Day and Night’s 5-Year Anniversary & Halloween Bashes

I’ve heard it said that I am "far out.” Really, I’ve heard that. Today I will talk about events that are not as near as usual. First, however, I must pause to congratulate the Koch brothers Daniel M. and Derek M. for their four-year anniversary of Day and Night. They and their usual suspects including MATT OLIVER, RANDY SCOTT, GREG GUILLEBAUT, PHILIPPE BONDON, MATT MONCADA, IAN PARMS, DAVID SCHULMAN, ERICA LAWRENCE, and YANN FRANTZ will celebrate this Saturday at Highline Ballroom, 431 W. 16th St., with DJs Roger Sanchez and CLMD from Size Records. Reservations can be made by emailing PARTY@DAYANDNIGHTLIFE.COM or calling 212.201.1222.

Next up and far out there for me is the GEMS’ Girls Like Us Benefit Gala next Wednesday, October 17 at El Museo Del Barrio, 1230 5th Avenue between 104th and 105th Street, 6:30pm-10pm. The event will be hosted by Demi Moore and Arden Wohl. It’s cocktail attire with tickets at $300.

"The gala will honor Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, GEMS, the largest service provider to commercially sexually exploited and domestically trafficked girls and young women in the US. One hundred percent of the proceeds of this event will go to GEMS critical services for victims and survivors, ages 12 -24, of commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking. Hosts Demi Moore and Arden Wohl will kick-off a star-studded dramatic reading of excerpts from Girls Like Us, the critically acclaimed memoir by GEMS founder and executive director Rachel Lloyd. Participants in the event include: Jada Pinkett Smith, Yolanda Ross, Natasha Lyonne, Roz Coleman, Jamie Hector, Adepero Oduye, Shontelle, and India Arie." 

Also out there is Social Life Magazine’s 7th Annual Halloween Ball with  a performance by Madame Mayhem at Center548 on Saturday, October 27th. It’s a Halloween costume affair. Mayhem has an album coming out on the 30th called White Noise with a single called "Save Me.” It starts at 7:30pm with a meet & greet with Madame Mayhem and Grammy Award winning producer Mark Hudson over champagne and hors d’oeuvres until 9pm. "General admission tickets are also available for $45 and holders will get to enjoy the costume ball and live performance by Madame Mayhem and her all star band. Doors open at 9pm and will include a full open bar and DJ spinning till 2am.A portion of the proceeds from each VIP ticket sold on eventbrite will aide Musicians on Call, which brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities."

The 27th will be Halloween for most, as the Wednesday actual date is too much for the working class. All week is my norm. On the 27th I will DJ at the Empire Ballroom’s Monster Bash with DJ Kyle Rayner. I go from 9pm to 11pm, and Kyle goes after, unless I scare the crowd away with my spooky Halloween set. Having Halloween celebrated on a Saturday isn’t necessarily a good thing for operators as most spots are slammed anyway. The added revenues from the holiday on Wednesday would normally be a shot in the arm, but the midweek date will kill Thursdays and slow Fridays for most operators. More of this next week.

Paul Oakenfold Talks Music, Plays Webster Hall On Wednesday

Walking in stride with Paul Oakenfold to Eminem’s Shade 45 studio isn’t my typical, run-of-the-mill Monday afternoon activity. But yesterday, the Sirius Satellite Radio office was buzzing with action. There were live bands, artists, and DJs everywhere. En route to the studio I was quickly introduced to former Hot 97 DJ Whoo Kid, who now hosts the Saturday time slot on Eminem’s satellite station. Then Paul and I sat down to chat about where our paths had crossed previously. I told him that in any healthy debate about the world’s greatest DJs, his name would inevitably come up. I also explained that while there might be heated debates about the top tier DJs, there is little debate about the worst DJ in the world – I’ve got that one locked up. Out of this interview came Paul’s confident proclamation that Las Vegas, long considered a cultural wasteland, is now the electronic music capital of the U.S. of A. He described it as America’s Ibiza. We talked about his upcoming album – tentatively titled Pop Killer – and the Facelift tour, which will hit Webster Hall on Thanksgiving Eve. He will spin with superstar DJ Roger Sanchez and three young artists – Chuckie, Sidney Sampson, and Nervo – who he describes as the next big things in electronic music.

