718 Sessions 15th Anniversary - Interview with Danny Krivit
by Andrew Mason
The first 718 Session was in October, 2002. Fifteen years ago! It's really unusual for a party to run that long. How did things get started? Why "718 Sessions"?
About six months before that, me and Benny Soto tried our first party together at Halcyon, which then was located on Smith Street. It went so well that we got together to talk about doing a monthly party. The first one was on Water Street in Dumbo, Brooklyn. We weren't even thinking long term, we just wanted to try a few parties together and see how they went. The name 718 came from the Brooklyn telephone exchange. "718 Sessions" seemed to fit well, and even when the party moved to Manhattan, "718 Sessions" stuck. "212 Sessions" just didn't seem to cut it! I traveled a lot for DJing, so I couldn't commit to recurring date every month, so we kept it loose—approximately once a month, which we thought worked out pretty well, more like a special event than something so predictable. I had just come off six years of weekly Body & Soul parties at Club Vinyl, so there were a number of dos-and-don'ts I brought from that. I think our shared goal, besides just having a dope party, was having a diverse crowd that came for music first, and a great sound system. And a welcoming, easy-going atmosphere that was affordable and positive.
As you know, a party is only as good as the folks attending. What makes the crowd at 718 so special?
From the start, it was a very diverse group of people. Very quickly, this was the party that I felt most musically free in. There is this great group of people that were regulars at The Loft, The Garage, Gallery, Shelter, and Body & Soul. Obviously not young in age, but their energy is through the roof! These are the people that line up at opening and when the younger people show up, it's this crowd that shows them how to get up and starts this whole great mix.
Of course, a dedicated group of dancers comes back again and again because they trust the DJ. How would you describe the mix of music you play at the 718 Sessions? In what ways is it different from what you might do elsewhere?
This is the party I feel most musically free in. I've spent my whole life in NYC, and this is a true New York crowd. Often when I play certain songs, you can tell, at certain parts, it's a shared experience. A New York experience. I get some great crowds around the world, but this is unique and my favorite crowd to play for.
I know you are sometimes asked about doing a 718 Sessions outside of New York City, but you've turned down the offers. Why?
718 Sessions is the crowd that comes to these parties in New York. Unless they can come with me… I don't care what you call it, but it ain't gonna be a 718 Sessions party!
There are behind-the-scenes folks who contribute a lot to making the party a success. Can you tell us a little about them?
Benny Soto has a great, easy-going energy, but also a very keen sense of people and club life. It's been a great pleasure working together all these years. It was really his first party as a promoter. Now, he's a top New York promoter, but you can tell 718 Sessions has always remained special to him. He puts a lot of care into it and it shows. People really love him! There would be no 718 Sessions without him.
I've worked with Ariel over 25 years. He's just the best light-man out there—He's more like a DJ than a technician. And then there're others, like Go, who has helped compile the playlist of every party for most of these years. And you have people like Mark Rivas and Carmen Valentine at the door, they're the face of the party as people enter, and make everyone feel welcome and special.
Although every party is special, there must have been a few moments that are particularly memorable. Can you describe any that come to mind?
There have been so many incredible moments that they kind of blur together, so they're more like memorable parties. Consistently, our New Year's Day parties are extremely special, also our annual 718 Sessions Boat Party. But over all there have been so many incredible parties. There've been voguing battles and runways, and times where the crowd almost sings the entire song. We've had some incredible impromptu performances, from people like Ann Nesby of Sounds Of Blackness, Leroy Burgess, D-Train, Joi Cardwell, Róisín Murphy of Moloko. Josh Milan and Blaze performed at our very first 718 Sessions. We've had a Brazilian carnaval, and a cascade of incredible guest DJs: Frankie Knuckles, Osunlade, Joe Claussell, Timmy Regisford, Sting International, Kenny Dope, Honey Dijon... just to name a few.
Like many great DJs, you are fond of telling a story with your selections. There is a "message in the music."
When I started DJing, everybody paid attention to the words, and all the DJs I knew told a story with the songs they played. It's something I do too, but not consciously. It's just the way I think about music and the way it comes out. Afterwards when I look back, there's a very clear story, mostly of love and positivity. People do notice. I don't have a particular song to point to, there are just too many. But I love when songs are well-written and the words really talk to you.
What are you looking forward to in the future with 718 Sessions? How long can this go on in a changing New York City?
