Andrew W.K. is a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Metal head. Self-styled motivational speaker. Twitter's resident PARTY HARD guru. But to most New Yorkers, he's the owner of downtown's only proper dance club, Santos Party House. NITESIDE sat down with the city's most fun after-hours fixture to talk dancing, the Boom Boom Room and of course how to party hard in 2010.
You've been rocking since 2001's I Get Wet and you even opened up your own dance club. Looking back at the decade, is there one prevailing theme to how New Yorkers partied in the oughts? I'm not sure there was one prevailing theme for all of the 2000s -- at least not for everyone. I'm sure each person had their own theme and own version of what was going on during those years. For me, the past decade has been an absolute mind-blower. I moved to NYC from Michigan and then my whole life changed. For me, the prevailing theme has probably been possibility -- I moved to New York to take advantage of all the opportunity to make dreams manifest. It's working!
With The Beatrice Inn closed and Andre Balazs' Boom Boom Room looming over downtown nightlife like an impenetrable castle tower, are we gearing up for a desolate downtown scene? Or will the lack of one specific spot help mix all of NY's splintered social fragments? I really loved the Beatrice Inn, and Boom Boom Room has a great name -- but all I want to see is more of everything. I think the next 10 years will be about diversity and synthesis. I love the idea of all the different cliques coming together in a variety of ways -- nightlife is a very powerful way for humanity to realize itself and celebrate each other.
Unlike most nightlife personalities, you're all about acceptance rather than exclusivity, and you're pretty earnest about ensuring that everyone has a good time -- does that make you a closet Raver as opposed to a metal guy? Ever since I first heard "dance" music, I was hooked. The first disco album I ever heard was "Hooked on the Classics," which took popular classical music themes and strung them together with a disco beat. I love Rave music and culture as much as any other passionate musical response. Any "scene" -- whether it be heavy metal or trance or techno -- is fueled by the same core values of loving the feeling of being alive. Music can connect us with that feeling so easily, and I figure why not use as many kinds of music to get that feeling as possible?
As you told New York magazine, you're more about creating the perfect party atmosphere than actually partying yourself. What are the key ingredients to creating a club experience and the ideal night out? I think the main ingredient is "will" -- having the will to party and to celebrate. If the organizer of a party has the will, then there is a way. If the people making the party have love and joy at the center of their desire, then the atmosphere of the whole celebration will emerge from that focus. Beyond that, always have more than enough to drink and a very loud sound system.
Cynics might argue that The Boom Boom Room is at best a bar and at worst a hotel lounge, while places like Cabin Down Below are far too small to accommodate a dance floor. Are New Yorkers afraid of dancing these days? New Yorkers love to dance! That's why we built Santos Party House with such a wide open dance floor -- we want people to boogie! There's time for dancing and time for lounging -- New York is great because there are so many different kinds of places to enjoy. But if you're looking to really dance to the music, you will find plenty of options.
What was the best DJ set at Santos last year, and what's the one you are most looking forward to this year? The Basement Jaxx set at Santos was pretty insane. There have been so many epic parties, but if I have to choose one it would be my wedding. My wife and I were married at Santos Party House and one of my best friends, Spencer Sweeney (co-owner of Santos Party House), did an amazing DJ set for us as our wedding gift. This year, I'm really looking forward to some hardcore dance music -- my dream is to have a 48 hour non-stop party where everyone gets to DJ.
Since NITESIDE is the new nightlife blog on the block, would you give us a PARTY HARD Tip? My pleasure! Here's a party hard tip sure to improve any party: Always take great care to ensure that your eyes are moist. Having a dry and scratchy eye doesn't allow for as much partying as wet, dewy, oily eyes. Keep your eyes soaked and buttery, and you'll be partying all night long.