Every Friday at Webster Hall, fans knew to look for “Girls & Boys” and resident DJs Alex English, Dali, and Hiyawatha. Unfortunately, this past August, after the sale of Webster Hall, Girls & Boys came to an end.
But now, only two months later, they’re back with their next act. This time, it’s called “The Function” and it’s going to be at Schimanski in Brooklyn.
I spoke with Alex and Dali (unfortunately, Hiyawatha was not available at the time of the interview) to get a look at what fans can expect from “The Function” and what might be new.
After having done “Girls & Boys” for so long at Webster Hall, what was it like to wrap that up?
Alex English: It was bittersweet. Personally, I was very sad about the sale of Webster Hall since it was home for Girls & Boys for so long. At the same time, the love and response we got from current and past fans who came out to our final run of shows was very heartwarming.
Dali: I was blessed to come into the G & B family five years ago so I was part of the second half of the series at Webster. My dream was to be a resident there my whole career, it is bittersweet that when it finally happened, we got to be the last resident DJs in the history of the venue.
What will you miss most?
Alex: I will miss the feeling every Friday brought. The rush of the crowd as soon as we opened the Grand Ballroom was amazing.
Dali: I will miss the energy you felt in there even when the venue was empty. With all of the history there, the ghosts were always talking to us.
I’d love to hear a bit more about what’s next though! What’s “The Function”? What are you hoping to build?
Alex: The Function can be viewed as an extension or continuation of Girls & Boys. Many fans wanted a new home on Fridays. I’m hoping we are able to continue the tradition at Schimanski.
Dali: The Function is our new brand for our same great sound. For me, I would like to see the same amazing personality Girls & Boys had in Brooklyn. A venue doesn’t make a party; the party makes a venue.
What can fans of yours expect will be a mainstay that will always be there between “Girls & Boys” and “The Function”?
Alex: The programming will be very similar. We will be doing everything from bass acts to, what I suppose is now termed, future house. There will be a good range of EDM for sure. The same residents will be at The Function: Dali, Hiyawatha, and myself.
Dali: Expect the same great energy that we had in Manhattan. We are creating a new home for the bass community with a quality sound system and an amazing room to dance in.
And what’s new?
Alex: Obviously the venue and location is new. We will be at Schimanski in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The name and branding is new. The name actually came from the track “Function” by Justin Martin and Ardalan. We thought it was a fun track that conveyed the vibe of what we are doing.
Any details on what’s coming up for the launch? Any artists you’re particularly excited about?
Alex: Ghastly will be headlining and support from S.P.O.C.K. and Parker. I’ve always loved Ghastly and his success story has always made an impression on me. S.P.O.C.K. actually played the last Girls & Boys at Webster Hall. I feel Parker is an up-and-coming talent to watch.
Dali: For now we are geared up for Ghastly to kick off the party proper this Friday.
How do you discover new music and artists?
Alex: Being a DJ myself and working with two other residents, we always try to keep up with new sounds amongst ourselves. We share music all the time. I also manage quite a few up-and-coming acts, so I always keep my ear open to what they listen to and what they share with me.
Dali: Being an artist myself, I am always searching for new music and inspiration. A lot of the tunes we play are from upcoming artists that no one knows yet. This helps not to sound like every other DJ out there as well.
Can you tell us a bit about the team who works with you on these? How did you meet? How did they all become a part of what you all are building?
Alex: Dali and I met, I think, six or seven years ago. We actually started off badly and did not like each other for some time. Eventually we both grew up a bit and put our differences behind us.
Hayata (his DJ name is Hiyawatha) and I met four years ago at Bassment at Webster Hall (at least that’s what he tells me). We ended up DJing together at the first Elements Festival which pretty much turned into us being coming great friends. Both Dali and Hayata are like brothers to me.
Eddie Dean, I met back in 2006 at Pacha when I opened for Armand Van Helden. I would see him throughout the years. When we spoke about doing something together at Schimanski, it just made sense. Eddie was the former owner of Pacha and the current owner of Schimanski.
Dali: I was lucky enough to catch a second chance with Alex English after not liking each other at first and I’m glad we did. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be part of history. These two boys are like brothers to me and we feed off each other very well.
I never imagined being part of a group act coming up on my own but I wouldn’t change one thing we have done over the last five years. Hayata and I have had some of the best sets ever without saying a word to each other while being on stage. Like they say get yourself some ride or die boys and the rest will follow.
Do you have any embarrassing stories you can share about each other?
Alex: I’m sure there are but nothing comes to mind apart from the time I accidentally played a tune by the headliner during my opening set. I mixed out of it within 20 seconds. I confessed to the headliner that it was me and apologized.
Dali: We have all made silly mistakes, but the best part of the three of us are we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We always joke around everyday and no one is safe from practical jokes.
Funniest story I can think of was the day Alex stole a McRib sign from McDonald’s and brought it to the club. We then threw it in the crowd and it was passed around all night with pride by our crowd [laughs]. You can’t make this stuff up.
What do you hope people attending “The Function” come away thinking?
Alex: I want them to have a great time and love the vibe and come back again. We have done a few soft launch Fridays, and so far, people seem to enjoy the venue and vibes of the new party.
Dali: I would like our patrons to feel like they have a new home with us in Brooklyn. The beauty of our event is the family vibe and I would do anything for our family to make sure they have a home to party in where they don’t feel judged and can be themselves.
Where do you hope to take “The Function” in the future?
Alex: I don’t really think about these things too much… I tend to take things week to week, which makes us focus on the show at hand.
Dali: We try and live in the moment, but I would just like consistency of an amazing revolving crowd.
What are your thoughts on the New York music scene now? Where do you see it going in the future and what part do you hope to play in that?
Alex: There is a massive shift to Brooklyn right now. I’ve always felt that the last few years that the scene has been very top heavy, meaning that a lot of promoters and venues don’t really spend a lot of time developing the newer talent. That’s something that I’ve always tried to do.
Dali: Our main goal has always been to give the people the quality they deserve. The culture has changed many times in the 20 years I have worked in nightlife. We have to change with the times or be left behind, but we always give the kids a history lesson with some legends on the lineups. It’s important to have a good balance.
Outside of work, what are some of your favorite things to do in New York? Your favorite spots?
Alex: I’m big food guy. For some reason I always find myself going back to Black Iron Burger for their mushroom truffle burger.
Dali: I know I can speak for the three of us, we like to eat. I’m usually just following Alex and Hayata around town to the next best restaurant. I’m officially Asian now after all the places they have taken me, but my favorite place to eat is Vera Cruz in Williamsburg on Bedford Avenue. Best Mexican food in Brooklyn hands down and one hell of a tequila bar! Tell Ashley I sent ya!
Check out The Function’s launch this Friday at Schimanski!
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