YORK -- Yesterday it was jukeboxes. Today, it's the ipod.
An upscale New York nightclub has set up a unique DJ booth complete
with a pair of iPods. The catch -- Patrons are invited to be the DJs.
The club is called Apt. (pronounced A-P-T), a trendy lounge in
Manhattan's meat packing district decorated to resemble a tony New
York apartment. Housed in an anonymous warehouse at 419 West 13th
St., the bar thrives on obscurity. There is no sign outside and no website.
Next to the dark
wood bar is the DJ table. The set-up revolves around a standard
mixer, which allows the DJ to fade between two music sources. But
instead of the two standard turntables, a pair of iPods have been substituted.
One is a 5-GB
model containing about 1,000 songs, the other a 10-GB model with
2,000 songs. Connected by headphone jacks, the iPods sit on
Plexiglass blocks, one on each side of the mixer.
Would-be DJs take
a numbered ticket from a deli-style dispenser next to the DJ desk. A
stack of print-outs of all 3,000 songs are available to help DJs
prepare their set list. The print-out also provides a quick guide to
DJ etiquette, including the rule, "Playing of any heavy metal
ballads will result in immediate expulsion from the premises."
With 3,000 songs
to choose from, patrons play everything from Black
seven minutes to play a set; the time is counted down on a giant
digital clock placed in front of the mixer.
Matt Maland, 27, a
part-time DJ, has even figured out how to make the iPods scratch. By
hitting the center button twice in quick succession, the music backs
up a fraction.
really scratching," he said. "It's a phony effect. People
don't throw their hands in the air, but it's amusing I guess."
Maland has played
at Apt. three or four times recently. "It's fun," he said.
"It's different. It's a challenge. You have to think what songs
go together more than vinyl because you can't beat-match."
Maland said he
hadn't come across a similar set-up anywhere else in New York.
"It's funny because it's kind of an obvious idea," he said.
The iPod DJ set-up
has been operating for just over one month, and provides hours of
boozy, gregarious fun. Half the bar crowds around the mixing desk,
offering advice or criticism or just dancing away.
easy," said Sai Blount, the lounge's music promoter, who spends
most evenings manning the set-up, patiently helping people. "We
made the whole mixing thing pretty simple for them."
Blount said iPod
DJ-ing has become a major attraction. The fun starts at 9:30 and runs
until 3 or 4 a.m., every night of the week.
gets pretty crazy," she said. "We have people yelling.
Some people boo. A couple of girls came in here three or four weeks
in a row. They got really good. They were like professional."
lot of the customers had iPods or expensive cell phones sitting on
their tables. One woman proudly showed off her $13,000 (she claimed)
white gold cell phone she'd just dropped out of a second-story window
(it survived). Blount said patrons often bring their own iPods to
spin their set.
staff initially uploaded about 900 songs on the iPods, drawing
heavily on a list of Beck's iPod collection recently published in The
New York Times Magazine.
bar has started a request list for customers to add their favorites.
"We get a lot so the manager or the staff are always taking the
iPods home with them to load them up," Blount said.
the bar has a large basement dance floor where professional DJs from
New York and Europe play.