New York's Danny Krivit: You Need to Be Aggressive To Be A Superstar DJ
Thursday, 4 October 2001
Growing up in Greenwich Village during the 60s counter culture era, by the age of 10 he was serving drinks to the likes of John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix (in the bar owned by his Dad who also happened to manage Chet Baker.) A childhood friend of Chic's Nile Rodgers, he started to take DJing seriously in 1971, when a friend gave him two white label records of James Brown's Get On The Good Foot' and Lynn Collin's Think. By 1974, he was hanging and DJing alongside fellow pioneers Nicky Siano and Walter Gibons as well as David Mancuso, the man who ran his favourite club The Loft.
As the 70s progressed he became a regular at the club run by his mate Larry Levan, the now infamous Paradise Garage and at the end of the decade took a residency at the Roxy; one of the key locations for hip hop's genesis. Then known as Danny Rock, he'd DJ alongside Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambatta and ended up staying there for 4 years. Simultaneously DJing at the city's other top clubs of the time eventually inheriting his Father's bar the 9th Circle in 1990. Then in 1996, he set up Body & Soul where he's DJed almost every Sunday since then. Throughout the years he's produced and compiled over 45 albums as well as remixing and producing many of the seminal dance tunes behind dance music's history. Shortly about to release a retrospective (and excellent) compilation for Strut Records, Danny Krivit: Grass Roots, he remains at the top of his game, 30 years after deciding to take DJing more seriously.
Despite being deliberately 'low key and not aggressive', Danny Krivit remains one of the most influential DJs in the history of dance. Skrufff's Jonty Adderley chatted to him over the phone from his beloved Manhattan this week, and discovered a personality trait often missing from today's superstar jocks - humility.
Skrufff: What's the vibe in Manhattan three weeks after the bombing-
Danny Krivit: "There's a lot of general pressure looking to escape; the pressure of anxiety and oppressiveness from the incident. Right now it feels like lots of people are trying to do usual things but it's difficult to accomplish - there are lots of reminders everywhere. I live on East 14th street and saw it all happen from my window."
Skrufff: You did Body & Soul for the first time since the attack last Sunday (30th); how was the vibe-
Danny Krivit: "Vinyl (Body & Soul's home) is still below a border where you're not allowed to take your vehicles, below Canal Street (Canal Street lies 10 blocks North of the Towers) so the people that did come had to walk part of the way. I could tell that the people who were there, were real hardcore enthusiasts. We were probably a little less crowded than usual, which a lot of people were happy about, since there was room to dance but there was a very intense energy throughout. It was a really positive day with a really strong message. Nobody was leaning against the walls- it was a hardcore party."
Skrufff: The songs on your new compilation Grass Roots, are taken from the last five decades, what was the vision behind the album-
Danny Krivit: "When Strut asked me to do it, Ashley Beedle had already done a Grass Roots one and they asked me to do something in a similar vein. So I chose songs that are important to me and usually those happen to be older ones. I didn't have a plan, it was more a matter of editing down all the important tracks to those that ended up on the record. I tried to show the diversity that I have. The Marianne Faithful song (Why D'Ya do It-) for example, is one particular memory from the Paradise Ga Tags