Dave Pianka, affectionately known as Dave P, has been bringing the party to Philadelphia and beyond since 2000 through his Philly club night Making Time, New York party Fixed, and, more recently, the record label RVNG Intl. he runs with Matt Werth. The DJ, producer, remixer and all-round musical wunderkind was one of the first to blend intimate indie rock sets with a throw-your-hands-in-the-air dance club, launching live acts such as The Strokes and Interpol. Today, Making Time is still going as hard as ever, hosting emerging artists such as Factory Floor and Parquet Courts at the nightclub Voyeur. At our CMJ AfterFest in New York, we introduced Pianka to headliner and Blood Orange front man Dev Hynes (whose new record Cupid Deluxe drops this week). High above the West Village at Le Bain in the Standard hotel, where the nightclub's hot tub had been turned into a stage for the after-hours performance, Pianka and Hynes talked about being a tourist in New York, the brilliance of Janet Jackson, and why artists should raise their voice on social media.
Dave P: Whenever I would go to London, I'd make sure I stayed over on a Monday so I could go to Trash.
Dev Hynes: Trash was very informative. I think the first Phoenix show in London was at Trash. Me and my friend Sam Ferry, who now does a lot of artwork and videos– Major Lazer's artwork and stuff–we were obsessed with United and they came and played at Trash.
DP: To me, Trash is my favorite party to ever happen in the history of nightlife. Everything I learned about new music, I learned from Trash.
DH: Totally. I was like 17 and going there, it was a real thing. I met so many people.
DP: And then you moved to New York. A lot of people look at New York as the center of nightlife and music, not only in America, but the world. How do you feel about that? What kind of differences do you see in London verses New York?
DH: Well, when I moved here, and kind of still now, a lot of it was an element of fantasy, you know? It was a lot of growing up and [Leg's McNeil's oral history of Punk] Please Kill Me. And, like, The Strokes coming out.
DP: Yeah, people here fantasize like that about London. Like there's The Clash...
DH: Yeah, exactly. It was kind of hard for me to appreciate London then, because I was just in Camden, skating. I love cities. I'm a cities person. I'm uncomfortable not being in cities. New York was kind of the happy inspiration.
DP: Do you go out now?
DH: I haven't been to many parties lately. I kind of have to be in the mindset to do it. But I used to live in Brooklyn and then I recently moved to Union Square. It's funny; it felt like I moved to New York. My whole life, even in London, I'm like an unashamed tourist. I was the guy in London who's like, "Let's go to Buckingham Palace today!" And people were just like, "What is wrong with you?" I went to The Met the other day, and I was kind of stoned, but the woman at the desk was like, "I have not had anyone be that nice to me, in maybe like 10 years of my life." I was being kind of goofy as well, and I know she thought I was an African tourist. I expected her to hold my hand.
DP: Has New York had a lot of influence on the new record?
DH: Yeah, definitely. I mean, lyrically it's a lot more about the last six years as a whole and just moving from one city to another, and finding your way. And then people who are involved with the record are just friends that I've made, for the most part, since I've lived here.
DP: I know that you’ve produced a lot of other artists. Is there anyone you really hope to work with one day?
DH: I don’t know. I’m down to work with anyone! I maintain, I think, that everyone can do something. Not to get morbid and cliché, but we’re all gonna die. Might as well just experiment and try everything. I mean, I have idols that I’d like to work with, and if I got to I would probably die straight afterwards. That would be like, Phillip Glass or Eminem or Janet Jackson.
DP: Now it’s out there, so maybe it’ll happen. Janet Jackson, though! That would be insane. I feel like she’s underappreciated.
DH: She did an album two years ago called Number Ones and it’s got a ton of hits. That’s fucking crazy. And she did an amazing performance, two performances, for it. One was on The Voice over here, and maybe X-Factor. But both of those performances were crazy! Like, on top of her game!
DP: You should do a cover of Janet Jackson.
DH: I’ve covered her! I covered "Someday is Tonight." It was the final song on Rhythm Nation. I played it at a couple of shows. I don’t know when that cover’s going to come out, but I really like it.
DP: Compared to ten years ago, the responsibilities of an artist have grown. Facebook and Twitter…. All of these things didn’t even exist ten years ago.
DH: Yeah, wow. I think about that a lot. I do wish it was used in a more extreme way for good purposes. Like the George Zimmerman trial…people obviously did vent their frustrations, naturally, but I really wanted people to drop some realness. We now have a platform where you can go in and do that. These people who have millions of people just waiting to listen to them. And music now is maybe one of the only things left that doesn’t need censorship. You can give music to a fan straight away with no middleman. Music is still so important, and people really do listen to what you have to say. I really wanted someone to, like, just step up and take that fuckin’ handle, but it didn’t happen. And it was really upsetting, because it’s un-cool to do that now, as opposed to the ‘90s. No one wants to speak up. Everyone’s kind of scared of using their voices. People are being safe. It’s crazy how overly PC we are now. No one’s using their powers to be like: “This is wrong. This is wrong. This is wrong.” [Laughs.]
DP: If all those things existed in the ‘90s…
DH: Oh my god, Michael Jackson would be treading so hard on these causes. It’s wild that something like Live Aid could happen in the mid ‘80s, but not in 2013. That’s insane.
DP: There are tons of music festivals, though.
DH: Yeah, that’s what the world took from that. Like, “Oh, shit. We can get a bunch of bands together?” But we didn’t take the idea of getting a bunch of bands together, selling a bunch of tickets, and helping people around the world. I don’t know how things got so fucked up. The progression line seems to be running backwards.