After-dark inquiry: Ian Friday

Hit single in hand, the DJ, producer and head honcho of Tea Party Music steps up to the decks for a set of soul-drenched house at Libation's Fifth Anniversary Party on Thursday, April 28.

Ian Friday

Ian Friday

Your latest production, Miranda Nicole's "Kissing You," hit No. 1 on Traxsource, and you're about to celebrate the fifth birthday of your Libation party. Life is good right now, isn't it?
Yes, it is. It's all kind of like my second coming. In the '90s I was known in the art and poetry circles for my [open-mike and performance event] Tea Party, and though I was deejaying then, there seems to be a new awareness of the musical side of me. And the party has been going great; it's fantastic to see the support that we've gotten.

I'm guessing this would be your biggest release so far, right?
I've had some big splashes with the label before, like with [Ian Friday Presents Anto Vitale's] "Theorema Del Faya," and the single I had on West End did really well—but this is exciting because people around the world are feeling it. It's getting played in South Africa, it's getting played in Europe...and it's getting radio play too, which is a big deal with this music. As you probably know, getting radio play is not the easiest with this kind of music, but we've been getting a lot of support from WBLS. It really got broken on the Roots NYC show, and the station is considering putting the song into its regular playlist—which for house music, would be phenomenal. I can't even think of the last time that happened.

I wasn't familiar with the track's vocalist, Miranda Nicole, before this single, but she has a great voice. What can you tell us about her?
Miranda is originally from Los Angeles, and now lives in Atlanta. I fell in love with her voice. She's a singer, she's a songwriter...and we have a lot of plans for her. We're doing a follow-up single, which will be out in the summertime. She's a fresh face with a fresh take on this thing that we love—she calls it "glamsoul," which is kind of electronic music and soul and rock all thrown together. And she's joining us at our anniversary party on the 28th, which will be her first time performing in New York.

There are some great remixes of the track as well.
Well, you know, we're trying to present all sides of this song and give it as much opportunity to shine as possible. Duce Martinez gave it a kind of classic club bang; Boddhi Satva, with his ancestral-soul sound, did that Afro-electro thing. It was exciting to get some of my boys involved with the project.

So what's next?
Musically, I'm working on my own album, which is really exciting. That should be dropping in September. It's going to feature artists like Chris Rob, Byron Moore, Manchildblack, of course Miranda, and a few others. I've been working all these years developing my sound, and I think all my influences will be in there. It won't just be a club album. World music, soul la Stevie and Chaka...that's all gonna be in there.

And how about Libation? How's it been going since your long-time home, Sullivan Room, has been shut down?
It's been fantastic to see how, as we've moved, people have moved with us. We haven't missed a beat, really. After five years, it's really congealing; we've laid down strong foundations, and it's really strong. And we're still doing it with the same fervor and the same love that we did at the start.

Doing what you love and succeeding—sound pretty good!
My friend, this is all beyond my wildest imagination. I think about all these great parties—the Shelter and all the others—where I would just look at the DJ and think, oh, man, I wish I could do that. So to have this successful residency, and to have a relevant record label and having the opportunity to travel around the world...it's more than a blessing.

I have to ask—are you upset that the term tea party has been hijacked?
[Laughing] Oh, my goodness! Well, I obviously didn't create the term—the Boston Tea Party happened a little before my lifetime, and I took my label's name from my old Tea Party events. But I don't want anything to get in the way of people understanding and enjoying the music, and we will be doing a rebranding. I call the music that I produce "global soul," so we're going to be changing the name of the label to Global Soul Music. That should make things clearer.

is at Santos Party House Thursday, April 28.

Ian Friday's Time Out Mix by TimeOutNewYork

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