LE BAIN: We were thrilled to listen to your new album and we love it! What is Pale Blue? Is it a new alias, a new band?
MIKE SIMONETTI: Pale Blue is an entirely new project. I have been writing songs over the last 4 years for a 'solo' record. The original idea was to have a few guest vocalists sing on a few songs. The progress was slow and I wasn't 100% happy with where the record was going. One day I was asked to remix this band from LA called Silverhands. When I received the stems for the songs I was immediately taken with the vocalist, Liz Wight, and her amazing vocals. She had such a powerful and striking voice. I sent her a demo and I received vocals within a few days, and they were incredible. Hearing her voice on that song inspired me to write a few more, and then a few more. Before I knew it I had six songs and they all sorta fit together. So over that year or so Pale Blue was born. Also Jana Hunter sings on the record. I feel lucky to have these amazing vocalists...
Pale Blue The Past We Leave Behind
The album is titled ‘The Past We Leave Behind’. In what ways is this album a new beginning?
Pretty much every way. New label, new vocalist, new project, new sounds. Pretty much everything is new.
What’s up with your label Italians Do It Better?
I left Italians a few months ago. There is a new label called 2MR (Two Mikes Records), named after myself and Mike Sniper, who owns the labels. With 2MR I plan to release my stuff but more importantly I will be free to release other stuff and be free to do so without having to answer to anyone. We already have a lot of projects in the works and I'm very excited. I feel re-energized.
Silver Hands Skulls (Mike Simonetti Remix)
Your talent as a producer, or let’s say your 'soundscape' as a producer, does not limit the wide range of music you can play as a DJ. Would you say you take both art forms as seriously?
Oh yeah definitely. I'm not a proper musician. I can't read music or anything. I sorta make it up as I go along. I think it's more important to have a good ear than to be an actual musician these days. It's so easy to make music with computers, but the key is to know what sounds good. DJing is most definitely an art form, and it's where I feel most comfortable. I take both very seriously. If someone left their house to see me play I want to make sure they leave the club happy. I work for the crowd.
You have been a 'nerdy collector' of many different genres of music from punk and hardcore to italo disco and house. What was the latest sub-genre that you fell in love with?
I think I have pretty much covered every genre by now. I've been doing a series of mixes of rare synth/drone/psych/space music from the 1970's and 1980's. There's so much stuff out there like that, so much private press stuff... and of course I am a rabid punk and hardcore collector.
Mike Simonetti At the Juncture of Dark And Light Volume 2
You used to work in a nightclub called Mars starting in ‘89, “where The Standard, High Line is now”. How was it around here at night in the late 80's?
I used to park my car right in front of Le Bain's door actually! It was a ghost town. The only thing that was there was Hogs and Heifers, and it was just an empty biker bar... And of course the meat packing places. The area was known for its transgender prostitutes, and right where the door of Le Bain is was where they stood. So I would park there and they would sorta keep an eye on my car because I knew them and didn't hassle them like most people did. It could be very dangerous at times. I remember standing in front of Mars and this guy was driving a motorcycle like 100 miles an hour in the wrong direction and went head on with a taxi. It was really ugly...
How was it inside Mars?
I think Mars was where the parking lot is in front of The Standard towards the West Side Highway. The building was all silver with these long green lights sticking out all over the building like spikes (at least the front door was). There was the main entrance that went through a little hall and into the main room, and there was the basement entrance that went to a separate party called Trip, which was thrown by Eli who later started Shut Skates and Zoo York. It was all skaters and hip hop...DJ Duke Of Denmark was the DJ for Trip. He's one of the most underrated New York DJs of the 90's. There was a giant neon sign down there that said 'DRUGS' (laughs). Trip was the shit.
DJ Duke Live at Club Mars (1990)
After a while Trip blew up and moved to the second floor. That's when it got crazy. All the hip hop guys would perform live there. You name it, they came: Biz Markie, Easy E, KRS-ONE, De La Soul...Black Sheep played one of their first live shows there as did Tribe Called Quest... Anyway, on the first floor of Mars you would walk in and there would be walls of speakers on either side, like these fucking HUGE speakers. It was the loudest thing I've ever heard to this day. In the back were little dark rooms where shit went down. Some incredible dancers back then. People didn't stare at the DJ, they danced. The second floor was my favorite floor with Funkmaster Flex and Moby (with long hair) as main DJs. Moby used to play Liquid Liquid and I was so blown away by that...It was always fun.
Bobby Konders Nervous Acid (Nu Groove)
The third floor was a smaller room with more rock stuff and even more dark rooms. Then there was a floor above it that was more of a lounge/VIP area that was pretty boring because it was all famous people. And then there was the roof which was amazing as well. Bobby Konders was just starting to play dancehall at the time. The High Line was right at the roof and kids would sneak into Mars through the High Line by jumping from the wall. Towards the end people started getting shot. The door guys would be strapped with semi-automatics in their long leather trench coats. Shit was gnarly back then.
How old were you?
I was a kid. I was like 17. I didn't pay much attention to the music, I was just chasing girls. I worked as a promoter. I would go to other clubs and hand out flyers for Mars with my stamp on the back and I would get like $1 a flyer if they ended up back at Mars...