A Conversation with 4AM DJs Co-Owner Adam Alpert
Adam Alpert interned for me when I was running Spa. He was going to the University of Pennsylvania, as was my very significant other. I used to commute everyday from NY to Philadelphia and back to be with her. I even helped renew and rebrand a joint down there, Egypt, and design and brand a new joint called Shampoo. Shampoo is still there, and it’s over 10 years old. Adam had the stuff I was looking for: educated but cool, and having the itch to work at night. Now he is my manager for my DJ career, and he works very hard for my money.
This Thursday, he is part of a unique experience which I am watching very closely. He is part of a concert at Irving Plaza where some of his DJs will perform in concert, rather than the traditional club setting. Sure, I am aware of the Tiesto/Paul Van Dyk kind of festival gigs, and bookings of super DJs in clubs, but I think there is a subtle but significant difference in this event. These DJs enjoy a world wide reputation but are mash-up or mixed format DJs, not the house gods usually associated with advance ticket sales and such.
Adam Alpert, you are the co-owner of 4AM DJs and Talent Management. And you are partners with Johnny Lennon.
Jus-Ske and Jesse Marco and myself
Did the name have anything to do with AM the DJ?
No, the reason we call it 4am is because we’re from New York City, and that’s what time New York City closes, as opposed to our friends on the West coast who close at 2am.
On the West coast are you called 2am?
Still four when we go there.
So next Thursday, you have an event, and it’s unique. It’s a foray into new ground for you guys, and you’re killing it. Right now your DJs are everywhere.
We had ten DJs going down to Art Basel where we did tons of events. Some DJs did as many as four events in one day. We did events for brands like Dior, Architectural Digest, Scope, Louis Vuitton, and a lot of cool stuff.
You’ve taken the DJ, and made him a commodity that’s absolutely needed now more than ever. A name DJ who is reliable and accountable is required all over the United States, wherever things are happening. DGI is another agency that also does this: Yoni Goldberg and Damon DeGraff own that.
Yes, they’re great.
And you’re all friends.
Yes. Nightlife in New York City, as you know better than anyone, is not the same as it was during the days of Life and Spa. People want something different all the time and that comes down to talent and entertainment. People want great music no matter what, and they are looking to DJs that produce, that make remixes, that do clever mashups, ones that they’re fans of and listen to. And that’s why DJs are the new celebrity. They’re sweeping the world.
Tell me about this event coming up next Thursday.
Our DJs, not only do they produce and do nightclubs and private events, but they really are the show these days, and we wanted to create a different kind of experience for our New York fans, in the form of the a live concert. This is something that has been sweeping the world in the festival arena, live concert arena, everything from Electric Zoo to Coachella, and 4am is a part of that, and we wanted to do a 4am DJs concert. We partnered with our friends at brobible.com, which is a great website, and they throw a lot of great concerts, and we were happy to be partners with them. And we have Jesse Marco and Jus-Ske headlining, Mia Moretti will do her DJ and violin set with violinist Caitlyn Moe, and DJ Sinatra and DJ Price will also do some sets, with some special guest surprise performances.
Did you guys rent Irving Plaza?
No, we didn’t rent it. We’re doing a regular concert along with Live Nation who owns the venue. Tickets are for sale on livenation.com, they’re $15 in advance, $20 at the door.
How is it being promoted?
It’s being promoted as a regular concert. We’re promoting it to our VIPs and friends. We encourage anyone and all people that love great music, and want to dance and have a special night, and maybe not necessarily go to a nightclub can come and have fun.
What are the hours?
Doors open at eight, the show will get started around nine, and we go until one.
Are you nervous about it or do you think it’s going to sell out?
We’re definitely going to sell out. I’m not nervous about that. I’m looking forward to seeing the show that my guys put on.
And you think you can sustain an energy at like, say, 11 at night?
Absolutely. I mean, we’ve got a lot of talent that’s going to be performing, and they’re all doing something different. You’re going to hear original music you’ve never heard before, you’re going to see some surprise performers come out, and we have a lot in store for all five senses.
We were talking before about the West coast being 2am. People are not used to leaving a dance party that early, in this town anyway. They’re going to a dance party at 9 o’clock at night. I think that’s your biggest hurdle.
Well, I think you’re limiting yourself to a younger demographic, and our fans range from 21-61, so I think that there will be a more mature, diverse crowd at this, but definitely entertaining for all ages.
I would go, but you have me booked for next Thursday at Hotel Chantelle, so I actually cannot go and see this. You used to intern for me when you were a young stud. You were a great intern, and you went on to do this, and now I work for you.
I work for you, Steve. I’m the manager, you’re the artist.
There you go. But you also used to work with Scott Sartiano, who also worked with me. You went to work with him at 1Oak, and I guess you left the club business and moved on to doing this. You, like Scott, who went to Columbia, have a big education. You went to UPenn. Most club owners and operators don’t have that kind of resume. You spent a lot of time in clubs. I always write about exit strategies, how do people get out of the club business. I think I probably had that speech with you when you worked with me. The old roller-coaster speech, which I always lay on newbies: You get on the roller coaster and first thing is you go up the big hill, and you think you see the whole world, but you’re only seeing a little bit more in reality, then it’s a fast ride, a lot of turns. But for most part, they end up in the same place they started in. Tell me when you decided, I’ve got to get the fuck out of the club business. Of course, you’re still in it a little bit and using the knowledge you’ve learned from me and Scott and others. So when did you want to get out, why did you get out, and how did you come up with this idea?
Well, you and Scott and Richie are definitely on my list of mentors, and definitely helped get me to where I am today. The thing that attracted me to nightlife was how you get to interact with people in all different industries, all different demographics. You get to work with people in fashion, in film, in banking, in music, in finance, in TV. And I love that part about it, and I love working with people from all different industries, because nowadays, all these different industries are intertwined. And you know, although I knew that I loved that industry, owning nightclubs and working in nightclubs wasn’t best suited for a New Yorker who went to UPenn. I knew it was just my first step. Jesse Marco, Jus-Ske, and Lennon were good friends of mine. We realized the void for a DJ management agency in New York City. We all had a lot of contacts over our collective fifty years in the nightlife business, and we knew that we could take our friends, the DJs that were already killing it in New York, and take them to Tokyo, Paris, Milan, Russia, LA, and Vegas.
You haven’t even gotten me to the Bronx.
You’re new. You’re the oldest new DJ we have.
I replaced Ani Quinn, I understand. He was the oldest before me.
He was the oldest but he works like nobody else I know.