You are playing the day before Thanksgiving, Wednesday the 24th, in New York at Webster Hall. That’s a big club. In New York there’s Pacha, Terminal 5, and very few other large places to spin, while the rest of the world embraces house music in far bigger, and more numerous venues. Why is that? I’m asking you. When you’re DJing, what are the differences you see in New York and the rest of the planet? If you want me to answer the question I think it’s because hip-hop is far more popular here, the mixing of cultures here is far more profound than it is in Europe, and the dollars aren’t there for house clubs. Yeah. And I think that we embrace rock and roll here very strongly. It’s strange ’cause, as you said, we’ll be self-starting house music. There have been some absolutely amazing clubs over the years in New York City and, as an Englishman, I always used to look at New York and kind of put it up there. That was the kind of pinnacle of music—electronic music. But over the last few years I think it has lost its way. I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault necessarily, but there are no big clubs. There are in LA, there are in Vegas, there are in Miami. It seems in terms of what’s coming out in New York—electronic music—it doesn’t seem like there’s much coming out of New York that there used to be. I don’t think it is one of the major club destinations now, apart from I suppose Pacha, which is in our scene, and everyone knows Pacha, but apart from Pacha there doesn’t really seem to be another club. Now if you go to LA, I mean you have three massive clubs all competing on a Saturday night – and these clubs hold two, two and a half thousand. And the club I do in Las Vegas, we put five thousand in there. Rain Night Club in Vegas. Yeah. Speaking to friends of mine, they’ve said its got a lot to do with people wanting to shut clubs down in New York City and not allowing people to go out and have a good time and dance all night long. It seems to be, I don’t know, is it the mayor? Well it’s many people, its real estate interests and community boards. New York, it’s an island, and people are now living in every nook and cranny and neighborhood– nobody wants to live next to a club. Even Pacha was very close to getting closed down last year by what seemed to me to be trumped-up charges. I went to the trial and it was really unbelievable what they were saying. The evidence was minimal and charges ludicrous, and yet Pacha was almost closed. You are playing Webster hall tomorrow night, which is a big club and has been there since the 1800’s. And it’s very hard hard to do a club although a venue like Terminal 5— What’s Terminal 5?

Terminal 5 is where Exit used to be. It’s a concert venue, but they occasionally do large dance events, it’s not a club. And yes, there is a difference between a venue and a club. Webster Hall is not a club though is it?

