January 29 2020

In the Mix with Dance Dance Dance!

New York-Le Bain
We chat with NY DJs Eli Escobar and mOma before we Dance Dance Dance every Wednesday at Le Bain. As the weekly party enters its sixth year, Eli and mOma are back with a new mix for 2020.
THE STANDARD: Tell us about your mix. 

mOma: We wanted the mix to capture the sound of the night. It’s been a while since we cut a Dance Dance Dance mix, so we thought now, having just celebrated the 5 year anniversary of the night back in November, would be a perfect time to put something together that illustrates to progression of the sound. The vibe is still dance music but you can certainly hear the afro-house influence throughout. 

Eli: At this point people are definitely coming to our night ready to hear afro house and other African inspired dance music, and what’s so special about that is you know the crowd is there for one thing – the music. For a DJ this is all you could ever hope for. People come ready to dance. We also wanted this mix to show, for those who have never been before, how we also mix up ballroom, Baltimore and Jersey club music, techno and rap. So it’s like a master mix of all this stuff (hopefully) effortlessly combined.



"I can't wait to drop all the new amapiano tunes I brought back from my time in Johannesburg." – mOma
What’s up for DDD in 2020? Do you see a major musical shift coming up this year?

mOma: From a personal standpoint I want to keep building on the foundation of r&b, house and Amapiano [a new genre of electronic dance music that emerged in South Africa in 2016] that we have been cultivating for the past couple years. We’re always going to play big afro-house, afrobeats, Gqom, brazil-house and ballroom style heaters – that’s a given – but I’m looking forward to bringing back more soulful, jazzy, r&b vibes, including disco. A lot of the people who attend the party nowadays weren’t there when the party started in 2014 so there is a good opportunity to reintroduce the vibes from the early days. I feel like it would sound quite fresh in 2020.

Eli: I’ve been really into a lot of the new dancehall coming out so I’m definitely bringing more of that into the night and slowing the BPM down more often. 

mOma, you’re just back from your Winter tour in Africa. Can you share one of the highlight?

mOma: One major highlight was closing out Afropunk in Johannesburg in front of more than 15,000 people on New Year’s. I had the last set of the festival, after Solange’s performance, at around 1:30am on January 1st. So not only was it the last set at Afropunk, it was also my first set of 2020. The crowd reaction was amazing. They rocked with me as I played everything from hip-hop to afrobeats to old school classics. And of course the place erupted when I played Amapiano which is a subgenre  of South African house that has completely taken over the country, both on the radio and in the clubs. It was certainly a moment.

What is the big inspiration that you’re bringing back from this trip?

mOma: One word: Amapiano. On this trip, I went to Sudan, Kenya, and Ethiopia and each experience was life changing in its own way. But I spent the majority of my time in South Africa where I caught the “yano” bug as they call it: I can't wait to drop all the new amapiano tunes I brought back from my time in Johannesburg.




"I just don’t know what to do with myself if I’m not DJing." – Eli Escobar

Eli, you’re officially the busiest NY DJ, aren’t you? 

Eli: It’s funny, I had Friday and Saturday nights off this past weekend and I was looking forward to it but once the weekend came around, I was going stir crazy! I just don’t know what to do with myself if I’m not DJing. I love it so much and I need it as some sort of cathartic release I suppose. I’m quite lucky to work as much as I do 25 years into my career and I never take it for granted. But it’s also my job and only real means of income. Let me tell you, the royalties checks for underground dance music are not bananas [Laughs]. So I need to work as much as I can.

Tell us how DJing Dance Dance Dance every Wednesday is different from all the other gigs.

Dance Dance Dance is different because Mo and I have created the musical identity of the party on our own and brought people to us. To hear what WE do. And it’s such a mix of styles you don’t really hear all together that much. It’s way more challenging than the average night and I spend a lot of time every Wednesday looking for new music to play that evening. I also have to keep up with Mo who is always bringing it!

Your big NY inspiration for this new year 2020?

I’m inspired by nightlife here right now, period.  I’m getting to play everything from Battle Hymn to smaller hip hop and RnB nights put together by younger DJ’s who are just coming up in NYC. It’s awesome to be welcomed into so many different scenes and worlds. So I’m just inspired by everyone, the new blood and the older dj’s who still throw amazing parties for their loyal crowds. I’d be hard pressed to think of another city that has a 718 Sessions, a Everyday People, a Battle Hymn, a Papi Juice – the list goes on. And you’ll see some of the same people at all those parties! I think we’ll look back at this time as being very special. We’re lucky to be here.


Dance! Dance! Dance! at Le Bain
2020 Opening Party 
Wednesday, January 29th
10pm | The Standard, High Line

Photographer
Alexis Brown