Interview: Danny Krivit marks a milestone
The veteran spinner Danny Krivit celebrates the tenth anniversary of his 718 Sessions.
Mon Nov 12 2012
Last year, the seminal New York City DJ Danny Krivit—who, among many other claims to fame, is one of the Body & Soul soiree’s holy trinity of spinners, along with François K and Joe Claussell—celebrated 40 years on the wheels of steel. Now, he’s marking a full decade of manning the decks at his soulful-house-and-classics affair, 718 Sessions, with a throwdown at Santos Party House on November 18.
Time Out New York: I’m guessing that when you started 718 Sessions in 2002, you didn’t have any clue you’d still be doing it in 2012.
Danny Krivit: I thought right from the start that it was a very good party. But I didn’t really see much of a future in that first location, so at that point, I certainly didn’t imagine that this would last so long.
Time Out New York: Refresh my memory—what was that first venue?
Danny Krivit: Water Street [Restaurant & Lounge]. It didn’t have a dance floor or anything. I knew early on that we weren’t going to be able to stay there; we outgrew it pretty quickly. As soon as we were in Manhattan, I began to think that this was something that I really wanted to stick with.
Time Out New York: What was the first Manhattan club that hosted the party?
Danny Krivit: That was Deep.
Time Out New York: Oh yeah, I forgot about that place! On 22nd Street, right?
Danny Krivit: Yes, that’s the place. And then Santos came up, and we moved there. Our first party there was before it was officially opened, when it was just a space. It didn’t even have a sound system yet, so we brought in [Metrosound’s] Alan Thompson, who brought his system.
Time Out New York: And you’ve been the one consistent party at Santos ever since then.
Danny Krivit: Yeah, I think you are right.
Time Out New York: Other than Body & Soul, is 718 Sessions the longest-running party that you’ve been associated with?
Danny Krivit: Let’s see…actually, I’ve had a few that lasted pretty long. I did the roller-skating thing [at the Roxy] for about ten years, for instance.
Time Out New York: Since you’ve been throwing the party in Manhattan for so long, did you ever consider changing the name to the 212 Sessions?
Danny Krivit: We actually discussed that, and by the time that move had come, the party had already gotten a certain identity. We just thought that the name 718 Sessions had already stuck. And we also thought that 212 Sessions doesn’t sound very appealing! [Laughs]
Time Out New York: One thing that the success of the party shows is that there is still a large audience for that mix of soulful house and classics that you play. Some people kind of think of that sound as being a bit old-fashioned, I think.
Danny Krivit: I think there’s still a big market for that sound, bigger than 718 itself. But it’s a bit of a battle these days; a successful party isn’t given to you as much as it used to be in the old days. It used to be that you could just open your doors and people would come in, and now it’s quite an achievement to make something happen and make it stick. These days, there are so many excuses to not go out, and you always have to battle against that. So we’ve worked hard to make the party something special each time we do it. We try to make it feel like a party that we’re just throwing at our house; we’re going for a family kind of feeling. I think that appeals to all different kinds of people.
Time Out New York: Parties with a similar sound as 718 Sessions have tended to get an older crowd, and while you certainly get a lot of veteran clubbers, there’s also a younger crowd.
Danny Krivit: Yeah, we do. I think that with some parties, the focus is on getting either one or the other, but we’re going for everybody. Musically, I have this old-school mentality: This is a message and a journey. It doesn’t matter how old a song is; it just has to be something that isn’t disposable. I like to focus on things that are worth listening to, not just things that are worth listening to this week. A little bit of substance is good. And I think that appeals to a broad range of people.
Time Out New York: In the past few years, 718 Sessions has started taking over both floors of Santos rather than just the main floor. You’ve had quite a few cool guests in that time, people like Kenny Dope, Ron Trent, Pal Joey and Hex Hector.
Danny Krivit: In the beginning, we didn’t really want to use that room; we thought it might take a little bit away from the other room. But then we realized that we could bring a different element to the party, apart from what was happening upstairs. So we’ve been focusing on getting stuff that’s interesting and a little bit different from the main room, without being totally irrelevant. Sometimes we get really lucky, and whoever is playing downstairs will bring in a new group of people who are coming to the party for the first time. And then, they’re hooked.
Time Out New York: I imagine that you got some new faces when you had the guys from the Discovery party play there.
Danny Krivit: Yeah, and we’ve had quite a few nights when that happened. It’s always good to open things up to new people.
Time Out New York: You’ve recently made a move that’s the opposite of the one that 718 Sessions took. You’re a lifelong Manhattan resident, but you’ve recently made the move to Brooklyn. How are you adjusting?
Danny Krivit: You know, I have to say it’s very nice and comfortable here. But I have lived my entire life within a ten-block area; I could walk out into the street and it felt like home. You know how a blind person can navigate the apartment they live in? I’m like that with the East and West Village. It will take a long time to feel that way anywhere else, no matter how nice a neighborhood it is.
718 Sessions’ Tenth Anniversary is at Santos Party House Sunday, November 18; Danny Krivit Celebrates a Decade of 718 Sessions (Nervous) is out December 4.