This week we had the chance to interview a New York City legend, Honey Dijon. Based in NYC, born and bred in the Windy City, Honey is known for her unique take on the Chicago sound with inflections of the deep New York underground. In fact, Honey is one of the few DJs in recent years to defy pigeon-holing. She draws from a wide repertoire of musical styles from old school Chicago House, disco, tech house, tribal, funk, soul, and R&B. Always inspired by new ideas and new music, Honey continues to push the envelope to create new and exciting projects. Honey is launching her new weekly party Muzik Box at the Standard Hotel’s Le Bain nightclub this Friday, October 5th. Check out our interview below.
“They say if you want something done right do it yourself! After spending the summer in Berlin, I decided that when I returned to New York that I wanted to start my own party. I was so inspired by the club culture and the music that I heard in such clubs as Cookies, Watergate, and of course Panorama Bar, that I wanted to share that experience back home. I felt that the time was right to bring back some good quality house music into the scene that was undiluted, fresh, and without an agenda other than to make your ass dance. I approached Le Bain about the idea and they were just as excited as I was about it. Hence the name The Muzik Box, inspired by Ron Hardy’s Music Box in Chicago. Dark, underground, sexy, and innovative. Join us for a night of fun, dancing, good music, a few laughs, and a bit of debauchery at The Muzik Box!” – Honey Dijon
“I wish the dancefloors were more diverse to reflect the culture of the city.”
OXD: We’re excited to have a new Friday night staple with Muzik Box. Ever since we lost Clubber Down Disco, we’ve felt the need for a weekly party that isn’t on a school night! What can we expect? Will you have guest DJs as well? Any names you would love to share the decks with?
HONEY: I spent the summer in Berlin and I was so excited by the club culture there and the music that I heard that it inspired me to start my own party in New York that focuses purely on underground house music. I felt that the time was right and Le Bain is the perfect space for a party like this, [especially] with its panoramic views of the city. My best friend Derrick Carter will christen the night and I will continue to have special guests to keep the party exciting. There are so many DJs that I love and respect; I would love to get the Keinemusik guys from Berlin over. They are making some great music at the moment.
OXD: Who are your favorite producers and DJs in NYC? Do you feel like the city still plays a big role in the dance music scene?
HONEY: My favorite producer in New York is Quentin Harris, hands down. We are kindred spirits when it comes to music. He is so talented and deserves more recognition in NYC. New York has a vibrant techno scene, but it imports most of its talent. It is very challenging for hometown heroes. I would say Europe is definitely more directional musically for sure.
OXD: You have been a part of the New York nightlife scene through various eras and seen different things come and go throughout the years. Some say New York nightlife is “dying” in its current state – where do you see it going?
HONEY: I wish I knew. New York at the moment is so segregated and I am saddened by that. I wish the dancefloors were more diverse to reflect the culture of the city. However EDM is very popular in NYC so I think it will start to head more in that direction.
OXD: This past summer you spent a few months in Berlin. What brought you there? Did you experience or learn anything new? What has you most excited about returning to New York?
HONEY: I went to Berlin because I’ve spent a lot of time there in the last couple of years and I fell in love with the city. It’s so open and the club culture is off the hook! You can party every night of the week and they are some really talented people there. I learned to slow my BPM down and also not to be afraid to change tempos during my set and take risks. It was really inspiring. NYC is my home and I’m quite comfortable with the rhythm of the city. Having said that I do miss being able to party nonstop!
OXD: You’ve DJ’ed at fashion shows, gay parties, and for mixed crowds. How do they differ? What is your favorite type of crowd to spin for and why?
HONEY: I love to spin for mixed crowds. I like to see all kinds of people on my dancefloor. Its all about the music for me. Gay culture in NYC has geared towards a pop music format of late. That’s cool but I wish there were other options. There are a lot of gay people in NYC that like techno and house and disco and I believe there should be room for that as well.
OXD: There is a hot debate now about DJs who now just “press play” and simply satisfy a crowd by playing a string of hits together. Dennis Ferrer was even kicked off the decks at Miami’s Mansion for not playing enough commercial music. What position does this put you in as a DJ? Do you feel pressure to satisfy this mainstream taste?
HONEY: At the end of the day its a DJ’s job to entertain. You can always say no. No one forces anyone to take gigs. However, the unspoken truth of the matter is that those gigs pay very well. I don’t feel pressure because I think at this point promoters know what they are getting when they book me. Not all commercial music is bad. Gotye [Somebody That I Used to Know] was a great song. The Adele songs were all great. However, I try to play them in a way that people may not normally experience them.
” I went to Berlin because I’ve spent a lot of time there in the last couple of years and I fell in love with the city. It’s so open and the club culture is off the hook!”
OXD: We loved your recent remixes for Jessica 6
and your first commercial mix for Cyndi Lauper
. Can we expect from production work from you in the future? Are there any dream artists with him you would like to collaborate, mainstream or otherwise?
HONEY: I’m always working. I have tons of tracks on Beatport. I’m working on my first album as we speak as well and a lot more singles. I’m moving towards a more soulful tech house sound. I would love to collaborate with Azari & III, Kim Ann Foxman, Danny Tenaglia, The Rapture, Robert Owens, and this producer i love called Sante. The list is endless.
OXD: You were a dancer and now you primarily DJ. How do you think that influenced your DJ style?
HONEY: Yes of course. Its given me a sense of reading a dancefloor. I know when to speed things up, takes things down, play a vocal track. It’s given me a sense of rhythm and timing. Two very important elements for DJing properly.
OXD: What recently released albums have you been impressed with?
HONEY: Frank Ocean. I thought it was such a super cool and great album. Love his voice. Also Gregory Porter. Amazing jazz singer. I love jazz.
OXD: We certainly have favorite producers and remixers, when we see they’ve released a new track we jump with enthusiasm even before we hear the track. Do you feel similarly about anyone?
HONEY: Yes. &ME. I love all of his work. So sexy and the sound quality is beyond! I buy every track he makes. He’s my inspiration at the moment.