I love what it is, so it seems natural that it will continue. I never really thought of it in terms of expectations of how long it should last—It still feels great, fresh, special... I can never get enough of that. The city is changing, and has changed: It looks like Brooklyn is the new center of club world. And in this 15 years, music and music culture has seen many changes. But I've never been one to follow trends. I just play the music I love for a group of people that are feeling the same way.
Sunday October 22nd Danny Krivit 718 Sessions 15th Anniversary!
@ Output, Main room, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NYC, USA
The MR. K Edits Limited Edition Box Set
5x7" Record Store Day 2017
Limited Edition Box Set
More Info: TBA
Danny Krivit's 45th Year As A DJ Celebration Playlist @ Output, Brooklyn 8/8/16
6:24 #1 Take Five (Full) // Dave Brubeck Quartet // Columbia (Japan)
6:28 #2 Ball Of Confusion // The Temptations // Gordy
6:31 #3 Ready Or Not Here I Come // The Delfonics // Philly Groove
6:33 #4 Just Don't Want To Be Lonely // The Main Ingredient // RCA
6:36 #5 Baby Let Me Take You // Detroit Emeralds // Westbound
6:40 #6 Surrender // Diana Ross // Motown
6:43 #7 I Just Want To Celebrate // Rare Earth // Motown
6:45 #8 Mas Que Nada // Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 // A&M
6:48 #9 Gyspy Moths // Labelle // Epic
6:52 #10 I Will Get On // Annie // Telle
6:58 #11 Reach Your Peak // Sister Sledge // Cottilion
7:00 #12 California Soul // Marlena Shaw // Jazzman
7:03 #13 Hang On In There Baby // Johnny Bristol // MGM
7:07 #14 Kool Is Back // Funk Inc. // 5 Borough Breaks
7:09 #15 A Real Mother For Ya // Johnny Guitar Watson // DJM
7:12 #16 Rebirth Of Slick // Digable Planets // Originals
7:15 #17 I Get Lifted // George McCrae // T.K.
7:18 #18 (Oh No! Not) The Beast Day // Marsha Hunt // Vertigo
7:21 #19 Burning Love Breakdown // Peter Brown // T.K.
7:26 #20 Do Ya Wanna Get Funky With Me // Peter Brown // T.K.
7:29 #21 Chicken Yellow // Miami // Drive
7:31 #22 I'm Gonna Fool You! (Inst) // Ella Hamilton Don Willis Spoon Band // Queen Constance
7:33 #23 I'm Gonna Fool You! // Ella Hamilton Don Willis Spoon Band // Queen Constance
7:35 #24 Help Is On The Way // The Whatnauts // Harlem International
7:38 #25 Everyman // Double Exposure // Salsoul
7:41 #26 Flash Light // Parliament // Casablanca
7:45 #27 You're Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else // Jones Girls // Philadelphia International
7:48 #28 Seventh Heaven // Gwen Guthrie // Island
7:52 #29 Which Way Is Up // Stargard // MCA
7:54 #30 Let The Music Take Your Mind // Kool & The Gang // De-Lite
7:57 #31 I Really Love You // Heaven & Earth // WMOT
8:01 #32 Deeper (Inst & Vocal) // New Birth // Warner Brothers
8:05 #33 Express // B.T. Express // Roadshow
8:09 #34 Can't Play Around // Lace // Atlantic
8:12 #35 Touch & Go // Ecstasy, Passion & Pain // Roulette
8:15 #36 You Can't Have Cake And Eat It Too // BT // West End
8:19 #37 Don't Turn Your Back On Me // // Front Line Orchestra // ICE
8:23 #38 Thinking About Your Love // Skipworth & Turner // Island
8:26 #39 Do It // Billy Sha-Rae // Hour Glass
8:28 #40 Gotta Find A Way // Russ Brown // Jump Street
8:32 #41 World Famous // Malcolm McLaren // Island
8:34 #42 Set It Off // Strafe // Hard Soul
8:38 #43 Billy Who // Billy Frazier // DJM
8:41 #44 Nytro Express (Edit) // Nytro // Whitfield
8:44 #45 Love Has Come Around // Donald Byrd // Elektra
8:47 #46 Searching To Find The One // Unlimited Touch // Prelude
8:50 #47 She Can't Love You // Chemise // Full Time
8:54 #48 Come Let Me Love You // Jeanette "Lady" Day // Prelude
8:58 #49 What Can I Do For You (Ending Twice) // Labelle // Epic
9:01 #50 You Can't Hide From Yourself // Teddy Pendergrass // Philadelphia International
9:05 #51 I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love // Emotions // Columbia
9:08 #52 Love Sensation // Loleatta Holloway // Salsoul
9:12 #53 Give It Up Or Turn It Loose // James Brown // Urban
9:18 #54 K-Jee // The Nite-Liters // RCA
