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The Curators: Globetrotting DJ Lefto on The World’s Best Clubs

The Curators: Globetrotting DJ Lefto on The World’s Best Clubs | meltingbutter.com

For this edition of The Curators I’m very excited to introduce to you one of my all-time favourite deejays and biggest music inspirations – Lefto. This man, a globetrotting musical tastemaker, is known for his special knack of uncovering fresh talent, new genres and the latest releases within his mainstays hip hop, jazz, soul, and funk plus a hugely diverse list of other sounds you’ll hear him experimenting with. Having a listen to his regular radio show on Studio Brussel should give you an idea of what I mean.

Follow his Instagram to get a small glimpse into Lefto’s globetrotting ways. You’ll see that he’s literally booked up all over the world playing only at the clubs, music venues and festivals that maintain the strictest of music policies and the highest qualities of nightlife.

So who better to create a global club hit list for Melting Butter than Lefto?

I caught up with him to ask him all of my burning questions about his top tracks, artists, cities, clubs and music festivals and we ended up with an incredible list of clubs around the world for all you cool club kids out there to check out.

The Curators: Globetrotting DJ Lefto on The World’s Best Clubs | meltingbutter.com

Lefto in front of Grelle Forelle’s wall of sound in Vienna

MB – What tracks are on repeat for you at the moment?
LEFTO – Right now I’m bumping a lot Joey Bada$$ “Two Lips”, love Fatima’s new EP “Family” on Eglo Records, and the latest Theo Parrish “Long Walk Full V” on Sound Signature, which is the 50th release on his label.

MB – Any new artists that you’re really excited about right now?
LEFTO – Well, definitely Reginald Omas Mamode IVth, who just released an EP on Five Easy Pieces, It’s has a Bilal & Sa-Ra Creative Partners kind of vibe.  And Diggs Duke I’d say, who released the other week on Brownswood Recordings and is definitely worth checking out on the soul tip.

MB – What are your 3 favorite cities?
LEFTO – Two out of three are definitely in America.  New York City has always been one of my favorite cities; I grew up listening to music and watching videos showing the New York vibe and always got attracted by it.  As a kid I even called random people in New York to ask them how it felt to live there.

My second favorite city would be Los Angeles, for its climate and for the love I get when I play over there.  I have many friends there, some of them are world famous and humble at the same time, and I love the vibe this city creates, and from that vibe comes the great music we are all loving so much.

Tokyo is definitely one of my favorite cities in the world.  It is maybe the only city on the planet where I feel out of this world.  The respect people have towards others is just so different to what we know, Japanese are well-organized, in a way that reminds me of the German authority, very strict but there’s a twist to it, something I can’t really describe.  And then of course, it’s all peaceful and clean.  And every time I come back from Japan I’m broke.

MB – What makes a club special?
LEFTO – I think that the resident deejays are one of the things that make a club special.  He’s the main motor, every resident deejay should be as open minded as possible, one would educate his crowd so people could enjoy everything an invited deejay plays, without surprises.  Another thing would definitely be the friendly bouncer, a very good sound, not loud, but comfortable to everyone’s ear and with enough bass.  And of course, keep the club dark, people don’t need to see, they should all listen.

MB – Big club or small club?
LEFTO – I would always go for the small club, a little basement with a good vibe and great sound.  A deejay booth close to the crowd and dark.  For some reason the vibe is much nicer in the smaller venues maybe because people are closer to each other and it creates a certain proximity, a family vibe.  I do prefer the close proximity of the DJ booth, to feel the energy from the crowd.

MB – What elements make a great club night for you?
LEFTO – The right gear, great monitor sound that won’t hurt my ears in the booth, a friendly, open minded crowd with great dancing skills.  And of course darkness and not too hot.

MB – Looking back at 2013, which were your favorite club nights or music festivals?
LEFTO – I’ve been to so many places this year it’s hard to keep track but I think the summer has given me a really great time.  From the open-air club in Budva, Montenegro, an old little town by the Adriatic Sea surrounded by many islands to of course the Worldwide Festival and my own curated stage at Dour Festival and some great sounding clubs like Grelle Forelle in Vienna which sound is probably one of the best in Europe.   But I can’t forget the small clubs in Kyoto and Nagoya, my first club nights at The Block and Teder in Tel Aviv discovering a whole different scene, every Do-Over I play in Los Angeles or elsewhere…

MB – Which city or country has an up and coming music scene that world needs to pay attention to?
LEFTO – Well, I have a feeling that every city has something brewing, some are more obvious than others of course, but I’d say Canada for Maylee Todd and Milosh (who’s also the voice behind Rhye), Australia for Flume, Chet Faker, Ta-Ku among others, Belgium has actually some great coming up artists like Stromae, Pomrad, Selah Sue, Aeroplane.