Webster hall is a club, it is run as a club. They do have a lot of concerts, but they run it as a club on Friday and Saturday nights. In fact, every day of the week they’re open with something going on. You’re right, in 1987 and 1988 and ‘89, when I was running clubs, house music was the main floor, and it was the big DJs like Frankie Knuckles and Dave Morales It’s hard to find something like that. The music has been constantly evolving Danny Tenaglia, Junior Vasquez. God, I mean you know music, it’s pitiful. Well they just opened District 36, which is a thousand person venue dedicated to house music, with big sound system. Where is that? It’s on 36 street near 6th Avenue. It also has to do a lot with the fees. DJs like yourself are now six-figure DJs—you’re getting a lot of money. The international circuit DJs are getting paid a lot of money, and at the clubs in New York, the crowd—the house music crowd— doesn’t spend a lot of money like they do at the open format joints, where bottle service and that kind of revenue stream pay the bills. A smaller club like Avenue or Provocateur, those kinds of clubs where they’re getting $8,000 dollars for a table actually book big name DJ’s now. I played Provocateur. They can afford to pay you some money, because it’s a promotional one off for them, a big DJ, playing the little room. It tells their elite clientele that they are serious about their music. They have more of a capability to generate money, or turn a profit than a big club, by selling tables. People don’t want to pay $40 or $50 to get in to the large joints, but they must, as that’s what it takes to pay for you guys. The cost of doing business, say for a Pacha, makes it difficult to support multiple places. Anyway, Your upcoming album called Pop Killer, is that it? Yeah it’s a working title. It’s just like to me, I feel its kind of a sexy name. How about the other name, the name of your tour is Facelift? The Facelift Tour, yes. I hadn’t toured for four years on my own. I mean, I’ve toured with Madonna as a support artist, and I’ve done a couple of spot gigs, but I took a residency in Vegas and I’m mainly working films. So it’s the first time in four years I’ve been on a bus and I’ve been touring. The idea behind Facelift was to bring something fresh, new and different. There’s a lot of money spent on production, it’s a visual experience, and in terms of the screens, the front of the booth the background and the big backdrop of LED screens—a massive LED wall—and we have these new fresh talents from the Dirty Dutch Boys, which is the new sound of house at the moment coming out of Holland. So there’s Chuckie, Sidney Sampson. Roger Sanchez mentioned them when I interviewed him last week. Roger was speaking very highly of them. They’re like the hottest kids at the moment: everyone’s on their case. And then there are the two girls, Nervo, who wrote and produced one of David Guetta’s big songs. They’re now also DJing and they’re from Australia. And there’s a big buzz on them. So, the idea for me is to support young and fresh DJs from around the world. There’s Kenneth Thomas from Detroit, who is an important guy in America, a young American DJ. Then there are the established names like Roger.

I saw in your biography that you worked with Red Hot Chili Peppers, you worked with Madonna, you worked with Cee-Lo. These are hip-hop artists, rock artists, pop artists. Is there going to be a time when house music encompasses all of this, to a point where the house heads say, recognize other forms of music? House-heads, at least in NYC, only recognize house. They discount every other genre of music. Although you guys borrow licks and beats and sounds from all these genres, is there a time when your set will include a Nirvana song? It already does. I’ve never really put boundaries. I think its something just, generally in life, you shouldn’t put in front of you. You can do really what you want to do. And in terms of music, I’ve always incorporated different genres of music. I mean, I’ve worked with Ice Cube, I’ve worked with Hunter S. Thompson, who was a writer, I’ve worked with U2, Chili Peppers, they’re a rock band, I’ve worked with Madonna and Nelly Furtado, in pop. Do it all as long as you’ve got integrity there, and you retain who you are, and what you do. On my New Artist album I’ve got a lot of collaborations and some of the big names. I wanted to take that element of great, great singers, with great songs, and put it on cutting edge house beats. Which is what I’ve been doing.

Are you sharing your music with the other DJs on the tour, are you getting feedback with them, is it a evolving album, is it changing as you go on tour? Are you producing on the road? Good question. I am road testing a lot of it, I’m getting feedback from the crowd, and the DJ’s. We all get on very well, which is really refreshing because right now we’re talking about all doing a track together, and putting it out there. There’s feedback from whenever, And good constructive criticism if it needs to be there. I think that’s important. I mean the Nervo girls are singer/songwriters, and producers before they’re DJs. Jackie you know he did a collaboration with “I’m In Miami Bitch,” which is now a worldwide phrase. I was in Miami last weekend, and everyone’s got these T-shirts. He’s very fresh. Point-being, he comes from a completely different action than a lot of the old school DJs, which I kind of find really refreshing, because he keeps you on your toes. He’s very out there, and he’s got a lot of energy, and I liked his ideas in terms of how he sees whats going on. Steve: What do you use? Do you use records still? I use CD because I don’t want to lose the art of DJing. I don’t personally want to be staring in to my laptop while I’m DJing. I like the connection with the crowd, I like the movement of touching and playing which comes from that old school approach. Nervo is great looking at the laptop, doing what they do. Chuckie just turns up with two sticks, puts them in scrolls down the CD player, turns up— I mean he’s even further down the road. He just brings his headphones and these two USB sticks, and puts them in and you can scroll through—have you seen that? You just scroll down and he’s got it all there. I like that idea, and I actually may go that fa,r but then you lose the whole essence of what it’s all about.