9:21 #55 Come Go With Me // The Pockets // CBS
9:25 #56 Any Love // Rufus & Chaka // MCA
9:28 #57 This Time Baby // Jackie Moore // Columbia
9:32 #58 Give Your Body Up (From Middle) // Billy Nichols // West End
9:35 #59 Bad For Me (From Middle) // Dee Dee Bridgewater // Elektra
9:37 #60 Go Bang! (Pt 1&2) // Dinosaur L // Sleeping Bag
9:44 #61 When You Touch Me // Taana Gardner // West End
9:47 #62 I Don't Know What I'd Do // Sweet Cream // Bareback
9:50 #63 Free Man // South Shore Commission // Scepter
9:55 #64 Love Hangover (From Middle) // Diana Ross // Motown
10:00 #65 Love Thang // First Choice // Gold Mind
10:02 #66 Let's Go All The Way // Brenda & The Tabulation // Casablanca
10:05 #67 Coke (Pt 1) // Tribe // Probe
10:08 #68 Smoke (Pt 2) // Tribe // ABC
10:10 #69 Moody // ESG // 99
10:13 #70 I Got The Feeling // Two Ton's O' Fun // Fantasy
- Benny' on the mike
- DK on the mike
10:23 #71 You Know How To Love Me // Phyllis Hyman // Arista
10:27 #72 You Can't Hide (Larry Levan RMX) // David Joseph // Mango
10:31 #73 Here's To You (From Middle) // Skyy // Salsoul
10:35 - End
Compiled By Go Kiryu
Danny Krivit's 45-year DJ career reads like the evolution of dance music itself. He grew up in the '60s and experienced the world's most legendary nightspots. The Loft, The Gallery, The Paradise Garage—Danny was a regular at them all.
Get ready with a Q&A with Mr. K and take a trip way, way back to the Village in the 1970s.
While Danny Krivit has been part of New York club scene since the '60s, Eric Duncan (of Rub'N'Tug) has made his mark on the underground parties of the '90s. Last time they played together at Le Bain (in January 2013), we asked Eric if he was up for interviewing Danny, and here it is. Enjoy the trip way, way back to the Village in the 1970s.
ERIC DUNCAN: I have heard various stories about you over the years. Is it true you grew up in your family's bar? When and where was this?
DANNY KRIVIT: I grew up in Greenwich Village, New York City, in the 1960s and I literally was surrounded by music. My mother was an accomplished jazz singer and my father was the manager of legendary jazz trumpeter Chet Baker before he went on to open up The Ninth Circle, a Village hot spot on West 10th Street just west of Greenwich Avenue, where I also worked as a boy. It was here that I met some of the most influential people in the music scene: Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Charlie Mingus, John Lennon, and Yoko Ono, amongst others. The Mothers of Invention lived down the hall from me, and Sid Bernstein (Manager of The Rascals) lived upstairs. The Rascals would regularly pop down to our house to practice most of their future hits on our piano. At school, a close friend and classmate of mine was Creed Taylor, Jr., son of Creed Taylor, the production genius behind many artists who recorded on the VERVE, C.T.I. and KUDA labels. I remember always hanging out at his house with his father trying to introduce us to his musicians, people like Freddie Hubbard, Hank Crawford, and Stanley Turrentine. I was maybe 11. I didn't really know who they were yet.
When did you start DJing? Was it at The Ninth Circle?
By 1970, another close neighborhood friend at that time, Nile Rogers, helped me pick out my first guitar, taught me a little to get me started, and said: “If you practice with that, you’ll be jammin’ in no time.” I didn’t practice. I was already a vinyl junkie and an amateur DJ and never really believed I could play guitar even close to the way he did, or like I was hearing on all the fabulous records I was into. But DJing as a profession wasn't fully realized until 1971, after another neighbor/friend introduced me to one of his artists, James Brown, who gave me white-label advance promo copies of his “Get on the Good Foot” and “Think” by Lynn Collins. Around the same time, I started DJing and programming music for my father’s place, The Ninth Circle, which following the events of the Stonewall closing, had newly been transformed from a steak house into a disco.
