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Danny Krivit: 30 Years Of New York House

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Monday, April 11, 2005
Best known as one of the leading lights behind New York's renowned (though sadly defunct) soulful house club Body & Soul, Danny Krivit has also been a central figure in the development of club culture and music, DJing for over 30 years throughout his home town of New York, a pioneer of both disco and original hip hop.

As Danny Rock at seminal hip hop venue the Roxy, he regularly played alongside Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaata in he early 80s (becoming recognized as one of the few white djs of the time who could scratch mix), though my the end of the decade was disillusioned with hip hop's commercialization, so focused on his first love house. 15 years on, he remains predominantly focused on dance music, which makes him an excellent choice for Defected's latest compilation In The House, a triple CD of old, new and timeless dance music.

With a vinyl collection of 60,000 records, including "probably about 10 or 15 000' house tunes, he certainly had a wide selection to choose from though finding them wasn't exactly straightforward, he admits.

"The collection started out in order, though nowadays there's a huge amount of miscellaneous records, I basically have all the house records together and classics in another place but the biggest pile is a huge miscellaneous pile," he chuckles. "I store them all in my apartment which looks like a storage van, then I've also got three storage rooms beside."

Musically, his approach was somewhat simpler, he insists.

"I started with the idea of: "OK I want to put on some tracks here that will draw some attention, that I personally like, but in particular will attract some attention, tunes that are not common," says Danny.

"Defected also wanted me to include some of my edits, and I included some of my favourite new songs, so I went after a few house classics that I personally like that I had a hard time finding. One of them being this very early one - "I'm Your Superman' by Jean Leslie Homes, I think sometimes that goes for $200 now. So I tried to put on a bunch of things that made it like - Oh well, another reason to get the CD."

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): You've been involved in club culture right from the start, how do you see house culture at the moment-

Danny Krivit: "It's not at its best moment, it's hurting right now for being on a lower rung of the music industry, and the music industry itself is also hurting. So it's quite difficult. It involved a lot of work for a DJ to find music and sort through it all and even the current standard change, involving playing music either on CDs or records is also an issue. I also think the public is a little confused because if they hear a song, it's not necessarily the case that they can go out and buy it. And a lot of people are just downloading or trading, so it's not a healthy sales situation going on. It's like so many things have combined to make it a little uneasy time. You can really feel like record companies and distributors and stores are on the edge all the time."

Skrufff: When we talked to Skrufff three years ago, you were talking about spending most of your time in downtown Manhattan though you're soon doing your third Body and Soul in Japan, are you looking more globally now- Have you changed your focus-

Danny Krivit: "I think when I made that statement, I was probably referring to the fat that for over forty years I have moved about ten blocks. I'm not very comfortable outside of that area. I really always feel comfortable around here. As far as traveling is concerned, I've been doing a lot of it and I love playing music in different places, especially when I get a good audience that's open minded, but I actually dislike traveling itself. I've done more of it now, and I've found some places I'm a little more comfortable in now, but still I really like being home."

Skrufff: Which places have you found that you are more comfortable in-

Danny Krivit: "I think I've been very for