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Nicky Siano - A Little Nicky

Author: Justin Levy
Friday, 14 December 2007
When ‘New York’, ‘House Legend’ and ‘Studio 54’ are spoken, only one name comes to mind – Nicky Siano. Now the legendary DJ is returning to Sydney for SHE NYE. Interview by 3D’s Justin Levy.

You started DJing at 16 years old in 1971 and within a year opened your own club, the Gallery in Soho – would you recommend the nightclub biz to other 16 year-olds, being older and wiser now-
No, definitely now. I believe a College education is absolutely essential in this world now, and I’m so grateful that later in life I went back and got my college degree. If you’re very moved to DJing at a young age, fine do it, but don’t quit school…do it on the weekends, that’s when most DJing takes place. It’s definitely something you can do on the side until you see if you’re making a good living out of it before you quit school…this is what I did. I didn’t quit school until I was making more then both my parents combined.

What was your fondest memory of playing Studio 54 and, we realise you must get asked this all the time, but how accurate was the movie-
The movie gave you a story of a bar back, is that what you wanted to know- I didn’t, I wanted to know about Steve Rubel, which I already knew, but I thought that would have been a more interesting take on the film…also, the club looked so small, it wasn’t it was huge, it fit up to 4000 people. The club in the movie looked tiny…and you didn’t get any of the feel that the lightening brought to the night.

Have you kept your day job of counselling AIDs patients, or is music your full-time career again now-
Full time music…I needed a break from AIDS work, I was there from 1983 ’til 1996 professionally, at a hospice, so right in the thick of all the dying of the ’80s – it was devastating, I needed a break.

The decline of New York’s nightlife thanks to Rudy Giuliani has been well documented, how is the nightlife scene in 2007- Has there ever been anything to rival Studio 54-

No, it’s very, very sad that Adolf Giuliani killed much of the creative aspects of New York life…it has never recovered.

When we spoke to you last year you had a few music projects on the go, what are you working on in the studio at the moment-
I’m working on the gallery movie, A Night at the Gallery, shot in 1976-78 at The Gallery. You can preview the movie on my web site, – check it out, it’s incredible…it’s really shot then. Right there.

Finally, for those who haven’t heard you play recently, what are your sets like- Do you pull out the old disco vinyl you used to spin back at Studio 54, or is it more 2007 house and disco-
It’s a mixture of old club tunes that you haven’t heard in years, when I reach for a disco tune, I try to make it unusual, and new house, but the uplifting vocal house, with a message about love, for love is the message.

WHO: Nicky Siano
WHAT: Plays SHE NYE at The Loft and Bungalow 8
WHEN: Monday 31 December