Sleepy & Boo + Friends Returns to Marquee on Friday the 13th | Mysteryland USA Interview
This Friday, June 13th, marks the return of Sleepy & Boo + Friends at Marquee to their headlining night, at the famous New York City nightclub, since they played at Mysteryland USA. Each Friday they play alongside their friends and guests. Joining them for the night is their friend Jean Pierre, a NY favorite who’s previously played at Sleepy & Boo + Friends back in August.
To celebrate their return, they’ve released a brand-new #MarqueeMiniMix, posted last Friday to get everyone ready. You can listen to the mix below.
We’re particularly excited about their return because we caught up with Sleepy & Boo after their set at Mysteryland USA to talk about their Marquee residency, what it takes to stay relevant, and the current state of New York City nightlife.
Sleepy & Boo: Mysteryland USA Interview
Frogette: Do you guys play a lot of festivals? I think I’ve seen you guys at Output and at some Bunker parties.
Sleepy & Boo: We’ve actually never played at Output or Bunker, but we have a residency at Marquee on Fridays. We had a residency at Cielo for two and a half years, which is owned by one of the owners of Output. For festivals, we’ve played at three Electric Zoo’s and the first EDC NY.
F: Ah, okay. I was wondering because this is such an epic music place (Woodstock), and it sounds like at the beginning of your set you guys managed to mix in some ’60s samples. Did that influence you a lot in choosing what you were going to play at Mysteryland?
S&B: Of course. We always pick music that we’d like to play in our sets, but each time we like to do something special. So we thought given the setting that this would be a good idea. We wanted to pick something with a bit more drums, and some recognizable grooves. We love music from all decades, so we thought it would be fun to play a few older tracks that we could remix and play on a dancefloor. We just wanted to put a little context and history behind what we play. Plus our set time was in the afternoon, getting the tent started, so we wanted to create a very welcoming atmosphere and set the vibe.
F: I haven’t been to Marquee since they’ve re-done it.
S&B: You should come by sometime! They’ve put in a killer Funktion One sound system, there’s awesome light displays and a big dance floor. It’s a great club. It’s fun because we can really focus on the Friday nights and the music. It brings together a very diverse crowd. Our friends and our guests are more music-focused, some of them get tables, you have people who come for bottle service, and you have people who come because they’ve heard about Marquee and want to experience it. And you get the fans of the guest DJ for the night. So bringing everyone together creates a great party. .
F: Yeah, I like the Marquee went ahead and did that, because I feel like the Meatpacking District in NYC has changed a lot over the last 5 years to where it’s not so much about the music anymore.
S&B: They (Marquee) really want to be more about focusing on the music. They have put a big emphasis on that, and combining it with a very cutting-edge club experience.
F: In terms of New York nightlife, what’s your feeling on Manhattan versus Brooklyn?
S&B: We don’t really see it as a versus thing. Like we said before, for us it’s about the music. So, we think that it’s great that there’s all these different types of parties springing up all over the city. It’s important because there really is something out there for everyone. The club experience might not be it for some people, maybe they are more into warehouse parties or after-hours parties, so it’s good that people can search through a few options and find the right setting and sound for them. It just helps the music move forward.
F: I saw in your Resident Advisor interview that you guys also produce music that you haven’t released, is there a focus on that? Can we expect something from you soon?
S&B: Yeah we’re producing our own music. We want to focus a bit more on producing and playing our music. We do have some stuff that we’ll play on Fridays to kind of test it out. It’s really cool to play your own music because even though it’s great to play other people’s music when you DJ, when you play your own tracks it’s like, “Amazing” You see people dancing and enjoying it, and you’re like “I made that! This is OUR track.” The thing is that we have so much respect for other producers, and the people who really work hard at it you can hear it in their music. We want our music to get to that point, but to be able to do that it takes serious, hardcore dedication. Even though nowadays there’s a lot of tools that you could use to produce a track in a day or two, we want to make sure our music is something we’re really happy with before we put anything out. Sure you could play it and get it out there as part of our set, but that’s different.
F: Do you guys get to curate the music at all there (at Marquee}?
S&B: Yeah we’re the resident DJs there, so we do all of the bookings for Friday night.
F: OK, so Fridays it’s pretty much your show.
S&B: There’s a lot of pieces that go into running a night at a club like Marquee. We get to guide the music direction for the night, do the bookings, and we work with everyone on the whole team to make it happen the way we want. They’re very open-minded there, for them its a new music adventure. What is great Marquee is that they like the bigger artists, but they also let us bring in up-and-coming artists. It’s nice because when we first started doing our own Basic NYC parties, we were all about up-and-comers and underground artists, and finding the next producers that were good. So this is like a continuation of that. We also get to work with a whole production team, from visuals to lights to costumes and dancers and performers, and everyone is focused on complementing the music and making the artists feel that magic.
F: So when you guys are looking for new music that influences you, what’s your process? Are you Soundclouders, or are people constantly sending you thing?
S&B: As DJs, finding music is just a part of our daily routine basically. We get a lot of promos, we go on Beatport, we talk to our friends to see what they have coming up, we follow the labels and producers that we love, new people, and industry friends of ours send us music. But Soundcloud is a great source too because it’s this massive library of people just putting their own music up, so you can find good stuff that’s not even by any recognizable artists or labels. Sometimes we like to put emphasis on our friends, if they have a new song out or a good track. It might not necessarily be the hottest new thing, but we like to support them so that their work can get some exposure.
F: In terms of producing, do you guys do that together as well?
S&B: Yeah, we have a little computer set up with some keyboards, and a little mini studio that we play music and DJ in. It’s kind of fused into one thing.
F: So when you do release something, do you know what label you would put it out under?
S&B: We have a lot of friends that have labels, so we’d probably put it out under one of those. Running your own label is a lot of work. It’s hard to run a label these days financially for anyone. It feels like a lot of people think the music scene is this booming business. But if you start in music you shouldn’t do it to try and make money. You should do it because you love it. It should be because you have something that you want to share with people, at least in our humble opinion. A lot of our friends ask “How do you become a big DJ?” Our response is, “We don’t know, we’re just DJ’ing. There isn’t really a how-to page. People think that there should be one because people hear a lot of hype about DJs and how much money you can make, but it’s really not that easy.
F: I think that’s true. The people that I know who do it, and aren’t well know enough to be playing at a festival like Mysteryland or EDC, the work falls ALL on them. In one of your interviews, you talk about scheduling; you’re constantly emailing people to set things up, if you do a tour you have to set it up yourself. Which is what you’re originally doing. I think that other people think that you get an agent and then you’re famous the next day.
S&B: Yeah we have an intern that works with us, and James, who works with us on press and bookings, but overall we’re doing a lot of the work. It’s good to build a small team though. In general, we’re pretty home grown. For us, it’s totally DIY and that’s how we started
F: It’s not so much a job as it is a lifestyle.
S&B: Sometimes we hire people to play an opening set that have been asking us to DJ for a while, we give them a shot, and then they’re like “Okay, my manager will call you.” It’s a little bizarre because you’re giving them the platform that they’ve been asking for, but they would rather go through several other people after they get it. You can do it yourself! It seems like up-and-coming DJs think that the only way to advance is if they professionalize themselves. It’s not the truth. People forget that the one-on-one connection is more important than hiring a manager. To us the music scene is all about building the relationship. You don’t start building that and hand it off to someone else. Being a great DJ is your responsibility. If you get to the point where you need a manager, then go for it. But make sure you have the roots first. Roots are what make you who you are.