Party Hard with Andrew W.K. at Santos Party House in New York City
Andrew W.K. loves to have fun. Whether performing or recording, the singer-producer is all about having a good time and making sure his audience is feeling good too. His latest venture is Santos Party House, a New York City-based night club he has been a part of for the past three years.
Andrew recently spoke to Noisecreep about his role in the club, his thoughts on New York City’s nightlife scene, and his ideas about what makes for a good time.
Noisecreep: How did you get involved with Santos Party House?
Andrew W.K.: One of my oldest and best friends here in New York is an amazing man named Spencer Sweeney. He is a successful fine artist – a painter, but also an amazing musician and a fantastic DJ. A lot of the greatest nights I’ve ever had out were going to wherever he was DJ-ing. A lot of those places were also where I was playing my first shows. When I first moved [to NYC] 13 years ago, he was one of the first people to invite me to play a show. That meant a lot to me because I didn’t know anybody here. He made an effort to reach out and we became really good friends. He’s like a mentor to me as well. He’s introduced me to so many amazing people, things, ideas, places, and opportunities.
One day he called me up and said, ‘Let’s start up our own night club. Do you want to do it?’ I said OK. He’d also spoken with this other night life veteran and has worked at various bars, clubs and venues named Larry Golden. The other guy who initially came in was the architect, the man with the most building and business experience in terms of starting a new place in the city of Manhattan. That’s Ron Castellano. The idea was that we all loved going out. We love music. We love dancing. If we could make our own place, we would kick ass. The place was great — but what if bands could play too? Or that place is so awesome, but wouldn’t it be great if the sound was really good and loud. This place is good, but it’s too fancy with all of the velvet and gold. Why don’t we have it [be] a hardcore blacked-out space where we could rage?
That was the idea. But we also had the support of so many investors and our main partners, Derek Ferguson, Lucy Ekstrom, and Alec “Despot” Reinstein, and the petition of 5,500 signatures from downtown Manhattan telling the city that they supported us opening a new venue there. It’s the first new nightclub with a liquor and dancing license to open in downtown Manhattan in over 20 years. If we had any idea how challenging [and] what an odyssey it would be, I don’t know if we would have ever been able to muster up the courage. It felt like the city itself wanted this to exist.
What was the first official show at Santos Party House?
It’s been three years. Before we actually opened we hosted an art gallery kind of show with a lot of amazing artists and Paper magazine, which is a legendary New York culture, music, and art magazine which has been supportive of us from the beginning. We did some crazy shows there when I put them together with some New York bands and people I was friends with.
It really started with our friends playing and bringing all of our buddies to create the parties and the nights when we first began. Also one of the first parties we did was with this amazing French dance music group called Et D’Amour. They came in every Thursday. Moby was there. As for the first concert, I can’t remember.
Do you host any specific nights at the venue?
I’ve DJ’d there many, many times and hosted, while other people performed. I might introduce the acts . I like doing the lights. That’s very fun. Before we opened, that was my dream – how exciting it was to sit behind the lights and trigger them to the music. That really was one of the most fun things for me, getting to do the lights there. Creating the atmosphere – it’s fun for me. Making sure everybody has drinks. Making sure everybody understands where the bathrooms are, and giving everybody any kind of assistance or help on stage.
I got to play around the world at so many legendary venues. All different kinds of venues – places that were great, places that sucked. I can use that knowledge I’ve gathered over these years to put into a space, to give back to other people and the city that’s given me my career. It’s great to be able to give back. For people now who are moving here, bands who want to play, people who want to dance, socialize and meet people, now here’s a space where we can contribute to the greatness of what New York City is.
Who is the Santos in Santos Party House?
Thank you for asking about that. You can pronounce it that way. You could even pronounce it ‘Santa.’ We have identified the non-physical spirit of fun. We look at this guy as the saint of good times. Not just New York’s good times, but the global [patron of fun]. You can see [Santos] on our website and our t-shirts. He’s like our leader. We feel like Santos Party House is the architectural manifestation of his spirit.
Is there anything else you want to mention about Santos Party House?
The website is www.santospartyhouse.com. The Twitter is @SantosPartyHaus. There’s not enough letters in Twitter! We’re open almost every day for concerts, drinking and dancing. [We] would love to have anyone come by [the club]. We have all ages shows, 18 and up shows, 21 and up shows.
There’s always something for anyone to do. There’s no dress code. You don’t have to have a girl with you to come in. Certain nights are different. If it’s sold out, obviously it’s sold out. But we try to be open minded as [much as] possible. Please come by and say hello to me. I’ll buy you a drink.