Photo courtesy of Bennett-Sell Kline for Electriczoofestival.com
CGNY: Well we know you in NYC as Sleepy and Boo but tell us a little about yourselves – where do you come from originally?
Begoña (Boo) is from Barcelona, and Mike (Sleepy) is from New York. We love our Euro-American mix; we’ve really incorporated elements from both cultures in our daily lives.
CGNY: How did you get started in the music scene in NYC?
The electronic music scene in New York is a great, diverse community. We both had been music fans and had a passion for this culture for a long time, and we wanted to contribute something unique ourselves. We started DJing together, and found that doing something on your own is really the way to go. We started organizing small events at bars in the East Village and Lower East Side, and eventually we built it up to the point where we knew we could put something more substantial together.
CGNY: What were your influences growing up – the music you listened to?
Between the two of us we really covered everything. New wave, hip-hop, hardcore and punk, ska, R&B and soul, and lots of classic 80s and 90s pop music. And of course once we discovered house and techno that became an obsession that hasn’t slowed down one bit.
CGNY: Tell us about Basic NYC – when did you move from just djing into music promotion and booking? How did the residency at Sullivan Room come about?
When we first started out, the Sullivan Room was one of the few venues in New York that was interested in supporting more underground music, the kind of music that we really felt was missing here in the city. We were friends with all these artists from around the world who just didn’t have a place to come and play in the city. We approached the Sullivan Room and offered to do a one-off event with two DJs from the Stereo Productions label, DeLoren and Colors, and we just took it from there. The first event was a success, and after learning our way around the promotions end, and getting more comfortable booking DJs, things just started coming together. We never set out to become some kind of promotional group, we really just wanted a place to DJ and be able to host our friends, or artists that we admired. That’s still our mission, and we’ve been able to do it in a very organic and grassroots way. The Sullivan Room is a great place to work with because it’s a real family atmosphere there, everyone feels comfortable going to club, and the DJs have a great time playing the room. We love Serge and Steve, and we’ve been lucky to have such a longstanding partnership, which is extremely rare in this business sometimes.
CGNY: You’ve brought some great artists to NYC with Basic. This week sees the return of Jeff Mills – one of our favorites here at CGNY. How did you first make contact with Jeff and decide that Basic/Sullivan Room would be a good fit?
When we’re looking for artists who’d we like to invite to New York to come and play at our event, we really just focus on the producers and DJs whose music we love and that has had a big impact on us personally and as DJs ourselves. Jeff Mills is obviously one of the most important and iconic figures in the entire electronic music world, and his appearances in New York had been very sporadic before we started working with him. We reached out to him, and began a dialog, and eventually we were able to arrange a time for him to come and play at the Sullivan Room. We thought it would be an amazing experience to have an artist of Jeff’s caliber playing in such an intimate room, and it’s been a special experience for us, for the crowd and for Jeff as well, we would imagine. He typically plays massive clubs and festivals around the world, so this a huge honor for us, and something different for him. This will be Jeff’s fourth set at our party, and his outlook on the music he makes and plays is very unique, and every time he comes to perform you know you’re going to be hearing something you haven’t heard before. He makes new music especially for his Sullivan Room appearances, which is really rare. As an artist, he sets the bar very high for himself and that’s why he’s one of our biggest inspirations. He’s also exceedingly humble and down to earth; being able to develop this relationship has personally been one of the highlights of our entire Basic NYC experience so far.
CGNY: You played Ibiza this year (for the first time?) which is a dream of many world wide djs – how was that experience? Also EZ - second year back – must have been fun?
We played at Space Ibiza in August, and it was amazing. It wasn’t the first time we’d played in Ibiza but it was the first time we got to work with one of the big clubs there. Space is just a massive venue with all the different rooms, and the sound systems are fantastic, and the crowd is really up for it and ready to go all out. The staff at Space do a top-notch job, everyone is a true professional and we felt right at home there. There’s no egos there, they treated us so well and were very accommodating for us, so we were very honored to be a part of their schedule this summer. Every night at the club is a big event, and when we played for the Be @ Space Friday party, they had a whole troupe of performers and dancers on stilts, decked out in these lavish, regal costumes and makeup. The performers really connected with us, so it made the whole atmosphere very warm and comfortable, and there were a lot of hands in the air during our set. Ibiza overall is just a very special place to go, it’s like the crossroads of the clubbing world, especially in Europe, but the whole island is beautiful. We love going there and enjoying the beaches, the food, just driving around the island and soaking everything in. It’s got something for everyone.
We came right back from Ibiza and played at the second Electric Zoo this year, and it’s really amazing to see how successful the festival is already. The Made Event team created something entirely from scratch with Electric Zoo, and this year’s production and turnout is really a testament to how hard the whole staff works to make it happen. We’ve been honored to play at both events so far and it’s really something unique for DJs. The crowd is very diverse, you get to play for people who might not normally go to the established clubs and venues in New York, and everybody there is so energetic and enthusiastic about the music and having a great time. Plus the sound systems from Integral Sound, lights and everything production-wise is just insane. We made a big effort to get our crowd out early to hear our opening set, and it was fun seeing all our friends and fans out on the dance floor right at 11am. As an artist at Electric Zoo, you really get the VIP treatment (private trailers, personal golf cart drivers), no matter if you’re the opener or the headliner. We couldn’t say enough about the ace job they’ve done with the whole festival and we’re looking forward to seeing how it continues to grow and evolve.
CGNY: Basic keeps you busy with parties every week and sometimes 2 or 3 (as in Water Taxi Beach during the summer) at the weekends. How do you balance an intense promotion and djing schedule with making time for you other passions… ie food!!
This summer has been jam packed but it’s been an incredible experience and we love doing it. It feels great to have so many opportunities to play music here in New York. One of the most exciting developments from this summer was that Cielo – which is one of our favorite venues to play at – has given us a monthly Friday event where we get to be the headlining DJs, which is extremely exciting. We had two events there in July and August and both were packed houses and everyone had a blast. We’re really looking forward to our next event there on Friday, October 8th – it’ll be Begoña’s Birthday bash!
We’re also really looking forward to District 36 opening. It’s going to be a great addition to the nightlife landscape in New York and we’re happy to be a part of what’s going on there. We’ve got some very exciting bookings in the works for the club and it’s great to see some bigger venues opening in the city that are putting music at the forefront once again. This is New York City after all, it’s a place that really should be considered one of the global destinations for music and nightlife considering the unique history and traditions here. We all need to work on that one a little more – and together as well.
During the week is the time we’re at work and try to find a chance to do the other things we enjoy. There’s always so much to do in the city, it’s just a fact of life that you can’t be everywhere at all times. But yes, New York is an amazing place for eating, which is definitely one of our favorite non-music passions.
CGNY: Who are you listening to now on your ipod? And what are your top 3 dessert island disks?
Lots of new promos and downloaded tracks on the iPod in preparation for the weekend! As for the discs, we’d probably have to figure out a way to digitize our entire vinyl collection before we leave. Can’t boil it down to just three.
CGNY: If you weren’t djing – what other job do you think you would have?
I think we’d have our real jobs! We do web production and book design.