In the fall of 2015, I was in final production of a wedding magazine I did in Alabama. I'd had my first taste of this music, had just returned from the last trip to NYC I would call a vacation, and was going out of my mind to find the life I craved. In those days, I would be glued to my computer at the office for 14+ hour days, sleep on the couch in the next room, wake up and repeat until the next issue was complete. My escape was lying on that couch falling asleep to sets on full blast in my headphones. The one I always came back to time and time again - MELT: The Pool Party of Pines Party 2015 by Peter Napoli.
From that time on, I've regarded Peter's sound as one of my favorites. I can't even quite put my finger on it, but it just gets me right where I want to be, it clears my mind in times of turmoil, his music is my answer.
Peter's recent interview on Alyson Calagna's Remix Your World podcast is a fantastic listen to hear two artists hear two artists talk shop in a way you don't get to hear often. It gave me a fuller appreciation of his approach to music since he got his start in Mexico City in 2009. That's right, this NYC native had to go all the way to Mexico to discover his calling as a DJ. I think we're all glad he found his way home.
Together he and Dan Darlington are BRÜT, serving up 6 years of a sexual musicality not as explored in the scene during the time before they brought it to the table. They now travel the country bringing BRÜT to San Fran, LA, DC, Dallas, Chicago and beyond. The BRÜT parties are one of a few that I give a thumbs-up to everyone donning a harness - there, it is the look.
This year, Peter launched his new NYC offering, Voyage. Originally located in Chelsea Music Hall (now at DROM, East Village,) the party began as a 7-hour set for Peter to explore his evolution of sound in an intimate and visually complementary space. It invited a truly mixed crowd of people from various scenes in a way you don't get a lot these days, which gave vibrancy to the vibrations and a distinct feel that all are welcome here.
Ahead of this Saturday's next edition, I was able to get in Peter Napoli's ear about his sound, his career, and his Voyage.
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DXD: You're an original New Yorker. Are there any moments growing up here that started to spark an interest in nightlife?
PN: I’ve always been an outgoing social person who enjoyed meeting new people and making connections. Growing up I always facilitated people getting together, and especially parties. I also was the one everyone asked to play the music. I think this field of work for me was sort of inevitable.
DXD: In your podcast interview on Alyson Calagna's "Remix Your World," I was surprised to learn that you got your start DJing while living in Mexico, leading to opening for DJ Isaac Escalante and starting to build a career from there. Can you share more about that time for you?
PN: Yes, my first DJ gig ever was in Mexico and it was opening for Isaac. This residency came about through my network of friends who were throwing events. They took a chance on me, which led me to where I am today.
DXD: From there, who and what were your other references for building your sound, and how would you describe your signature style?
PN: I think my sound is culmination of all the genres of music I listen to. At home I don’t only listen to House and Tech music. It depends on my mood. It varies from Indie Electronic to Jazz, Blues, different Latin styles, Hip-Hop, Classical, 80’s Pop as I am an 80’s baby, African Drums, etc. I’d like to say that everything I listen to finds its way into what I do on the dancefloor one way or another.
DXD: Where do you go to continue getting inspired and developing your sound?
PN: I’m inspired by all the music I listen to, the DJs who I love that come to town, concerts I go to, etc. I also try to be original in what I do, which is the ultimate task.
DXD: You and Dan Darlington launched BRÜT in 2013. Tell us more about how BRÜT came to be.
PN: BRÜT began as a going away party for Dan as he was moving back to Chicago. At the time we were producing our first party, Mission.
DXD: And how was the nightlife scene different during that time?
PN: The amount of clubs in Manhattan. There were still a few left. Now there are none. It’s all hotels, theaters and small performance spaces.
DXD: BRÜT is now touring the US, hitting all the major cities. Is the BRÜT experience any different from your perspective in other cities?
PN: We bring the same BRÜT love and energy to every city we go to.
DXD: You're most well-known for BRÜT, but what are other events you've worked on that you love?
PN: Burning Man is one of my favorite events of the year to play. Playing the Pines Party main event this past summer was a major highlight in my career. I also played a San Francisco party at Public Works in June called Mystopia. That was also an incredible night.
DXD: To me, you also are one of those DJs that define the sound of Fire Island. How do you feel the magic of Fire Island speaks through your music?
PN: Fire Island is a very creative place for me. It’s filled with people who are there to let their hair down and release the stress of everyday city living. That combined with the warm weather and being on the beach, it’s a place I feel very free to play whatever I want for my LGBTQ+ community and it’s often received very well.
DXD: As you mentioned, you were one of the headliners of the Pines Party this year. What did that experience mean for you?
PN: Playing Pines Party was unforgettable for me! It’s an event I’ve always wanted to play because I had played the other events attached to the weekend so this was the top of the mountain for me. It was also one of the biggest stages I’ve ever played on, so that in itself was really thrilling. I felt a ton of support from everyone out there so all and all I couldn’t have asked for a better night.
DXD: Believe me, it was as good for us as it was for you! Describe a moment that you feel is one of the highlights of your career.
PN: Getting my first track on a label. It was a track I did with a buddy of mine and we were accepted onto a great Miami label called Freakin909.
DXD: And this year you launched your new event dubbed Voyage. What was your intention with starting this event and what can we expect for future editions?
PN: There is so much separation in NY and I want to bring all creatures of nightlife back together. Voyage is an inclusive and authentic NYC nightlife experience. At first it was just me playing for 7 hours, but I am bringing in more talent now. You’ll hear heartfelt rhythms from Disco to Techno, and it’s a visually stimulating environment that speaks to the creativity of the music. I want to hit all your senses, from your ears to your eyes to your body. It’s a place where everyone feels at home! A dance culture all about letting loose together and sharing the moment! A non-pretentious place. Voyage is also a safe zone for anyone who ever felt like they didn’t fit in, for whatever reason that might be. Our dates this year are Oct 12, Nov 16 and Dec 14.
DXD: So when you're not working a party, what are you doing on your ideal Saturday night?
PN: Out listening for inspiration from other musicians.
DXD: Top 3 things you love seeing at parties?
PN: Smiles, Hugs and Sweat!
DXD: Top 3 things you loathe seeing at parties?
PN: Bad sound, fights and messy people.
DXD: What is one thing you wish you could say to everyone arriving to one of your parties?
PN: Be sure to introduce yourself to someone you don’t know!
Thank you Peter Napoli! You can catch his next set this Saturday night, 10/12, at Voyage along with guest DJ, Retrotech, at DROM in East Village. Then he and Dan will be presenting BRÜT Halloween at 3 Dollar Bill on Sat, 10/26.
And take Peter's advice. Say hello to someone new this weekend. And smile at the son of a bitch before you can help yourself!
David X Daisy