And the Beat Goes On An Interview With Danny Krivit
Danny Krivit ‘And the Beat goes on..
In the early 1970’s Richard Nixon was president; the world shook with violence from the Vietnam War and Middle Eastern strains. It saw the beginning of electronic video games, Cool DJ Herc introduced sound systems to Cedar Parks in the Bronx and later on the world.
This is the era where we start our story, although this is not a story in the conventional sense, it is an interview about the life of a man, who has made a massive contribution to the music scene. Who has been instrumental along with his peers in keeping a much loved music scene alive and kicking for just over 40 years.
Join us as we board our time machine and enjoy a whistle stop tour through the ever changing faces of music. First stop we go back, way back, back in the day.
It is said that it takes a whole tribe to raise a child. Who where the inspirational members of your tribe and how did they influence you?
Greenwich Village in the 60’s was a hugely rich source of influences,
where I would run into people like; Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, John Lennon, and play hand ball with my friend Nile Rogers. I got my first white label promo records from my neighbor-the vice president of Polydor, who later introduced me to James Brown. Going to the Filmore East… weekly! Where I saw Santana’s first performance, & countless others. I watched Soul Train religiously. Listened to AM radio station WWRL “The Gary Bird Experience” & later FM station WBLS & Frankie Crocker.
Can you recall some of your most cherished pieces of vinyl in those early year’s, do you still have them in your collection?
The White label promo’s of Lyn Collins “Think” & James Brown “Get On The Good Foot”… which James Brown gave me himself.
One of my 1st 12” singles I got in the mail, was “Family Tree” by Family Tree, not enough space to mention all the other titles in between.
Is it true that you got to meet the late Great James Brown when you were younger? How did this meeting come about and what was your lasting impression after meeting him?
•He was already my idol, when the Sex Machine album came out; I saw that show @ Madison Sq. Garden, Bootsy Collins was playing Bass. Meeting him only galvanized feelings towards him.
At what point did your passion for collecting music start to take over, and direct you into DJing world? What else was happening in this period of your life?
As a kid I was already a chronic collector, comic books & a slew of other things, collecting records started early & came naturally. When I started Djing @ my father’s club “The Ninth Circle” I was only 14, too young to get into most other clubs. I remember going to places like the Original Lime Lite on 7th Ave, where David Rodríguez played. Me & my friends could not get in, so we would have our own party on the sidewalk, where we could still hear the music clearly, even the mixes. Because I couldn’t get into many clubs I would live for concerts, places like the Beacon on Broadway & 74th St, where a typical show would be; Bohannon, Betty Wright, The Stylistics, & Mandril… all in one show!
As we move forward and settle on those early club years at the ‘9th Circle’, ‘One’s’, and the now legendary joint ‘The Loft’. We look back on what was emerging, as the touch paper was lit and would become the start of something explosive.
Your father owned a club named the ‘9th Circle’, which some might say had a peculiar name. The 9th Circle referred to Dante’s Alighieri depiction of his journey through hell. From dark origins, to the name of a well known Jazz club. Is there a story behind how the club became to be called 9th Circle?
According to Dante’s Inferno, hell was divided up into 9 circles, & the Ninth Circle was reserved for the worst sinners. The cynical anti establishment bohemian atmosphere of the early 60’s helped to make that title seem more cool than dark.
Through out the period of the mid to late 1970s there appeared to be an explosion of colour, music and mood. The conditions were conducive for a real meeting of the minds. Who were your contemporaries around this time? Did you have any idea that you were changing the course of the music history?
At the time I never thought I was changing anything more than the next record & having a good time. Regarding the NY club scene, When I began in 1971 I knew people like David Mancusso, Francis Grasso, Michael Cappello had already made their mark, I would fit more in the 2nd wave with people like Nicky Siano, David Rodríguez, Steve Deaquisto,Bobby DJ Gutadaro, Barry Lederer, T Scott… there were much more, but you get the idea.
