Going back to '04, the great people at HBO thought that I could be a nice addition to their post-Emmy Award telecast celebration. Although I had no idea how my style and set would go down in an atmosphere that I've never been a part of, I did what came naturally and mixed good music that anyone would enjoy. I'd been cautioned not to worry if I couldn't get the well heeled entertainers and executives to hoof it on the dance floor because, for the most part, there's a lot of congratulatory conversation happening. They did get on the floor and before the party ended actors, actresses, CEOs, movie deal makers, models were applauding and whistling for more despite the presence of the L.A. Fire Department who were there at the end to make sure that things wound down when they were scheduled to.
Since that 1st time out in 2004, the parties have become thematic. I enjoy the opportunity to come up with what can be considered as the 1st half of the party where the music reflects the inspired design. Since '04, the Bollywood vibes of India, 60's St. Tropez, and traditional Thailand have been themes, this year South America, highlighting Brazil and Argentina was the flavor.
That's where having an open mind and an eclectic anything's possible ear comes in handy. Less than 10 days before this party, I was sent about 15 CDs that were purchased by the party's designer during his tours of South America, and asked to build my opening set based on the music of the likes of Maria Bethania & Jorge Ben. With 200 songs to absorb and my own records to consider, I began the process of cramming - you know like studying for that exam that you must pass - filling my head with suitable songs, working out when they should be played and what they could be mixed with.
The dynamic that I must consider is that the party begins primarily with arrivals and a lot of mingling ensues...then it begins to reach capacity thus there's a need to shift the energy upwards into a groove that is infectious inviting but not yet overpowers...then there's the bit where they've heard the theme for more than an hour, and the task is keeping folks grooving and interested until my counterpart Ravi, the man with 2 dozen drums, steps onto the stage with me to set it off into dance floor madness.
So here you are. Another close your eyes and imagine you were there set for you. A set that I've never done really but I hope that it's competent and that you enjoy it.
One last detail I thought you might like and this detail somewhat explains the photo - I made up this whole set on the fly...meaning, I only knew what my 1st song was going to be which is "So Many Stars" by Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66, they rest was improvised based on the best selections out of the pool of 15 discs that I'd been sent and the best of the vinyls that I took to round out my musical possibilities. No paint by numbers, no track one then track two as it's laid out in my computer playlist...just plain & pure intuition and mixing skills my friend, on the spot with the lights bright and hot.
In that photo - I was calming myself to the view of downtown L.A. (Hollywood's hills are to the left) because my mind was going wild with possibilities, scenarios, and blends. It's a big party and I needed to put by best foot forward but I get butterflies and mini-panic attacks because I felt like I left a crucial record at home or I have some vision of a record skipping.
Breathe & let it breathe while taking in the breathtaking - and all will be just fine. Enjoy and share, please.
Check out the details of the event production here (you can see me on the left side of the 1st photo - on stage and overlooking it all): http://www.bizbash.com/losangeles/content/editorial/e12691.php
Check out some great photos here: http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/6Oq3muQkX7Q/Belvedere+At+HBO+EMMY+Party/0ef_YbX17_n