I think that leads to the question: you don’t know the first song or track you want to put on on Wednesday, night do you? I do. See most guys tell me no, they feel the room. But with the CD thing…I know when I DJ, I don’t always know the first song, I may have an idea, but after that, I’m looking at the crowd, I like the feel of searching through the records. I mean, I understand that, but my set is a little bit more arranged than that. There are parts of the set that are big movers in terms of key changes, so I would say I know the first records, I know the second record, and I probably know two others towards the end. The rest of it I don’t know. I totally agree in some respects. You’re looking at the crowd, but someone has to lead. If you suddenly let the crowd lead, then it’s like anything, someone’s got to be in charge otherwise it all falls apart. I believed in my choice of records, I believe not every record I play everyone is going to like, of course, but I think they come to hear your sound so they want you to play your music. Not dictate, not be dictated by what they want to hear. They may want to hear their favorite song. If it’s one of mine, then I play a lot of my own music. There is always new music. I’m always about playing new songs, always want to, and always will. I think people come to hear new music. For the first time they hear it, rather than expecting the same stuff all the time. When I used to book DJs, back in the old days, back in the Fred Flintstone days, there was a thing when DJs graduated or moved to producing, there was a time when they actually became less good as DJs because they pigeon-holed themselves towards a certain sound. They played records that sounded like their music, if not just their own music. How much does Paul Oakenfold have to step aside and look at music from a different angle, from a different view point, and see what the other guy is doing, and say ‘I want to go in that direction too’? In England, we’re very aware of change. We embrace new sounds and new scenes every six months. In the last year, we’ve had Dub Step and Dirty Dutch—that’s two completely different scenes that are established now, and are big sounds. You have to move, you have to develop, otherwise you get left behind. You know, there’s some big old school American—New York—DJs that you mentioned earlier on, who have been left behind. It’s because they wouldn’t embrace change. If you want to stay on top of anything, you have to embrace change. Don’t be scared of it. You don’t have to necessarily follow it, but you should embrace it, you should be aware of it, and you should understand it. You know, if certain production lends itself that way, then don’t be scared to do it. Because, you as a producer, it’s different from you as a DJ, or me as a remixer. I’ve just finished remixing Chris Brown, Usher, and Take That. Now I’ve done them strong house, keeping the integrity of the song, but would they fit in my set? Probably, maybe in the early part of the set, but no, I mean I play a lot of trance. You wouldn’t want to do an Usher track that’s trance, it just wouldn’t work, so you keep the integrity because you’re being hired to do a remix, and you’re looking at the bigger picture rather, than just this small, “I’ll do it for me.” Brian Ferry once sang these lyrics something like “With every idol a letdown, it brings you down.” In other words, you and I, probably you more than me these days, meet lots of famous people. And sometimes, they’re not as dynamic, or as wonderful as the papers say, or as you expect. I don’t want to talk about the negatives – but who has been a surprisingly wonderful person? You meet them and you’re like, Oh my God, this is a God? Bono. He was that. He’s just a great guy. Nadeska Alexis: You do play a lot of trance, is it going to be like that, or is it more up tempo? It’s all up tempo. I have a residency in Las Vegas at the Palms Casino, so what’s really great about that is I get a chance to do a mix in the studio during the week, and play at the club on the weekend. That way I can see what’s working and what’s not. Then I’ll go back, change it up. So I’m really testing all my music before it comes out to see what works and what doesn’t. Nadeska: Do you think Vegas is a good representation of the general population? Because you are also on tour right now. So are the people in Vegas receiving it differently than in cities across the US or is it kind of the same? No, I think that Las Vegas is the capitol of Electronic music in America. There are more nightclubs in Vegas than in any other city. There are five major DJs next year who all have residencies. It’s a 24-hour party, have you been to Vegas lately? People get there and they go straight to the pool, and they hang out by the pool and they’ve got Kaskade DJing. Then they’ll go to a club, and they’ll have one of the big DJs playing, and then you’ll go to the after hours where there’s another big name DJ playing. It literally just goes and goes. It’s the only place that reminds me of is Ibiza—it’s America’s Ibiza. Not just domestically but internationally; a lot of people come for Vegas. And at the moment, it’s a real healthy scene. It’s certainly somewhere if you’re in to electronic music, and you live in America, you should go and see, because it’s the only place where every night, you’re hearing all the best DJs. The only other time in America that that happens is for one week during the Winter Music Conference, where by the pools there are DJs, and in the evening: all the DJs playing. Steve: That was the single most profound endorsement of Vegas culture that has ever happened, and I think you’re right. You just said something that I don’t think has ever been said. Vegas is no longer the tacky, silly place in the desert, the place where you hide your love away. It’s really become an important music town. Nobody has said what you just said. Its refreshing. I mean Vegas really wasn’t the place I thought it would happen. Look at New York, look at Miami, look at Los Angeles. The west coast has an incredibly healthy electronic scene. I don’t know if you are familiar with Electric Daisy? It is a two day festival: only electronic music, only DJs. It’s held at the Colosseum, which is a huge venue, and they have 75,000 people per day.

