Cannibals. I had to add a great ’80s classic to this list – what else can I say? Everyone always likes to dance to Fine Young Cannibals. 4. “You’ve Got Me Dizzy” – Jimmy Reed. This is such an amazing song that I love to watch people dance to. It adds a nice to twist to the night. 5. “You Never Can Tell” – Chuck Berry. This song has a nice cozy feel, which will be great in the winter. I also love seeing everyone attempting the Pulp Fiction dance. 6. “Wuthering Heights” – Kate Bush. I’ve fallen back in love with Kate Bush after giving her a rest for a couple of years. This is not a dancing track but a great wintery song to play at an event – especially fashion events since it has such a unique sound. 7. “A Stranger’s Heart” – Theophilus London. I’m loving this song right now and think it is a great track to switch things up from a non-dancey to a dancey vibe. I also wanted to make sure I added a hip-hop track to this list. I love that you aren’t sure what you’re getting when you hear the opening of this track. 8. “Never Met a Girl like You Before” – David Bowie. David Bowie is one of my all time favorite artists. I have always loved playing this track whether it’s winter or summer, but it definitely has a wintery vibe to it. I think you can never go wrong when you play this because it’s such a sexy song. 9. “Sing, Sing, Sing” – Benny Goodman. I love playing this to spice up the night. It always comes as a surprise to people and is an amazing track to throw down when people really aren’t expecting it. For some reason, I always find that all the right people dance to it. It always reminds me of Le Baron in Paris where they often throw it down after a hip-hop track—totally unexpected but genius. It adds an edge to a set and also has a wintery vibe. 10. “The Seed” – The Roots. A great song by a great band. That’s all I have to say.

For bookings and to learn more about DJ Chelsea Leyland, click here.

Industry Insiders: Mia Moretti, Model Citizen

She could pass for Chloë Sevigny’s younger sister, but Mia Moretti has more than just model-good looks going for her. A frequent DJ presence at clubs like Mister H in the Mondrian Soho, Moretti has serious skills, having learned the craft from legends like Jurassic 5’s Cut Chemist and the late DJ AM, friends she made while living in Los Angeles. Now firmly ensconced in New York, she has established herself as a singular presence on the party circuit, performing with hip-hop heatseeker Theophilus London at Webster Hall and even spinning at Chelsea Clinton’s wedding reception.

“I still consider myself a beginner, but I guess I’ve picked up a thing or two,” she says. Considering her resume includes gigs at SXSW and the Ultra Music Festival, not to mention a remix of Katy Perry’s “Hot N Cold” that made it onto the Billboard dance charts in 2008, that seems like a bit of an understatement. No two gigs are the same for the Oakland-born musician, who recently finished work on a “tribal-house-dance” single with electric violinist and frequent collaborator Caitlin Moe, and who will be feautured in the “Kids of America” campaign for Tommy Hilfiger. We caught up with Moretti to ask her about her background, her influences, and the secrets to her success.

BlackBook: Where are you from from, and how did you get to NYC? Mia Moretti: I’m originally from Oakland. I went to college in LA, then moved to NYC a few years ago. I needed a change, I was too comfortable in LA; I wanted to challenge myself and I knew it wasn’t going to happen unless I picked myself up and moved some place new.

What were your interests when you were younger? Drum circles, Phish concerts, listening to 2Pac cds in my convertible, arts and crafts, Spanish. How’d you first get into DJing? Any mentors or idols who inspired you? I used to go see DJ AM play almost every night in LA. That’s when I realized what a DJ was. I was very inspired by him, but I never imagined that I would be a DJ. Around that same time I was cast in a music video for Cut Chemist, we became friends and he started taking me record shopping. I had a lot of good friends who were DJs who slowly showed me this or that, but I don’t think anyone can “teach” you to be a DJ. It comes from inside you, like being a good writer or a good chef. I still find it hard to call myself a DJ, because I’ve had so many talented people around me, I still consider myself a beginner, but I guess I’ve picked up a thing or two.

What was your first gig? The Standard Hotel on Sunset Boulevard. The only rule was I had to play vinyl and I couldn’t play Top 40.

Favorite/least favorite shows you’ve ever played? I can’t say I’ve had a least favorite gig. It’s normally the bad gigs that you learn the most from. My favorite gig was probably the Life Ball in Vienna with Katy Perry.

