Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summer Solstice: The Party with a Purpose

Interview by Gamal Hennessy

Not every club night is an excuse to lose your mind on the dance floor and get hammered for no good reason. Sometimes, there is a very good reason.

This June 21st, will give you a good reason to party. The longest day of the year is going to set the stage for the
Summer Solstice Party, a nine hour benefit for muscle disease research. DJ Haze, the organizer of the event took some time to speak with New York Nights about the party and his connection to it.

NYN: First, tell us about your music and how you became a New York DJ.

DJ Haze: In college I was in a ska & reggae band and when we all graduated we went our separate ways – I didn’t have the time during my 1st job out of school to go to rehearsals and gigs so I started producing music on the computer where I could be the entire band and on my own time. From there I started finding other producers who were making compelling house music and naturally progressed to spinning my own tracks along with the stuff I was discovering. After a while I realized that the other producers were much better than I was and that I was much better at blending records. That was when I made the switch over to DJ.

NYN: What is your connection to the Keith B. Hayes Foundation for Muscle Disease Research and what is your connection to Keith?
DJ Haze: My brother Keith passed away last september at the age of 20 as a result of an undiagnosed neuro-muscular disease in the family of diseases known as Myopathy. In order to carry on Keith’s legacy of giving my family and I founded the charity in his memory in the hopes that one day people with similar ailments and disabilities can be treated.

NYN: What can people expect at the Summer Solstice Party in terms of music, activities and atmosphere?
DJ Haze: The fundraiser is a loft party in a really cool penthouse space with 2 roofdecks and will feature an open bar sponsored by Right Gin and Kubler Absinthe. So there will certainly be a festive vibe. The music will range from hip hop and funky in the early evening and during this time there will also be a silent auction. After midnight, the music will turn to deep and electrohouse and will definitely be dancing.

NYN: How will the donated money be used?
DJ Haze: Donations from the event will be used for 3 immediate goals: first it will help fund an academic scholarship for a deserving disabled student at Ramapo College in NJ (where Keith was attending). Secondly it will provide support for families and young people with muscle disease and similar disabilities in their lives such as the donation of wheel chairs, psychological support, and social awareness. Most importantly, the money will be added to the fund to provide medical grants for doctors and scientists who are researching muscle diseases. The foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation and therefore all gifts are tax-deductible under the extent of the law.

NYN: What else do you have planned for the Foundation after Summer Solstice? Will this be an annual event?
DJ Haze: The solstice has always been a day of importance to people throughout the ages from ancient egypt to the builders of stonehenge to the Inca, Maya and Aztec. Keeping with this theme we are planning a winter solstice party benefit to celebrate the longest night of the year – and hopefully these solstice parties will become annual events that draw bigger and more diverse crowds.

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Editors Note: New York Nights is indirectly involved in Summer Solstice because I’m one of the featured DJ’s for the night.

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