DJ Aaron James On His Year In New York And Blast-Off To India

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The way New Year’s Eve is falling on a Monday is a huge boon to marketing. Christmas spirit, gift returning, leftovers, and hangovers will linger until at least Wednesday, but by late Thursday/Friday, people will be desperate to have their big night plans finalized. A long weekend without work distractions will mean ginormous last-minute sales. I will DJ at the Dream Hotel Downtown which has sooo much going on and a built-in audience… I love hotel parties. I’ll tell you all about it early next week. After my gig, I’ll head over to a very private friends-and-family preview of an old club made new. This joint will help define this decade of clubdom. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to talk about this yet, but I’m sure club insiders know what I’m talking about. More on this after the holiday.

Tonight, the tireless Wendy Diamond is throwing her 8th annual Toys for Dogs holiday benefit in support of Hurricane Sandy animals. There will be photo-ops with a "celebrity" Santa, and lots of rescued dogs to mingle with. Dogs torn from their families or just plain lost and living in shelters will get a toy to ease their loneliness and confusion. The event will be at Amnesia, which in case you forgot is at 609 W. 29th St. from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.

My pal DJ Aaron James is off to India for New Year’s Eve and a bit after that. He’s having a Blast Off To India Party at the Dream Hotel Uptown next Wednesday, December 26th. I asked him about his year-long stay with us here in the Big Apple.

It’s been a year that you’ve be in New York…
It’s hard for me to fathom it’s been almost one year since we last spoke about India, my travels, and my expectations for NYC nightlife upon my return. That seems like a small eternity ago.

When and why are you leaving?
I’m flying out next Friday the 28th … back to India to DJ New Year’s Eve at the world-class Shiro in New Delhi, and then to move every dance floor in India and SE Asia I can get my hands on. Considering I don’t even have a lease or any other thing binding me here, for me it feels like a full-on shift. It’s crazy really, like picking up from where I left off on a life over there … a twin universe almost of an entirely new set of friends, family, lovers, inspirations, dreams.

How long will you be gone? What’s the plan?
I’m on a one-year business visa, so unless I end up marrying some irresistibly alluring Indian woman, I’ll be back eventually. Haha. Actually, plan is to pop back in a few months to tour with one of my all-time favorite recording artists: Vanessa Daou. She’s dropping a new album in the new year, and has graciously asked me to be her U.S. tour DJ. I hadn’t planned on coming back until the visa expired, but considering I’ve been a fan of Vanessa’s since as long as I can remember, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

I always knew I would be going back. It was only a matter of time. I’m not running away from New York or NYC nightlife as much as I’m branching out and seeing as much of the world as I can before I get too old and turn to dust. In the past year, I’ve seen the best we have to offer and the worst. I guess I’m just in a humble, grateful mood.

New York’s been good to me this year. Having come back last January with nothing at all in the pipeline, I’ve managed to work hard, keep myself more or less out of trouble, and pay off some $50,000 in debt, which was the main reason I stayed on so long anyway. And for the first time in as long as I can remember, I am entirely debt-free and feeling light as a feather because of it. Mission accomplished, and how could I be mad at that.

You’ve been back for a minute. What do you think of NYC nightlife?
I’ve come to accept the nightlife scene here for what it is … though I haven’t truly defined what “it” is. It’s less than I remember from years past, but so much more than much of the world has to offer. I rather focus on the positives now, and not be that hater that says the nightlife sucks now and forever and that there’s no hope. There are small beautiful pockets of resistance everywhere in this city – some sparkle and glimmer of originality exists as it once did, just perhaps it’s harder to find.

I love this city, I do. I only wish sometimes we could lighten up a bit, take ourselves a little less seriously, or with less vanity … and just dance, man. These days to me, nothing else matters. Off I go, always letting go.