Brett Henrichsen - Masterbeat New Year's in Los Angeles

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Brett Henrichsen is best known for his up-beat Masterbeat series of CDs which continue to be top-sellers among the gay dance crowd in Los Angeles and throughout the country.

Webmaster John McHugh-Dennis recently interviewed Brett, who will be bringing us Masterbeat 2003 this year in Los Angeles. Expect some surprises, and no "Pots N' Pans" at this party!

Masterbeat 2003 New Year's Info:

Olympic Auditorium
1801 S. Grand Avenue
Tickets: CircuiTicket or call 310-860-0101

Official Web Site: jeffreysanker.com


JMD:

What brought about the move of Masterbeat from Palm Springs to Los Angeles?

BH:

Honestly, the main reason was the date; New Year’s Eve falling on a Tuesday night makes it hard to create a weekend of events around that, and it’s hard to get people to go to Palm Springs just for one night. We figured the most logical thing to keep the party going was to move it to Los Angeles.

JMD:

Is that going to be a permanent change?

BH:

I think it will be. The response to the move has been phenomenal. We already have a lot more people than Palm Springs, because Los Angeles is a big travel destination. People are traveling from all over the country to Los Angeles now, so we’ve had a lot more out of town sales than we ever had with the event in Palm Springs.

JMD:

And Los Angeles is easier to fly into.

BH:

And since the demise of Labor Day LA, there really isn’t a big party in L.A. anymore, so we’re hoping to make New Year’s Eve to be THE destination on the West Coast like Miami is on the East Coast.

JMD:

That would be great! I’ve never been to the Olympic Auditorium. I do know that it’s HUGE! Is that going to be a challenge for you?

BH:

Actually, it’s not huge. The actual layout of it is perfect. It almost looks like it was custom-built for a circuit party. The dance floor area is more compact than the entire (Palm Springs) Convention Center. It’s a much taller ceiling, and it has 360 balconies on two different levels, so in that way it’s bigger.

JMD:

Is that going to be a challenge for you as a DJ? Playing in the space. My impression of the size of the Auditorium was based on the web site; it looks really big there. Maybe it’s a false impression.

BH:

Trust me, it’s perfect for a circuit party. It’s going to be better than the Palm Springs Convention Center. The sound is going to be better, the environment… it’s just more conducive to be transformed into a nightclub than the Palm Springs Convention Center is. It’s going to be better.

It’s going to be an amazing party… We’re going to do a lot of new, surprising things here that we didn’t do in Palm Springs.

JMD:

You haven’t really announced any specifics about performances yet, have you?

BH:

We’re going to try to do more with special effects than we have in the past. The typical track artist, Diva singing is great, but it’s been done over and over and over. So we’re trying to do more of things people haven’t seen, and special events here that I’ve seen around the world. So it will be more things like that. If you’re going to be in L.A., that will be the place to be!!

JMD:

Tell us a little bit about Masterbeat and how the New Year’s events started.

BH:

The first Masterbeat New Year’s event was Millennium in 1999. We had been doing other Masterbeat parties with Jeffrey (Sanker) at Orbit, and even earlier in 1997 at Probe. Jeffrey started to establish a New Year’s Party in Miami, and we thought we could do one on the West Coast as well, but there was no way he could be two places at once, and that was when I was brought on as a partner to do the West Coast party. We used Jeffrey Sanker because he had his connections with Palm Springs.

The New Year’s party has always been a Masterbeat party, and what we wanted to do was let people know what they were getting. Just like the Masterbeat parties, they knew they were going to be getting happy, Masterbeat type music.

JMD:

You and Phil B. are both happy music DJs. Getting off the New Year’s subject, I have a DJ-related question. I often hear people equate Pots N’ Pans, Trance, House-types of Music to the after-hours scene. Many often expect to hear that music when the clock passes the 3:00 hour. Do DJs typically play by that rule?

BH:

That’s a tough question. Every DJ is different. Everyone has a different definition of after-hours. I don’t know what people are “supposed” to play at an after-hours event. Some people want that hard, dark, trancey BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!, and other people want happy stuff. The West Coast definitely tends to like a happier sound, and what we’re finding with this party is that we’re getting just a ton of people coming from…. even New York and Miami because they want the happy sound. We’ve received E-mails from people saying “We don’t want to hear Victor playing hard music on New Year’s Eve, we want happy music!”, so we’re coming to Los Angeles.

JMD:

Tell us a little bit about Masterbeat the music label. How did that all get started? I know you have a Corporate Marketing background in your past life.

