Cielo will celebrate its tenth birthday in January.
The intimate Manhattan nightspot has become a fixture on the New York club scene over its decade-long run. Holding just 300 people and equipped with a Funktion One sound system, the venue is home to François K's Monday night Deep Space party as well as a number of other long-running nights, including the classicist-oriented Roots parties.
We spoke with Matar via e-mail to discuss his club's history and the New York clubbing scene in general:
How has Cielo changed over the past 10 years and what are the moments you're most proud of? What are the things about the club that you're most proud of?
Consistent, quality programming and production—more so than change—define Cielo over the past ten years. I can honestly say I am proud of each night we open our doors, welcome a diverse crowd of die-hard regulars as well as clubbers from around the globe, and feature top-notch, international talent. Cielo does this almost every night of the week.
Beatport recently awarded Cielo “Best US Sound System” for its world renowned sound system by legendary UK sound system pioneers Funktion One. The sound system within the club’s timeless interior provides an intimate platform for DJs to showcase new sounds amidst classics. I am proud to say that house and techno—and all the genres in between—have played equal roles at Cielo. Veteran jocks such as Sasha, Carl Cox and Danny Tenaglia have played some of our most memorable nights. Given the meteoric rise of Berghain’s sound in recent years, I am also reminded of a night when we hosted an Ostgut party with Marcel Dettmann and Ryan Elliot back in 2007!
How do you think the club fits into NYC's music scene and clubbing landscape? What is its role?
Residencies have always distinguished the most notable clubs in New York and around the world. In a sense, they guarantee the success of guest DJs and new talent while a club evolves naturally with the music. Cielo now stands firmly within this tradition. Cielo continues to nurture long-standing residencies such as Little Louis Vega’s Roots, Willie Graff and my own Paradizo, Tedd Patterson’s Vibal, and Francois K’s Deep Space parties. They have solidified Cielo’s reputation in New York’s vibrant, but at moments—particularly during the last decade—unreliable scene. Seasoned patrons from across New York’s dance music generations as well as from around the world have come to rely upon Cielo as a quality nightlife environment.
How do you feel about the electronic music scene in NYC in general in 2012? Is it healthy? Is it fragmented?
Electronic music in New York—and across the United States—is experiencing an unexpected, but welcome, resurgence. The fragmentation you refer to between the underground house and techno scene and the commercial scene is natural at this point. And the relationship remains symbiotic. For every five clubbers who listen to what is currently called EDM, many of them will explore underground house and techno music. Many of today’s deep house and techno aficionados started off listening to trance in the late nineties. And Cielo continues to play an integral role in facilitating this journey for clubbers and DJs alike.