LEFTO’S GLOBAL CLUB HIT LIST

GRELLE FORELLE, VIENNA

This place is definitely my favorite place in Europe when it comes to sound.  You don’t have to go too loud, despite the huge wall of sound behind the deejay booth and the speakers on the other side of the dance floor giving a perfect surround sound when you’re right in the middle.  Don’t go there on a regular night, choose the right concept night and you’ll have a great time.

http://www.grelleforelle.com

 

THE LIFT, LOS ANGELES

More than a club, The Lift is a concept by Wiseacre, Jeremy Sole and Jonathan Rudnick.  They change places for every party, and it usually is in the industrial part of downtown Los Angeles.  I am sure you can imagine the surroundings, high hangars, rail tracks, the sound of an Amtrak train passing by not too far away, the big disco ball in the middle and great sound system.  I remember playing there and had an LAPD helicopter flying over us during a set, incredible.

https://www.facebook.com/tryandfindus

The Lift LA | The Curators: Globetrotting DJ Lefto on The World’s Best Clubs | meltingbutter.com

Photo: John Dill & The Lift

ZOUK, SINGAPORE

Zouk is maybe one of the most beautiful clubs in the world.  The owner loves art so don’t be surprised to see artworks in the different spaces of the club, I’ve seen a huge Keith Haring piece and many works by Andy Warhol.  I think it can hold up to 3000 people in total, and my favorite room is the Velvet Underground, a more loungy room with once again, a great warm sound.  Jeremy Boon is a resident there but it is every major deejay’s stop in the region.

http://www.zoukclub.com

Zouk Singapore | The Curators: Globetrotting DJ Lefto on The World’s Best Clubs | meltingbutter.com

Photo: Courtesy of Zouk

OUTPUT (THE PANTHER ROOM), BROOKLYN

Played there a couple weeks ago and fell in love with that specific room holding an open fire and giving us the best sound system and comfortable DJ-booth while Q-Tip was playing in the other room.  Apparently this is the place to go in New York City, or at least in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

http://outputclub.com

1391760_607333475993715_614787194_n(Output maintains a strict no photo policy so no image can be shown here – you’ll have to go there yourself to see what it looks like!)

 

THE BLOCK, TEL AVIV

Ever since Gilles Peterson told me I should play there I’ve been dreaming about that moment, and a couple months ago I was invited to play at this club catalogued as one of the best clubs in the world.  It has a huge surround sound system in the main room and great sound systems in the two smaller rooms.  It is an amazing club; DJ Harvey has a residency there just to give you an example.

http://www.block-club.com

The Block Tel Aviv | The Curators: Globetrotting DJ Lefto on The World’s Best Clubs | meltingbutter.com

Photo: Ben Plahov & Courtesy of The Block

THE SOUND TABLE, ATLANTA

It is a small place in a great area of Atlanta where Karl Injex opened The Sound Table.  A place where music and food is one, and I think they now have an extra space next door where they exhibit art and organize special pop-up events.  If you’re in ATL you should definitely pay a visit to that place.

http://www.thesoundtable.com

The Sound Table Atlanta | The Curators: Globetrotting DJ Lefto on The World’s Best Clubs | meltingbutter.com

Photo: Courtesy of The Sound Table

The Sound Table Atlanta | The Curators: Globetrotting DJ Lefto on The World’s Best Clubs | meltingbutter.com

Karizma playing at The Sound Table – Photo: Courtesy of The Sound Table

CIELO, NEW YORK CITY

I’ve always been a fan of this beautiful club in New York City’s Meat Packing District.  Of course the area is hip right now but the club’s reputation is undeniable, it’s a legendary club with resident deejays like Nickodemus, Louie Vega and Roger Sanchez.  I’ve been invited a couple times by François K for his Monday party “Deep Space“.  It attracts a very dedicated crowd on that night and it is also a night where I think the sound system gets what it deserves.  Deep Space is a night where you must play only dub versions, instrumentals, nothing vocal really and I love it.  Visit Cielo when you’re bored on a Monday night (or other nights), the club is beautiful and the sound system incredible.

http://www.cieloclub.com

Cielo NYC | The Curators: Globetrotting DJ Lefto on The World’s Best Clubs | meltingbutter.com

Photo: Courtesy of Cielo

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  1. […] potatoes), then dancing all night long in the basement club to DJs like Nickodemus, Quantic, Lefto, DJ Spinna and Rich Medina along with likeminded New Yorkers who are open minded to independent […]



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