The year was 2019. A friend of mine who I'd gig'd for at Gov Ball NYC introduced me to the owner of Joyface saying he thought we'd be a good fit.
Before my first night, the owner, Jenn Shorr, gave me a simple creative brief...nothing newer than 1984. Mostly disco.
My initial reaction was...wait...what? The entire night? You only want disco & oldies? There's no way that'll fly in New York. But at the same time, after a decade of DJ'ing in NYC, it was a refreshing brief. Everyone else defaulted to club bangers and it had started to get monotonous.
So I sat down and got to work digging through my digital crates...crates I'd never thought I'd pull from for a club.
I pulled from a crate called "Dad" (classic Rock) and another called "Mom" (80's hits). I pulled from my wedding crate (disco & motown hits) then from my secret disco stash. I wasn't sure if it'd play in a club, but I'd give it a shot.
After the first night there, I knew I had found my new home, and luckily they felt the same.
The energy of this place was like nowhere else. The staff was like a family. The crowd was joyous. The decor made you feel like you were partying in your grandma's basement.
As weeks went on, the line out front grew longer and longer. To get in, people had to do one of two things....dress 70's and vibey as hell OR bring their parents. Because if you brought your parents, you automatically skipped the line.
My early hesitations had clearly been wrong. The owner's vision was brilliant.
There was nothing else like this in New York City – energetically or musically.
Years later, whenever I'm back in New York, the line is just as long, and the people are just as great – but it's no longer the only oldies bar in town.
While I can't say for sure, it feels like they changed the landscape of NYC nightlife. DIsco is everywhere now. Oldies are too. Even at the "trendy" spots.
Whether it was them or just a cultural coincidence, it doesn't matter. I'm glad it happened. I'm glad to have played my small part in it, and to have gotten the opportunity to go deeper and deeper into now what is my favorite genre – disco.
Here's a 5 hour live set that I recorded at Joyface in 2022 – one that kept my own parents out dancing until 3am. It's open format oldies that escalates as the night continues.