A lot has changed in New York City over the past twenty years. Anybody can tell you that. Nightlife has maybe changed the most with shifting real estate, sky-high rents and always shifting trends impacting promoters who cant stay afloat financially or keep up with the times. New York DJ duo, label owners and party promoters, Chris Love & AB Logic aka Love & Logic have been at it since the 1990s first on their own and recent a few years ago joining forces to form their duo.
Love started the underground party SOUP (Supporting Our Underground Properly) in 1997, before it was reinvented in 2011 with the help of Logic. They have since dedicated themselves to it as a party brand and label. It has held down a residency at New York club Cielo since 2012 and the label has released tunes from the likes of Pirupa, Derrick Carter and others.
We chatted with the pair to get some firsthand insight into the shifting trends in nightlife and dance music since they first started in the business, the cabaret law and whom they would book for the perfect party. You are right in thinking that party would be amazing.
Check out the latest release on the label below.
What are the biggest changes you have seen promoting parties in the 1990s and now?
Chris Love: In the 90’s there were a handful of us local crews doing underground raves and hot spot clubs with fresh new talent and new sounds. You had a get a flyer for the next event at the event you attended that night. The internet was not booming with promoters, and there was no social media yet. We used to drive to around seven to eight different states to promote each event. There was a wide stateside family of promoters who supported each city through info lines and record stores who sold our tickets. Today you have a hundred promoters living in the same city bombarding you through email and social media.
You do some events at more “underground” venues. So how are you seeing New York promoters avoid another Ghost Ship situation?
AB Logic: That whole Ghost Ship situation was horrible. I have never seen anyone do anything in NYC in a place that looked anywhere as close to as hazardous as the pics I saw of the Ghost Ship space. For the most part, I feel like in NYC the promoters using more "underground" spaces have been fairly responsible about having professional security, safe exits, etc. Also, there was a fairly big crackdown the past few years on non-permitted warehouse style events and people lost a lot of money as a result. Now with a new "nightlife mayor" coming in it will be interesting to see how things wind up.
Do you think the new New York nightlife mayor will be positive be positive for clubs and concert venues?
AB Logic: It’s too soon to say. It seems like every time politics are involved in any area of business there are people who have a solely profitable agenda. Let’s hope it works out for the best for all of us, including the clubs, the concert venues and the attendees. I’ll be keeping a close on his plans over the coming months.
If you were the nightlife mayor for a day, what would your first order of business be?
Chris Love: No cabaret law. It’s ridiculous. So for those who don't know what the NYC Cabaret law is, it’s from 1926 (ha!) and it means for any business that sells alcohol or food and allows dancing, a special Cabaret license is required. The cabaret license is very difficult to get, requires larger insurance policies, and is very expensive. It's made it really hard for smaller, independently run venues to make it in NYC. It is also a way for police to ticket and ultimately shut down venues that don't have a cabaret license if they see people dancing inside. It is a big part of ruining music-based nightlife in Manhattan, particularly in the Lower East side and West Village areas, when music was once thriving. Putting an end to the cabaret law will absolutely encourage potential venue owners to give it a shot opening new venues which will ultimately be really good for NYC's venue-deprived dance music oriented nightlife scene.
How do you choose the acts that you book for events?
AB Logic: This year, we are focusing on booking guest artists who are working on our SOUP record label. We've got a lot of talented producers on board and we're really excited about pushing the SOUP label and our artists more and more in NYC. SOUP has always had a nice balance of OG pioneering artists and up and coming talents and we try and book people who represent the various facets of the SOUP sound.
What is one thing that was common at your parties in the 90’s you wish happened now?
Chris Love: Parties used to be at least eight hours starting at 10pm with two or more rooms with different environments and different genres of music. You had a techno and house room, a DnB room, a hip-hop room and sometimes a chillout room with experimental DJs. That just doesn’t happen these days.
What is one thing you have at your parties now that you didn’t have back when you first started?
Chris Love: LLC’s and insurance!
AB Logic: Pioneer CD players, as back in the day it was all vinyl. I’m not lamenting their loss though, as there are things you can do these days that just aren’t possible with turntables. There’s also now a new generation of clubbers coming through that were maybe born around the time we first started doing parties. And there were no deep v neck t-shirts and drop crotch joggers back then, haha.
If you had no financial constraints at all, what would your perfect party look like?
Chris Love: If we had no financial constraints we definitely wouldn't have time to throw parties.
AB Logic: For me, I always enjoyed events with multiple rooms and genres the most, so I’d love to see a party that catered to a wide variety of musical tastes. With that in mind, my perfect line-up would be:
House/Techno Room: Carl Cox, Stacey Pullen, Derrick Carter, Heidi, and of course Love & Logic!
Hip Hop Room: Live performances by Nas, The Roots, Erykah Badu, and DJ sets by Jazzy Jeff and DJ Premiere
Drum & Bass Room: Roni Size, Hype w/ MC Fats and LTJ Bukem.
Now that would be a party!!
What do you look for in a song for your label?
AB Logic : The tracks we sign are always aimed squarely at the dancefloor. If we get a demo and we're dying to try it out at our next show it's a safe bet that we'll sign it. SOUP is known for a wild dance crowd and we're looking for music that will move our people and take the vibe on the dance floor up a notch. We want the SOUP label to stay on the cutting edge and are always in search of the sounds of tomorrow. High production quality is a must as we're looking for tracks engineered to play on proper systems. We enjoy a bit of quirk and really appreciate when people bring new creative ideas to their music, especially if they do it in a way that manages to preserve focus on the party.
What are the biggest changes in songs you are hearing from the late 90s to now?
AB Logic: It pretty much sounds a lot like the 90's right now haha! There’s a lot of recycling of old obstructions going on these days. I guess in the 90's we were playing mush housier, and now we're playing more modernized techier stuff. Many newer producers are using lots of the same ideas you'd hear back then and flipping them to fit into today's trends. It’s a good thing when done well but can be very redundant when done poorly. Another big change is the sheer volume of songs coming out now compared to the 90's. When labels actually had to invest in pressing vinyl is was a much bigger commitment to sign and release music. In today's digital era there's not much investment required. This has cause over saturation in our opinion. You've got to dig through a lot more music now to get to the good stuff!