On Sunday, June 16th, we’re featuring the iconic talent of Justin Strauss at our weekly dance-off Paradisco. Get to know this living legend with a peek into his motivations and listen to his top 5 tracks at the moment.
OXD: What inspired you to become a DJ?
Justin: Since I was a kid I collected records. I was in a band and we were living in LA and I wanted to come back home to New York, and a good friend of mine told me about this place called The Mudd Club that had just opened. She said I’d love it and should DJ there. When I got back to New York, I went to the club, met the DJ David Azarch, and starting talking records. He asked if I’d like to play some records at the club. I said “Sure” and that was how it started. The owner of the club Steve Mass liked what I was doing and asked me if I like to play down there every week.
OXD: What’s your favorite venue in NYC currently?
From a sound perspective I’d say Cielo and Output. They really put a lot of thought and care into how those clubs sound and it shows. I miss the subMercer, where I played quite often. Just had a great vibe and wicked sound for small intimate venue and the music was always great.
“I was just thinking how it was the gay clubs that were at the forefront of new and innovative sounds. Now it seems that most just are playing commercial top 40 music, which is depressing.”
OXD: Who is the DJ you admire the most?
Larry Levan has always been my biggest inspiration. I was lucky enough to spend many Saturday nights at the Paradise Garage. There was nothing like it ever. His influence will stay with me forever. The risks he took as a dj playing music from all genres, the way he played them, his obsession with the sound of his mixes and the sound at the Garage. It’s hard to put into words really.
OXD: We live in a time where gay house and disco fans like ourselves are going to non gay venues to discover fresh and new music. What do you think this means for the future of NYC’s nightlife?
Funny I was just thinking how back in the day it was the gay clubs that were at the forefront of new and innovative sounds. Now it seems that most just are playing very commercial top 40 music, which is depressing. What I find exciting is how this party and parties like Xanadude, and Wrecked are pushing this forward again, and that is great and exciting.
OXD: Finally, What are your top 5 tracks at the moment?
1. a/jus/ted: ‘A Brighter Light’ [Under The Shade Records]
2. Fabio Giannelli: ‘Maintain’ [Get Physical Records]
3. Todd Terje: ‘Strandbar’ [Olsen Recordings]
4. Nomi Ruiz: ‘&ME’ [Keinemusik Records]
5. a/jus/ted – ‘Stay Up Here’ [Southern Fried Records]