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Fall from Grace

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Club king and Madonna protégé Junior Vasquez has been fired from New York's Sound Factory. Insiders say Vasquez' time is up and that the influential gay DJ and house music pioneer should consider retirement. Vasquez was scheduled to put out a new remix record this month. No word yet how his ungracious exit at one of Manhattan's leading dance clubs will affect the album's release schedule.

FLASHBACK: "Fight for the Right to Party" Interview with Junior Vasquez (May, 2002)

Arjan: You have been successful at creating remixes and anthems for over a decade now. What is your secret to longevity?
Junior: Probably having a permanent residency because it helps me to try out ideas for new productions on the dance floor to see how the crowd reacts. Of course, I am also very dedicated to what I do and I am extremely competitive. The crowd challenges me as well, which makes me challenge myself.

Arjan: Do you have any desire to go beyond remixing to make your own songs?
Junior: Yeah, I am getting more into originals productions. Right now, I am working on an album on which I’m co-writing new tunes with another artist. But honestly, I very much like remixing and reproducing songs. It is fun to find underdog songs and re-work them.

Arjan: Have you gone through different stages as a DJ?
Junior: I think so. Especially, with the club scene undergoing changes all the time. Clubs close down, new ones open. That struggle has changed me more than the music itself.

Arjan: You call it a struggle?
Junior: Yes. Don’t get me wrong. I love what I am doing. But the struggle of the actual law enforcement trying to control the scene really tires me out and I sometimes think it is not worth it.

Arjan: What did you think when Twilo closed?
Junior: To be honest, I didn’t really care. It is pointless. When anything closes, I don’t look backward, I just look forward to what’s next.

Arjan: Dance music has evolved quickly in the last years. Where do you think dance music will go next?
Junior: We are going back to old-school from the late eighties and early nineties. Like the old Sound Factory movement - not really Chicago house, but slightly more industrialized.

Arjan: How import is the gay audience for you?
Junior: Very. Extremely. It is my base crowd and everybody else like to party around that.

Arjan: Any idea why dance music is so big in gay culture?
Junior: Because we are happy, carefree, we are gay. We just like to party I guess.

Arjan: How is the current club scene at Earth?
Junior: It is an ongoing fight for the right to party

Arjan: Fight to right to party?
Junior: Yeah, and I am not referring to just closing down clubs, but to all concepts of the right to party. Maybe one drink to many, one snort of something to many, or the fact that you party a little bit later than 4am… That’s okay. That’s the right to party. I would like to put out the message that I don’t tolerate excessive drug use. I am not for that at all. But drugs are here and have always been here, alcohol is here and will always be here. The politicians should work with us and not against us. That will only drive things underground, and I will go right back underground with it.

Arjan: You will just go where the party is…
Junior: Exactly. I will MAKE the party...

January 23, 2004 in Interviews | Permalink

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