“House music is a genre that improves with time.”
Enlightening words from the DJ, producer and former basketball star Rony Seikaly who has seen house music evolve since its inception. Music was always essential for the Lebanese-born global celebrity, starting with his first turntables and mixer at age 14. But it was his skill as an athlete that first pushed him into the limelight.
More than 20 years ago, Seikaly was drafted into the Miami Heat, bringing him down to the city of sunshine, palm fronds and Cuban sandwiches. He was here at the beginning of what’s now considered South Beach, where investments in clubs and restaurants, along with his love for the music, have sucked him into the nightlife.
From hoops to decks, you can now catch Rony spinning at clubs across the world. He’ll be celebrating his birthday this Saturday at LIV Miami dropping high-energy tunes at what he deems one of the best clubs in the world.
In what seemed to be too short of a convo for all the years covered, mybeatFix sat down with Rony to hear some of the most important milestones in his career.
1979: First DJ Equipment
I was 14. I got two turntables and a mixer. I used to just spin records. It was disco. It was early-stage house. It was always big-room dance music. This was in Greece.
1988: Drafted to the Miami Heat
I wanted so badly to come to Miami. The Charlotte Hornets had their pick before Miami, and they were going to draft me. I basically begged them not to. I lived in upstate New York for college. When you have an option to come to the sunshine, why not?
1993: Opens Bar None nightclub in Miami Beach
Back then in South Beach there was no other choice. You really had nothing. It was News Café, The Clevelander – you had just two or three places. The partners were Sylvester Stallone, Ugo Colombo, Shareef Malnik and me — all the people from South Beach that were here at the beginning of South Beach. It was the club.
1998: Suffers career-threatening foot injury
I dislocated the middle of my foot, and that was a career-ending injury. I came back and tried to play but I had four or five screws in my foot. They took bone from my hip just to try and fuse my foot back together. That was the beginning of the end. I was just playing in so much pain and the game was not worth it.
2000: Danny Tenaglia at the old Space
I’ll never forget this day. It was when Danny Tenaglia was playing at the old Space. I had never been to Space and I always thought it wasn’t for me. I went with a group of my friends, and I said let’s just go check it out. I kept telling them we’ll leave the next track, and that next track just kept us there. It was a voyage – a journey. He went from house to progressive to trance to tribal. It was one of those magical moments.
2002: First starts producing music
I bought some software and I would just edit tracks that were out already. I started taking lessons and sat down with different producers. At first it looked like an impossibility to figure out all these different things going on at once, but as I sat there, I realized it’s a lot easier in today’s world to make music than you think. All you need is to build a groove. I started doing it, and it’s almost like an addiction.
Check out Rony’s upcoming track below on Juicy Music, “Funk the Monk”
2008: First important DJ gig at Amnesia in Ibiza
I never really think about pressure, especially after playing so many years in basketball – so many people watching you, so many people writing about you and so many people shitting on you and loving you. To me, playing music is a walk in the park for 3,000 or 4,000 people. When I got to Amnesia in Ibiza and the place was packed, everyone was asking, “Are you nervous?” Nervous about what? I used to play in front of 35,000 people. Just having had so many great moments at the club for so many years, to come back and play that club was kind of like “Somebody wake me up. I’m not sure if this is real or not”.
2012: Upcoming album on Nervous Records
It’s about 10 or eleven tracks, and a cross between deep house and house – a little faster than deep house but it’s bassline driven. It’s housey house with a deep house influence.
2012: Birthday party at LIV
You’ve got to wear a different hat for the LIV experience. It’ll be a progressive high-energy sound and sort of what they want on a macro-level but keeping it my style – happy and groovy. Personally I think LIV is the best club in the world. That’s why I love playing there. It gives you an opportunity to play in front of people that won’t come to Space or other clubs to see you. It’s a chance to connect with people that you don’t usually connect with.