On the back of the feature mix they recently did for us, we sat down with Joel (Free Magic) and Jason (Faso) from Brooklyn's Discovery Party for a quick interview.
PL: In 'rock,' there's this desire to discover the music's roots, which leads to blues anthologies, rockabilly and swing revivals, bluegrass fetishists, and weird historical excursions like that. I have a theory that for aging raver/club goers, disco and dub are sort of roots musics of the dance music family tree. Do you play disco as an educational or 'roots' music? Is the history/influence of disco more important or prevalent than contemporary disco? Do you feel that you're educating your crowds at all? Or that you should?
Joel: Great question! I agree with you on Disco being a huge root of the dance music tree, sure dancing has been a part of many cultures for a long time, but if you think about how things were changing in the states and look at what was happening in New York in the mid 70s, there was this amazing community built around people coming together with no pretense about race, gay/straight and the like all built around the music - coming together and dancing. I feel house music created the same thing, think about the music box or the warehouse this same vibe… everyone coming together and dancing. I think both of us like a pretty wide range of music, if something educational fits in then sure but I rarely have thought about it like that. I like using old boogie or disco to catch people off guard in a house set and we typically play a lot of old soul / disco stuff early on to warm up the night. I'm all for the DJ introducing new things to the crowd and luckily in underground parties people really thrive on it.
Jason: Years and years ago, I had a shitty weekly residency at a bar where people came to dance without any real preference in music, so it required a lot of hip-hop and pop to get them moving some nights. I got a huge kick out of playing the original tracks sampled by Dr. Dre or whatever. There is a little bit of that these days with so much sampling and so many edits being released. You have a chance to show someone where the material for a song they like comes from, which is great. It more about educating ourselves than the crowd, though. There is so much amazing music to find from all times and it's great when older tracks fit into a modern set.
PL: What's your scene like at Discovery events (I am sad to say I don't know)? Young, hipster, classic, what?
Joel: You should come and see for yourself! Hard to generalize but there seems to be a really healthy mix of people, the older music heads, young people who just want to dance. When the older house heads and familiar faces from Danny Krivit's party or The Loft show up, we're pretty honored.
Jason: Yeah, whenever the old heads show up, it makes my night. They've been around enough to have very studied, particular ears and if the tunes at Discovery sounds good to them, we consider it a huge compliment. You absolutely have to have the young and wild present too, though. It takes all types to have a good party.
PL: What artists are making waves for you guys right now?
Joel: Really feeling new stuff from Roman Flugel, Steve Summers, Norm Talley, Christopher Rau, Andres, and Atjazz.
Jason: There are a few guys out in LA that we really want to get over here. Cole Medina is absolutely killing it. Suzanne Kraft as well. Kim Brown and Fort Romeau are two newer producers that are really exciting to watch. I've been eating up everything Gerd has been doing for a while, but lately, I really can't get enough.
PL: You state that you're 'playing with the threads connecting House, Disco, and Techno...' Where is that line? What distinguishes house from techno, and how does disco fit into that distinction?
Jason: Those names are arguably necessary for talking/writing about music, but they only represent a very hazy set of themes. There are aesthetics that run straight across all genres. When you know yourself and have enough material to pull from, your own sense of 'good' or 'beautiful' spans all those genres. Even if the production styles or release year are vastly different, you'll find these songs just working together. Disco is actually the hardest to integrate even though it is a source of material or inspiration for a lot of modern producers, but there are still those tracks 10 years apart that just fit because their essence is the same.
Joel: Like Jason said, classifying everything down to the last detail makes it easier to describe to someone and useful for reviews and telling a friend "this guy makes xxx and you'd like it if you like xxx" but when it comes to a party, it's all about energy regardless of where you'd file that record. Jason has been collecting records for a long time and it's always fun to surprise each other so we fit in a lot of different music, there's definitely still a way to get it all in there smoothly and cohesively... sometimes we don't haha! I feel like our mix for you guys took a bunch of pretty different records old and new, and tried to make them work together. There's a couple of other DJs that move around really well Move D, Krivit, Floating Points, ... really look up to them and enjoy their sets tremendously.
PL: What's next for Discovery? Do you book headliners or is your esthetic more local?
Joel: We have a guests with us each month and usually just based of who's music we're feeling. There's a balance we'd like to be at with guests we really want to hear and guests who people know and have some draw in NYC so we try and ride that line and it's worked out so far. Past year been lucky to have some great DJs from smaller labels like Future Times in DC or FutureBoogie from Bristol to house legends like MK, Jus Ed, and Terrence Parker.
Jason: We want to work even more often with promoters in other cities to provide a network for artists we respect when they want to get booked around the States. Growing up in the US, if you get into 'it' and you're not near the right big city, you end up feeling like you're 'missing it', you know? Then at some point, you realize you've just got to make your own 'it'.