December 27, 2015
They say humans are creatures of habit – that we adjust to our environments quickly, learning to operate most effectively by maintaining in those surroundings. But I think it’s the new experiences, the energy in something awkward and different that allows us to learn, to push ourselves into new ways of thinking.
“I’d heard of Daybreaker before, a 7am sober dance party that started in New York and was now taking off around the world.”
That’s why I took this gig, that and the fact I’m in no position to be turning down any form of paying opportunity right now. I’d heard of Daybreaker before, a 7am sober dance party that started in New York and was now taking off around the world. Cool concept, great people. It was always at different locations, a friend of mine shot some drone footage of a boat event in summer – cast off from Manhattan at 6:15 then a cruise around Manhattan as hundreds of people dance to welcome the sunrise. Looked like an interesting way to start the day.
The L train jerked and twisted its way under the East river. I had tried to drink my coffee down to a safe level but it sloshed out over the lip on onto my hand. There are far too many people awake already. Just after 6am and all the seats are almost full.
“He observes me like some piece of abstract art, pondering what type of creature would force him to get up at this time in the middle of winter.”
Jay looks freezing as I emerge from the 14th & 8th Ave stop, also nursing a coffee, hood up and tucked into a doorway. He observes me like some piece of abstract art, pondering what type of creature would force him to get up at this time in the middle of winter.
“Ready to get ravey?” I said, building on his uncomfortable look.
“Mase. What are we up to? How did you convince me this was a good idea?”
“New frontiers mate, you need to keep up your maven status. Living life at the bleeding edge.”
He scoffed, “I’d happily step away from the bleeding edge and back into bed, no one should expose themselves to themselves to the weather this early.”
Light slow flurries started to come down as we walked up through the Meat Packing district, dodging hardened piles of snow slush that remained from the anticlimactic snowstorm. A huge security guard sat inside the Mac store, dressed all in black he stuck out against the bright white lights and rows of devices. I’d read that they were installing safes in all the stores to house the gold Apple Watches and asked Jay who would wear them. He worked in advertising and suggested that they would pay a bunch of celebrities for initial exposure, that Johnny Ive as already working with the big fashion houses in Europe to ensure the watches were positioned in the right way. Apple generally doesn’t fail at telling us what is cool.
We dropped down the stairs to The Gilded Lilly a basement club in Chelsea, walking straight into an array of color and poses. Daybreaker ran a yoga session from six to seven, the place was packed, rows of colored mats and downward dog asses wasn’t the typical visual in this setting. I went straight to decks to setup, Jay looked freaked and bolted for more coffee.
“These were the emerging fashions of the day rave. Bright exercise outfits finished with a flourish to make them club ready.”
They crowds flooded in just before seven, shedding coats and bags everywhere, surrounding the yoga group. After a quick welcome from the hosts I got the nod and we kicked straight into it, the pit like dance floor instantly full below the huge light up chandelier.
I started with some light funky house – they said it was generally a light upbeat kind of mood, mirrored by the array of wardrobes. These were the emerging fashions of the day rave. Bright exercise outfits finished with a flourish to make them club ready. Headscarfs and headbands. A few costumes in the mix. Sprinkles of neon, reacting with the lights. It was still dark down here, so it was easy to get lost in the club vibe.
About half of the people, went full noise from the get go. They had been here before and were used to making the most of their two hours to get loose – the others eased into it cautiously. I watched Jay off to my side, his feet barely coming off the ground.
Dancing sober in a place like this was weird, you’re used to being in a different head space, your repertoire is significantly reduced when you are straight, although being up this early, in this environment, was a drug in itself.
I mixed old school anthems with newer beats, we had a three piece horn section that made their way through the dance floor, followed by dancers that formed circles and inspired everyone to dive even deeper outside their comfort zones. An MC was elevated slightly in the dance pit, pushing them all to get into it. The sweat was quickly starting to flow, layers were shed.
There was generally no mainstream or pop tunes here, but I slipped in a remix of the new Kanye, Rhinana and Paul McCartney tune, FourFiveSeconds. An interesting track and no doubt a mainstream success, they even removed the spaces in the title to make it more social media friendly. I loved that this legend was was coming back to collaborate on new tunes, the full album was going to be dope.
The crowd was pretty much how it had been described, Yoga/Soul Cycle types looking for some fun exercise, deep house music fans, young girls looking for something cool to Instagram, and a bunch of the tech startup crowd. All sorts really. Jay was starting to get into it now, dancing with a group of girls off to my left, wearing shorts with running tights and sneakers.
This was probably a pretty good spot to pickup, it took a bit of balls to getup this early and put yourself out there, people appreciated that. Anything outside of a drunken weekend had to give you an edge.
Two hours disappears, the crowd thins out a little as people emerge from the toilets in a range of corporate attire. Heading off to a day of emails and meetings after losing it among sweaty bodies underground. The lights come up. A few words from the organizers then a performance from a young poet followed a beautiful Afriacan voice over an acoustic guitar. They had it all.
“Saw you getting into it out there mate?” I said to Jay as he wiped the sweat from his face and sipped some Amazonia energy water.
“It’s actually a good workout, at first you are very conscious of what your doing, then you just let it go. Who can resist those beast! Nicely done.”
“No worries. You bouncing straight up to work?”
“Yeah, I’ll take a CitiBike up by the water. Hey the East & Low is meant to be having one of their legendary parties this week, I might be able to get us in, keen?”
“Hell yeah, absolutely, when is it?”
“Thursday, at night. You know? The traditional time of day for a party.”