May 2005
By Steven M. Housman

Q&A With DJ Manny Lehman

Are you still having as much fun as ever with the White Party?

Yeah! I get to bounce around from different parties to different parties, it’s never the same. Also I’ve had the chance to play all of the different parties there as well. It’s nice to return to “The Main Event.”

Do you see any DJ’s that you’re impressed with – and if so, are they taking newer risks?

I’ve been hearing a few newer ones that have made me go hmm…; this one is fun to hear. I see how some of the people who have been around for a while have grown and evolved and become better artists as we all should. Everyone is getting a bit more progressive.

What’s the talent line-up for the big night?

I’m staying hush, but I give you credit for trying! (Laughing)

I know you’re a fan of the Divas – will there be plenty of anthems to look forward to?

I’m a great fan of the Diva vocals and I also love great progressive tribal tracks. They make up a lot of my set. I like everything! But what you can expect is what it takes to make it fun. The White Party is such a humungous party and you can’t get niche into one kind of particular sound, you have to make a lot of people have a good experience. When you have such a wide variety of people, you need to be a little more diverse in how you play. The expectations are so high.

Speaking of Divas – anybody new we should know about?

Nothing off the top of my head. Although, I love the new pop Diva, Joss Stone – She’s unbelievable! She sings about so many experiences and she just a young and innocent girl. I love her and she amazes me

Donna Summer has now been in the spotlight for thirty years. Does the younger generation appreciate her as much as the guys who grew up with her?

She’s been so influential, too. But, no, they can appreciate her and listen to her songs and say ‘Oh wow, this is historical and she was great’ but they don’t have the same type of appreciation. They don’t get it. It’s musically and esthetically different. You had to be there for the ride and see this rise of this disco Diva to the top of the pop charts and become the Diva.

There such a diversity of age – Do you see the younger generation respond in the same way to this music as our generation does?

It depends on the party. There’s a lot of retro disco going on where there are 70’s and 80’s parties, and then you put on a Donna Summer record and everybody knows all the words. At a 70’s revival party, when I put on “MacArthur Park,” everyone is singing along at full throttle. There’s such an emotional connection to her from our generation where the younger people just like the song. There tends to be a lot of mixes of Donna Summer stuff like thousands of mixes of “I Feel Love.” It’s such a progressive song and it still sounds progressive when they add some bottom or some kick to it. It still sounds futuristic, and that’s something, considering it came out in the mid 70’s. There’s also samples of Donna Summer’s stuff from Four Seasons of Love like “Summer Fever” and “Autumn Changes.” The music is always coming out because the music is incredible, the vocals are incredible and she’s standing the test of time. There aren’t a lot of Diva’s who can say that.

What do you do with your days and nights when you’re not spinning?

I’m just a simple kind of guy. I hang out a lot with my friends. When I’m not in the studio with my music, I get a couple of DVD’s and sit around with my friends and watch a lot of movies and just kick back.

I remember when I used to see you at Crunch a lot – are you still keeping in shape?

Yeah, I still kick box three times a week to keep myself sane. I’m pretty much in shape for an old man.

What music do you play for your personal listening pleasure?

I listen to anything and everything. When I’m at home, I do my homework on the dance music, but for myself, I really like old R&B, Everything But The Girl to Joss Stone to the last George Michael album to movie soundtracks.

You’re pretty eclectic.

Yeah, eclectic is a great word! I’m totally eclectic in every aspect of life. (Laughing).

Last year, the trend seemed to be heading in a very tribal and progressive direction. –Has that peaked and is music off into another direction yet?

I think it’s still in the area. I don’t feel it’s peaked yet. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it – I hope they continue to incorporate more vocals, or at least, good samples of vocals so it’s not just a drum. Make it an emotive drum with a vocal behind it.

Besides White Party Palm Springs, any other cities you absolutely love to play?

I love playing in New York City - I’ll always love New York. I love playing Miami as well. I love playing at Space. I love playing in London because it’s so progressive - They really like the funky music over there. They understand the old-school, so when it comes on they go crazy for it.

Do you have any projects you’d like to tell me about?

My new CD comes out March 20th and it’s called “Freedom.”

Very cool – What can we expect to hear on it?

It’s a double-disc CD. One is big room sessions and one is tribal sessions. There are some original tracks that I did. One of them is called “Action Anthem” for the club I do in LA and we’re putting that out as the first single.

Look forward to seeing you at the Party.

I can’t wait to play there. I’m playing with Kimberly S this year so that’ll be great.

I know, I spoke with her and she absolutely adores you.

Well, it’s right back at her. She’s a sweetheart and a top-notch DJ. I can’t say enough nice things about her.

Have you got a grip on being referred to as a legend yet?

Oh, stop it! As long as I don’t fade away into memory like some other legends do! (Laughing).

You’ll be ‘What becomes a legend most?’ With black fur on your sneakers!

(Laughing) Yeah - Edith Sneakers, that’s too funny!

Have a great Party!

Thanks for the support. I really do appreciate it.

© 2005 Steven M. Housman. All Rights Reserved.