NYC native, DJ Louie XIV –AKA Louie Mandelbaum - is not your stereotypical NYC deejay. A career in the nightlife industry may seem like a peculiar choice for a self-proclaimed “homebody”– which is all the more reason to go check out his sets. With a passion for music and unimpressed by nightlife, Louis is genuinely there for the music and crowd satisfaction. Louis appreciates an equal blend of masculine and feminine records – effortlessly mastering the “play for the girls” cardinal rule of deejaying. When it comes to song selections, Louie is definitely not afraid to play what your average DJ doesn’t, you know – the songs that we rock out to when were home alone and nobody is watching. Louie is a huge advocate for music that creates good energy and no songs are off limits. I got a chance to sit down with Louie to discuss all things NYC. If it ever get’s warm out – DJ Louie can be heard at the pool at Thompson LES, XIX, and his new all 90’s everything party with DJ Kalkutta at White Noise, kicking off today. [Invite]
What’s your DJ story – how did all of this manifest?
I grew up around music and I deejayed for fun in college. I went to Scratch Academy and took on a bunch of music internships, I was a intern at Columbia – an A&R intern…anything that allowed me to interact with music. I was actually clinically obese in college and one day – I tapped into my motivation from music and lost all of my weight and reinvented myself. The whole experience taught me I’m capable of anything and that after graduation I was not going to a 9-5 job -I then took on deejaying as a career and not just a hobby.
Most of your gigs are here in NYC –what to love here and what comes as a challenge?
My favorite part and my least favorite part are the same thing. There are times when it becomes unbearably competitive here. People move from all over the world to be in this city and will do anything to make it to the top. The career that I chose is a cutthroat and political game, as difficult as it can be sometimes -I love it because it keeps me motivated and wanting to do it that much more.
Take me through a normal day for you in the city…
There’s nothing like waking up in the morning and having 12 hours before you have to go to work. I’ll usually go to the gym and find inspiration in sets by working out and really feeling the music. I obsess about my sets and like to go into a night with an idea of what would work. People’s attention spans are very short and a good DJ should have infinite song combinations. I focus a lot of my day on how to have a good set that night.
Do you ever see yourself leaving NYC?
Besides touring the world – no. I lived in LA for a little while and there is really nothing like New York. My whole family is here, my mom owns Style Like You – I’m very rooted. Besides loving this place I’m very supportive of my family as well.
Who are your inspirations and favorite DJ’s in the NYC area?
Mick Boogie has been one of my inspirations since I was 14 when I bought his mixtape. I really look up to Mel DeBarge as far as skills and Mia Moretti has made an awesome career for herself. She’s cornered her niche and is a hipster with great taste.
The summer is creeping in and the Hampton’s are on most of NYC’s minds. What are your plans for the summer – Hamptons or no Hamptons?
I have trouble going away for a relaxing weekend or to go have fun if I’m not working. If I go to the Hamptons at all it’ll be to work. It was like Sundance in the winter, I had to be working to get out there.
How do you maintain relationships In the city?
I’m constantly approached – men think it’s the sexiest thing ever. My scheduling is always the main problem in relationships – it can be hard.
What projects should we know about that your working on?
I’m really excited about our 90’s party starting 3/29 with DJ Kalkutta at White Noise. I think NYC can get lost in image and what’s “cool” and “in” a lot of times. I’m not pretentious in the music I play, I just want people to have fun and that’s what we’re focusing on with this party. It’s just something you can kick back and have a good time at and hear songs you love that you haven’t heard in awhile.
What are some of your biggest pet peeves when DJing a gig?
Let’s see…. People treating me like a coat rack. People requesting OMG by Usher. People telling me to play a song because “everyone will like it” and disrespectful drunks.”
What song should we expect to hear a lot of this summer that you consider a crowd-pleaser?
“Till the World Ends” by Britney Spears. I can’t see how that won’t be a club anthem.