DJ Whitney Weiss is a global DJ, she’s a global force. Having played some of the best dancefloors in the world, the worldclass DJ and producer takes a moment talk about the music and to bless us earthlings with this exclusive podcast, only on Arcade44.
How do you describe your sound?
When I DJ, it’s a lovingly selected mixture of Italo, underground disco, early house, NRG, under-appreciated singers from the 70s who have been done wrong by their men, and all that is Prince-related. Basically a whole lot of music that pairs well with poppers and fog machines. The stuff that I’m making is influenced by all of that, but doesn’t overtly rip any of it off (I hope).
Tell us about how you came to make music your life.
I started out playing guitar and drums in bands when I was 13, then got taken out dancing a couple years later by older friends who knew where the trashy yet spectacular underground parties were. I started DJing, realized how fulfilling it was to make a room full of people dance and make out and flip out and have a great time, and it pretty much grew from there.
DJing and throwing parties became a full-time thing when I moved to Buenos Aires in 2008. My first residency there was at Kim Y Novak, this complete den of hedonism where everyone—from the prostitutes working the corner in front of the club to Willem Defoe—went to dance and take drugs and stay up for days. It was legendary. The owners tried to turn it into a sushi restaurant and that didn’t work out, so it ended up closing. At the same time, a great party called Dengue Dancing started. I didn’t know the people throwing Dengue, but their friend Laura was kind enough to book me, and Lolo and Ani and I really hit it off and they offered me a residency. Carisma, who are on Cómeme, were also residents, and so was Traviesa, who I produce and throw parties with as Father Figures. Now I split my time between Europe and South America, have residencies in Paris and Buenos Aires, we’ve done Father Figures in four different countries, and I get to DJ all over!
I know you spend a lot of time traveling, playing all over the globe. How does this influence your sound?
I’m constantly getting introduced to great new music and amazing DJs who take me to parties and after-hours that I would never in a million years find on my own, which definitely helps my sound. Playing so many different parties in so many different places also forces me to be versatile when I DJ, because what works on a terrace in Buenos Aires at 6pm is probably not what I’m going to be throwing on at after-hours in a strip club in Milan.
Where is your favorite place to play? Why?
That’s really tough! Sedgwick, a warehouse in Buenos Aires where I throw Father Figures, has a special place in my heart. It’s actually raw and actually gritty and there’s zero pretense—just hundreds of people who want to dance. The crowd is really sexually ambiguous and you have to hit on someone to figure out if they’re straight or bi or gay or whatever, which I feel always makes for a better night out. I appreciate spaces like that a lot.
In Europe, I love Wanderlust in Paris, especially playing on the terrace during the summer. I DJ there monthly and it’s consistently a pleasure. Dalston Superstore in London is always great. I’ve played for CHERYL in New York a few times (and more recently, in London when they were on tour), and that’s probably my favorite party to DJ. They are some of the last remaining nightlife outlaws in New York and know how to make people very happy.
What’s got you excited about music right now? Any new sounds or bands we should be particularly aware of?
Tons of stuff! DJs Pareja, who are on Cómeme and based in Buenos Aires, have an amazing new song with Alejandro Paz called “Cógeme” that I can’t stop listening to. Pretty much everything on Cómeme has me excited about music.
Kiddy Smile from Paris is making wonderful songs to dance to that fall somewhere between classic house and ballroom. And he’s an amazing dancer himself. Everyone should check him out!
I’m playing a lot of edits by Marvin & Guy, who probably know more about disco and Italo than anyone else DJing and making music right now. They’re based in Italy. Actually, a bunch of good stuff is coming out of Italy. I just got to hear the entire Populous record, and it’s stunning. He’s an Italian producer making cosmic tropical music.
So, we’ve got the time machine warmed up and ready for you to go back to any era in NYC history—where would you choose to take us and why?
I’m going to be really greedy and say any hot summer night in 1980. We can start out at Club 57 or Mudd Club, but we’re definitely going to Paradise Garage, and then maybe someone will take us to The Loft, and we’re ending up at Danceteria.
What’s up next for you? Any projects we should be looking out for?
I’m finishing a second volume of edits, working on an EP of original music, and I just started a project with my friend Protopapa, an Italian DJ/party expert, that I am super excited about. I can’t say anything else about it right now except that it’s very sexy. And I’m DJing all over the place, too. I’ll be in Paris, London, Milan, Berlin, and who knows where else this month.