“You find the most honesty and soul in the underground”: DJ Nita Aviance talks music


Nita Aviance has firmly established a career as one of New York City’s most iconoclastic DJs. Resisting the urge to conform to predictably manufactured pop-music anthems, Aviance curates an evolving repertoire of scintillating underground musical oeuvres.

Expanding the musical tastes of self-obsessed pop music sycophants, the charmingly humble innovator insists on reflecting the authentic synergy of art, music, and fashion in New York City.

This summer has been very eventful for him, as Aviance’s two-man band Carry Nation recently returned from Europe after playing several high-profile events in Berlin and London’s Glastonbury Festival. We were eager to find out about Aviance’s European stint, the end of the Westgay party, and how he views the city’s current musical landscape.

dot429: You recently took The Carry Nation to play at England’s Glastonbury Festival. Why were these gigs especially meaningful to you?

Nita Aviance: This is actually our third year playing in Block 9 at Glastonbury. It’s a total honor to be asked back every year and to be the resident New Yorkers makes us very proud to represent our city.

dot429: Can you tell us what the name “The Carry Nation” signifies?

NA: It’s taken from historic American figure Carry Nation, who was part of the temperance movement that led to the prohibition of alcohol. Couple that with the Queen’s English definition of “carrying” and the irony is clear.

dot429: Having just performed in Berlin, are there any differences in the way Germans react to your musical sensibilities?

NA: Every city is different for sure, but if you have confidence in what you are playing, you can make it work.

dot429: You played an integral role in Frankie Sharp’s Westgay party. How did you feel when Sharp’s legendary party came to a close?

NA: Westgay was an incredible experience—being able to play weekly for an audience that is out for a raucous good time is the best thing any DJ could ask for. Frankie really allowed us to push the envelope musically—bringing new sounds and ideas to the dance floor was always welcome. This one will go down in the books for sure!

dot429: The Carry Nation Remix of “You Can Shine” by Andy Butler featuring Richard Kennedy will be released this week. How did you execute this noteworthy project?

NA: Andy and Richard are both friends who we greatly respect as artists. We really just let the song guide us in our remix, leaving the vocals completely intact. It has become an instant classic for the early morning set at our Brooklyn warehouse parties.

dot429: What drew you to your current NYC residencies at Lady Fag’s Holy Mountain and her warehouse party, “Club Shade” with Seva Granik?

NA: Other than wanting to play some great parties with/for some great people?

dot429: You have always remained devout to the House of Aviance. How would characterize your relationship to this rarified vanguard?

NA: The House of Aviance is my chosen family. I’m very proud to be a part of this talented group of individuals and to carry on the torch for the generations to come.

dot429: Why have you always insisted on championing underground music/artists?

NA: You find the most honesty and soul in the underground. Not to say that is lacking entirely in popular music, but when it becomes all about profit some things become compromised.

dot429: How has the musical landscape evolved on the NYC club scene in the past few years?

NA: I think people are a lot more open to new sounds and are once again willing to let the DJ take them to an unfamiliar place. For so many years, gay bars/clubs have been dominated by pop/radio hits. I’m happy we’re moving away from that.

dot429: Your reaction to critics who say that New York nightlife is done:

NA: “Maybe it is you that is done?”

dot429: Most promising emerging musical artist:

NA: La’Fem Ladosha.

dot429: Most abominable established musical artist:

NA: Taylor Swift.

dot429: Trend in music that you wish would disappear:

NA: Electronic dance music—it’s so close yet so far away.

dot429: Nasir Mazhar or KTZ Spring 2016 collection:

NA: Love Nasir Mazhar, but KTZ really killed it this season!

dot429: Personality who epitomizes the concept of modern style:

NA: Gage of the Boone.

dot429: Last notable song/album digital download:

NA: I just re-downloaded “Never Leave You” by Lumidee, an NYC summer classic.

dot429: Three words that evoke your sentiments for the LGBT community:

NA: Way too sensitive.

dot429: Reaction to the removal of the Humans of New York photo from Facebook:

NA: I think they fixed that.

dot429: Where do you see yourself in five years?

NA: Quite happy doing more of the same.

dot429: What do you find incomparable about living in New York City?

NA: 24-hour access.

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