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, its never the same. Also Ive had the chance to play all of the different parties there as well. Its nice to return to The Main Event.
Do you see any DJs that youre impressed with and if so, are they taking newer risks?
Ive 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.
Whats the talent line-up for the big night?
Im staying hush, but I give you credit for trying! (Laughing)
I know youre a fan of the Divas will there be plenty of anthems to look forward to?
Im 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 cant 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 Shes 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?
Shes 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 dont have the same type of appreciation. They dont get it. Its 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. Theres a lot of retro disco going on where there are 70s and 80s parties, and then you put on a Donna Summer record and everybody knows all the words. At a 70s revival party, when I put on MacArthur Park, everyone is singing along at full throttle. Theres 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. Its such a progressive song and it still sounds progressive when they add some bottom or some kick to it. It still sounds futuristic, and thats something, considering it came out in the mid 70s. Theres also samples of Donna Summers 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 shes standing the test of time. There arent a lot of Divas who can say that.
What do you do with your days and nights when youre not spinning?
Im just a simple kind of guy. I hang out a lot with my friends. When Im not in the studio with my music, I get a couple of DVDs 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. Im 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 Im 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.
Youre pretty eclectic.
Yeah, eclectic is a great word! Im 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 its still in the area. I dont feel its peaked yet. Ive said it before and Ill keep saying it I hope they continue to incorporate more vocals, or at least, good samples of vocals so its 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 - Ill always love New York. I love playing Miami as well. I love playing at Space. I love playing in London because its 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 youd like to tell me about?
My new CD comes out March 20th and its called Freedom.
Very cool What can we expect to hear on it?
Its 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 were putting that out as the first single.
Look forward to seeing you at the Party.
I cant wait to play there. Im playing with Kimberly S this year so thatll be great.
I know, I spoke with her and she absolutely adores you.
Well, its right back at her. Shes a sweetheart and a top-notch DJ. I cant 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 dont fade away into memory like some other legends do! (Laughing).
Youll be What becomes a legend most? With black fur on your sneakers!
(Laughing) Yeah - Edith Sneakers, thats too funny!
Have a great Party!
Thanks for the support. I really do appreciate it.
© 2005 Steven M. Housman. All Rights Reserved.