Earlier this summer, I took my daughters to Blocks, Trucks, + Art, a business started by Jeff Mayer and his wife Angela De Vincenzo, with the goal of teaching my daughters to ride a bike this summer. We had a few ups and downs, but eventually they both learned to ride, and only after a couple of lessons. In addition to their fantastic biking facilities, Blocks, Trucks, + Art also has the coolest DJ booth inside the truck that my girls love to play in and mix their own tracks. Jeff is also a fabulous DJ in the Hamptons, so recently, I returned to talk with him a bit about his DJing booth and his work this summer DJing around the Hamptons.
How many years have you been in business in NYC?
I have been DJng in NYC for the past 25 years, and recently moved full-time to Sag Harbor. I got back into DJng through my children’s program, Blocks, Trucks + Art. In the city, I have played everywhere from Mars, The Roxy, Limelight to lounges and loft parties around the five boroughs. One of my favorites was a monthly party with Supa DJ Dmitry of Deee Lite in Chinatown - in a loft, which started at 1am…
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
As I was coming out of my professional BMX career back in 1989, I was invited to go to the club MARS after one of my competitions by friends/promoters from the club, in the Meatpacking District. I will never forget going right through the crowd, as we were escorted right in past the mob of people desperately trying to get in. Moby was DJng there that night, and instantaneously, I became a house-head from that moment on…
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
I don’t follow trends, or play hits just to appease my audience. I play music that I like, versus what is popular. I only play vinyl, and I take record shopping very seriously. I’ve spent years building my collection. My selections are deeply personal and unique to me.
What do you feel gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
A friend of mine who used to open for Joe Clausell, Danny Krivit + Francois K (Body + Soul Sunday Party) taught me years ago that when buying records, pick what will be good now and 10 years from now – pick music that is timeless. That being said, I think he was right, as 90% of my vinyl collection is from back then.
How do you positively impact your clientele?
Opening people up to music they have never heard, and inspiring them to move freely and dance - that’s what motivates me as a DJ. I think dancing is one of the most primitive things humans can do, and need to do more of it. The world would be in a better place if more people came together and danced.
What is your favorite part of your job?
With the kids, it’s amazing to see a child get super excited about making their own sound through scratching, mixing and distorting records inside our 18 wheeler. For adults, it’s always an amazing feeling when you can get people dancing and being thanked for selecting such good music and creating a special vibe.
What is your favorite secret NYC spot?
Cosmic Arts (record store) in Bushwick for music, Good Room in Greenpoint to go hear a good DJ and dance (it’s dark and has a proper sound system), and Rucola (Ethan Hawke is always there and entertaining), in Boreum Hill Brooklyn for dinner…all Brooklyn spots. As for the Hamptons, we are working on a new spot to take my “Living Room Sessions” party (formerly at Tutto il Giorno) to continue the coming together and dancing, year-round, out East…
How do you benefit mamas?
Moms like to dance… Dancing is great exercise and a such a stress release… My wife, Angela, is also my partner in getting the party going whenever I DJ - she starts the dancing and shortly after everyone is dancing! It’s amazing how many people want to dance, but are intimidated, so having someone start the dancing is always a bonus.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
Since I have left DJng Tutto in early July, to run my summer children’s program, I can’t believe the amount of fans I had built up over the past year on the East End. A ton of people write me on Instagram, others stop me or my wife on the street, here in Sag Harbor, and ask when the “Living Room Sessions” will start up again. A handful of special regulars actually hired me to DJ private events at their homes just so they could hear my music and dance. I am available for private events, I just don’t take requests…
So, I think next year we are going to turn our 18-wheeler into a mobile DJ/Lounge where we can continue to teach DJng and also we can be hired to bring the party to you…Until then though, I am talking with a few spots out East to continue our off-season weekly party...stay tuned!
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field.
Jus Ed, Fred P, Francois K, Joe Clausell, Louie Vega, Yoruba, Doc Martin to name a few…
What is the best advice anyone's ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
A new client of ours this past summer, Gary Vaynerchuk, posted on Instagram, about how being happy in life isn’t about money or power and “the one who wakes up in the morning with the least pressure in their chest is winning.” That rings so true for me, and I try to live by that everyday.
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
Take your time + slow down, don’t rush; prepare in advance for whatever it is you need to do.