The turn of the century is often remembered as a dark age for New York dance music. With then-mayor Rudy Giuliani cracking up on parties, using for instance the infamous and racist no-dancing law that only just got repealed, dance music lovers were forced more and more underground. Yet from 1996 to 2002, a cult Sunday afternoon party drew week-in week-out those that no amount of policing could prevent from dancing: starting off as a mere outlet for François K and his friends’ frustration with the state of New York’s nightlife, Body & Soul made a lasting impact on the city’s scene. And now E1 London is bringing the full crew to London for a rare Body & Soul appearance this Saturday.
Body & Soul got started in July 1996 as a weekly Sunday afternoon affair by three long-time alumni of the NYC dance scene, and soon acquired a cult status among its crowd of devotees — it is now remembered with the same fondness as the very parties and clubs that had inspired it in the first place. Indeed, François K, Joe Claussel and Danny Krivit — the three masterminds behind the party — all cut their teeth behind the decks of the Big Apple’s most iconic clubs, where they’ve put in a ludicrous amount of time as dancers themselves. The Loft, the Paradise Garage, you name it: here is the DNA running in Body & Soul’s blood. In other words, few people live and breathe dance music as much as those three. A list of their individual accomplishments would be unreasonably lengthy, but suffice to say that Joe Claussel is one of the founders of cult house label Ibadan, while François K is simply one of the most influential producers ever: from pretty much single-handedly pioneering the art of the dance music edit in the late ’70s to collaborating with Mick Jagger and Depeche Mode, the native Frenchman has forever imprinted his mark on the musical landscape.
And as for Danny Krivit, in addition to being one of his city’s most famous DJs, he’s given us what for my money might be the best edit ever: if you want one tune that embodies the ethos of Body & Soul, look no further than his version of “Love Is The Message”.
To celebrate this unique occasion to catch the legendary trio in London, MEOKO is putting on a special competition. In addition to two entries for Saturday’s party at E1, the lucky winner will get £30 worth of free drinks and a copy of the first 3×12” compilation put out by Body & Soul (https://www.discogs.com/sell/release/62214?ev=rb), which includes a bunch of the party’s most rinsed tunes, and bona fide New York garage classics.
All you have to do to participate is email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Body&Soul’ as the subject heading. Good luck!.
To leave him the last word, here’s what François K had to say about Body & Soul at its height: “these parties we’re having right now are among the very few I go to where the crowd goes nuts… They’re screaming and hollering, singing and stomping, they don’t want to leave the club. Every week now, it’s become this habit, where we put the lights on and everybody keeps dancing. We turn the music off and they sing, so we have to put more music on.” So if you like your house music soulful, try your chance at the competition and come over at E1 this Saturday. This is one for the books.
Words by Pierre-Alexis Chauvin