One of NYC's most respected parties in the mix.
Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin are the pair behind New York City's Mister Saturday Night and Mister Sunday parties. Began back in 2008, the events have become known as one of the city's most dependable, and moreover fun, places to hear house music in the city. The party's following and longevity can in part be attributed to Carter and Harkin's eye for detail: across the many different spaces they've utilized down the past few years, the pair brings in their own soundsystem and staff—"to make it feel like home."
This summer "the Mister" has returned to Brooklyn's Gowanus Grove for a series of outdoor events on Sunday afternoons, focussing (as always) as much on showcasing their own tastes as those of out-of-town guests such as Omar-S. As the party gears up for its 100th instalment this coming weekend, Carter and Harkin can also reflect on a successful start to the Mister Saturday Night imprint earlier this year. (Anthony Naples' Mad Disrespect EP, comprised of three roughed-up, hip-swinging house jams.)
Carter and Harkin present all the colours of the Mister rainbow on RA.321, with 80 minutes of soul, funk, boogie, house, disco and techno.
What have you been up to recently?
Justin Carter: I've been on vacation in Italy! My wife's cousin got married in a small southern Italian town called Sassano. We turned it into an excuse to travel. I lived in Italy for a short time, so I speak a little Italian, and I love to go back and practice. In the past couple years, every time I've traveled, it's been linked to gigs, so it was nice this time to travel unfettered to a giant box of records. Anyway, I know this is RA, not Fathom, so I'll leave the vacation talk there.
In terms of the Mister, we've been gearing up for our 99th and 100th parties. Eamon and I have been doing Mister Saturday Night and Mister Sunday for over three years, but we've never celebrated an anniversary. A few months ago, Eamon realized that we were about to hit our 100th, and we thought that would be a good hallmark. The vast majority of our parties have been full-scale productions in which we bring in our own soundsystem, hire out a loft space or outdoor space and bring in our own staff—everything from top to bottom—so a hundred parties feels like quite a feat. They won't be huge blowouts, as we're not into a spectacle that overshadows the social aspects of the Mister, but there are surprises in store. (Have a look at the video we just had made to celebrate.)
Eamon Harkin: While Justin's been sunning himself in Italy I've been holding down the fort! But seriously...in addition to the milestone parties we've been launching our new label. We were super happy with the reaction to the first record (Anthony Naples' Mad Disrespect EP) so we're just working to build on that with a series of quality releases. We're now in the process of readying the next batch of records, which is really exciting. The next release comes from Archie Pelago, a trio of local producers and musicians from Brooklyn.
How and where was the mix recorded?
Whenever we make a mix, we each do our own half and find a way to bring them together. We spent about a month recording and sending pieces back and forth. Each half was recorded in our respective apartments in Fort Greene, Brooklyn (we live a couple blocks from each other) with two turntables, a CDJ, a E&S DJR 400 mixer aided with a little bit of Ableton and a Plush tube delay pedal.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
Eamon Harkin: The mix definitely has a summer vibe to it. I think we're very much in that frame of mind at the moment with Mister Sunday running every week and the weather being so great in NY this summer. We also wanted to represent the musical variety of the party and also showcase a couple of new tracks coming up on the label.
Justin Carter: We didn't necessarily go into it with a specific idea, but I think it's turned out as a very good representation of what happens at the party. Also, this wasn't on purpose, but nine of the sixteen songs in the mix are New York records. I like that it happened that way, because it says something about how the city we live in inspires us to do what we do. We really love New York.
Through all the ups and downs of New York nightlife down the years, at which level would you say it's at in 2012?
Justin Carter: It's hard to extract myself from what's happening at this moment and say that things are better or worse now than they were at some other point. I came to New York in 1999 knowing absolutely nothing about club culture. My first nightlife experience was at Body & Soul, less than a week after I arrived. I had absolutely no context for it. A new friend just took me along. I loved it, and I went back over and over, but for me it was just a fun place to dance with a wonderfully interesting mix of people. I feel like I continue to be oblivious to a lot of what happens in club culture. Of course I end up going and checking out new parties, new venues, new bands and such, but the thing I'm always drawn in by are the things that make me feel comfortable.
The one thing that I have noticed is that there's renewed attention for New York, and that makes me happy. New York is a city that deserves attention.
Eamon Harkin: I think the scene is really healthy. There are lots of parties, lots of artists coming through, great home-grown talent making exciting music and extremely musically savvy and enthusiastic crowds. I think people get hung up on the lack of institutional clubs in New York. There's definitely a dearth of traditional venues but that's a modern condition of the times and a reflection of the old business model for running venues which no longer works in this city. The tradition and culture is absolutely alive and kicking.