DJ DAN SELZER is the ubiquitous man-about- town for the downtown set that prefers Italo disco to hip-hop. Additionally, Selzer moderates two online music lists, NYHappenings and CrazyRhythms, which together claim almost 3,000 subscribers wanting to know where the best parties are. In 1999, he started Acute Records with TODD HYMAN of Carpark Records, re-releasing material by no-wave and experimental artists like THEORETICAL GIRLS, GLENN BRANCA, and THE PREFECTS. He answered some questions before jetting off to spin at Motherfucker DJ MICHAEL T‘s birthday bash last Thursday at Bar 13. If you missed him, he’s playing again (Wednesday, January 26 at Cazzo Pazzo, Luke & Leroy), again (Friday the 28th at Mighty Robot), and again (February 3 at Pop Your Funk, APT).
When did you start DJ’ing? In my basement in 1991. For real in 1996.
What is the first record you ever received? DURAN DURAN‘s Rio for Hanukkah.
How many records do you have? Four, but they are compilations, and I always mix up the order to make it seem like I have more.
Liar. How do you have them organized? I have one large bookshelf for all “non-dance” records, then an Ikea 16-cube shelf where every cube is its own genre—new wave dance; NYC club classics; disco; Italo disco; Hi-NRG; Chicago, NYC, and U.K. house; hip-hop. The bottom four cubes are filled with crap.
What is your most prized record? THOMAS LEER‘s first single, perhaps the first self-recorded, self-released record of the new wave era, and a personal favorite.
What is your guilty pleasure? I like NEIL DIAMOND—a lot!
What local DJ do you most admire? MORGAN GEIST is my No. 1 dance music mentor. PORKCHOP‘s mix CDs rule. MIKE SIMONETTI has the best record collection in the tristate area.
What do you think about New York’s club scene? I don’t go out that much. When I do, I don’t see many people dancing. I know they dance, but only to music I don’t like at places I don’t like. I’m picky like that.
What was your favorite gig ever? Halloween party at a loft in Williamsburg a few years ago. A housemate made us end at 5 a.m., while there was still a good crowd, and everyone clapped. Usually I keep DJ’ing till there’s one guy in the corner puking and someone turns on the lights.
What was the most absurd request you everreceived? “Can you play some house music?”—while playing MR. FINGERS.
What is the most common request? JAY-Z, BIGGIE, or “less gay Italian shit.”
What is your policy on requests? If I have it with me, I’ll play it, when I can work it in. Why do people assume that every DJ has every record ever made with them at all times?
What do you think you are most known for? Getting post-punk hipsters into Italo disco. Clapping at inappropriate moments. I call it syncopation.
Describe NYHappenings. It’s a way to find out why it’s best to stay home and watch TV.
Why did you start NYHappenings? To promote my and my friend’s parties. I had hoped to be such an authority on nightlife that everyone would go to the shows and parties I recommend, but instead people just want to find out where the open bars are.
Why did you start Acute Records? Because I thought I had more good records by 20-year-old bands nobody remembered than there were decent new bands playing now. That’s still true, by the way.
What do you listen to when you’re home? I listen to ’60s pop and folk music, minimalist composers, and ROXY MUSIC.
What club trends do you wish would go away? Ironic dancing. Sitting. Are people still playing mash-ups?
What question do you wish people would ask you but never do? Will you accept money for DJ’ing or do you have to do it for free?