DJ Danny Krivit still knows how to keep a crowd going.
He’s still spinning
THERE ARE only a handful of them left: Deejays from decades past who continue to spin, playing music for generations of club kids who were born long after they first dropped the needle on a record. Honolulu residents have been lucky to see legends like DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa perform here in recent years.
With special guest DJ Danny Krivit
On stage: 9 p.m. Friday at NextDoor, 43 N. Hotel St.
But before almost all of them came New York's Danny Krivit, who turns 50 next year. He's been deejaying so long that he can remember a time when nightclubs used cassette decks instead of turntables. Instead of a computer equipped with Pro Tools software, he spliced reel-to-reel tape together to create some of the first remixes ever produced.
Krivit arrives in Honolulu this weekend for a guest set at NextDoor just a few days after gigging for the first time ever alongside fellow dance music heavyweight Danny Tenaglia. True fans are expected to flock to Chinatown for an evening of classic jams by this legendary DJ and producer with more than 35 years of experience.
RAISED IN Greenwich Village, Krivit was the son of a jazz singer and nightclub owner.
His father, who once served as a manager for trumpet player Chet Baker, ran the Ninth Circle, which gave the younger Krivit an opportunity to meet some of the biggest artists from the '60s and '70s.
"I met Janis Joplin there, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon (and) Charles Mingus," he said in an interview last year at the Red Bull Music Academy. "The guy who lived above us in our building was ... the vice president of Polydor (Records)."
By the age of 14, Krivit was already working at the Ninth Circle, helping his father with the music. A visit to his record executive neighbor's office led to him meet James Brown, who presented Krivit with promo copies of his single "Get on the Good Foot" and Lynn Collins' "Think." He spent the next few years honing his craft and learning how to manipulate vinyl on a turntable before moving on to Ones, a new club his father opened in 1977.
As the disco era came to an end, Krivit's popularity in New York was just starting to take off. He was one of the original DJs at the Roxy when it opened in 1979, and was a resident at a spot called Trude Hellers. At the time, both clubs were popular among the rollerskating crowd, an audience that forced him to pay close attention to more than just the mechanics of playing records.
"Rollerskating was a good education for me, (because) it taught me much more about the groove," he said. "Before that, I was so busy thinking about the beats, you know, mixing beat on beat, and I would lose the groove sometimes."
BOTH THE '80s and '90s saw Krivit increasing his role in producing tracks while maintaining residencies at some of the most popular clubs in New York City, including the Tunnel, Tracks, Palladium and the Loft.
In 1996, he joined DJs Francois K and Joe Claussell at "Body and Soul," a weekly party that has since turned into a traveling event that has visited Europe and Japan, and recently returned to the Big Apple for its 10th anniversary. He's also hosted "The 718 Sessions," a weekly at New York's Club Deep, since 2002.
With more than 70,000 records in his collection, there's no telling exactly what Krivit will play at NextDoor this weekend. Having no set playlist at the start of a night allows him to read the crowd and tell a story of sorts with the tracks he picks.
"Instead of getting ready for a gig and planning what I'm going to play, I probably have some favorite songs or a song that I want to make sure I play," he said. "But I'm very much a conduit of the people that are in front of me.
"If they have a bad vibe, it's quite difficult for me to get over that. I think I'm just playing off the moment, and hoping I'm going to find something worthwhile and keep the message going."