When the pages of dance music history are written and researchers try to narrow down which areas are most enriched with music milestones, New York City will certainly be high on that list. From Larry Levan and the infamous Paradise Garage to Twilo and Tunnel, the Big Apple has been one of house music's hot spots long before the national explosion. That being said, there are only a few artists around today that were entrenched in the tight knit community that was the early 'club land' and throughout time they have evolved with the changes in music trends and production technology.
DJs that fall onto this list include; Danny Tenaglia, Roger Sanchez, Steve Lawler, Sasha, John Digweed and Boris. From their earlier days as residents at legendary venues such as Twilo, Crobar, Soundfactory, Tunnel and Vinyl, these DJ/producers still remain relevant as they - just like the times and crowds - have changed. Luckily, for those of you who have a desire to learn more about the times of dance music before you earned your own strooping shoes, Joonbug recently had the opportunity to sit down with the very talented DJ/producer Boris. Following his recent release on Dubfire's Sci + Tec imprint and an appearance at the chaotic artist haven, The BPM Festival, the NYC club icon took some time to allow us to pick his brain and look deep into the mind of a seasoned DJ veteran. Check it out below!
Joonbug: Thanks for interviewing with me Boris. Where to begin? Your career is deeply entrenched in dance music history to say the least. For our inexperienced readers, let's talk about how you got started. How did it all begin for you?
Boris: I got started back in 1991 at a club in New York City called Tilt. I was playing a mixture of all kinds of music. Back then you didn't really play just one genre of music unless it was really underground techno or deep house.
Joonbug: You were renowned during the 90's and early 2000's for representing the ideal 'Bridge and Tunnel' crowd sound. How would you describe your sound in the earlier years of your career?
Boris: Well I grew up in Brooklyn, which was pretty much my following back then, that over the years crossed over to the other boroughs. Like I had said, in the earlier years I played a mixture of stuff, whether it be hip hop, house, disco etc. I guess you can label it as a mashup, which it would be called today, but I gradually moved towards strictly playing house in the mid 90's. Being that it was my first love from my days going out to World, Tunnel, Mars and Redzone while listening to guys like Junior Vasquez, David Morales, Frankie Knuckles, DJ Disciple and other DJs like that.
Joonbug: In recent years, you have become one of the more dominant force residents at NYC's megaclub, Pacha. What is your favorite part about playing there? What is it that you love about the environment the renowned cherry cathedral creates?
Boris: Pacha NYC has been home for me for the past 6 years and our parties there are as strong now, if not stronger then when we first started. When I play there it's my home base. I can always count on my fan base coming out to support me and dance the night way until the wee hours of the morning. I feel like I can pretty much play anything or do anything musically I want there and let's just say it isn't the same in other parts of the country like Vegas for example. Pacha really feels like home for me.
Joonbug: For what has developed into a much different sound change for you, Sci+ Tec just released your latest EP New Generation. What made you decide to transform from the classic NYC style to the more global friendly techno? How did you manage to integrate the sounds and style you became renowned for into this new venture down the alley way of techno?
Boris: In this game you always have to stay ahead and keep fresh otherwise you will be quickly forgotten being that there are more DJs today than lawyers and doctors put together. In all honesty, most of the big DJs that were around when I first started are no longer in the scene or relevant anymore for whatever reason. It may be that they didn't adapt to the music or sound of today. I just felt with releasing this EP on such a renowned and respected label run by the world famous Dubfire, would really help me branch out to a whole new audience and fan base since I have pretty much done all I can here in New York.
Joonbug: What can we expect to hear from you in the next year? Any big collaborations or release we should be excited about?
Boris: Where to begin?!? I'm currently finishing a collaboration with Roger Sanchez. I just finished another collaboration with DJ Chus featuring Roland Clark that will be released on Toolroom. On the techno front, I have an EP for Christian Smith's label, Tronic. I am also going to work on other EPs for labels like Octopus, Alleanza and some others. And of course, the new 'Believe' CD, that will be out in time for WMC, on the well respected Nervous Records. This will be the third installment of that series. I also have a slew of club dates all across the globe. So, I have a real busy year ahead and let's just say I am really excited.
