Last Wednesday night, the red carpet at the 8th Annual Paper Magazine Nightlife Awards was on fire as it welcomed Rita Ora, Ellie Goulding, Melanie Fiona, Wale and more before the ceremony at Webster Hall.
Paper Magazine has made its name as being the Rosetta Stone for speaking the “hip” and “trend” language of New York City. And last night it brought the city’s best nightlife in a lively celebration of the community’s hottest and most essential.
The night was in true Webster Hall glory sponsored by Hennessy Futura with an awesome opening set by alien-winning DJ MNDR, other winners and a performance by Ellie Goulding who closed the show with her global hit, Lights.
Here are a few memorable excerpts from interviews with the night’s nominees and winners on the red carpet:
SS: What does your presence represent tonight?
Wale: I’m one of the only hip-hop acts, so I’m trying to represent my people. A lot of people who accepted my music before are still around, and now nightlife is expanding that community. Crowds like this are the most receptive to new music and it’s great because they also the most challenging.
SS: What are you favorite hotspots in the NY nightlife scene?
Jessica White: The Darby and One Oak are my favorite spots in NY nightlife.
SS: What’s one word you’d use to describe tonight?
White: “Epic” is the one word I’d use to describe tonight.
SS: What do you think is the future of nightlife?
Jessica White: kind of what Richie has done with the Darby showing New Yorkers you don’t have to club hop, you have this amazing beautiful old Hollywood venue where you can get dinner and music at the same time because we’re getting older so nightlife has to grow with the individuals and we’re all growing and making money so we need safe environments where we can still be sheik and the Darby is representative of that.
SS: Any tips for young girls out there hoping to follow your footsteps of sexy sophisticated style?
Jessica White: Fashion is not a representation of anyone else, fashion is art and you have to be the painter as well.
SS: What brings you here tonight?
Miss Info: Paper Magazine has documented style, music, art, culture, so I’m excited to be here tonight as they document the year’s best nightlife.
SS: Tell us about the award you’re presenting tonight.
Miss Info: I’m presenting with Futura, and there’s nobody else I’d rather stand next to than Futura 2000 who has taken everything from the streets to the galleries.
SS: What do you think is the future of NY nightlife?
Miss Info: The future of NY nightlife, hmm… Well, other cities compensate for not being the center of the universe by going big to paint this beautiful picture. But New York is the greatest city in the world so here we have the opportunity to show that greatness in detail, the future for New York is to go small.
SS: Even the smallest pieces here are the greatest pictures you’ll ever find?
Miss Info: Exactly.
SS: Happy Birthday! How are you celebrating?
Rita Ora: I’m celebrating my birthday in London, I’m renting out a penthouse and having family and friends over.
SS: Tell us about your look tonight.
Rita Ora: I love jewelry so I always wear as much as possible but this
SS: Your presence stateside is expanding exponentially. Tell us about what folks can look forward as they see more and more of you nationwide.
Rita Ora: Upcoming projects include my album coming out next year, a tour coming out in October, and so much more.
SS: Tonight we’re at the NYC Nightlife awards, do you love this city and how does it compare to back home?
Rita Ora: I love New York, its very similar to London and I can’t drive here so that’s great. My favorite part of its nightlife is the 24-hour food. My favorite diner, the late night place, Cafeteria, yeah it’s a favorite.
SS: What does it mean for you to be here tonight?
Mx. Justin Vivian Bond: As a cabaret singer and performance artist, it’s important to be seen as a trans person and be present, and have a good time. I’ll be touring a lot, and doing a holiday show at 54 Below, my next piece is about how we’re seen and how we wish to be seen both as an American and as a trans person when I hit the road. I think that there’s been a huge amount of young trans people who are coming out younger and younger, and it’s important for more of us to be seen and advocate not only to other kids but to adults around them to help everyone be more comfortable and safe. That’s why I’m here. That’s what my being here represents.
SS: Your motto is to chase the wild rabbit, Ellie Goulding. Where is it leading you now?
Ellie Goulding: I’m focused on my music now, so doing new and different things with sound and experience.
SS: I heard you were into wigs.
Ellie Goulding: Yes! Wigs! I just got into wigs! I’m not wearing one now but they’re very convenient. They’re the future of fashion, and they’re great to change up your nightlife look.
