A Deejay Resurrects The Spirit Of Danceteria

The nightclub Danceteria—whose location on West 21st Street in Manhattan was the backdrop of the disco scene in the movie Desperately Seeking Susan—was a hot destination for club kids and artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat from 1979 until it closed in 1986. Operating from a variety of locations in New York City and the Hamptons, it was an icon of the New Wave and Eighties music scene, where acts like Madonna, Duran Duran, the Smiths and Sonic Youth played.

Montclair, NJ.-based deejay Rafe Gomez—whose day job is providing sales support to CEOs—is bringing back its spirit in Danceteria REWIND, a live, two-hour weekly show on the livestreaming platform Twitch. He’s built the show to 15,000 followers since launching it earlier this year. It airs on Thursday nights at 8 pm Eastern time. He previously ran a syndicated radio show called The Groove Boutique, which aired nationally from 2003 to 2008, and performed in clubs across the U.S.

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Gomez started Danceteria REWIND to keep busy during the pandemic, but it’s turned into a one-man business. Outside of work, he says, “My day was cleaning and doing nothing. I had no hobbies. The only thing that made sense was revisiting my deejay career.”

That was when he stumbled upon Twitch, which is popular among musicians and video gamers. He was eager to start a show but wasn’t sure what kind of music to feature. While taking a walk around Montclair to pass the time, he decided to embrace an idea he’d read about in a book by Tosha Silver—a spiritually-minded author his wife introduced him to: opening his mind to any idea the universe presented.

“That’s when it came to me—doing a re-creation of the downtown Eighties scene,” he recalls.

Although he originally launched Danceteria REWIND to keep his sanity and entertain friends, the show’s following grew so quickly that Gomez is now looking into opportunities to syndicate it to over-the air radio stations in the U.S. and overseas that are looking for a late-night radio show as exclusive streaming content. “Once all of that started lining up, I thought that if I were patient and methodical, I could turn it into a business,” he says. He’s also looking to make the archives of shows he’s livestreamed available to a provider of on-demand audio content, like an Apple Music or SiriusXM.

As Danceteria REWIND has attracted listeners, Gomez has found that the same music that pulled club-goers into Danceteria back in the day is now fresh and new to fans in their twenties and thirties. “If you were there, you’ll love it,” he says. “If you have never heard it, you’ll be fascinated. Everything contemporary has its roots in this thing.”

Meanwhile, with the track building to 150 beats a minute toward the end, he’s found another group of fans: exercisers. “If you dance or move in place to this music, you’ll get a ridiculous workout,” he says.

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