The Standard: You describe on your blog that the,"Sunday Tea Dance is a cornerstone of gay culture." What are your Tea Dance inspirations?
Occupy The Disco: One of our biggest inspirations is Twirl Lina at Sip 'n Twirl on Fire Island Pines. DJ Lina’s Throwback Sundays always has that amazing light-hearted, family gathering feel to it and Lina does such a great job with the music. The setting and nature also helps a lot, being surrounded by friends and other people who share the same energy as you. It’s an experience that’s unparalleled. The tambourines are out, the crowd ranges from age 22 to 72, all united under a love and energy that the summer time sunset disco dance can foster.
Charlotte Gainsbourg Paradisco
(Joakim's Paradisco Garage Dub Remix)
Any party in the city?
Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin’s Mister Sunday in Gowanus also inspired us. While that party isn’t exclusively gay, it has a large gay following that has grown over the past few years. We’ve had a little part in making it more well known to gay audiences, as we’ve been 'occupying' that party several times over the past few years. Both parties share the same incredibly friendly atmosphere and amazing DJs with spectacular taste in music. In gay culture, it seems there’s no better friend than he who you’ve met on the dance floor and that’s exactly the vibe we’re trying to foster at Paradisco.
In her song 'Paradisco', French artist Charlotte Gainsbourg whispers: "In paradiscos / looking for only pleasure / A little pain, take a measure / When you're a flame that'll burn forever / And forever". Seems fitting no?
That song actually inspired the name of the party. It just fit like a glove as we wanted to create this idea of a disco paradise, an oasis in the middle of the winter in New York City. Disco is and will always be about pleasure, letting go of your worries and preoccupations, forgetting about the real world in a communal dance with others who are in the same wavelength. We are working to keep that flame burning forever! Another Paradisco’ reference came to us ex-post, when we discovered Dalida’s 1980 hit, Gigi in Paradisco. The song is pretty cheeky, and fun, and also exemplifies the energy we’re trying to recreate at Paradisco.
Dalida Gigi in Paradisco
Could you share a recent and unexpected source of inspiration?
We recently came across a documentary called The Godfather of Disco. It is about Mel Cheren and his label, West End Records and he talks a lot about the Paradise Garage and Larry Levan, as well as his former partner, Michael Brody (who was the owner of the Garage). The documentary was based on his autobiography which we highly recommend reading it if you are a disco music fan, or really just someone interested in the history of the gay community in New York City. Another big source of inspiration are many of the DJs we often dance to in New York and who we featured at Paradisco last year, including the likes of Tim Sweeney, Plastic Plates, Honey Dijon, Lina Bradford, Justin Strauss, Mike Servito and many more. While the party started out as more of a lark, it quickly showed us we have a unique perspective that keeps things fresh and exciting and we're excited to take matters into our own hands with this year's Paradisco.
What gives you an adrenaline rush?
Listening to a great record for the first time and realizing how much it affects our mood, even if it’s on a first listen. When that happens, it usually makes us very euphoric and wanting to move every inch of our bodies to release all of that energy the record is giving us. Of course that rush is better experienced dancing with good friends, old and new, or perhaps even with a handsome boy (or two).
Sunday March 16 and 30, Le Bain presents Paradisco, right before Nouveau York. Music by Occupy The Disco and friends. From 3pm to 9pm. The Standard, High Line.
Header photo by Neil Aline