October 03 2016

Tony Humphries: All Night, Alright

New York-Le Bain
We chat with the King of House before he returns to Le Bain and plays all night on Saturday, October 8th.
LE BAIN: Last year, you told us: “By the summer of 2016, the club life in NYC will be healthy and vibrant.” Now that summer is behind us, are you satisfied with the way it went?
TONY HUMPHRIES: Being born and raised in New York, you're never satisfied, but it seems very healthy. 
What would make you happier with NYC nightlife?
Consistency! Competition is always great for any scene, but longer residencies may be the catalyst to make it even better. 
"I ended up playing for 14 hours! [...] Great mental workout!"
When talking to XLR8R about DJing Brooklyn in the 80s, you said: “There was this joyful explosion of technology and experience, it was a new social moment with a lot of innocence.” Did we lose that innocence?
The innocence hasn't gone anywhere, it will never be lost, it's just here in another form. Younger people have rebooted and started to rebuild, so they can claim whatever is out there to be all their own. The trend seems to be that every decade, there's a cycle; dance music gets minimal, then gets mature about 6-7 years into the cycle, then repeats itself all over again. 

You’ve been touring all summer in Europe and Asia and you’re just back from Japan. What was the highlight?
I was hired to do a 5-hour set in Nagoya and ended up playing for 14 hours! For an 800+ capacity club to have 75-100 people still partying 14 hours later was a lot of fun. It was great to play without repeating any songs all night. If it wasn't for the staff, we could've stayed even longer. Great mental workout. 
"Music is my passion, title or not."
The closure of Fabric in London has put London’s nightlife in the headlines, but there is another legendary club in London, which just turned 25: Ministry of Sound. You had been one of the resident DJs of the club at its glorious beginning, alongside Harvey and Frankie Knuckles. Could you share one fantastic moment you remember from the early MoS days?
This one relates to the laws surrounding dance music and clubs, and working around the laws. One of the first times playing there, I was going on after Graeme Park; started my set for about an hour, then was told I had to wait 2 more hours, before restarting because of a law. I watched club patrons sit on the dance floor watching some psychedelic movie, while listening to ambient music for 2 hours. The club resumed and stayed open until about 10am. The law didn’t stop the music, just an interlude in the dancing. 

Since 2009, you’ve also been touring the world alongside Louie Vega and David Morales as the Kings of House, which has been a festival blockbuster. What’s next for Mr. Humphries?
Just continuing as the usual Tony Humphries. Music is my passion, title or not.  

On Saturday, October 8th, Le Bain presents Tony Humphries 
The Standard, High Line | 10pm

Header photo by Neil Aline