Iconic New York City house label Nervous Records has seen the industry change in countless ways in its almost 30 years of existence. From the onset of the internet era to piracy and then streaming, along with the EDM boom and mega festivals, the music industry has grown, evolved and morphed several times since 1991. Another constant is that clubs will open and subsequently shutter from financial strain, government pressures or their inability to adapt to changing consumer behaviors. With the latest rash of club closures in New York that have taken Output, Cielo and Highline Ballroom, we asked Nervous Records head Mike Weiss to go back in time and remember moments where Nervous Records tracks went off at five clubs that are now shuttered.
Weiss goes back to the 1990s with moments at Hacienda, a pivotal club for modern club culture, Sound Factory, The Loft in London, Warsaw in Miami and Neptunes Beach Club. If you were ever there, you would understand what he is talking about.
Nervous is inaugurating a compilation series tomorrow with Nervous Brooklyn Sessions Vol. 1 featuring four promising New York producers. Stream it below and pick up a copy when it hits stores tomorrow.
1) David Morales playing his Def Mix remix of Sandy B “Feel Like Singing” at Hacienda in Manchester on New Year’s Eve 1993. David had just completed the remix and was scheduled for Ministry of Sound and Hacienda in the same night. We got to Manchester in the early morning of New Year’s Day and you can imagine the place was going off. As soon as those memorable David Morales synths came in, the track won over the crowd. I think by the end of the tune I was waving my shirt over the crowd, hanging over the railing next to the booth. David was looking at me and laughing so hard he could barely mix into the next track.
2) Louie Vega playing Loni Clark “Rushing” at Sound Factory Bar. Wednesday night at Sound Factory was the ultimate New York City industry night. Louie would work a hot test pressing in such a way that by Thursday morning you would be getting calls from all the UK labels to hear it and license it. Lem and Jon of Mood II Swing were core members of the New York community, and had already had big success with their releases on Eight Ball. Plus they had released a well-received underground track under the acronym Clubb Kids on Nervous. “Rushing” was one of their finest song writing moments, and they went to the next level with the Rushing Dub. Louie heard it right away as a club bomb. Played that dub for a solid 30 minutes and then worked in the vocal. The dancefloor was going off, Willie Ninja was vogueing and Barbara Tucker was on the microphone announcing that it was a hit. The project had a life of its own by the end of the night.
3) Kenny Dope playing Black Moon “Who Got Da Props” at the Warsaw in Miami March 1994. Masters At Work at the Warsaw was the highlight of the Winter Music Conference that year. The club was jammed and was about to start live performances. Nervous had made a lot of noise by dipping into hip-hop with the release of Black Moon “Who Got Da Props.” Kenny is one of the rare producers who always had equal cred and talent as a house music and hip-hop producer. He called that single as soon as we sent him the demo, even before it was released. When he played it as his last track of a house set, everyone knew something special was coming over the big Warsaw sound system.
4) Paul Trouble Anderson playing Byron Stingily “Get Up (Everybody)” at the Loft. “Get Up Everybody” was originally a sample track produced by Zack Toms and Paul Simpson. Louie Vega destroyed it all summer 1995 in Italy and suggested we have Byron put a vocal on top. Paul Trouble called me even before the test pressings were sent out. How did he know about it? Well that was Paul Trouble. When it came to discovering and breaking American based house music in the UK, there was nobody better. He called me on Thursday morning after playing it the night before at The Loft. Told me I should tell Byron to pack his bags, cause he was going to be spending a lot of time in London doing shows once the song came out.
5) Neptunes Beach Club in the Hamptons had to be seen to be believed. In the middle of ocean-front property surrounded by million dollar homes filled with people who were more likely to be seen at museums and opera houses than nightclubs, existed a venue that had a gritty, beaten up deck badly in need of repair, a staff of security guards who looked for any excuse to commence a beatdown on badly behaving clubbers, girls wearing as little as possible and a sound system that had long seen better days. But none of this mattered because the crowd who showed up loved their beats and loved to get their dance on. So that deck was the source of some of the New York’s areas finest club moments. Oscar G was one of the Neptunes audience’s favorite DJ’s and when he played there the energy was always at its highest. He had produced “Back To You” for his album on Nervous. The track already had a serious buzz from his weekly gigs at Club Space Miami. But it was the first time he played it at Naptunes, when the crowd started singing along, that we knew this was destined to be a club hit in New York, and it still is to this day.