Nadeska: Is this like Electric Zoo which happened recently in New York? Yeah, but bigger. And it’s people from all over the world who travel to that event. Electronic music, in America, is very healthy and you’re going to see a lot of changes in the next five years.

DJ Roger Sanchez On the Road

DJ Roger Sanchez sells out. No, not in a bad way—he just wouldn’t do that. His sound and heart are pure, and with one purpose: to make people dance. Roger Sanchez sells out every room he plays. Starting as a 13-year-old kid from the neighborhood, to doing international tours, and landing 6-figure paychecks, Roger has remained true to his school. I hadnt seen him in years when we sat down to chat, but it was just as if we had been friends all along. He is natural, honest, direct. The world hasn’t changed him as much as he has changed the world. He lives to play and entertain, and take his thing as far as it can go. He has stayed relevant because he is humble enough to accept another way.

Roger Sanchez is a DJ who gets at least five figures when he DJs all around the planet—but it wasn’t always like this. What is the earliest memory of getting paid to DJ? Jesus, the first thing I actually did was a birthday party for kids. I got paid, like, 25 bucks. I was around 13 years old, and that’s when I got really into the whole DJing thing. Back then I had to borrow my mother’s turntables, and save up my allowance for this old mixer from Gemini. The first club was actually a hall in Astoria. It was our own parties, and the pay was what we made at the door. That night I went home with a whopping $250—which was a lot back then. We got about a 1,000 people in there, which was great.

When did you realize you were going to be an international DJ and not just a New York player? I’m sure in the beginning you did the whole New York City thing: Queens, Brooklyn, etc. I went to high school for art and design, and studied architecture, but I was also growing up in the hip-hop days of Afrika Bambaataa, Zulu Nation, all of those Brown Sugar parties. I remember going to block parties, and it was whatever was going on the neighborhood. When I actually realized I was going to be an international DJ, it was around 1990, when I had done this track that came out with one of my first records ever released called “Love Dancing.” That record took off in New York, and then took off in the UK, and I was flown to my very first tour overseas with Todd Terry, who at that point was at the apex of the whole thing. I did my very first national tour was with him, DJ Moneypenny, I can’t remember what else. It was around the UK and that’s when I realized, wow, this thing is really going international.

