BLACKBOOK MAGAZINE INTERVIEW
Uri Dalal by Charles Gonzales. Courtesy of Uri Dalal.
DJs work in many alternative situations. Besides the path to riches and fame in NY and Vegas hotspots, DJs find work as wedding DJs or DJs for kids parties. Some specialize in corporate events making squares smile and wiggle a little bit. Some do cruises. Some do strip clubs, where songs have to be timed to 3 minutes, and they use a mic to get Tiffany or Jazzy to get ready to get on stage. Some do sex clubs. Uri Dalal is a solid DJ. He DJs at a sex party and other places, but it’s the sex club part that got you this far. Okay, get all the shock and awes out of the way…OMG!, OMG!, OMG! I caught up with Uri and asked him about how he got there and what he does.
How did you get into the business?
I’ve always been in love with music. My family owned Music Factory, one of the first DJ specialty shops. I grew up on Disco and Dance music. I am a musician. I learned to play the drums when I was five. I was also very into Punk Rock growing up. I love music and I love playing it even more. What I hated was being in bands.
I remember I decided to check out something new one night and I ended up stepping on to the Tunnel dance floor for the first time in 1988. Todd Terry’s ‘Back 2 The Beat’ came on, and the place just exploded, and I mean exploded. I had never seen anything like it. I fell in love. The club kids of the moment introduced me to this Synth pop band that needed a drummer and next thing you know we were on stage at Limelight for opening night at Disco 2000. I kind of never looked back and have been involved with the scene and it’s development in one form or another ever since. I’m still doing it today as a DJ.
How do you feel about what’s going on in the dance music scene at the moment?
What is going on these days! “House” the Broadway Musical is next up, right? I’m still trying to figure out what it is about this music that frat boys suddenly are relating to, when before they didn’t like that it never stopped because they didn’t know when to stop dancing.
I’ve been in love with this music almost since it’s inception. I have so many amazing dance floor stories and heard so many DJs do amazing things over the years. I will hold a torch for House music and its original message of inclusion of any and all that want to be down until the end of time.
For almost 20 years I’ve been dancing my ass off or spinning my ass off at various parties. There was something about being a part of that secret group! Something about knowing you were at the epicenter of all that was cutting edge in music and fashion and art. There was something very Punk and DIY about it to me. Something about Madonna coming and learning the latest dance moves from our group. The music was like a blank canvas and aside from the standard ‘four on the floor’ repetitive drum pattern, that was the only rule anyone needed to follow.
I didn’t get into this business to make a million dollars. I got into this business because I loved the music so much and the release I would get from dancing with a group of people all night, the connection I would feel with these people was the most amazing thing I had ever known. Words can’t describe what it’s like to look out on to a dance floor and see all the heads and bodies moving together in unison. It’s one thing to get everybody dancing, but if you can get them all in the same zone that’s the real challenge. That’s where the reward is greater than any amount of money. It’s just so much fun.
I love that and want to share that feeling with others. I want to connect with other people. There is or should I say was a great sense of community to that, but it was wonderful because it was a community of individuals who’s one thing in common was this incredible music! I got into this business because I love this music so much I had no choice but to be a part of it. The fact that I could make a decent living doing it was a bonus. If you have talent it should come easily to you. When you are an artist and you’re hearing new music you can’t help but hear the twenty other songs or ideas you could mix it with or mash it up with.
You could go out seven nights a week back then. There was always something new and exciting to check out in NYC. That was at the beginning – of my tale at least – and it lasted all the way up to the late 90’s after Twilo closed. That might as well have been a different planet.
I think there is a problem in the dance music scene and basically the entire scene is the problem. We’ve all arrived at the point where the overall vibe is that anybody could do this, and anybody starts doing it, and the quality becomes a bit diluted. This happens to every great music scene, doesn’t it.
It happened in the 60’s with Hippies, it happened with Punk Rock and just like dance music it took 30 years for it to actually sink in, it happened with Hip Hop. The difference is that dance music has survived this kind of popularity once before. None of the others survived like we have, and I look forward to eventually diving back into the depths. I think the scene is getting bigger and bigger – but I mean fatter, not necessarily smarter. It’s definitely not about music any more.
That’s when you get your Paris Hiltons headlining events. You think the guy under the table in that video producing her tracks is going to worry about being true to the music or the scene? He knows that he’s going to make 1.7 million a gig too if he cranks out some more of the same mindless drivel for the masses. That’s when you get guys throwing cakes around or jumping up and down making heart symbols. I mean they have to do something to distract people from the fact that the music is terrible and once the listeners figure that out, the jig is up! It’s only a matter of time, so they’re trying to rake it in before they’re all found out. I think Paris Hilton is the best DJ out right now. At least with that you know it’s a joke.
