As the Peach Party heats up, DJ Micky Friedmann will be one of two DJs playing at Saturday’s Day Party at Opera. Friedmann brings a distinctly European flavor to Peach Party – while the rest of the weekend’s DJs hail from major American cities, the Israeli-born Friedmann comes to Atlanta from Berlin. After getting his start as a ballet dancer and model, Friedmann started DJing as a hobby. Eventually, the DJing took over as his full-time gig.
Before he arrives in Atlanta, Friedmann took the time to talk to us about his start as a DJ, the connection he sees between sex and the dance floor, and his feelings on Southern boys.
You started out as a professional ballet dancer and model. What led you to focus on DJing?
The first time I was introduced to electronic club music was during my time at ballet school in Jerusalem. We used to drive to Tel Aviv on the weekends and go out dancing. The club atmosphere fascinated me but I never thought of becoming a DJ back then. My passion was to become a dancer. Fourteen years ago, after dancing professionally in companies across Europe I was offered a soloist contract with the Berlin Ballet. After moving to Berlin I decided to buy two used turntables and a mixer, practicing at home on my own, determined and disciplined.
One thing ballet teaches you is to be extremely disciplined which led me to master my new hobby quickly. After being in the ballet studio for 8 hours or having performances three times a week, coming home to my records was like an escape into my own world. I spun for friends at private parties or chill outs just for fun. It was only at the end of my ballet career that DJing became serious. One gig led to another and before I knew it I was busy with my new career. Meeting my manager after my first set in NYC was the jumping board to my international career.
The musicality I obtained as a dancer was the key to my rapid success as a DJ. Working with music, counting beats over and over all day trains your brain to be very precise. Once a DJ learns the basics of working the equipment, one adopts tricks taught by other DJs or learning some of their technical maneuvers just by listening. But experience is the best teacher of all. Reading the energy of a crowd and understanding how a room full of people breathes is the key to a DJ´s success.
Modeling was never my main job though I used to work with agencies in Berlin, London, Paris, Hamburg and Tel Aviv. I was a part of it for a little while but quickly learnt that it was not something I would want to do as a full time job. Being on the cover of magazines such as Men’s Health and the Australian Blue, done TV commercials and quite a few editorials – fun extra money on the side.
The part I loved the most standing in front of the camera was for art books and I was lucky enough to work with great photographers such as Pierre et Gille, Andreas Biesnich, Greg Gorman, David Vance, James Moritz and Kevin McDermott, whom I admire very much. Mario Testino is a close friend of mine. We meet every time he comes to Berlin, I´m sure we will have a fun photo shooting some day soon.
You’ve talked about there being a certain sexuality on the dance floor, and how you try to appeal to it. To you, what do you see as the connection between sexuality and the dance floor?
Sex is an inseparable part of club life. Many times during the party and surely after the party. I think I can say with great certainty that most of us go out wishing to find a sexual adventure. Maybe even the love of our life. Music can help people feel sexy on the dance floor. I search for sexy beats, sexy melodies, [and] sexy vibes for my sets to give the crowd the extra help of over coming some of their inhibitions.
How do you keep your set fresh?
The search for new music consumes most of the time in a DJ’s life. Also mine. Some days I am glued to the chair for so many hours listening to new music, that I forget to eat. Listening to new promos, searching on the DJ music sites such as Beatport, or just spending time with colleague DJs and producers exchanging music.
A third of my set is built of new tracks every single party I spin. I don’t like to recycle sets; each crowd deserves a whole new creation of music.
Professionally, what has occupied your schedule in recent months? What projects do you have coming up?
I have been traveling like crazy for the last few months but now that the summer just started the real madness begins. Playing gay prides in Madrid, Toronto, Frankfurt, Berlin, Zurich and Prague. [There’s a] circuit festival in Barcelona in August, a far east and a Brazilian tour coming up, and of course the Peach Party in Atlanta.
On the production side, my production partner Alex Botar and I just finished two new remixes: “Feel It Inside” by Carlos Gallardo featuring Rebeka Brown, and “Musika” by Ivan Gomez. We are now working on a new remix for Edson Pride.
When you’re not focusing on your career, how do you spend your time?
When I am not traveling I try to spend as much time as possible with my close friends in Berlin. Daily work out, good movies and books. No time for more.
Comparing your gigs in Europe and America, what do you find different between the two continents when you DJ?
These days, in the Internet era, the differences have shrunk quite a bit. Also the ability to travel more easily brings crowds from both North America and Europe to fly from one side of the globe to the other. With digital, it is much easier these days to reach individuals or influence their taste. I would say though, that Europe is a touch more electro then North America. North America still embraces the big room tribal Diva sound. The trick is to find the right balance in order to win and fascinate the crowd.
Who are your inspirations?
My mother is on the top of the list. Inspiring me with her incredible never-ending support and belief in me. I have a line of great artists whom inspire me with their work: Pedro Almodovar, William Forsyth, Henry Purcell, [and] Idan Raichel.
How does it feel to return to Atlanta?
It would probably sound a bit too expected of me to answer with “I really love Atlanta,” but I do. The harmony between the promoters of different venues brings a peaceful vibe. I absolutely love the owners and promoters of the clubs I play at. I call them “my Atlanta family.” If they read this interview they surely know I’m talking about them.
The Peach Party was also born from a positive will of throwing a great new party event and with the amazing line up I am sure it will be the first one of many more to come. I really hope they will make me their European resident. People in Atlanta are open to new sounds, no matter big events or small. People are friendly generous and not pretentious.
And to finish up with one little confession of mine, I find the “Southern” boys in Atlanta very, very sexy.
DJ Micky Friedmann will be playing at the Peach Party on Saturday, June 16 at Opera. For tickets, click here.