Q&A: Justin Carter
Half of the duo that makes up the beloved Mister Sunday tells us what we can expect this summer
Wed May 21 2014
Photograph: Natalie Keyssar
Sunday afternoon is prime party real estate in NYC, and for the past few summers, DJs Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin have owned that space with their insanely popular Mister Sunday. Unfortunately, the party’s venue, Gowanus Grove, was also prime real estate—and impending construction tasked the duo with finding a new location. We sat down with Carter to see what’s in store at the party’s new outdoor venue, Industry City.
You’re coming up on the fourth summer of Mister Sunday. How has the party evolved?
Obviously the party has gotten more popular, but I’ve been really pleased to see that the atmosphere has generally stayed the same. We’ve never had a fight at our party, ever. People treat each other really nicely. It’s not a balls-to-the-wall drinkfest or anything. [Laughs] They’re there to just relax and have a good time.
Musically speaking, it seems like you like to throw in a curveball every now and again.
Absolutely, that’s super, super important to us. The root of what we do is clearly house and disco, but I always think it’s nice to just stop that for a second, because if you’re getting barraged by the same thing over and over again, you can get into this zone where you forget that you’re there with other people—that it would be nice to go and talk with somebody. I love sometimes to just let a track end, or stop the track in the middle and start with some jazz song, because I think it’s important to breathe a little life into it.
You’ve often mentioned the sense of community at your parties.
I feel like it’s something that we saw starting to happen, and it made us respond to it. Again, even though the party has grown, the vibe has generally stayed the same, and I think one of the reasons why is because we’re vocal about our intentions. It comes from seeing people turn up over and over again, and then meeting each other and becoming friends. We want that to continue to happen, so we talk about that as an important part of what we do. We decided that it was important to promote an idea of giving back to the communities that we exist in. At the beginning of this year we started to set aside 10 percent of the net profits from everything that we do. This year we’re giving that 10 percent to the Robin Hood Foundation, which is a great organization that fights against poverty in New York.
Was it a daunting task to find a new home for the party?
Yeah, totally. Number one, because finding an outdoor space where you’re not going to bother your neighbors that doesn’t already have a giant condo planned for it in New York City is super, super hard. But add to that the fact that we had this magical little park where we were doing our party, and we didn’t want to just go somewhere that didn’t have its own kind of charm.
So what’s the new venue like?
It’s at the foot of the Sunset Park neighborhood, in Brooklyn. We’re in one courtyard that’s in this very, very big complex of buildings called Industry City—these big, six-story buildings with these old stone streets. It’s amazing; the buildings are just beautiful, old, charming warehouse buildings from the early 1900s. We’re putting in a dance floor—this part I’m super psyched about—because we got to the point where the dance floor was always way, way too small for the amount of people that wanted to dance. We’re going to have a dance floor that’s probably over two times the size of the dance floor at Gowanus Grove. We’re still going to have our disco ball, just like we always did. But this year, no porta-potties, which I’m pretty psyched about also. As charming as that was.
Aw. It’s all grown-up.
Yeah. Do you think people are going to think we sold out because we don’t have porta-potties anymore?
Possibly. Any special plans for the summer?
We tried to make it special from the very beginning. The party is great week after week. It’s just us playing records and having a nice place to hang out and having some good drinks. I enjoy doing that every single Sunday during the summer—and it seems like other people do as well.
Mister Sunday debuts at Industry City Sun 25.
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