I think the name of the genre is misleading because even though I get the electric reference and I get the music reference, I don’t really see anyone dancing. It’s like a rock concert isn’t it? Except it’s like lip-syncing, it’s all pre-recorded and there’s three guys in the booth talking to each other about the Ferrari they just bought with the ten zillion dollars they made last week, occasionally looking at the audience or pretending to tweak the mixer that isn’t even on. These guys aren’t superstars. They’re just there to take a piece of the pie. It’s a total bunch of shit and once people wake up they’re all fucked.
As a result today DJing has become stylistically different. There are different circumstances to work under. You can’t develop a vibe or a motif musically or try to tell a story, now you’ve got a million people jumping on your head in the DJ booth – which probably explains the need for pre-recorded material – there is no time to concentrate on or develop a vibe – you have to connect punch after punch, because the attention span is nil. If the hook isn’t within the first few seconds your set is over.
I find this very tiresome and stressful and unrewarding. I’ve realized the knowledge of the genre and its history is non-existent. I’m developing an event called ‘The Know-Nothing Party’ based on educating those that actually do love the music and want to learn about it.
Today you’ve got to deal with ‘Promoters’ that have the nerve to ask you how many people you can pull in before they work with you – isn’t that their job? I want to know how many people you’re bringing! Then after you help them build a night they’re trying to replace you with a model/DJ with big breast implants. Come on.
I mean, promoters are not the reason people go clubbing. Promoters are not the reason people love dance music. You can bet your ass Promoters did not get into this business because they love the music so much they had to be a part of it any way they could. Promoters didn’t get into this business for a sense of community and to connect with like-minded people for the time of their lives. Promoters get into the business to take people’s money and quickly. They don’t care about the scene or the genre. They just want to make as much as they can and bounce.
I mean can you think of a more useless person to dance music? You’ve got the DJ who is trying to bring everyone together through music and you’ve got the promoters who are trying to be separate from everyone in the VIP room. But today the VIP is packed and the club is empty.
I realized I am not the guy to fit that mold. I never wanted to be that guy. I am not the DJ that will deliver watered down bullshit for the masses. I don’t want to see some chick in Day-Glo workout gear with football eye black on her face wearing short shorts and Chewbacca boots. I don’t want to hear some fucking frat boy talking about a DJs set.
People don’t go out to dance any more really but they’re all dancing. They don’t go out to do drugs or get drunk, but that’s what they’re all doing. They all are there doing everything except for the one thing that they are all there striving to do. That’s why everybody is rubbing each other, and pretending to hump each other. This is what is different about my parties.
I’m going to tell you a secret. What sets me apart from everybody else is that people come to my parties and fuck. Really fuck. They fuck for me.
There is no ‘Fuck Me I’m Famous’ message necessary at my parties because for me they actually do it. My audience actually fucks at my parties. Famous or not.
No one else can say that. I’m the DJ that people actually have sex to. I’m the DJ people fuck for. Now that is something worth talking about. At my parties you can’t get in unless you’re prepared to have sex. From now on when I play at a club, I don’t care if people are dancing; I’m there to play music so they can fuck.
I got sick of playing bullshit music to get people to dance, and since nobody dances any more anyway I decided fuck these festivals. I’m trying to bring some integrity back to the scene. Who else can say that? I spent 20 years doing this for the music, not the money. I could have easily followed the wannabes and models and bottles people but I wasn’t going to suck anyone’s cock or start throwing cakes around acting like an asshole. Fuck that. I want an audience that is gonna be into the music that will force me to better myself as an artist week after week, and now I’ve got it. I’m doing this for the greater good of the dance community, of which I am a life long member, not just some flash in the pan.
20 years after I started spinning professionally I’ve had so many experiences that have brought me to this point that I feel I’m more relevant than ever. Talk about evoking an emotional response from your audience! And In 20 years after people stop throwing cakes and shaving the sides of their heads I’ll still be here doing things my way, instead of trying to please those who are here to please themselves by taking your money. I’m catering to the same people but I’m giving them something to do. Our events aren’t segregated either, they’re a real tossed salad, which I think is the best kind of audience. You know, sometimes it’s better to show up to a bad party uninvited and make it great, than to spend an hour trying to get into the VIP to hang with a bunch of asshole reality stars or people that have no business being at your favorite nightclub to begin with. I mean really, who are those people that they should have a special section? You want to be special? Come blow someone at my party.
I’ll play the big events if they’re presented to me but honestly I could care less. I want to do what’s unexpected. My next event was chosen for that very purpose. The Undead A Go-Go takes place Sunday September 28th at Bocca di Bacco in Chelsea. There’s a cover but if you private message me on Facebook you’ll get in for free all night. We are having sexy undead go-go boys and girls, and a record release party for my friend Jerico of the Angels who will perform his new songs, and all kinds of craziness that night, including a witch’s ritual before midnight via Skype. Killer sound system and room for whatever else. Check it out HERE.