Industry Insiders: Talking to DJ Diego Harispe

For our Oct./Nov. issue’s Industry Insider section, we interviewed professional house music DJ Diego Harispe. In the business for over 10 years, Harispe approaches his craft old-school, mixing CDs and vinyls, and weaving the sound into a story. Currently based in Miami where he’s found DJing at such spots as Nikki Beach and Mynt, Harispe has DJd across South America (Crobar in Buenos Aires) and Europe, where he honors the local cultures’ music. Here, Diego shares what he thinks a DJ should never do, the one song everyone loves, and what he reminds himself in the midst of success.

You’ve DJd all around the globe. What place do you look forward to spinning in the most?
That’s a hard question. I think every city and every country has something special. My favorite place is always the next one to visit, so this week it’s Ibiza. In Ibiza, every dancefloor is filled with different nationalities and cultures, but what is amazing about this magic island is that everybody speaks the same language: MUSIC. 

What’s a DJing-don’t? Something a DJ should NEVER do?
A DJ should never become a DJ for other reasons than the love for music itself. Unhappily, we have lots of supposed “DJs” in the industry  that are there just for exposure, a certain lifestyle, or other vein reasons than the music.

What is one song that people always love?
Gotye’s “Somebody That I Use To Know.” There are so many good remixes of it.

You’ve been a pro for years. What have you learned about success?
It’s not something that you finally reach. Success is being able to do what you love. It’s a forever path, and the key is to have faith in you. No matter how hard things get, with faith and consistency you will always achieve what you want.  

Industry Insiders: Justin Sievers, Service Manager of The Dutch

First he dined there, now he works there. Once a regular patron at restaurant hotspot The Dutch, Sievers now manages the front of house staff, scheduling, and The Dutch’s famed and boisterous dining scene. “If the staff is having a good time, so will the guests,” Sievers says. They sure are. Lauded for chef Andrew Carmellini’s American cuisine with a Southern tinge, The Dutch is one of New York’s most talked-about restaurants.

Siever’s menu favorites include the little oyster sandwiches, rabbit pot pie, and any of the dessert pies. As someone who’s worked in restaurants – from high-end French to casual Mexican – since the age of 16, he knows good food and good service. Here, Sievers shares how he became a part of the New York culinary scene, what his managing style is like, and the number one quality you need to succeed.

How did you first become involved with The Dutch?
I began working for Andrew Carmellini and his partners Josh Pickard and Luke Ostrom in May of 2009 when Locanda Verde opened.  My focus there was beverage under Josh Nadel, the beverage director, and now at The Dutch I’m a service manager.

How did you get your start in the culinary world?
I’ve been working in restaurants in Atlanta, GA since I turned 16. I studied hospitality management at Georgia State University and worked in Atlanta and Vail, CO bartending and serving.  When I came to New York City, I landed the job at Locanda Verde.

As the manager of The Dutch’s front of house, what’s your style like?
I try to present myself as an even-keeled, approachable figure that staff can rely on. Getting to know each person working with you is an important part of making them feel comfortable and part of the team. In the end, it’s all about making sure that the guests are having an amazing time, so creating an environment in which your staff is having an amazing time is key.

When you’re not managing the house, what do you do to relax?
I’m really into snowboarding and rock climbing when the weather allows.  I try to play music as often as possible.  I come from a family of musicians so I grew up playing drums with my dad and still like to jam with friends when possible.  I don’t have anything that is super organized right now though. Other than that, I’m still very much a beverage guy, so learning about and drinking wines and spirits is always a fun way to be productive. 

Since you’ve been at The Dutch, what’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned?
Flexibility is key. Not only being flexible in the position you can fill but also within that position.  Once you can become dynamic enough to successfully complete all the different aspects of the job, you are infinitely more valuable. One of the most important aspects is managing people, which takes an immense amount of flexibility.