DJ Double S is in the booth with headphones covering one ear. His hands move fast, turning knobs on the left and moving levels up and down on the right to blend one song into the next to keep the dance floor moving.
“I look for a certain energy and vibe in the songs. I can tell within a minute if a new song will work,” says the DJ, Steve Seidita of Rockville Centre. “The best way to test something is in front of a live crowd, because they instantly react.”
Tonight he is spinning at Release City, a new Monday night series at The Living Room in Bethpage, where the focus is on new dance music.
“Many of the clubs on Long Island don’t feature new music much. DJs are instructed to stick with the familiar and play things that are not cutting edge,” says Jackie McCloy, the event’s creator. “We want to fill that gap.”
The night is dedicated to breaking new dance music releases, remixes, white label projects (unsigned artists) and European imports.
“What’s missing here on Long Island is an industry night for all the DJs, producers and remixers to show off their new material. This is an outlet for them,” says Bob Goodrich, Release City’s associate producer. “It’s really for music aficionados who are interested in cuts far beyond the top 40 dance hits.”
A SMALLER SCENE
The dance club scene on Long Island has faded over the decades — now there’s maybe a handful of venues.
“Supporting the local scene is important. We need some sort of renaissance,” says DJ Dimitri Tee of Syosset. “You need to do parties like this, where you are breaking new music, taking chances and letting the scene evolve.”
Music producer Lenny Fontana of Baldwin has two new tracks he’s trying to break: “When You Feel What Love Has” by James “D-Train” Williams and “On His Mind” by the Starletts. For him, Release City is the perfect avenue.
“When a DJ spins a song for the first time, it gives you a feeling about whether or not this record has a chance to be a hit,” Fontana says. “There’s something about the mystique of the club. The pulsating gets them excited.”
But a dance music party on a Monday night?
“We picked an evening when generally everybody is closed,” Goodrich says. “We don’t want a competitive night.”
Fontana sees the concept working.
“People can come down for two hours and still go to work in the morning,” he says. “It’s doable.”
On the series’ opening night, DJ Billy Brown of Great Neck mixes in two new songs in his set: the soulful house dance track “Thank You” by Krowdkontrollerz featuring Abri, and pop EDM song “Say It Loud” by Gozzi featuring Abri.
“It’s about putting the right songs together and keeping the energy level up,” he says. “Very often I come out of the booth and check the crowd. Nothing is preset. I work in the moment.”
FINDING NEW SOUNDS
The new music played at Release City comes from research by the DJs online.
“You have to do your homework on sites like Beatport or Traxsource,” says DJ Jeff Yahney of Dix Hills. “There’s a ton of new music out there with artists looking to catch a break.”
DJ Theo Pisani of Commack came down to opening night to offer his support.
“It’s important to explore more artists. Parties like this allow DJs to be more experimental,” he says. “I wish there were more of them.”
Also on hand was DJ Ralphie Dee of Brooklyn, who’s famous for spinning at 2001 Odyssey, the club “Saturday Night Fever” was based on and where it was filmed.
“I haven’t seen a Monday night like this in a long time,” he says. “It could really be something.”
WHEN | WHERE 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Mondays, The Living Room, 432 N. Wantagh Ave., Bethpage. Ages 21 and older.
INFO 516-932-5550, releasecity.com