Pilot on Bill Wells

‘Each song is a prayer; it’s a piece of art.’

Dave Mancuso: the original party animal

Dave Mancuso

Whatever kind of music you favour. the chances are that you go clubbing in search of one thing. the point where the tnusic. crowd and DJ combine to create one of those transcendental sheer. untuiulterated joy.

The person you have to thank for setting the blueprint for that dancefloor experience is David Mancuso. the tnan behind the Loft. at New York party that has. on and off. run for more than 30 years. 'lt goes back as far as I can remember.‘ Mancuso says. ‘As far back as when l was nine years old: that‘s the first time I remember having some friends over to my house and putting some records on. As I got older I just continued that. In the mid- ()()s. 1 got a loft spaee. l had a sound system. so I _jttst started making tapes and inviting friends over. Then around l‘)7(). economics changed for me dramatically. and I started to do parties to support the rent.’

The fact that Mancuso filled his living space-cum—nightclub with friends. and plied them with free food. made for an atmosphere that spurred on the likes of Larry Levan and lirankie Knuckles to commercialise the formula and create modern nightclubbing. For Mancuso. the community feelings fostered at the Loft were inevitable. 'lt was a scene built on friendship. on love and on mUsic.‘ he says. 'I

moments of

wasn't going into the club business. it was much more real to me than that.‘

Mattettso's devotion to the mttsic he loves. a proto—disco amalgam of Latin. soul and rock. is such that he refuses to tnix records. and insists on the best possible sound system. ‘l.ouis Armstrong once said. “If it sottnds good. it ain’t hath” says Mancuso. ‘lf there‘s a song that you love from the bottom of your heart and you hear it distorted. that ttpsets you. liach song is a prayer. if you will. it's a piece of art. The mix is ultimately with the musicians. each one tnaking their sound. and the mix between them makes the music. I don‘t think I should interfere. and be judge. jury and executioner with something that you may love.‘

The Loft is currently on hia— tus. Mancuso. however. shows no sign of bringing his party to an end. ‘lf I put a party on tomor- row. you’d see people there from day one. I‘ve seen three genera- tions of one fatnily on the dance— lloor at the same time. 'l'hat’s got to be unique. and I believe the opportunity will present itself to enable me to continue.’

In the mean time. Mancuso is bringing the loft experience to (ilasgow. giving the city's club— bers a chance to hear the man who made nights out what they are today. (Jack Mottram)

Dave Mancuso plays the Riverside Club, Glasgow, Sun 29 Apr.