Junior Vasquez  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Junior Vasquez, born Donald Mattern in 1949 (some sources say c. 1946) in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is a famous New York City club DJ and remixer/producer.


Mattern moved to New York as a young adult in the early 1970s with ambitions of becoming a fashion designer, even briefly attending FIT. However, as with so many New York transplants, especially in the 1970s & 80s, Mattern soon became fascinated with NYC nightlife -- specifically, legendary DJ Larry Levan at The Paradise Garage. Soon, as Donald Mattern's passion for the music, the excitement, and the one-of-a-kind experience that NYC nightlife could potentially be grew, Donald Mattern from Lancaster, PA soon became Junior Vasquez and a legend was born. In the early days of his career in the 1980s, while building a name for himself in the music world Junior worked with notable disco DJ and pop remixer/producer Shep Pettibone co-producing & editing releases from artists such as Madonna, Whitney Houston, MC Hammer, Prince, Pet Shop Boys, & others. It wasn't long before Junior landed a brief residency at Club Bassline where he began to make a name for himself as a live DJ.

From 1989 to 1995, Vasquez gained national prominence — along with music industry influence — through Vasquez's seminal residency at the original Sound Factory, a club he cofounded with Richard Grant at 530 West 27th Street in Manhattan's Chelsea District. Vasquez forged a bond with the Sound Factory space that would last over a decade and as word of his remarkable skill as a DJ spread, he quickly built a following of fans who became known as "Juniorites", and who were exceptionally devoted to Vasquez, his musical style, his unique & extraordinary skills and charisma, & the spectacle of his weekly Sunday morning after-hours parties. Because of the extreme loyalty & devotion of his fans to his parties & his music, Vasquez quickly became the most sought after DJ in NYC, and was able to make or break new releases through his mastery of remixing, live mixing, and building excitement among the nightlife scene through his vocal and devoted fans. Because of this, major record labels solicited Junior to craft club-friendly remixes of pop songs in his own unique beat-driven NYC house style at a time when most pop remixes still relied very heavily on elements of the original productions to tie the remixes back to the original versions. Because of this, and because of his reputation as an unparalleled DJ & host, musical heavyweights such as C+C Music Factory, David Morales, DJ Pierre, Björk, Marilyn Manson, & even Madonna were known to frequent Junior's Sunday morning parties from time to time. Being in such demand by artists such as Madonna, Whitney Houston, Cher, Prince, Elton John, and many others, Junior also was able to create his own "private collection" of remixes he was authorized to remix (and many that he was not authorized to remix) which did not see commercial release. These Junior Vasquez exclusive "Private Collection Mixes" made his live DJ sets even more distinctive and special to his following because it was only at Vasquez's Sound Factory that these masterful remixes could be heard.

After the closure of Sound Factory on February 12, 1995, Vasquez held residencies at the Tunnel (1995-1996), & at ArenA @ Palladium (1996-1997) where his suspended DJ booth was custom-designed by Dolce & Gabbana. In 1997, he returned to the former home of Sound Factory at 530 W 27th St, reopened under new management as "Twilo" & remodeled to include a custom-designed DJ booth for Junior's exclusive use and fitted with a new sound technology called "Phazon" which became known by the late 90's as THE gold standard for large venue audio in the entire world (because of this, Twilo became known as one of the premier club venues in the world and residencies or occasional gigs were highly sought after by the top DJs worldwide, i.e. Sasha & Digweed, Paul VanDyk, Carl Cox, etc). However, Twilo was Junior's and only Junior's on Sunday mornings, and at other events DJs had to use a "guest booth" at floor-level as no other DJ was allowed in Junior's personal booth ever. "Juniorverse" @ Twilo lasted until May 5, 2001 when the party was abruptly shut down by order of the city just hours before Junior's party was due to begin. With the demise of Twilo, Vasquez began a new Sunday morning after-hours residency which he named "Earth" and whose home was the highest capacity club space in NYC, Exit Nightclub. Junior's Earth @ Exit ended without fanfare in 2002 amidst discontent from fans and [reportedly] Vasquez himself. In the years that followed, he held shorter-lived residencies at various clubs in New York, including Discotheque (Fridays), Soundfactory on W 46th St (so-named by Richard Grant who retained legal rights to the name and opened in a new space shortly after the closure of the 27th St original space); Pacha) (the newest incarnation of the 46th St location following the dramatic closing & ousting of former owner Grant); Spirit (the yet-again-remodeled and reopened Sound Factory & Twilo space at 530 West 27th Street); and Roxy NYC. Vasquez currently holds small, monthly, Sunday-night residency at Cielo (a small bar in the West Village section of Manhattan) and spins other occasional one-off parties at various venues in New York City and around the world.

In addition to his work as a DJ and Remixer, he has co-produced albums for John Mellencamp, For Real, Lisa Lisa, Cyndi Lauper, among others, and individual LP tracks for Madonna, Cher, Wild Orchid, Kristine W, and others. Junior, along with his record label JuniorVasquezMusic, is also known for breaking new artists & artists from other genres into dance/pop music such as Vernessa Mitchell, Jason Walker, Casey Stratton, Kè, Vivian Green, & Sam Harris.

One of his upcoming projects is rumored to be to produce tracks for the next album of pop phenomenon Britney Spears.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Junior Vasquez" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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