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Interview :: Peter Rauhofer & Offer Nissim
New York City
by Mark Thompson & Robert Doyle
June 4, 2009 Bookmark and Share

From the maestro who loves New York, Miami, Montreal, and Paris (and here we refer to the man’s CD Valentines to his favorites party towns, commencing with I Love New York, I Love Miami, I Love Montreal—and recently I Love Paris—and who would argue with any of those choices?) comes the mother of Pride parties WE CAN!  Clearly a reference to Obama’s victorious election slogan, the party’s theme might also be a reference to the current string of LGBT civil rights victories in New England and Iowa (California who?).  Either way, Saturday night the 27th of June at Roseland Ballroom in New York City promises to be a Pride party for the annals, every bit as legendary as the man behind the music.

And given Meister Rauhofer’s prodigious gifts for musicality and theatre, who could resist an opportunity to sit down with him and his equally dramatic production partner, Offer Nissim, and hear the two of them dish about Pride, parties, and music?

MRNY:  We remember your Pride party called GODS from a few years ago that was held at Spirit and which was both Offer’s and Maya’s American debut.  Candis Cayne was hostess that night and it was Maya’s birthday, if we recall correctly.  You remember that party? 

PETER:  Absolutely. This was the first very big Pride event held at Spirit and it was Offer and Maya’s introduction to the WORK crowd.

MRNY:  Something like baptism by fire, right, Offer?

OFFER:  I remember it was a great experience spinning for the first time in NYC and for the first time with Peter. 

MRNY:  So much has happened to the both of you since that party four years ago.  You’ve formed a kind of partnership, which has proven both commercially popular and critically astute—and it seems as if everything the two of you touch turns to gold.  The boyz, the girlz—they can’t seem to get enough of what you two bring to the floor.  How would you describe the alchemy at work between the two of you?

OFFER:  Every time Peter and I do an event together it’s magical and has the best energy because we both understand each other very well.

MRNY:  Maybe that’s a testament to the similarities between life in Vienna and Tel Aviv?

PETER: We get along very well [even though we] both were raised in totally separate countries and grew up with completely different cultures.  We are very similar in a lot of ways. We both love the same kinds of music and our careers have spanned similar amounts of time.

MRNY:  Congratulations for securing Roseland, the city’s largest ballroom, for your Pride party, WE CAN!   How did you settle on the party’s theme and how do you feel it pertains to a Pride celebration? 

PETER:  Ever since the Roxy shut down, the big-room experience has gone and it’s time to really bring that kind of party back to NYC.

MRNY:  That’s music to our ears.

PETER:  There has always been a lot of rivalry in the gay community and that is why a party like WE CAN! is so important.

MRNY:  So you’re saying that the party’s theme WE CAN! is kind of like a call to arms to the gay community at large?

PETER:  Pride weekend is really all about getting together and is not about a battle or a competition.

MRNY:  With the two of you playing, and also Paulo and Oscar G., and with Maya performing, as well as Kevin Aviance, and with Alan T. doing door—this party promises to be massive.  How did all of this come about?   

PETER: Everyone involved with WE CAN! basically belongs to the WORK party team. All these people have performed for me in the past and it has been such a great experience.

MRNY:  It’s kind of a WORK family reunion, isn’t it?

PETER:  My WORK party is a long-running concept that has become so successful because of the fact that we are all so close and work so well together.

MRNY:  How’s the night going to be orchestrated?  Are two of the deejays going to be playing in an ancillary room?

PETER:  It’s such a big night and the party goes on long enough that everybody has a chance to play in the main room.

MRNY:  Given your musical declarations of love for New York, Miami, and Montreal, how would you describe the musical vibe in Paris, the scene of your most recent love affair?

PETER:  The CD is very summery and has a very European vibe.

MRNY:  Summer in Paris—gotta love it.  Yet I Love Paris seems to be one of those gotta-have-it-but-where-can-I-find-it CDs.  You had a promo party at Cielo in April and some promo copies are floating around online, but the CD is proving to be somewhat elusive.

PETER:  We had some manufacturing issues but the CD will be out any day now.

MRNY:  Good to know.  So, Offer—do you think Peter should do an I Love Tel Aviv CD—or would you have to bitch slap him for intruding on your turf?

OFFER:  Peter has countless fans in Israel and I’m sure they would be thrilled if he decided to do an I Love Tel Aviv CD.

MRNY:  That sounds like a request.  How would you characterize the scene in Tel Aviv?

OFFER:  People love to party and have a good time.

MRNY:  Isn’t that something of an understatement?

OFFER:  It is pretty intense.

MRNY:  When is Pride celebrated in Israel?

OFFER:  Pride is a beautiful celebration in Tel Aviv and it happens on June 12th.

MRNY:  Next stop: WE CAN TEL AVIV!   And speaking of intense Israelis, what is it about Maya that makes almost every breath of hers have resonance for the boyz on the floor?

OFFER:  Maya is a great songwriter. I’ve worked with her for over five years. We’re a perfect team and a great combination.

MRNY:  How would you characterize her voice?

PETER:  Maya’s voice is very unique and works perfectly with Offer’s large dramatic arrangements and that’s what makes them so good together.

MRNY:  Do you still spend a lot of studio time in Vienna, Peter—or has that changed?

PETER: These days I do most of my mixes in NYC and, believe it or not, on my laptop.  Technology has changed so much that I rarely have to go back to Vienna.

MRNY:  What’s the scene in Vienna like these days?  The Life Ball, for example, seems like one of those must-do AIDS fund-raising events.

PETER: The Life Ball in Vienna is one of the biggest events in Europe and is thrown by a very good friend of mine. I actually played the first three Life Balls when it first started back in 1993.

MRNY:  Life Ball just celebrated its 17th year.

PETER:  It’s amazing to see how much it’s grown.  Back then it was a 500-person event that has now grown to over 40,000 [in attendance].

MRNY:  You’ve been a long-time supporter of Montreal’s Black and Blue festival, Canada’s largest fund-raising event to combat AIDS.  It feels like it wouldn’t be Black and Blue without a Peter Rauhofer party.  Do you feel a particular affinity for BBCM and its mission?

PETER:  I always have been a big supporter of fund-raising events as long as they’re done properly. I think it’s important that people can always track down exactly where their money goes when it comes to charities.  Black and Blue has always been very good about this.

MRNY:  Speaking of legendary parties, the two of you were originally scheduled for the Sunday party at Arabian Nights for One Mighty Weekend in Orlando.

PETER:  Unfortunately, Offer has a family emergency and is unable to travel to make it to this event.  [As for me], it will be my debut at One Mighty Weekend and I’m very excited about this. I’ve heard amazing things about the event and I think it’s great to have the opportunity to do it on my own.

MRNY:  In spite of the recession and the troubling economic climate, the two of you seem determined, and totally successful, at proving that there’s still a great deal of joy and love, and dare we say—even romance—in the nightlife world. 

PETER: In times of recession I find that people really love to party even more.  When they go out they want to be entertained and have a great time to help get their minds off of everything else that’s happening in their lives.

MRNY:  To what do you attribute your success at keeping your parties packed with, in the words of Maya, happy people?

PETER:  The most important thing that we can do is give the community an event where they can just let loose and enjoy themselves.

MRNY:  We’re down with that.  Here’s to the both of you for working so hard to keep happy people on your floors.  Much success and happiness to you both!  WE CAN indeed!


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