TONY HUMPHRIES: It was designed to showcase various genres of music anticipating that diversity for New Year's Eve. The selections were played at an uplifting energetic holiday tempo to warm us up for the celebration.
Tony Humphries' NYE mix
Ultra, You’ve had a busy 2018. How does 2019 look?
ULTRA NATÉ: 2018 has been one for the books for sure and a lot of seeds have been planted to make 2019 even crazier! It will also be my 30th anniversary in the music business! My first single “It’s Over Now” came out in 1989 on Warner Bros UK.
TONY: There have been a few, but it’s always weird participating in the time countdown in other countries then looking across the world to my hometown waiting hours to watch the ball drop in Times Square.
ULTRA: Same occasion [laughs].
TONY: Every NYE is special to me. I’m always full of optimism about the new year and what better way than starting it off with a room filled with happy people in NYC at Le Bain.
Tell us about that picture.
TONY: What a picture! Such great memories. A historical bond. I was so grateful to Teddy (Douglas), Ultra, Jerome, Tony F and the entire Baltimore crew who’d drive 4 hours almost weekly to [my] Club Zanzibar in Newark NJ. Their productions helped define who I was and what the club represented. They’re still at the top of their profession 30 years strong.
ULTRA: I was still a baby really – just out of high school and completely in love with house music in it’s early origins and sound system club culture. I was a part of a whole underground culture and I never saw it coming. I was new to the concept of being a singer/songwriter and I was suddenly on a major label and traveling back and forth to London … clubbing every weekend and putting every quirky lyric, melody or concept down on paper and tape for the world to consider. And it was all happening! Teddy Douglas who is also pictured was one third of my production team “The Basement Boys” and they were my safe haven to grow and experiment with in this new music culture and career I had fallen into.
What did Tony represent at that time?
ULTRA: Tony cemented what we were doing and presented it to the Jersey club scene and the rest of the world through his KISS FM show. It was at Tony’s Zanzibar party where I really first witnessed people reacting and loving my song. He played it 3 times that night from start to finish and the kids would sing it at the top of their lungs! The walls were sweating in there; it was so much energy and Tony was driving it all – he dictated the sound and the songs that defined the culture at the time. He helped me see the power of the music and gain a confidence in what I was doing organically.
Ultra, your anthem ‘Free’ still feels like a song for our time, 20 years after Louie Vega broke it at the 1997 Winter Conference...
ULTRA: Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s been so long because the song lives in people’s hearts and minds (and in DJ sets around the world) so substantially still. It speaks to people and that has given it impact beyond the 90’s. There’s still so much discourse in the world that people identify with it thematically both young and old.
Monday, December 31st
New Year's Eve at Le Bain
feat. Tony Humphries (open-to-close) & Ultra Naté (live)
10pm | The Standard, High Line