Bushwick A/V is a premier after hours experience based in New York City. For MLUSA 2016, the crew curated the Saturday late night of our Silent Disco programming in the Holy Grounds. We enjoyed working with them so much that we invited them back to host a day and night of programming in our main venue for 2017. Fresh off their 2 year anniversary celebrations, we sat down with collective founders, Gio Gulez, Memo Erkaya and Myroslaw Bytz to tell us a bit about their parties and outlook on New York nightlife culture.
1. What was one of the biggest challenges you faced when starting Bushwick A/V and how did you overcome it?
Being open and inviting to everyone by design, regardless of gender, race, economic bracket or sexual preference, we had to work hard to provide a space where everyone could feel safe with those they weren’t used to partying around. We did this by encouraging a mutual respect and feeling of fellowship that begins at the door and courses through each aspect of the events. Once we became well-known, new groups consistently started attending, and no matter their agenda coming to an illicit afterhours, they would learn quickly by example what behaviors were acceptable — and rewarded with a fantastic, and often transformative, experience! We believe if you treat people like cattle, they will act like cattle, but if you treat them like sophisticated human beings, they will rise to the occasion.
2. What are your thoughts on NY’s current nightlife scene? If you could change anything, what would it be?
There’s a constant ebb and flow dynamic to New York and that’s why we love it. But it also leads to a lot of uncertainty, risk aversion and sometimes some cutthroat tactics. We happen to believe that more competition leads to more choices, and more choices bring more diverse audiences. But it’s still very splintered; in this age, it’s rare to find a proper diversity in one place, which is why we love and work with so many different crews, from the Manhattan fashionistas to the queer crowd to DIY crews, club kids, techno snobs and everything in between. We wish more would follow that model. We’ve focused very much on elevating the vibrant local talent, and would love to see more people do the same. Also, the laws governing alcohol sales are outdated, outmoded and should be amended.
3. Can you share one thing you want the crowd to take away from your party at the end of the night?
That we are all in this together. This musical note, this song, this space, this neighborhood, this borough, this city, this country, this world, this multiverse, we are united by sound, time and place no matter where we come from, without need for judgment or conflict, no racism, sexism, phobias… And those moments can become memories and special reminders that life can inch toward that ideal.
4. Define the art of DJing.
There are as many viable definitions as there are DJs! There are storytellers, bangers, clinicians, curators, soundtrackers, fans, activists, spirit guides, and everything in between. Once the techniques are mastered, that’s when the creative side can flourish.
5. What’s the best part about being in the Bushwick A/V family?
For the immediate family, we all have strengths that complement each other and a mutual web of trust that allows us not to get bogged down in politics and concentrate on what we do best. For the extended family of recurring DJs, patrons and friends, it really feels like there is an unspoken understanding and flow that we’ve found can be rare in this scene. We just celebrated our 2nd anniversary, and the response and goodwill has been amazing. To have touched so many people deep inside is really why we do what we do!
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