What was the equipment you were playing? Can you remember what sort of people were there? Were they dancing or hanging out?
Hard to recall the exact equipment we were using back then, small names. It was very primitive. Huge problem keeping records from skipping with a full dance floor in an old Village brownstone. The crowd was mostly gay men, very downtown and funky. There were two floors: downstairs was the dance floor and upstairs was the bar and more of the social scene. Both floors were generally packed and very happening.
When you were outside of the family business, how was it to be in the middle of this supernova of New York City's underground culture, music, sexuality, and art?
I was only 14. It was difficult to get into many other clubs, but I remember my father taking me to places like The Electric Circus on St. Marks Place and The Dom (Andy Warhol’s club), which was directly under it. When The Dom closed, I bought their sound system for my house. I had nice neighbors back then. My father also took me to places like The Sanctuary, Hippopotamus, and The Haven. My friends and I would go to the Limelight (the original on 7th Ave), where David Rodriguez was DJing (which was very good), but we were all too young, especially as a group. So we would hang out outside next to the wall of the dance floor. The music would come through loud and clear, even the mixes. All of us would have our own party right there on the street on a Friday, and then come back and do it again on Saturday. I could easily get into live concerts, which I had already been doing a number of years. Seemed like I was at the Fillmore East every couple of weeks, and there I saw Santana’s first performance, Sly & The Family Stone, Jimi Hendrix, Big Brother & The Holding Company featuring an uncredited Janis Joplin, and tons of others.
Who were the other DJs?
I had really become a part of the downtown underground scene by 1975. I club-hopped a lot, and I became close friends with some of the greatest DJs of all time, including Nicky Siano (of The Gallery), Walter Gibbons (of Galaxy 21), Tee Scott (of Better Days), David Rodriguez (of The Limelight), Richie Kaczar (Club Hollywood, before Studio 54), and Bobby DJ (of Le Jardin), amongst others. Clearly some of the best, but one in particular really stood out from the rest: DJ David Mancuso and The Loft. The Loft was like a musical center or Mecca for all of NY’s best DJs; a completely unique place and home of the original DJ record pool. This is also where I began my longtime friendships with DJs Larry Levan and Francois Kevorkian.
Where were you DJing at that time?
My father opened another club, (in a very early Tribeca) called Ones at 111 Hudson Street (about 2 blocks south of where the club Vinyl was). I was their only DJ through 1977. I was doing so well there that I opened my own after-hours club down the street. In 1977, I started Djing at Trude Hellers. I was also an avid roller skater, and my girlfriend at the time and I would regularly skate over to the Paradise Garage, where Larry would let us skate around the club while he would check out some of the new records that week on the sound system. The Garage remained my main stomping ground until it closed in 1987.
What kind of music was being played? What did it smell like? How late did it go? Take me there. Set the scene for me.
This was clearly a golden era for great music, DJs, clubs, artistic freedom, and the leisure time to enjoy it. No Internet, no social networks, no cell phones, no YouTube. You only could hear this music in the clubs and everybody was going out, all without a been-there-done-that chip on their shoulders. In the peak of the '70s, NYC had over 4,000 cabaret licenses, and a whole slew of clubs without them. All the clubs were packed, all the time. The scene was that big and growing. Today, NYC has about 40 cabaret licenses and the clubs that have them struggle to survive. The real estate market also plays a big part in this. Before the '80s, Greenwich Village (the poster child for the 1st co-ops) had a big prison right in the center, The Women's House of Detention. Rents were very low. For a century, artists and musicians flocked to this area. In 1962, when my father rented the building for The Ninth Circle, he got a 33-year lease for a three-story brownstone with two basements and a backyard, in the heart of the Village for $540/a month rent! The landlord was happy he had a tenant for 33 years. Now you're lucky to get a parking space with a one-year lease for that!
Let's go back to the early '70s. What were you playing at that time?
