This Sunday, Nouveau York is proud to present the opening party of Dr. Dunks’ monthly residency at Le Bain. The artist also known as Eric Duncan has been a key figure of New York nightlife since the late 90’s, building up his own New York sound as half of Rub’N’Tug and Still Going. “It’s gonna be a fun groovin’ Sunday. Come by and make it nice” says the Doc. We caught him under the stars, sipping Mezcal on a Yucatan beach, for a Standard Q&A.
Eric Duncan by Marco Marzocchi
You have been a New York nightlife hero since the late 90’s, your Rub’N’Tug and ‘Campfire’ loft parties and your DJ skills reaching cult status worldwide. About those wild parties you said “It was the start of the ‘new’ New York: full of fun, young, creative lunatics. Some are dead now and others became famous. It was a great run.” What made those times so special?
I think in that time in New York, the Giuliani era, nightlife was really being held down. So when we would put on a lawless all night anything goes after hours party, you can imagine the response. And the range of people who would come to those parties was pretty wide.
One of the decisive moments in your life has been when you heard DJ Harvey for the first time in San Francisco. You were already collecting hip hop and soul, latin, jazz, rock records at that time, but Harvey brought you into House and Disco. Do you have a clear memory of that specific night, going to hear Harvey in a club for the first time?
I was already doing a bit of DJing at that time. What that night did for me was show me what’s possible as a DJ. This was actually early 1996, I remember because I moved to NYC a couple of months later… But back to the question: it was just refreshing to hear a DJ play a style I had never heard before but could completely relate too. That was the main thing I got from that night. That and a hangover! Good times.
In the 80’s you were a teenager in the Los Angeles, skate boarding, discovering the first hip hop live acts, with a family deep into music. It sounds like the perfect background for being an American teenager. What kind of memories do you keep of those years?
Oh man. I’m not sure what I took from the 80’s teenage years. It was lots a fun… Too many stories to tell in one go. The 80’s were a great time to be young. So many new and exciting things happening with music, art, fashion and much more… Everything was so fresh!
One of our favorite edit by Eric.
Going back to New York in 2012, your career is now impressive, as a DJ but also as a producer, remixer, re-editer - with releases on labels like DFA, Warp, Eskimo, Rong, aNYthing… Your work is a bit like your definition of a good party “it comes in many shapes and sizes”: it is diverse, unpredictable but highly reliable in terms of making people happy! What would you say is the core your art?
I guess just trusting my feeling on things. If I feel it sounds good then it sounds good. Just go for it and on to the next. Also I’ve been really lucky to work with some great producers, DJs and friends. Thomas Bullock with Rub’N’Tug & Olivier Spencer with Still Going. Both those guys are monsters in the studio.
If you have the super power to change something in New York, what would it be?
Real estate prices.
And in Los Angeles?
I don’t know, L.A. is pretty nice, I guess the traffic is bad but it doesn’t really bother me.
What would be your advise in life in general?
Look both ways before you cross.
What would be your definition of ‘making it in New York’?
Making it in New York? No ones ever made it in New York. I think New York makes the people. So philosophical. Must be the Mezcal! (Laughing)
Dr. Dunks live at Submercer, June 2010.