Physically, how do you maintain the ability to do these long gigs? I understand New York is really the longest gig, and overseas you usually do two hours? Most of the gigs I do tend to be two or three hours, but I do some long gigs. Overseas I do my own events and I play a minimum of six to eight hours. And then occasionally I’ll do the long ones—up to 14 hours. But New York is up there with Miami and Montreal, they tend to be the places where I play long sets. To be honest with you, I’ve flown so much, I’ve gone through so many time zone changes, I have no internal body clock. I just kind of set my brain to whatever zone I’m in and just try to fall into that zone wherever I land. I don’t use drugs, I don’t drink very much, and I don’t smoke. It’s going to be the only way I can keep myself physically able to take the amount of flying and traveling and lack of sleep and trying to go to the gym as much as I can. I do whatever I can to try and be in the physical condition I can be to actually do these events.

What is the Roger Sanchez brand? Is there a different between the person and the brand? Roger Sanchez equals dance music, house music, big vocals. I have an underground following, I have a crossover following, people know me for my long sets around the world, glamorous DJ lifestyle—which is also a part of my life. The other part of my life is very personal; I have family, I’ve got a wife and two kids. Whenever I’m home I focus more on them, and I try to balance that life and keep some of it to myself. That’s the only way you can maintain balance. I’m someone who likes to chill. I try to hit the gym as much as I can to be healthy, I love movies (especially sci-fi), I love fashion—that’s a really big thing for me. My wife is a former model and an actress, so I’m trying to get into the world of film scores. I have things that I love doing when I’m actually not DJing.

I wear a lot of hats: Designer, DJ, writer, and I try to do all these creative things. I always tell my girl that you’re never getting all of me. There’s always ten or twenty percent of my brain just working on a project. With me, it’s a design project, or an interview that’s coming up that’s big to me. I’m sure you find this to be true, that it’s impossible to focus completely in a social or family situation, to give your full attention. Part of you is working on the new record, which I want to talk about also. Aren’t you always working somewhere inside you? My brain is always working and the interesting thing is what I’ve had to learn, especially after I got married, I had to learn how to chill. It’s been the hardest thing for me, I’m a workaholic. My brain is constantly hearing patterns in everything, I feel like I’m in A Beautiful Mind, but instead of seeing numbers, I hear beats. I’m always hearing something or tapping a rhythm, and my wife is looking at me like, seriously? But there’s creativity in every aspect of life. Everything has rhythm, everything has a design element. I’m doing work with a merchandise company, and I’ve been working on a clothing company for a couple of years. I’m helping my wife develop this interesting concept which is something really cool and all that is going on in my head constantly. And then I’m on tour 24/7.

The record is coming out on the 16th. What are your fans going to hear that may surprise or interest them? Here’s the interesting thing: The track is called “Together,” and the original version I was playing last summer to the sound of the B-52s “Love Shack,” acapella. I created this track with a powerful drive, and it absolutely ripped it on the floor. I used it just as a teaser and from then to now I’ve done a small prerelease of the club and dub versions with a band called Far East Movement, who just had a hit with “Like a G6.” But before that, they were presented to me as just a band, and it just so happened that their album went number one recently. The revival they did is really cool. They actually got into this whole driving, tribal, pounding element, but it’s also a big “hands in the air” number. It is something that people would recognize from my production, but it’s moved on to another level, another generation. I think the thing I’m proudest of is going past my comfort zone, and working with people in different genres, and being able to fuse it and make it work. My whole thing is that it doesn’t work unless I really see it work on the floor. That’s how I know it’s good.

Years ago, we used to do a thing called the Record Pool, and when Roger Snachez put out a record there would be a limited amount of records released to the top DJs in town, in Chicago, LA, and Miami. These guys would get it, and no one else did. They’d be playing the new shit, and that actually set them apart from the other DJs. Nowadays, with the internet and all that, how does this Roger Sanchez record get out to the important players? How does your record go out there, and do they tweak it and change it? Because the internet is so global—and as soon as you put something out, it’s out there—it doesn’t have the same germination period it used to. I actually have relationships with all these guys and the good thing is, we pass tracks back and forth, even when they’re in the unfinished stage sometimes. When I get the original version, I give it to David Guetta, I give it to Dave Morales, I give it to a couple of the other guys, and let them have it before I even put it on in front of anybody. Once it’s out there, and it goes to the blogs, and everything happens—that’s when it becomes something world wide. So it really is very much a face-to-face thing, that’s what sets us apart. The guys that have direct contact with me get stuff directly from me, and vice versa.