Here are records that I was playing in 1971 (in alphabetical order):
Al Green - Let's Stay Together, Tired Of Being Alone / Andwella - Hold On To Your Mind / Aretha Franklin - Rock Steady The House That Jack Built, See Saw, Don't Play That Song, Think, Spanish Harlem, Since You've Been Gone / Baby Huey - Listen To Me / Beginning Of The End - Funky Nassau / Bill Withers - Harlem / Billy Preston - Outa-Space / Bobby Byrd - I Know You Got Soul, Hot Pants (I'm Coming, Coming, I'm Coming) / Booker T & The MG’s - Melting Pot / Brenda Holloway - Just Look What You've Done / Brian Auger & the Trinity - Listen Here / Chakachas - Jungle Fever / Chi-Lites - Are You My Woman / Chicago - I’m A Man / Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose - Treat Her Like A Lady / Curtis Mayfield - Get Down, Underground, Move On Up, If There's A Hell Below We're All Going To Go / Diana Ross - Ain't No Mountain High Enough, Surrender, Remember Me / Donny Hathaway - The Ghetto / Dorothy Morrison - Spirit In The Sky, Rain, All God's Children Got Soul / Earth, Wind & Fire - Moment Of Truth / Elephant's Memory - Mongoose / Equals - Black Skinned Blue Eyed Boys / Everyday People - I Like What I Like Because I Like It / Exuma - The Obeah Man / Four Tops – Don’t Bring Back Memories / Isley Brothers - Get Into Something / Jackie Willson - The Fountain / James Brown - Give It Up or Turnit a Loose, Sex Machine, Hot Pants, I'm A Greedy Man, Soul Power, Make It Funky / Little Sister - You're the One / Marva Whitney - It's My Thing / Marvin Gaye - What's Going On, Mercy Mercy Me, Inner City Blues, Chained, That’s The Way Love Is / Nite-Liters - K-Jee / Ruth Copeland - Gimme Shelter / Dennis Coffey - Scorpio / Spinners - It's A Shame / Supremes - Up The Ladder To The Roof, Stoned Love / Temptations - Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are) / Titanic - Sultana / Traffic - Glad, Gimme Some Lovin' / Wilson Pickett - Don't Knock My Love /
Wow! Thanks Danny for that trip through time. I could talk about this with you all day...
via Resident Advisor
Stephen Titmus spends time with one of dance music's foundational figures.
Danny Krivit's 45-year DJ career reads like the evolution of dance music itself. He grew up in the '60s, experiencing the very earliest days of New York disco, and later gained a musical education at some of the world's most legendary nightspots. The Loft, The Gallery, The Paradise Garage—Danny was a regular at them all. Remarkably, Krivit is one of only a handful of DJs other than Larry Levan to have played at The Garage.
Krivit's experiences in the '70s and '80s have had a lasting effect on him, informing almost every move he's made since. His legendary Body & Soul night, co-founded with François Kevorkian and Joe Claussell, and 718 Sessions, his still hugely popular monthly party, were established on principles laid down during this golden period. Aside from his illustrious DJ career, Krivit is also a remix legend. He has over 130 editing credits to his name, including his rework of MFSB's "Love Is The Message," which is considered by many to be the greatest edit of all time. In anticipation of an eight-hour set in London later this month, I spent time with one of dance music's most storied figure
Read full article here
"The Best Of NYC 2011"
"The Best Parties Of NYC 2011"
"Best Nightlife Events of 2011"
Celebrating 9 Years of 718 SESSIONS is already an incredible joy, & to crown that with "The Best Of NYC 2011" is a truly an amazing honor… A huge thanks to my dear friend & partner Benny Soto, together we have put our heart & soul into this, & to all of you, the dancers & wonderful supporters of 718 SESSIONS ... It couldn't have happened without all of you, & our shared love for the music. Can't wait to see you all @ 718 SESSIONS,
Danny Krivit helped compile this gorgeous 425 page… 500 record cover picture book, released worldwide in 6 languages by Taschen in collaboration of Wax Poetics magazine. Noticeably larger then most other record cover picture books on the market, a must have for all soul-funk-disco-vinyl-lovers :)
“A living legend of DJing. He crossed the 70’s alongside names like Larry Levan, David Mancuso, & Francois Kevorkian.The DJ as a central figure was created in this generation. Danny Krivit is a vinyl collector, soul-funk-disco-lover and dance-floor master – even for the most demanding! From his long professional journey, his re-editions should also be mentioned, in the course of which Krivit reinvented classical pieces, re-arranging the originals.”
Over this past 10 years of 718 Sessions, I've managed to save a small amount of unused flyers from each party, & have now put together an amazing group of 100 flyers in a hand stamped commemorative package. Some you will recognize & some you surely won't, very remarkable to see them all in one place.