New York's 15 Hottest DJs

Meet the people providing soundtracks for nightlife spots around New York. Some are famous (or semi), some aren’t—all are worth a listen.

November 29, 2006, 12:00 AM EST

DJ Cat

DJ Cat
The party prowess of Catherine Wentworth secured her residency at nightlife impresario Amy Sacco’s Lot 61 and Bungalow 8, along with performances for Vanity Fair soirees, Rebecca Taylor fashion shows, and East Village hideaways. Clients include Robert De Niro and Marc Jacobs, for whom she spins rock, electro, hiphop, 80’s, breaks, and techno on a mission to make the crowd dance.

Andrew Andrew
This twinned-out DJ-ing duo revolutionized the party scene when they set up their iPods at club APT and allowed guests to take a turn mixing music for the crowd. Their weekly iParty signaled the democratization of spinning, and since then the pair have become iconic in the downtown (Apple-driven) scene—not only for their coordinated outfits and entertaining branding identity—but for their eclectic, esoteric mix of downloadable music, which they reveal weekly on their show, Sound Sound.

Justine D
The inimitable Justine D (for Delaney) has spent the greater part of the 21st century tag teaming with DJ-party partners for her Motherfucker party—which has built a reputation for bringing together rowdy, diverse, glam-filled crowds on holiday weekends. Other turntable gigs include Diesel, Ralph Lauren, Gen Art, and various parties that capture the high/low 21st-century scene. Her preferences include rock (new and old), soul, disco, house, and electronica. Gigs start at $1,000.

Justin Carter
With one foot planted in the history of jazz, funk, and reggae, and another in the future of hip-hop and electronic music, Carter spins for hipsters and suits at warehouse parties as well as SoHo lounges. As a member of the East Village record label and club Nublu, he’s turned vinyl with the Brazilian Girls, Q-Tip, and Ursula 1000, played personal DJ for the Gorillaz, and lined up performances for Saatchi and Saatchi, Flavorpill, the Getty Museum, and Res magazine. Gigs start at $1,000.

DJ Lindsey
As part of New York’s legendary Negroclash crew, Lindsey Caldwell spins electronic funk music monthly at APT and lends vocal talents to artists and producers like Rich Medina, Prince Language, and the Rapture. She balances spinning with working as senior associate editor at Fader magazine. Her expertise lies in soul, classics, ‘80s pop, classic electro, underground hip-hop, and R&B. Gigs range from $750 to $1,500, depending on the length of time and the location.

James F!@#$%^ Friedman
Music journalist, consultant, and so-called “Head of Cultural Insights” at a New York ad agency, Friedman delivers his spin on the electronic music scene (Detroit techno, house, acid-tinged techno), plus punk-funk, soul, and dirty rock at parties as far reaching as the Mode Museum in Antwerp, Belgium, to the Virgin Festival in Baltimore. Gigs range from $250 to $1,500.

Music blogger and downtown DJ Sarah Lewitinn made her name as a music scout, editor, and tastemaker in the indie-rock scene, and now heads her own record label, Stolen Transmission. She’s mostly seen and heard at industry parties for the rocker set, championing new bands. In her book, Pocket DJ, she set up play lists for every occasion, from proms to first dates to pool parties.

Duane Harriott
When he’s not imparting his musical wisdom to enthusiasts at downtown hipster store Other Music, Harriott discloses electronic R&B, 80’s and early 90’s hip-hop to dance-loving crowds all over New York (APT, Joe’s Pub, P.S.1) on his own and as part of the Negroclash triumvirate, where he principally spins hooks and hops for his body-shaking crowd.

DJ Moni
Monica Pineda scores theater productions, hosts a radio show, and teaches after-school arts programs, and she still has time to spin a serious mix of bass-heavy electro, hip-hop, and Caribbean and African rhythms for the likes of Central Park SummerStage, Dwell magazine, and Sephora. She was selected to tour nationally with critically acclaimed hip-hop theater show Flow, in which she mixed to great reviews in The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times.

DJ Shakey
Julie Covello has been on the New York scene for the last 16 years as one of the city’s underground turntable queens, presenting her eclectic music collection (dance, rock, oldies, swing, Latin, hip hop, country, jazz, rarities) to the wellheeled and the down and dirty. As a music consultant for runway shows, designer retail stores, and parties, Shakey updates her impressive resume of corporate events and Brooklyn warehouse parties. Gigs range from $1,500 to $2,500.

Small Change
Over the past 15 years, Jim Dier has become intrinsically linked to the underground nightlife scene with his eclectic dance sets, mod outfitting, and hard-hitting late-night gigs. The veteran New York DJ and music addict has an incredibly extensive collection of records (over 30,000) and a knack for creating unique play lists for events from Los Angeles to Berlin to Australia. Gigs range from $1,500 without equipment to $2,500 with, depending on the setup.

Queen Majesty
Brooklyn–based Erica Diehl has spent the last six years perfecting her collection of deep-digging Jamaican music and dancehall, which she showcases at her monthly event with Deadly Dragon Sound System and veteran reggae luminaries like Johnny Osbourne and Wayne “Sleng Teng” Smith. Queen Majesty has been featured in Italian Vogue and Re:Up magazine and has worked parties for Puma and Puerto Rico’s Candelafest. Gigs start at $500.

Max Cattaneo, the man behind the downtown clothing label of the same name, drops hits at haunts like Happy Ending, Motor City, Tribeca Grand, and Avalon, and he has provided soundtracks for the film premiere of Coffee & Cigarettes, promotional parties (clients include Nokia, Surface, Vice), trade shows, Fashion Week events, and on his weekly show. His tastes range from oldies, metal, classic rock, Motown, northern soul, and funk, to new wave, and he says prices are flexible.

Ben Butler
His residency at the lounges inside the SoHo Grand and Tribeca Grand hotels led the way for Butler to produce, mix, and edit the compilation CD Downtown Downtempo. Butler’s soulful and sophisticated sounds have kept him active in New York’s design, museum, and fashion scene, including gigs for Deitch Projects, the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, Gen Art, and special events at the Guggenheim Museum.

The Misshapes
The New York nightlife collective known as the MisShapes (Greg Krelenstein, Leigh Lezark, and Geordon Nicol)—and their die-hard downtown scenester party—catapulted into the cult celebrity spinning status when they lent their turntables to surprise guests like Madonna, Yoko Ono, Amy Sedaris, and Jessica Simpson. Their devoted following and impressive roster of collaborators has secured them a string of corporate gigs, as well as a serious amount of press, from People to Italian Vogue.

Jeralyn Gerba

Posted 11.29.06

Photos: Francine Daveta

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