A&A: Tell us about yourself.
Danny: Well…what to say. Buying, listening to and playing music for people is what I do obsessively by nature. I love it. I also like fashion, and to me that goes hand-in-hand with music. I love new ways of thinking about things, how to change things and keep things moving. New music is exciting for that reason, and so is old music that I’ve never heard before, or am rediscovering. I’m working hard on my mixing skills at the moment – it’s been a while since I’ve played music at anyone’s parties but my own, and I’m really looking forward to it.
You love the ’80s a lot. Why?
It’s bold, glamorous, and melodic; a stylish antidote to the ’90s obsession with monotony, minimalism and understatement. It’s extroverted, proud, and bright. It’s complex style upon complex style. In the ’90s I loved everything ’90s. It was all pared down, unassuming, ‘deep’, pseudo-spiritual, tribal, earthy, and obsessed with a minimalistic, industrial, and fairly bland view of the future. The ’90s was a reaction to ’80s excess – and it set a trend that still lingers. I loved that minimal thing then, and now I just find ’90s understatement so repressed. I crave the ’80s obsession with style upon style, glamour, drama, colour, personal expression, and speaking one’s mind. And its complexity. The ’80s was very retrospective – there were medieval influences (think new romantics and the film Labyrinth), classical influences, peoples’ obsession with Beethoven (eg. Eurythmics: I love to listen to Beethoven – great song), neoclassicism (marble, doric columns, toga parties – watch the FGTH Relax video). ’50, ’60s retro was big in the eighties – think rockabillly, and Cyndi Lauper’s band Blue Angel. Things were big and expressive. This went with this, but that went with that. You couldn’t just rely on pulling together a few grey, featureless things, you had to know what you were doing aesthetically, and use a rich aesthetic language. I think it eventually ran aground by people just relying on the cliched tropes, but that’s what’s great about the way the eighties is being rediscovered – every year musicians and designers look at a new aspect of the eighties, or look back to a period that the eighties looked back to. To me the ’90s stripped melody from dance music (with the exception of pop and trance). It’s time to bring back style and complexity.
For the past ten years, pioneers in dance music have been studying the eighties to learn how to put style and melody back into dance music, without discarding the lessons of the ’90s. Synth-pop is huge again. We have people like the Outrunners, Marsheaux, Kavinsky, Sally Shapiro, Miami NIghts 1984, The Golden Filter, Glass Candy. Tasteful, but melodic, and drawing on Italo Disco, which is a whole other type of synth pop and dance music that never really made it to English speaking countries (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italo_disco). Post-Disco is also really important for me. That’s what I’m interested in. Alongside this will be all the New Wave, synth pop and Hi-NRG hits that people know and love. And don’t tell anyone, but I actually quite like some of the early house music from the ’80s too.
What are three ’80s fads you wish would come back?
I think most of it has – with the exception of garish errors in taste, like excessive use of shoulder pads. I worked in the fashion industry for years, and still like to keep an eye on that, and on Indie street fashion, which tends to inform a lot of fashion. I think I first noticed ’80s influences in music and clothing about twelve years ago. It was subtle, but there. For example, I have a Nicholas Blanchett t-shirt from 1999 that’s in a raglan cut, round neck, with hand-painted stripes on the front (painted by the artist Ben Webb). It’s very new wave punk, and I hope to wear it on the night if I can wrench it from the clenched fist of my friend who recently borrowed it for a fashion shoot. Another example – in 2000 a friend came back from a shopping trip in New York with a pair of Helmut Lang aviators. I guess ten years ago the style was quite early eighties and New Wave oriented, whereas now the style seems to be moving to later eighties and even early nineties retro. The resurgence of fluoro and ‘balearic’ and acid beats in dance music are examples of that – like Azari and III’s great stuff (two of the four members are gay, incidentally). Rules don’t really work when it comes to fashion though – I think fashion’s a lot more diverse and less rule-bound than people realise. I like to explore a range of possibilities at any time, and play with different fads, both in music and clothing. It keeps me and my listeners on our toes and never stale!
You’re the DJ for Homolicious ’86. What can the punters expect?
SOME of it will be the big pop hits – I’m not above it and it usually fills a dance floor. But there’ll also be a healthy serving of delicious morsels you don’t know but will love if you stop and listen/dance to it. Most of it will be from the eighties, some of it will be heavily influenced by the eighties. There’ll be new and original remixes of the old stuff, and new remixes of the new stuff. One thing I’m not going to do is replicate the Atomic nights that the San Fran Bathhouse put on. Those nights have been just wonderful,but me and thousands of other DJs have been playing the New Wave and early-’80s synth pop for ten years and I know I’m quite bored of it. If you’re not sick of hearing Blue Monday (New Order) and Heart Of Glass (Deborah Harry) by now, then I can’t help you I’m afraid! Amazingly great music, but there’s a LOT of amazingly great music. There’s very little ’80s music I hate, but I’ll try and play the best of it, and play stuff that’s fairly popular too, without playing stuff that’s great but just a bit stale.
What’s your favourite ’80s song?
Too hard! If I had time I could tell you my favorite fifty songs or so. Here are a few of the many I really like:
A Flock Of Seagulls, I Ran (So Far Away) (1982)
Stevie Nicks, Stand Back (1983)
Bronski Beat, Smalltown Boy (1984)
East Wall, Eyes Of Glass (1985)
Peter Richard, Walking In The Neon (1985)
Eurythmics, When Tomorrow Comes (1986)
Desireless, Voyage Voyage (1986)
D.A.F. (Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft), Brothers (1985)
Grace Jones, I’m Not Perfect (But I’m Perfect For You) (1986)
Can people request songs on the night?
I’ve really enjoyed seeing all the requests on Facebook, and I’ve done my best to incorporate those into the large collection of songs I’ll prepare to possibly play on the night. If people are desperate to still make requests on the night, I’ll see what I can do, but it would help me if they talked to my sidekick – Dangermouse (aka Al – he’ll be hovering near me) – my partner in life and crime. He can then pass it on to me in potted form. Just bear in mind I’m not a jukebox! I’ll be working hard to try and mix songs in way that flows and keeps the momentum up. To do that needs concentration and preparation – especially when you haven’t DJ’d in a while! Just playing requests doesn’t necessarily make for the best listening and dancing experience.
Will you be dressing up for the party?
I like to dress up a little bit every day, and this will be a special opportunity to do so. FUN! You may have gathered that I love clothes. I’ll be wearing a five-panel striped cap that’s a little bit Pet Shop Boys, big Wayfarer-style specs, colourful chinos, a colorful aztec dangler (dangler is my name for a necklace), and a sweatshirt with one pink sleeve, and maybe that New Wave striped T. I may wear a fingerless glove too – maybe a red one or a black one, but I’ll see. Oooh, and I have my David Hasselhof special – a fabulous Knight Rider style black leather jacket with ribbed padding at the shoulders that friends mocked me for when I first bought it 8 years ago. Now I still look cool, and they’re still working hard to keep up… Oww!!
We can’t wait! Anything else you’d like to add?
Come along, and stay in touch afterwards (I’m on Facebook and Soundcloud). Also, I’ve uploaded a quick mix that you can listen to or download now.
I’m really looking forward to seeing you guys. I LOVE YOU ALL!! XXXX
Danny Noir will DJ at Homolicious 1986, this Saturday night (23 June, 2012) at Medusa. Tickets are available online now, or for $20 on the door.