Joonbug: You recently participated in the huge BPM Festival in Playa Del Carmen. I too, was in attendance and all I can say is that it's the only gathering on earth truly like that. As a DJ, what would you say BPM represents? How would you describe that gathering in a few words?
Boris: This was my fourth year playing the BPM Festival. I have been going to BPM since the beginning, so I have seen it grow from infancy to what it is today. In my opinion, it is the best festival featuring the best DJs in the world. Where else can you go for 10 days that has amazing weather, people and parties with all the DJs together in the same week. It's truly an amazing experience and an all around great time.
Joonbug: Who are some upcoming producers that you have kept your eyes on? Who would you say is a young DJ/producer that is poised to breakout in 2013?
Boris: Some of the guys I have been really loving lately are Tony Dee, Mr.Bizz, Hollen, Gary Beck, The Junkies, Mindcontrol (Peter Bailey & Richie Santana) and Sabb to name a few.
Joonbug: You have played all over the globe from Ibiza to Miami. What venue/event is your favorite to play above all others?
Boris: Besides my home base of Pacha in NYC, I love Space in Miami. When I play there it feels right. I have actually been a resident there for 6 years which is as long as I have been at Pacha also. The terrace is truly magical! For those of you who have experienced Space know exactly what I'm talking about. I have done some of my longest and most amazing events there.
Joonbug: You recently announced a new residency at Boston's latest hot spot, Bijou. What made you decide to call it one of your new homes? Would you say that Boston nightlife is on the rise?
Boris: I have been playing parties in Boston since the Late 90's and I had been a resident at some of the biggest and most popular clubs there. When I came back to play at Bijou last September, I didn't know what to expect. After playing that night I was like 'WOW!'. It was the perfect room, sound, lighting, DJ booth, crowd and I absolutely loved it! Following that night, I signed a 4 date deal for the year with them.
Joonbug: Throughout your long career, you have been exposed to a wide array of different music trends and artists. That being said, who are some of your favorite artists from throughout the years, whether it be dance music or any genre of music?
Boris: I LOVE Alicia Keys and a lot of early 80's music. Chaka Khan and artists like that. I have also been really into R&B and 80's rock like Depeche Mode and Duran Duran.
Joonbug: Last question Boris. This is a subject that I like to talk about with every artist I get to interview being that it is somewhat of a controversial issue, so please feel free to really go into it if you feel the need. EDM as a whole is certainly going through what some would consider a golden period. Some think it is a good thing, others not at all. With this global surge in popularity (in specific the US), where do you see
the industry going? Do you think it's a good or bad thing that the scene has become saturated with so many 'newbies'? Do you think that the sanctity of the underground can remain unscathed as more and
more people funnel into the club scene? What would be the perfect scenario in your eyes as EDM moves forward? Being that you represent a generation that is more deep rooted in dance music's development, are you happy with the role you played in dance music's overall explosion?
Boris: I have mixed feelings about it. It's definitely a good thing that kids growing up are being exposed to electronic music rather than other genres and now dance music is on the map across the globe. Anywhere you go, whether it be sporting events, fashion shows, or TV commercials, dance music is being played and I find that great.
My thing is, I just don't understand all these young guys coming out of nowhere that I have never heard of and they are being booked across the globe in well known prominent clubs. I guess the kids are loving it so more power to them. As far as the underground scene, it too has wildly blown up. I was down in Miami a few months back and Richie Hawtin, who is as underground and techno as it gets, was playing at Liv which is the most commercial venue with the most commercial crowd. Needless to say, the party rocked! To see the crowd react in that room the way it did was amazing. That's when I knew the underground had officially crossed over to the masses. I'm all for dance music evolving world wide. It just helps all of us who are in it together.
I am fortunate and blessed being that I have been able to do this as long as I have. I am happy but at the same time I am also not a content person which means I will continue to strive for bigger things in the future.