David Mancuso, and The Loft, meant a good many things to a lot of different people. What did this revolutionary coupling mean to you and why?
I always think of David as the base of the tree that everything sprang from. There were others before him, but they usually just did their job… they weren’t changing or affecting much. The loft was David’s house, & just an extension of him, and totally unique.
And the beat goes go…as we move forward from soul, funk, disco; watch them blend and evolve. A new movement, ‘House’ music is born and now starts the next chapter.
Cruising along, we take in the sights and sounds of the 1990s and beyond.
Danny you appear to be the Pied Piper of the generations. Calling forth all music lovers together, in the search for the everlasting beat. In the mid 1990s you team up with the purveyors of the dance floor ‘Body and Soul’, featuring Joe Claussell and Francois Kevorkian. How did you come to join Body & Soul, which would later become the holy trinity of the dance scene?
Early 70’s to mid 90’s… nice Rumpelstiltskin jump.
I had known Francois since the mid 70’s; we had always shared an extreme love for music. Before Body & Soul started, Francois would call me & say ‘I wish there was a club like this or that’, & we would go down a list of what we thought a good club should focus on… & how there just wasn’t anywhere like that at the moment. Clubs & DJ were increasingly focused on $ 1st. He called me one day in July 96’ & said, ‘I’m playing at this club Vinyl today, this could be a little like what we talked about, just music we like to play, on a good sound system, for some friends & people who feel the same way, no $, just for the fun of it’. I said “I’m there”. The 1st one was only 30 or 40 people… but it felt great & we couldn’t wait to do it again, soon we asked Joe to join us, with the 3 of us it felt great. We were never looking for success, this was for fun, but nobody seemed to be doing that at the time, & it started to catch on fast.
Did you anticipate that Body and Soul would become successful on an international scale: in Japan and United Kingdom? How would you describe the similarities and the differences between the world wide members of Body and Soul family?
I knew it was perfect for Japan, but not surprised it caught on other places too. There are a lot of great music lovers out there when we travel. However playing at home for people you grew up with & experienced the music mostly the way you did is hard to compare to.
You are renowned for captivating audiences with your re edits of classic, soul, funk and disco tunes. As a Producer, Mixer and Editor in your own right, how did you first become interested in the technical side? What was the first re edit you made and how was it received on the dance floor?
The 1st edit I did was called ‘Feelin James’, a medley around James Brown’s Funky drummer.
•Since it was more in a hip hop vain, I was limited to who I could really bring it to, I brought it to Freddy Baston, Mark Kamins, & Mantronix @ Danceatieria, & Tony Smith @ Funhouse. It seemed to have gone over big with everyone.
Danny you are in the unique position of having a panoramic view of the evolution of the underground dance music scene. When you consider your past experiences as a DJ, Producer and Promoter, what if any are the significant changes you have noticed? Do you feel that the essence of those earlier parties still carries through at events you perform at today?
I feel very fortunate to be part of many great parties. Some of the big changes I’ve really noticed. Everyone’s extreme loss of their leisure time. An evaporated music industry and its support system.
Technology rules supreme. Cell Phones and digital music. I used to often get goose bumps from a special piece of music… I’ve never gotten goose bumps from digital music.
The music community was shocked recently with the passing of one of ‘House music’s, founding fathers Frankie Knuckles. There was a huge up swell of emotion at his passing. On reflection what did the work of Frankie Knuckles mean to you?
Frankie was a class act, when he played something; it seemed to take on classic feel, not classic old, but classic strong.
Danny, you appear to have dedicated your life to spreading the gospel of music; from champion of the Turntables, Vinyl Junkie Extraordinaire, and Maestro of Productions for Re Edits, Mixes. When you look back, can you describe the most poignant highlights of your career so far?
I’m not much for touting my own achievements; it just feels great to be doing something I love so much for so long and to also have people appreciate it.
How did you continue to show love, and sustain your interest and energy in to lifestyle that has been with you all your adult life?
This is where out journey thank you sharing your unique experience with me. Until next time Keep On Jumping!