Mister Saturday Night Anthems

Eamon Harkin and Justin Carter are Mister Saturday Night, a catchall term for both the parties they throw and the record label they operate. Begun in 2008, Mister Saturday Night has grown into one of New York City’s finest events. Taking flight around outdoor daytime events on Sunday afternoons in Brooklyn, the duo have also plied their grooves indoors as well, taking over a variety of spaces and – with an impeccable eye for the little things that matter – delivered a reliably good time in a city where that’s much harder than it looks.

We’ll be touching down in New York next week, and inviting the boys to grace the decks on May 19 as part of Red Bull Music Academy New York. And, with Resident Advisor premiering their own look at the city’s bustling house and techno scene today (prominently featuring the boys themselves), we thought it’d be a great time to catch up and find out about some of the classic tunes that have soundtracked their party.

Oni Ayhun - OAR 003B

Oni Ayhun - OAR 003B

Eamon Harkin

This track has become a Mister anthem. There is something truly special about hearing it under the poplars at Gowanus Grove on a hot evening in Brooklyn. It’s one of those tracks when played at the right point of the party that seems to glue people together, and that cohesion becomes stronger as the track unfolds. I really love deep techno when it has a melodic hook, and I often find myself drawn to subtle trance elements in tracks. This one has all of that and more.

Justin Carter

There’s a developing tradition at the party of one of us hearing the other play a record and the other going off and buying it. (To be fair, it’s mostly me that steals Eamon's records.) While we have our own musical identities, there are some songs that are so good you can’t help but be drawn to them. Eamon basically owned this track for a year, and then I snuck in and started to play it. It's played an important role in some very key moments of the party. A friend of ours made a video portrait of the Sunday party in 2011, and he used this as the backing track because he was hearing it so often. It was also the last song we played at Mister 100, our 100th party.

Me and Giuliani Down by the Schoolyard (A True Story)

!!! - Me and Giuliani Down by the Schoolyard (A True Story)

Eamon Harkin

I’ve just starting playing this track again recently, after it had sat on my shelves for a few years, and it’s been working well. The narrative behind the song talks about Mayor Giuliani’s crackdown on clubs in New York in the late ’90s and early ’00s, and the scene is still dealing with that legacy, so it still feels relevant to play it out. It was released just as I moved to New York and started going out, so it was a pretty important track for me then. We're also both fans of krautrock and jazz, and this track has those elements with a deep, dancefloor-friendly groove, so it works well alongside more conventional tracks.

Justin Carter

I was obsessed with !!! in the early ’00s. I went to every gig they played in New York for about three years, and I was a huge fan of these parties they did called “New Taaffe,” which was essentially some combination of the band members playing records in strange spaces around Brooklyn. The energy of !!! DJing and playing live was contagious, and they are, in no small part, one of the reasons that I was attracted to DJing and throwing underground parties in the first place. They embodied this punk ethos of doing it yourself at all costs at the same time as they embodied the transcendent powers of music and dance. They were the most un-ironic band at a time when irony was king.

Ain’t Nobody (Frankie Knuckles Hallucinogenic Version)

Chaka Khan - Ain’t Nobody (Frankie Knuckles Hallucinogenic Version)

Eamon Harkin

I’ve played this Frankie Knuckles version quite a few times at the end of the night at Mister Sunday. I have fond memories of the original version growing up as a kid, and to this day I still love hearing that synth bass line come in. I love this version because of how stripped back and dubbed out it is, with the amazing drum programming and the melodic piano top line. And it holds back on Chaka Khan’s vocal for so long that it's always a moment when it drops.

Donna Allen - He Is The Joy (UBP Classic Mix)

Justin Carter

In the first week I moved to New York, I became friends with a guy on my dorm hall that had an older boyfriend. He took us to Body & Soul, a party helmed by Danny Krivit, Francois K and Joe Claussell. It’s funny, because I was going there for ages before I even understood the concept of a DJ as a selector and creator of a musical experience as I understand it now, and I had no idea about the party in the context of New York nightlife. None of that was really important, though. What was important was that I absolutely loved it, and I went back over and over again, often by myself. To me it was this great space with an unbelievably diverse crowd and music that I liked to dance to. I just felt comfortable there.

You didn’t have to be part of a clique to enjoy Body and Soul. We keep that idea front and center at our party.

That’s a thought that stuck with me as we’ve done Mister Saturday Night: we have an opportunity to bring people into the fold who don’t necessarily know anything about DJs or dance music. The reason why I liked Body and Soul was because it was just a good time, and you didn't have to be part of some sort of clique to enjoy it. We keep that idea front and center as we make decisions about the party.

One of my most favorite songs during that time was this one. I bought it on vinyl a couple years ago and have been caning it since. It’s been such an amazing feeling to play this song that, for me, has so much history in my experience as a music and nightlife lover in New York. To be able to share it with people and in some small way keep it alive and on the speakers at a New York party is great.

Lap the Music

Alfabet - Lap the Music

Eamon Harkin

Justin and I definitely love heady music. For me, a big part of dance music culture is escapism – you want to get on a nice dancefloor surrounded by like-minded people and immerse yourself in amazing sounds. This track epitomizes that sensation for me. It’s got classic deep house low end but also suffocating hats and a captivating, repeating synth line. It's been a key track in moving many of our parties into peak time.

Poco - Don’t Let It Pass By + Nobody’s Fool / El Tonto De Nadie Regresa

Justin Carter

These songs touch some of my roots as a kid from the south of the States. I grew up listening to country rock – The Allman Brothers Band, Poco, The Doobie Brothers, et al. – so I appreciate the sound of twangy telecasters and vocals. The album that these songs come from, Poco’s self-titled record from 1970, is absolutely killer, the best country rock record I've ever heard, hands down. Their playing, singing and songwriting is incredible. I always play these two songs together; they make up the entire B-side of the record. “Don't Let It Pass By” is an R&B/soul/country rock ballad. It ends with a beautiful a cappella vocal harmony, and then boom, “Nobody’s Fool” drops in and grooooooves for eighteen minutes straight. Killer, killer, killer.

Move D - Got Thing

Justin Carter

This is one of those tracks that never ever leaves my bag, and I’ve found myself playing it at all different times of Mister Saturday Nights and Mister Sundays. It works well on so many levels. It can be a peak time record because of the big snare hits that come in about halfway through; it can move a party from balls-out crazy time to heady, spacey time without losing an ounce of energy; it builds the dancefloor from the early hours into when people really start to move; and it can be a perfect late-night track. I need to buy another copy of this one... I'm wearing it out.

Faze Action - In the Trees (C2 Remix #4)

Eamon Harkin

Carl Craig’s records have played a big part in the musical make up for the party, so it’s tricky to pick just one. The original version of Faze Action’s “In the Trees” could also easily have been in this list, and then of course Carl Craig did four different remixes! I love this particular version because it’s the best example of the creation and release of tension which Carl Craig does like nobody else. It’s pretty pounding and relentless, but it has groove and subtlety and then beautiful haunting melody when the strings kick in. Pure class.


Underground Resistance - Transition

Eamon Harkin

The music of Detroit is really important to both Justin and me, and it infuses a lot of the musical aesthetic of the party. I was really drawn to the sentiment of the spoken word from Cornelius Harris in this track. It’s a powerful yet simple manifesto for leading a genuine and honest existence. We're very passionate about the place a dance party and music can have in fostering community and bringing people together, so the sentiment here plays into that.

By Eamon Harkin and Justin Carter on April 26, 2013

On a different note