Favorite genres to play? Any you won’t touch? I love playing oldies / motown / doo-wop if it’s the right crowd. Genres I won’t touch? Maybe dubstep. I enjoy it, but I doubt you will find me throwing down a whole dubstep set. image Any secrets to your success? What would you say to aspiring female DJs? You just have to work hard and take any and every job you can. Go listen to DJs, bands, search for music, practice every chance you have, and make your own opportunities. Trust me, there is always a party somewhere that needs a DJ. Don’t take shortcuts. Lug your turntables to the party if you have to. Get off iTunes and don’t play from a playlist!

Craziest on-stage moment? Power going out. That’s always a fun one. I was playing a show at Vassar with Caitlin Moe a few months ago and we blew a fuse, so all the sound cut out. It was in the middle of “Heads Will Roll” by the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s so we got everyone chanting “OFF, OFF, OFF.” It’s pretty cheesy, but you gotta do something when you have a thousand people standing there looking at you.

What equipment do you use? 2 Technics SL-1200MK5 Turntables, 1 Pioneer DJM800 Mixer, Serato Scratch Live, Korq Kaositlatoor & my MAC Powerbook

NY versus LA? I find that NY is a little more diverse and has a broader appreciation of different types of music. Paris is probably my favorite city in the world to DJ, because they love to dance, they don’t care about Top 40 and you can still surprise them with some throwback tunes.

You’ve played at clubs all over, music festivals like ULTRA and SXSW, did the music for the Alice + Olivia video lookbook, and even the Chelsea Clinton wedding. Is there one type of event that you prefer over another? No, I love the variety being a DJ has. One day I’m at some dark drug-den-of-a-bar and the next I’m in a meeting with a designer doing the music for their show. It’s all related and I don’t think I would be good at one of them if I was no good at the other.

A day in the life? Wake up late. Run to the airport. Coffee. Emails. Fly. Soundcheck. Fitting. Rehearsal. Meeting. Play a gig. Dinner. Go check out someone else’s gig. Nightcap. Emails. Sleep.

When you’re not working you’re… Sleeping.

What do you enjoy the most about DJing? What would you say are some of the challenges? Getting to play music everyday. Being on a plane every day of my life!

What would you be doing if you weren’t a DJ? I would probably be working for Mary McDonald still. She’s an interior designer I used to work for in LA. She’s very talented and I really enjoyed working with her.

[Photos: Diggy Lloyd]

4AM DJ Tour Diary: Mia Moretti & Caitlin Moe Go to Paris

As a manager and partner at 4AM DJs, I’m always arranging performances, events, and photo shoots around the world. Every day, the reports I get back from my DJs sound like the kinds of wild adventures that I rarely get to be a part of as a desk 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 monthly 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 Tour Diary, you’ll read about It girl DJ Mia Moretti and her partner in crime, violinist Caitlin Moe, as they make their way to Paris for a gala at the Louvre Pyramid. It’s a whirlwind, 24-hour trip, just enough time to eat drink, and expand their wardrobes. Yours truly, Adam Alpert.

We just landed in Paris, and we’ve got 24 hours to get dressed, get our faces on, get to the Louvre for the 2nd Liaisons au Louvre gala, and get back on a plane to New York City. How very Cinderella of us.

The first gala, which Duran Duran performed at, was the first time in history that the Louvre allowed a performance inside the I.M. Pei-designed glass pyramid. This year, they called upon the queen of pop herself, Miss Janet Jackson.

Caitlin and I were asked to perform an opening DJ & violin set leading up to Janet’s performance, which might just be our favorite gig yet (yes, even better than playing for you, Bill Clinton). But it isn’t all fun and games for us two professional party crashers—we had some major work ahead. So off we went to the Sonya Rykiel Paris showroom on Blvd. St. Germain to pull from her personal archives (thank you very much, Mr. Horne, for setting up our appointment with the most gracious and beautiful Clara Noujain). image All that hard work deserved a little reward, and in Paris a little reward comes in the form of a bottle of rose and a plate of fromage. Now, back to the hotel to make a beauty of the now tipsy, fat, and jet-lagged beast. Surprise, surprise! Back at the hotel, what was waiting for us but more dresses! One of my favorite new French designers, Carven, had sent over bags of dresses, corsets, collars, and bustiers galore.

A little powder, a little blush, a lot of lashes, and we’re off. To be playing inside the Louvre and hearing the strings echo through the pyramid is nothing short of magic. The party-goers danced until the sun came up, and we ran out of there just in time to catch our 7am pumpkin, er, flight.

Merci Paris! You are everything!

Bisous,

Mia & Caitlin