BH:

Masterbeat started as a hobby… something that I did just for fun back in 97, because I loved dance music and was frustrated when I would go to the clubs and find that all of the music that I was hearing wasn’t available to the general public to buy. You’d hear these extended dance versions that you couldn’t buy. Incredible mixes of singles by names like Madonna and Whitney just weren’t released. The music industry today is different; now you can buy them. Masterbeat was started as a way for DJs and the general public to get the dance music. I stopped doing Masterbeat for a while, produced my own music, including Erin Hamilton’s things, and then learned that it is very hard to break an artist into the mainstream, which is what you need to do in order to make money off of an artist, so I brought the Masterbeat compilations back last year.

JMD:

What do you think of all of the controversy surrounding the recording industry regarding the pirating of music over the Internet, and artists’ ability to distribute their work themselves via some of these new technologies?

BH:

The music industry is in a huge state of flux right now, and I honestly don’t know where it’s going. It’s very scary as a DJ and a music-lover, and also as a record label, I see all sides. I love being able to logon and download music before anyone has it, and at the same time it’s really hurting the record labels. In the past year, over 15 Independent record stores that we’ve been selling to for 5 years closed their doors. Another major Independent record label, Strictly Rhythm, who did Inaya Day, and a lot of the Independent music that we all loved just closed up. It gets scary when the Independent record labels start closing down. Who’s going to produce it?

JMD:

So do you feel their shutting down is a direct result of Internet downloads and piracy?

BH:

Entirely attributed to the Internet. Kim English’s “Everyday”, everyone’s favorite song, and one of the biggest hits of last year, was produced by Nervous Records, and Hex Hector did a re-mix, and a week later it was leaked before it was even released. It was being charted to Billboard before Nervous Records had even received it from the studio. By the time the record was produced and released for sale, the majority of the would-be buyers already had a copy. As a result, only a couple of thousand copies were sold. In comparison, five years ago, Amber’s “Sexual”, one of the year’s big cross-over hits sold 200,000 singles. That just doesn’t happen now, because the majority of the people have downloaded it.

JMD:

So the right thing to do, if you’re an ethical person, and want to see these songs continue to be produced would be to buy them and then download at your leisure…

BH:

Right. I don’t know how they’re going to fix it. It’s a tough one.

JMD:

What’s your favorite Masterbeat CD?

BH:

Our newest one: “Flying”.

JMD::

How about your most memorable experience as a DJ?

BH:

That would be the White Party Palm Springs T-dance. I’ve been going to it for the last seven years as a customer. It has always been my favorite party, and I’ve always wanted to play it. It was a dream to be able to finally play that.

JMD:

Are outdoor parties a favorite of yours? I know you recently played Will Gorges’ Laguna Party, and we all had a great time…

BH:

I love the outdoor, happy, fun parties. That’s what I like to play. Everyone seems like they’re having a great time.

JMD:

On a more somber note, recently Paulo placed a comment on westhollywood.com noting the fact that there were four G “dropouts” at a gig he recently played, one of which required an ambulance. He urged people not to use G, and commented on the fact that it kills people and less importantly, the future of clubs and the circuit.

You’ve been on the dance scene for quite a while both as a customer and as a DJ. What’s your sense of direction where this is heading? Is drug usage getting worse? G is a BAD thing in my mind.

BH:

It’s definitely changing the party scene. It’s been responsible for closing clubs, and responsible for all of the searches that we’re getting everywhere. They’re because of the G dropouts.

JMD:

Are people learning from what’s happening around them?

BH:

It depends. In Palm Springs it’s getting better. 3 or 4 years ago it was terrible, but in the past few years the number of dropouts have gone down. But then it seems like at some of these local things it’s getting worse. I don’t know what the cause of that is.

JMD:

I know Jeffrey tries to do a good job of posting notices outside, and getting the word out that G is not something he wants around.

BH:

He does, and he also has very good medical teams on site.

JMD:

Any other Masterbeat events in the works?

BH:

Yes! Next year we’re launching a world tour. We’re going to take the Masterbeat concept to cities around the world. We’ve got dates in Ibiza, Amsterdam, London, Paris, and then all the major cities in the U.S.: New York, Miami, Dallas, Denver…

JMD:

Are you going to do Chicago?

BH:

Yep.

JMD:

I was looking over the list of parties that you’ve played, and noticed you play IML (International Mr. Leather) in Chicago on a regular basis.

BH:

Chicago’s great.

JMD:

Well, thanks a lot!!! And we look forward to bringing in the New Year with Masterbeat!

BH:

Thank you.