DJ Robbie Leslie :: Ignites the Nightlife at Splash
DJ Robbie Leslie’s name is synonymous with club culture. Before disco music had become a cultural phenomenon, the eager and impressionable young Leslie was first introduced to the sound on his first visit out to the Fire Island Pines. He was there on the invitation of the owner of the Sandpiper, which would later become the Pavilion...and immersed himself in the beats that emanated from the dance floor.
"Disco hadn’t even blossomed yet," Leslie narrated. In fact, the term "disco" hadn’t even been applied to this musical style which many were calling "danceable R&B." Leslie continues, "Fire Island was where they were testing this music to see how it could be marketed to the clubs."
With the pioneer’s connection to the rhythms Robbie Leslie would soon be introducing club goers to the classic sounds of iconic performers that still resonate with dance floor addicts today. "There was a real demand for music that had a connection to the heart and soul of people and really made them happy." Disco would inspire a cultural revolution that would be popularized by the DJs including Leslie who commanded the turntables at hot spots like Studio 54 and the Palladium.
"People tailored their activity to club culture. They’d build their whole life around this music." In Leslie’s case it profoundly informed his career and made him one of the most sought after DJs in the business. "I feel like I’m just a part of the moment - I was in the right places at the right time." But he credits his success to the passion he feels for disco music and what it has meant to everyone within the community. "It was a celebratory type of music. It was what people needed...and coincided with gay liberation."
Leslie was also a resident DJ at the iconic The Saint. "I started at the Saint on Christmas Day in its first year." It was 1980. He would return often even as he expanded on his resume, hitting South Florida clubs for a time. "And then I closed the club in 1988." That perhaps signaled the end of club culture in New York City. "It’s debatable but the Saint was the apogee of nightlife. It promoted the artistry of the DJ and dance music - it was an encouraging place to take the music higher."
Leslie is confident club culture continues to evolve, especially since it nary allows him the luxury to escape it for very long. He’s successfully adapted to the changing trends and continues his very prominent placement among the great DJs of all time.
"Nightlife was once a very specific thing. The biggest parties now are the circuit parties...they are big and they are spectacular, but there are lines of connection back to the early days. It’s very exciting today - between the lighting and sound...it’s amazing."
On Sunday July 29 catch the fever when the legendary DJ Robbie Leslie reignites the nightlife for a special edition of "Sunday Night Fever" at Splash, 50 West 17 Street, NYC. Get there early! The dance classics begin at 7pm. 2 for 1 specials till 9pm. www.splashbar.com
You can also catch DJ Robbie Leslie on his Sirius Satellite Radio show.