With this new landscape in New York though, what are some of your personal favourite rooms to play?
Believe it or not I still think Pacha NYC is a great room. RIP to Rob Fernandez. He was an amazing curator for that space who understood all cultures. He understood the underground scene; he understood what kept the doors open and payed the rent. Rob was the first person who let me into Sound Factory. I know where he came from. I knew where his heart was at, so that room will always be special.
Places like Space, to me, is a brand. Technically, the room is cool but not a proven space.
Cielo is an institution. The room has an amazing vibe. It’s one of those places where you can hear anyone from Carl Craig to Lil Louis Vega. Plus, everyone sounds good in there. You feel at home there.
Yeah. It’s nice that Cielo is in the middle of the meatpacking district in a way. It’s kind of like an Oasis to all the glam stuff going on in that area…
It’s a testament to the owner and space.
There are some new venues as well, like Verboten, which is amazing. Obviously, it’s in Brooklyn but it’s still the city. The thing about New York is that even in it’s downslope, where people think its scene is over, there is always something happening. New York is never dry.
Switching gears a bit, let’s talk about your latest remix for Sailor & I’s ‘Leave the Light On’. I enjoyed the track as I generally enjoy the artist. How did you approach remixing this track? Also, what is your process in selecting projects to remix?
Well, I have a question for you…how did the remix sound to you? How did it make you feel? I’m curious…
Well, the musicality stood out. To me it is a stand alone track. Not just a dancefloor track.
To me, I look at it like, if I can do the track justice, or just do something to it, then I’ll take it. A lot of times I’ll hear an original song, even if its not a dance record, and I wonder what I can do with it. I take the approach of working around the emotion of the song. Literally, I exaggerate the emotion I heard in the record and amplify it.
This track took me on a journey and, almost, made itself. Usually, I will take the melody of the song, or the hook, and think about baselines. It usually starts with a kick and a groove, then I’ll play around with the synths, or chop up words to make a melody, but this song was so good, it led me.
Since you have your hand in so many aspects of the industry, what are your strategies to balance all your responsibilities. Do you ever limit yourself? For example, say that each year you will only do a certain amount of remixes…
I would like to consider myself organised but everyone around me says the opposite. I was having this conversation with Jesse Rose the other day and he bought me a notepad. He told me I needed to get more organised since I do so much, but in my brain it all makes sense.
Remix-wise I have always done projects I’ve wanted to work on. When you look at my discography, there are very few things that are questionable. A lot of people remix just to remix. It’s what they do. That’s not my forte. I need to gravitate to something. I’ve said no to a lot of high profile, well playing projects because I’m either not feeling it or I don’t think I can bring anything to it, whether it’s good or bad. That last remix I did that I really loved and cared about was CHVRCHES. I did it, submitted it to the band, they loved it, and released it.
Finally, completely switching gears, what are some of your impressions on the city of Amsterdam? Do you have any special memories from here?
I love Amsterdam! I think it’s a city that has always been progressive. When I use that term, I don’t just mean musically, I mean forward thinking. It has always been one step ahead.
When I first went to Amsterdam, Tyree Cooper was living there and he did ‘Acid Over’. He brought me around the city with DJ Sneak and I was lost for four days. It was like being 14 again at a rave.
Then there were other times, like when I played for Joost van Bellen, who I have so much respect and admiration for. Joost is a forward, out of the box thinker, who did nights called Raw. I played there with Felix Da Housecat many times. It was fun because I could express myself. I would play amazing house records by Lil Louis then go into an industrial record. People accepted it. When people think about Garage music and Larry Levan, they automatically think it was all soulful. No! Larry Levan played talking Heads, punk records, and a lot of styles. I don’t know this because I went to Paradise Garage. I know it because I studied him. People should understand that House music is not just House music. There is so much more to it. That’s what I want this generation to understand. I think the internet is a blessing but it’s also made the music much more narrow-minded. Everything is so boxed in today.