Do you really listen to everybody? How do you listen? A lot of times I’ll go visit them, or see them live, or I’ll go check them out if I’m not playing. Sometimes someone will have a radio show, and I’ll check it out online. And then occasionally we do play together, and I’ll get a chance to go check it out.

As a designer, every so often I see a space, and it just stops me cold. I just want to quit. I look and it and say, “Holy mackerel, that’s the most beautiful thing in the world.” But then I learn from it. This happens whenever I see someone pushing the limits. Has there ever been a time when you were listening to a DJ and said, “Holy mackerel, this guy is just taking it to a level I never reached before,” and it drove you to be better? Constantly. I think the reason I was able to start when I started and still be relevant today, is because I’ve never allowed myself to be comfortable in one place. I always look at new talents that are coming up, and new production techniques. For instance, right now you have the Dutch guys like DJ Chuck and AfroJack, who are doing amazing stuff. I’m collaborating with them and checking out their records, and playing them in my set. I’ll go DJ with these cats, I will listen to them and see what they’re doing and go, “Huh?” I was playing with DJ Chuckie in LA for Electric Daisy Carnival this summer, and I had just finished working on the new CD, and I almost flipped out when I saw how he was working, and then it just clicked for me. All of a sudden it upgraded my game to playing four tracks at the same time. I’m learning constantly.

You don’t carry around crates do you? People tell me that it just sounds better. I’ll be honest with you, analog has a certain warmth to it, and that’s what I’m playing on. I know it’s all up to the actual sound system, but it gets no clearer than the original source that you record it onto. So there was a certain warmth to it, but there were also drawbacks too. I think we’ve come to a place where now, it’s not the cleanest and best it could possibly sound, but it’s like anything in technology: You might have a taste for one sound and it’s very personal.

I did a one city tour, and I came back exhausted. When you’re going on tour, tell me about how you prepare. First of all, do you know each night the first track you’re putting on? No, I don’t know what I’m going to play. Some DJs do, but I generally tend to look at the audience and let that tell me what to do. I’ve always been a DJ that does not have a preset list. I was doing a live show a few years ago and I allowed myself to just walk in and feel the atmosphere and let it click. I have general ideas of what I’m going to start with. Right now I’m about to do a tour called “The Return of House” in the US. One of the biggest shows we’re going to do is here in New York on Thanksgiving eve. That’s going to be crazy. We’ve already sold out, and it’s amazing because we have all generations coming through. Then from there we are going to Chicago and Canada, and it’s myself, Sidney Samson, and then DJ Chuckie is jumping on the tour—which is going to be amazing for me because with their demographic, they get a much younger audience, mixed in with the VIPs.

Of the new house DJs, who do you think could be big a year from now? I think you’re looking at people like AfroJack, Chuckie, and Sidney Samson. Those people are really solid. Some of the guys that are coming up on my label, people like Lester Funk, Chris Moody, and Avicii—they had an amazing year. There’s a lot of talent. People like Prok Fitch from the UK—he’s going to be coming up this year. He and I have been talking about a lot of stuff.

When I used to book DJs, I used to feel that when a DJ started producing they started getting into a sound that would be their sound, often at the expense of other sounds, and then that DJ became almost monotonous. They were only playing the stuff that agreed with them, or was a part of his cult or religion of house. How do you embrace the other sounds and mix it into your set? It’s funny, I met you when I first started DJing in New York, and I used to play the little basement part of The Tunnel. I came to you with a cassette at Life. I remember when you said, “Listen, I want you to come in and I want to talk to you.” That was two years after I gave you a mix tape, when certain things were happening for me. My sound from then has always been what I played, and what I listened to, because I’m a DJ before a producer.