DJ Billy Carroll Spins for Boys of Summer 2010

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

So few people realize what goes into creating a "nightclub" experience.  From the bartenders to the lighting engineer to the security, door people and the DJ.  A night may be hindered by any of these, but the most scrutinized position is that of the DJ.  A DJ can make or break any night – and they have to please everyone.

For 35 years, Billy Carroll has been doing just that.  Moving crowds and telling stories with musical combinations, manipulating energy levels to provide unforgettable nights.  He is a DJ that specializes in versatility, and, like a true renaissance man, he refuses to pigeonhole himself.  Billy has traveled the world from Philly to LA to China, and his formative years afforded him the unique opportunity to moonlight as a guest DJ at perhaps the birthplace of the true music scene, the legendary Paradise Garage.

To this day, Billy Carroll continues to impress rabid dancefloors with just about any style of dance music.  Philly is lucky enough to get another glimpse of Billy as he returns Friday August 16th for PhillyGayCalendar’s own Boys of Summer party.  Get ready to sweat!

PGC was lucky enough to catch up with Billy to pick the brain of this New York legend.

I know this question is hard to answer after many years in the business, but can you give our readers an image of one of the best nights you have ever had djing?  Where? When? Why?

Wow…after 35 years as a working dj, that is a really hard question to answer in a few words. There have been so many memorable events…some right here in Philly. The Cobalt parties associated with Blueball were always  something I looked forward to year after year. The NRG in that room was off the hook, and year after year, it was NEVER a disappointment.

What’s happening in New York now?

NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! The best party in town is still "The 718 Sessions" with DJ Danny Krivit, once a month on Sunday in various locations

I know everyone goes through phases of their "sound."  How are you playing lately?    We love your "Dirty Beats" CD, are you still along that line?

You know, it all depends where I am playing and for whom. I would never play too dark or deep or at a Venue that is only open from say 10 -2AM in a smaller city. One or two of my signature songs might make it into my set, but not a steady diet of it.  I know how to play happy house when I need to and love doing so! I am a man of many tastes.

As a dance music junkie, I have always imagined what it would be like to be at the legendary Paradise Garage.  I’ve never had the honor to speak to someone who has actually DJed there.  Can you give me a picture of the experience?  What was is like playing there?

There was nothing like it and there STILL hasn’t been a venue that has come close to what that experience was like. Sound-wise, the closest modern day experience would have been Stereo in Montreal. But the Garage wasn’t just about the sound and the DJ. It was more than that. It was a movement. The crowd was special…all colors, shapes, sizes, and sexual orientations…dancing to the magic of a maestro, Larry Levan.  Some of us were fortunate enough to fill in whenever Larry was away or unavailable. And I think for the most part, we all did a serviceable job. But NO ONE WORKED THAT ROOM or sound system like Larry. He could push it to the limits, to the point where you would FEEL the music going through you, yet it never hurt your ears.  We were all there for the MUSIC. It didn’t matter what color you were or where you came from.  The party was more of an experience than a simple dance event…..and the amazing part about it was it happened EVERY-WEEK.

When was the last time you played Philly?

New Year’s Eve

What occupies the rest of your time?  Other jobs?  Hobbies?

I own an event planning company in NYC, BILLY CARROLL EVENTS and have a second home in Panama, that has become like a hobby. I also love to travel and explore new places. My DJ career has taken me around the world…Literally.

What do you see as a difference between Philly and NY crowds?

About 100 miles, give or take.

What’s on the horizon?  Working on any new music or mixes?

As insane as this might sound, there is a strong possibility that my last 4 months of DJ-ing might be filmed for a mini-documentary.  "I’m ready for my close-up Miss Chi Chi" (laughs).

Any fun travels lately?

I recently played in Beijing, which was my 2nd time in China. It was fantastic! The city, the people, the party! Let’s just say it wasn’t your mama’s communist Red  China…AT ALL!

Gays obviously love their pop stars.  Is there anyone right now that particularly piques your interest?

Not really….they all blend together after a while…being a DJ, eventually you Gag on GAGA or Binge on Beyonce. The remixes we play are so far-removed from the original songs…does it really matter?

Find Billy Carroll at PhillyGayCalendar’s Boys Of Summer party, Friday August 13th at Voyeur Nightclub.

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