A new nightclub is set to open its doors next month in New York: District 36, a mid-size venue with music programming by Taimur Agha of Blk|Market Membership.
Organizers say their goal is to provide clubbers in Manhattan with a weekend spot that's "all about the music." The venue is owned by Damien Distasio, the man behind Twilo Miami, and will be equipped with a rig by Gary Stewart Audio, the same brand used by Love and Halcyon Records. Blk|Market Membership will host a monthly night at the club, with Taimur and fellow Blk|Market resident Fahad switching off every other Friday of the month. Saturdays at District 36 will be the new home for Victor Calderone's Evolve parties, previously held at Pacha NYC. Reached by phone at his apartment in Brooklyn, Taimur filled us in on the rest of the details:
What can you expect from the club in terms of atmosphere?
The club is going to be just for the music mainly. It's a midsize room, nothing too big. I've been hired as the musical director. The way I'm programming the club is Friday nights will be underground house and techno. I've been kind of studying Fabric and Berghain, because for me musically those clubs are really good. So Friday nights will be the kind of the line ups that inspire me as a DJ and ones that I would want to play alongside just like at Blk|Market Membership. Saturday nights will be the more household names, more commercially known, because that stuff is popular in New York. In a nutshell, the full club sound system is being done by Gary Stewart Audio, Victor Calderone has designed the booth and has his residency once a month on Saturdays.
A lot of people are looking forward to it. There is a lot of buzz, because basically "clubs" for me in New York have sort of died out since Twilo. There was Arc, that was formerly Club Vinyl, but there haven't been many clubs to follow that style. I mean Cielo opened up, it was good, Love was good, but nothing ever felt like Twilo or Arc. With District 36 opening, I truly believe it will be a mecca in New York for people who know where to come for good music.
So you would say Twilo was a big inspiration for District 36?
Yes it's a big influence for me. If it weren't for those nights at Twilo, I wouldnít be doing what Iím doing today. I bought my first turntables back when Sasha and Digweed were playing at the end of every month around 1999. I never thought of doing this professionally or full time until 2006. I had been working at a good advertising job for four years after finishing at Pratt in Brooklyn '03. The company helped me get my visas and everything, and I was just at that point where I was like "If I don't do this right now and start my own parties I'm gonna regret it for the rest of my life." Fast forward four years and my party's one of the best parties in North America. And now with this club coming it's just the next chapter for me in my career.
Why do you think the New York scene got pushed underground? Why don't people want to go out to clubs as much?
Because it's like going through the airport! People just don't feel as comfortable as they used to at those venues.
How will the Friday night programming compare to what you do at Blk|Market Membership?
Well basically we have a new home now, and it's this club. We have a Blk|Market Membership residency once a month, but on other Friday nights, Fahad and I are rotating residents. The programming that I have put together, as I was mentioning, are people that I want to bring in to play along side us every weekend. My goal with the club is basically to double up the scene if not more, because right now New Yorkís night life is BOOMING, especially the techno stuff. I really care about who will be coming to the club each weekend to listen to the music. Im really not interested at all in people who have no clue as to what the club is about and chin stroke. Thats what Blkmarket Membership is about : good DJs, good sound, good vibe. People leave very happy from our parties and come back again because they truly had a great time. I think people coming out to District 36 will love what's in store for Friday nights.
How does District 36 plan to deal with problems such as the cops and neighbors complaining?
Well thatís a good question to be honest. Weíre gonna be running a really tight ship, but also our staff will be courteous to clients who come into the club. Our goal is that people will want to come back each week or every other week because they had a really good time. I donít want them to feel like theyíre tied up in situations where they feel uncomfortable at the club, which is what happened at some of those venues.
So you think people will feel more comfortable letting loose at District 36?
I just want the people to come out, dance, have a good time. Weíve educated a lot of people about different artists in this industry. I feel they are gonna come back, understand who weíre bringing, and already have done their research. I want people to come to the club, like I used to back at Twilo, right when the opening DJ started, all the way till the closing act. They're going to want to come because itís a really bad ass line up, you know?
You're residency at District 36 is on the same night as The Bunker. Do you think that could that be a problem?
I donít think so. Like I was saying my goal is to really increase the number of people at this scene. Bryan Kasenic, who is another good friend of mineÖhe does his parties in Brooklyn and I do my parties mainly in Brooklyn as well. The new club is in Manhattan, and there are a lot of people in Manhattan who donít come to Brooklyn just because itís Brooklyn. Itís weird, I knowÖ Itís New York. But I think a lot of people who live in Manhattan, are going be coming to this and the scene will definitely grow in numbers and Iím really looking forward to seeing that.
So you think Manhattan has an untapped market for underground house and techno?
Yes, but I donít necceseraly think itís new, I just think they donít want to trek out to Brooklyn. Itíll be nice to see them, because Iím hearing some of the stuff that people are saying, ďitís amazing, there is actually a club we can go to in Manhattan and it's so close to where I live, rather than trekking out to Brooklyn."
District 36 will open its doors on September 17th for a Drumcode Night featuring Adam Beyer and Ida Engberg alongside residents Taimur and Fahad.