Peter Correa has been a regular attendee for quite some time now, so it was only fitting that he and his lovely daughter Michaela share a few minutes in the spotlight. Peter has been witness to – and an incredible part of – New York dance music history. Read on!
MSN: When did you first start coming on Sundays?
Peter: I first came here probably about four years ago, when it used to be called The Yard. Omar S was playing. But I saw Justin Carter for the first time at that party, and he was playing some of the old stuff from the Paradise Garage days.
MSN: Did you go to the Garage?
MSN: You were a card-carrying member?
Peter: I was a card-carrying member at the Paradise Garage.
MSN: What are your experiences from that club?
Peter: It was one of the last vestiges of true underground dance music – and since they closed in ’87, I’ve kind of followed it around where it’s kind of ended up. And these guys have kind of brought it back to life in a really big way, in a beautiful way.
MSN: Are you talking about the Paradise Garage reunions that go on?
Peter: Um, you know what? Because Larry Levan, who was the DJ over there – because he’s no longer around, it’s kind of hard to call it a reunion. There’s a couple of guys who are still out there – Danny Krivit, Francois K, Joaquin Claussel – all these guys that I knew… Dave Mancuso, who’s out in Japan right now – those were the legends. But I’m really interested in the new guys who are actually bringing this stuff around in a different vibe, and it’s been really good.
MSN: What other clubs did you frequent back in the day?
Peter: The Loft. And then there were a lot of smaller clubs, like Better Days, The Shelter, and there was a place called Ones on 111 Hudson.
MSN: Do you remember who DJ’d there?
Peter: Tee Scott.
MSN: Oh yeah. Man, he passed away too early.
Peter: Way too early.
MSN: So you said that Justin and Eamon are helping carry the torch in some ways – are there any other parties that you frequent other than this one that you enjoy going to?
Peter: No, I think these guys are really my personal favorite. There are some that I see, like PS1, and I’ll go over there and see who’s playing. But the idea of a club scene being more intimate, kind of outside the Manhattan commercial vibe, is what people want to see, so the loft parties really caught my attention. The first one I went to was with the Junior Boys at 12-turn-13, which is a great place.
MSN: How did you get into dance music in general?
Peter: I was an engineer in a recording studio. I knew Larry [Levan] when I was a kid.
Peter: One day, when I was going for a membership over there, I actually met him and we started talking about music. I showed him a few of my demo tapes and he listened to them, and said they were pretty good, and ever since then I just gave him a view, you know, my hints of “how are you doing,” because he always wanted feedback from the people that were going. So I said, “Your sound is amazing, and I think that you can always keep up with a lot of the older records – always be true to the ones that get people up and moving around.”
MSN: What was the process of getting a membership at the Garage?
Peter: It used to be you went during the daytime – they were on King Street, between Varick and Hudson, now it’s a Verizon building – and you’d go up to the second floor, because it was actually a garage, and there was a staircase that went upstairs, and there was a lounge where they would take photographs and interview the people who were going for the memberships. It was very private at that time. It was off-hours and if you didn’t know about it, you weren’t going.
MSN: What kind of music did you show Larry? What were you engineering at the time?
Peter: At the time I was just doing some re-edits of the old P&P music [an NYC-based record label run by Peter Brown and Patrick Adams in the 70s], like “Atmosphere Strut” [by Cloud One], the kind of stuff that Kenny Dope was playing.
MSN: Did Larry play one of your cuts at the Garage?
Peter: He did! One of these old 45’s by Personal Touch that he re-edited. I thought it was a really good song, so I showed him the original vinyl and he said, “Let me take that, and remaster that, throw it out to the people and see how it plays.” That was the one time I got a little bit of a fore-run into something he was working on. I can’t remember the name of that song…[The track that Peter is referring to is “It Ain’t No Big Thing,” which is amongst the most classic tracks that were popularized by Larry Levan at the Garage]
MSN: And Michaela! What do you think of these parties?
Michaela: I really, really like them! He may have started coming here four years ago, but I only started coming here one year ago. This was my first interaction with any of this type of scene.
MSN: Does your dad play any dance music at home?
MSN: You have a nice hi-fi at home?
MSN: Haha! OK. And you have record collection, Peter?
Peter: Um, here and there. It’s been pared-down over the years –
Michaela: It’s still very nice!
MSN: I’m sure it is! And so what are your interests, hobbies, etc?
Michaela: I write! And I use music for inspiration, so this is a great thing to come to.
MSN: What kind of writing do you like to do?
Michaela: Novels! Fantasy novels.
MSN: You’re working on something right now?
MSN: Give us a little synopsis?
Michaela: I guess the synopsis would be… It’s the story of a princess, who wants to go beyond her means as a princess, and through developing her own personality within the castle, she learns more about the world around her, only to get thrust into something that’s been going on for much longer than she’s even existed! And through meeting certain people she explores her own means, and solves a whole bunch of mysteries! And it was everything she dreamed, but at the same time, it’s so much more.
MSN: Well, if you can put it that succinctly, it sounds like it’s going to be great!
Michaela: I hope so!
MSN: Well, we don’t want to hold you too long – any parting words for the reading audience?
Peter: Keep this vibe and spirit alive forever. Don’t ever let it die, because this is something that’s carried through many decades, and to see so many young people getting involved in it… you just got to keep it going forever.
MSN: Will do, Peter. And Michaela, when will your book be available, and in what stores? Haha!
Michaela: I don’t know when the book will be available – but if anyone needs inspiration they should come here – and if they ever want to read something that’s gotten inspiration from coming here, they should buy the book “Innocent Sorrow” when it comes out!
Photo by Marshall McDonald