Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I recently had the opportunity to interview Eamon Harkin and Justin Carter of New Release, Mr. Saturday Night, Sunday Best, and a thousand other cool things for a recent piece I did for Joonbug. I sincerely thought it was a shame to edit down an interview with two of the most literate people in the New York dance music arena, so I'm presenting the full discussion here on ZinBin. Enjoy!

On Mr. Saturday Night's migration to Brooklyn:

How has the transition from club to loft space affected your perspective on Mr. Saturday night? Has is affected changed the aesthetic you're trying to achieve?

Justin: Well, I for one have always preferred loft parties to traditional club events, so in a way I feel like Mister Saturday Night is just coming into its own now. Of course we have a soft spot for Santos, where we started the party, but the loft feels more like home. Hosting a party in a loft in Brooklyn, though it is becoming more and more common, still challenges the typical expectations that people have about going out. Even when you're walking up to the party, before you get inside, there's a very different impression given off than when you're walking up to a club with security barricades and two or three security guards standing outside.

Eamon: Brooklyn is a natural home for what we do, whether its Mister Saturday Night or Sunday Best, and the loft space we're using feels like the right fit for what we're about right now. We have more autonomy now which is also very important as being in control of all aspects of the production of the event is important to us. We hire all the staff, own the sound system, curate the line up and of course are the resident DJs.

Weekly dance parties seem to be moving to Brooklyn en masse. Do you guys think this is a function of real estate/available venue space? Bringing the party to the people that want to party? The general phenomenon of "Brooklyn appeal" these marketing suits keep talking about?

J: It's definitely a function of real estate and venue space. That's not just because there can be fewer venues because of high rents, either. That's also because the clubs that do exist have such high rents that it seems like they often have to do things outside of their ideals to meet their break even point. I feel like over the past few years, we've seen some solid places with great ideals open up with guns blazing: great bookings, great sound, an interesting overall aesthetic, and so forth. In the end, though, they can't sustain their ideals, and they have to start doing things that they aren't necessarily psyched about to make sure they can make ends meet.

E: The commercial realities of Manhattan have led it to be a less interesting place for music and art when compared to Brooklyn. The fact that the better parties are happening in Brooklyn now is of no surprise to me.

On the topic of New Year's:

Obviously, you guys know how to keep a weekly party fresh week after week. Have you been saving anything special for
New Year's Eve at Market Hotel?

Justin: Well, beyond the fact that we're running an open bar all night, we're keeping things as we normally keep them at Mister Saturday Night. We'll probably do a countdown or something, but really, I feel like New Year's Eve gets too much pomp and circumstance sometimes, and the best parties I've ever been a part of on New Year's were good because they were good -- not because of something specifically New Year's related. That's not to say we won't make it special -- we're hosting Omar S, playing really good music ourselves, using our full Turbosound sound system and stocking the bar with drinks that are made with quality -- it's just to say that we try to make every one of our parties special.

E: We're actually trying to make NYE really simple for our audience this year. A very affordable ticket gets you a great party, with one of the world's best DJs and a full open bar. You really cant do much better than that!

Is there a New Year's Eve that stands out in your memory or lack thereof?

J: The first New Year's Eve party I ever threw was probably my favorite. It was at Asterisk, a now gone Brooklyn spot where I threw my first loft parties. I think it was 2004 going into 2005, and we had a few bands on the bill. I think Kudu, The Epochs and a few others. Roy Dank and Brennan Green played in the back room, I played in the front room, and there was free beer for everyone who came, and it was just generally a big, crazy party.

E: A couple of years ago I played a 5 hour set in the basement of 205. It was packed and strangely for NYE felt very spontaneous. It was the only time I played there and I had a blast.

On the topic of the future:

2009, a good year for New Release and its various incarnations. Any grands visions for 2010? The new decade in general?

J: 2009 was really our first year! I mean, I started writing the New Release Weekly Selections (the one about events going on every week in New York) about five years ago, and Eamon and I have both been doing events and DJing for a while now; but this was the first year that Eamon and I worked together constantly as a team, and it was the year that we gave a lot of our past endeavors real focus and direction. As an individual it's really nice to step back and see that the partnership has taken me forward. There are a lot of ideas floating around up there, but without the right partner, those ideas often don't take shape, and with Eamon, things really have gelled.

As for the future, there are lots of grand ideas that we have cooking, but for right now, Mister Saturday Night, Sunday Best and our Weekly Selections will keep us plenty busy.

E: We're delighted with the success of Mister Saturday Night and Sunday Best in 2009 and New Release is really finding it's voice as a credible music editorial site now. We plan to build those brands in 2010 and to continue to challenge ourselves and do new things. Justin and I have really hit our stride as a DJ pairing which I'm really happy about and we definitely want to build on that and to find some time to do gigs in Europe and throughout the US. I also have some productions coming out with my production partner Steve Raney which I'll be happy to see get released.

No comments:

Post a Comment