SS: What is the hottest trend in NY nightlife?
Skrillex: I don’t think there’s any hot trend, it’s always about what’s happening that no one is talking about. When bass music started there was no one listening to it. And that was hot.
SS: What are you excited about that no one is talking about?
Skrillex: No one’s talking about French Fries, Disclosure, Blalon here. That’s what I’m excited about.
SS: Favorite NY hotspot no one is talking about?
Skrillex: It’s hard because NY has so many different facets of great nightlife. Webster Hall is one of the best, and in BK depending on who is going to be there, it can be a lot of fun.
SS: You have quite the cult following, and it’s growing significantly. How do you rep your community? How do you build communities elsewhere as your sound goes worldwide?
Skrillex: My community is all my friends who I make music with in electronic in that world. Community is anyone who is doing it, and the underground, which is the most important thing. But from the underground to the very top, it’s all one cohesive unit. It’s all community.
SS: What’s your next step?
Skrillex: Everything is about the song right? Bang-O-Rang and Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites where just sounds, and then there were vocals. Every song I mentioned has a different sound, wherever the vocal is that’s the bed, and the sound is the vehicle, so it’ll all come together. You’ll see.
SS: Any message for SS readers? Many of them are young. If you could say anything to your 17, 18, 19 year old self, what would it be?
Skrillex: When I was 17-19 people called me faggot and idiot and whatever and so if you’re young and you want to be expressive with whatever you are don’t let these words take you down, continue to make music, be creative, an individual and don’t let what people say stop what you want to do because the potential you have is more significant than you might know. Continue the path, don’t let one negative word stop you. That’s what I’d tell young kids.
SS: Welcome to the NYC Nightlife Awards. What is it about this city that makes the nightlife so special?
Melanie Fiona: Well, now that I live in NY it’s my favorite city. It gives me the most inspiration. Whenever I’ve recorded my albums here I’ve been a little bit freer, a little bit more daring. NY def gives you the balls to do things you might be scared to do like dye your hair blonde. I’ve wanted to have a different look for some time now and Keith Campbell did the cut and color my hair tonight. My look is a mix of high, low, and vintage, from my Hermes bracelet to my mom’s chains. It’s a homegrown style just like my music, with the courage I get from the streets of NY.
SS: Are you inspired by any particular NY neighborhoods or nightlife spots?
Melanie: My muse is Brooklyn, and I love Bembe in Williamsburg, live drums, amazing music, and vibe, some Latin man spin me around the dancefloor – so low key, and an inside spot. If the blue light is on, there’s a party going on!
SS: You are Mr. New York nightlife. What is it about this city?
Legendary Damon: We’ve got the best parties in the world, been all over the world and the world is great but NY is better.
SS: And so thinking about partying in the best city in the world, where do we go from here? Has New York just done it all?
Legendary Damon: NY is everyday, it’s everywhere, people continue to inspire the city and the city continues to inspire its people so it’s an endless creative cycle.
SS: Tell us about the category you are presenting.
Legendary Damon: I’m co-presenting Best DJ with Neon Hitch who I just met and is lovely and amazing.
SS: Do you have any favorites tonight?
Legendary Damon: I like everyone and everything, and wish everyone the best.
SS: As a connoisseur, tell us – what is the future of nightlife?
Legendary Damon: NY in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, was very ostentatious. And then we had the reciprocal – dingy and dirty. It cycles back and forth. Big over the top one minute, and small and grungy, the next. That’s the cycle. And we’re going back in, getting small again. And everyone is having fun in Brooklyn, I don’t party there but it’s hot.
SS: Pop up parties? Urban raves?
Legendary Damon: Pop up parties and urban raves are hot in BK right now. Afro-Punk festival is amazing, that to me is the wave of the future, thousands of new people were cool, amazing music performances; I can’t say how amazing this is.
SS: Talk about amazing! Tell us about what you’re wearing today.
Legendary Damon: Well, this is my birthday suit, I wore it while riding a white horse on my birthday but the horse was so big I think people hardly noticed the suit. I hate my clothes sometimes because they’re so memorable I can’t wear it more than once. But this one I get to wear again.
SS: And vuala! It’s a party. Happy belated birthday. And thank you, so much.
Legendary Damon: Thank you!
Photos by Kirill Bichutsky via Complex and by Socially Superlative