1.Was there a moment or a time when you thought to yourself “DJ, that’s gonna be my thing!” or was it something more gradual? I don’t know if it was so much a moment of realization. It was more, as long as I’ve followed secular music, you know, growing up without secular music, growing up on Christian music, classical music & a little bit of country and oldies. In high school I discovered electronic music…it was around the time electro-clash was popular in New York, in the Brooklyn/Williamsburg scene & I was in Kansas. And I was just like, “Fischerspooner’s like the coolest thing,” and was into weird stuff like Ms. Kitten & the Hacker. You know, little bits of that. I discovered Paul Oakenfold’s Great Wall album in high school. That was the first dance album that I discovered that I really fell in love with. So yea, that was how I started into electronic music.
2. If you couldn’t spin house/deep house, do you have any idea what you’d do? Do you have something you like besides your bread and butter? I don’t consider myself a deep house DJ, I consider myself a PonyStep DJ. It’s not all deep house, I play a lot of deep house but I mix it up. I throw in tech house, progressive house, some indie electronic stuff that kind of fits into house sets…if I couldn’t play deep house at all, I would throw in whatever I found that I liked that wasn’t deep house. If I was shut out of house entirely, I would just move into techno, progressive tech & some progressive trance stuff. I play progressive trance slowed down to a progressive house BPM sometimes and it mixes really well.
3. Do you find (since you spin LBGT-friendly & “straight” parties) there to be any salient differences between straight parties & gay parties? I started DJ’ing gay parties, moved into more mainstream stuff, started playing more straight parties, and kind of moved into where I am which is a very mixed crowd. The difference is a taste level. People who appreciate quality music no matter their sexual preference or gender or any defining characteristic of who they are, if they have a taste for the type of music that I do, then they’re going to appreciate it. It used to be that the gay community was about House music and more underground stuff, but now, they want pop music. That’s why I left doing gay parties for the most part, cause it is all about pop music. The Lady Gaga, the latest YouTube sensation, if a Real Housewife puts out a track they’re all over it. And it makes my skin crawl, so you know.
4. How do you believe the LBGTQ community has affected electronica, either in New York or in general? If you have any thoughts on that. It used to be that gays were very progressive in music. They liked disco when disco was popular, that was the beginning of the dance music we have now. In the 80’s & 90’s, the DJs that built the New York house music scene, a lot of them were gay and/or played for gay crowds & they appreciated that. There have always been gay people who contribute to society & culture and of course they contribute to the music culture as well. I don’t think it’s as much of a gay thing or a straight thing.
5. Do you have a preferred party size/setting? Like, one or two people, 10-15, scaling up to ridiculous ragers…do you have a size that you prefer? I prefer enough of a crowd that, ideally, that I can gauge the energy accurately and that they can give me a good amount of energy back. I think like a really nice, full dance floor, there’s nothing more gratifying than feeling that, of them shining the energy back on you, what you’re giving them, and vice-versa. It can be as big as it wants to be as long as it’s an appreciative crowd. I don’t mind also playing for smaller crowds, I like playing house parties. For people who appreciate what’s being played, and in a smaller/more chill setting, you get a more of an intimate conversation with the crowd as well.
6. If you could play one place, Coachella, Ultra, Ibiza, Shibuya, top choice, where? That’s really tough, I don’t know. The venue doesn’t really matter to me, it’s more about the quality of the sound system & the quality of the crowd. I could be playing, you know, Madison Square Garden, but if the crowd is shit, it’s just gonna suck as much as playing a 150 person small venue…where the crowd is shit. As long as the sound system is good, the sound is quality & the people are quality…I don’t really have a goal, for where I want to play by what date. That’s not something I focus on.
7. Are there any specific elements in House music now that you dislike? Lots of people ask about your influences, who you look up to. I like to ask if there are any current trends/elements in the genre that you work in that make you want to pull your hair out? Electro-House. I bet you never saw that one coming! Electro-House bothers me. The instrumentation, generally speaking, can sound very cheap to me, because of the way it’s become so poppy. Pop music these days is dance music, dance music is pop music. And they’ve gone the route of the electrohouse/dubstep lowest common demoninator. It needs to be interesting. I dislike droning deep house, droning tech house just as much as I dislike cheap sounding bro-trouse. It’s just as obnoxious, so I would say that.
8. Both as a New Yorker and as a DJ, how would you feel that Chelsea (your neighborhood) has changed, for you as a performing artist and as as resident, since you moved in? This was the first neighborhood I lived in when I moved to the city. Back then we had The Roxy & we had Crobar a few blocks up. There were these really cool clubs over here. Of course, there as an epic douche factor that you could throw in there, that was trashy New York lame-stream nightlife. But, if you went on the right nights, you’d get really really good stuff. The Roxy’s closed, Crobar’s closed, clubs like that are closed around here. The meatpacking crowd started taking over a little bit more. More of the interesting underground stuff moved away from when the Sex & the City girls are coming to hang out. I love the neighborhood, it’s a beautiful place. It’s always felt like home when I come back to it. As far as how I relate to it as a DJ or as an artist or even a New Yorker, I don’t feel that the neighborhood itself really has that much of impact on me because I don’t really go out here much.
9. How are you using social media these days, and do you have any plans to do anything new/different in the future? My personal page on Facebook is opened up to the general public. Everything that I post on there is open, so, even with the 5,000 limit, you can subscribe and get my content. I have a page on Facebook that you can like if you want that I post event info on. I have a Twitter page, I use Soundcloud as social media as well, sharing between all these sites. I love Instagram, it’s the new addiction. Social media is so much a part of culture now, we all live on these sharing pages, that I don’t think I’m going to be away from it as long as I have something to promote and something to share with people. I was famous on MySpace when being famous on MySpace was a thing. We would do what we do now with Facebook. We’d have all the party photos from the night before, everyone would be all on each other’s outfits. It was a weird little moment in New York, downtown, it-kid fabulosity. It was a little bit of a moment, and then it disappeared. Because Facebook took over. So, unless something like “the new Facebook” comes on, I’m not really into all of the smaller sites just because I have a hard enough keeping up with what I’m already using.
10. Last question, what can we expect from your set at Tech Noir? Oh jeez. You can get a preview of the mix I posted on Soundcloud.
I curate the line-ups for DIgital Native, as I’m their sound director. This time I think I focused more on bringing together, since it is our first solo party as a group, I really wanted to make sure that we had, not only an interesting lineup, but a really interestingly placed progression to the night. In the way that the music evolves between both rooms. The way the DJs sound playing off each other. For my set, I’m planning on doing my usual PonyStep, but throw in some darker bits here and there, play on the Noir a little but. But keeping a good healthy dose of the tech. So the crowd enjoys what they normally enjoy about the sets that I do.