New Year’s Eve demands the very best: the best booze, the best friends, the best music. The expectations are high, but—if you play your cards right—you can certainly meet them. When it comes to soundtracks, NYC-based DJ Justine D. knows exactly what to do. She’s helped create the musical atmosphere for clients like Mercedes-Benz, Apple, Nike, The Met, and The Whitney, to name a few. She’s also been known to stop by Butterfly at SIXTY SoHo, too—where, sidebar, we’ll be hosting a masquerade-themed New Year’s Eve party that shouldn’t be missed. Tickets and details here. Below, Justine has crafted us a NYE-inspired set list that’s sure to get you in the spirit. Have a listen, and get to know Justine below.
Where are you from?
I’m a native New Yorker. Raised in Chinatown and Queens.
What part of New York do you live in?
Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
What got you into music?
My parents. My mother had an impressive mint-condition Motown and ’60s rock 45 collection. While it was a relatively small collection, it was the foundation for my love of music. My father was also a big music fan, but his records were somewhat jumbled. He was very into rock, as well as classical and even the New Wave bands of my early youth.
What was the first album you ever purchased?
New Edition’s All for Love when I was 9.
What was your first big investment as a DJ?
I think making the conscious decision to DJ and collect vinyl can be seen as my first big investment. While not all bought at the same time, it really is a lifelong process and it was a choice I made before I started as a DJ. During my first 10 years as a DJ, I must have spent tens of thousands on my collection.
Any DJs or musicians you admired growing up?
Robert Smith of The Cure, Siouxsie Sioux, Morrissey (although not anymore). Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, Debbie Harry of Blondie, and Joan Jett and The Runaways.
What did they do that really interested you?
To see talented, smart, and often gorgeous women fronting bands was extremely impactful. They were the female faces I saw on MTV as a little girl and their bold personas subconsciously led me to follow their ethos when I became a DJ. The ethos is… do what you want on your own terms, work hard, and have fun while doing it—while looking amazing. I was very into dressing up and still am. Those bold female personas I watched on TV and listened to made a lasting impression. They seemed to be unapologetic about their craft and how they executed it. I live the same way.
What was your first DJ gig in NYC?
1999 at Bar 16 in the East Village. I DJ’ed for two hours, was paid $40 and got to play James Brown. I was in heaven!
Album you’re currently very into right now and why:
Chromatics Closer To Grey. Everything the Italians Do It Better label puts out is amazing! I’m also looking forward to the new Tame Impala album. I respect that he’s a one-man band, completely autonomous, very much like Johnny Jewel, the man behind Chromatics and Italians Do It Better.
What do you bring to the table at Butterfly?
I try to keep it fun and dancey but not obvious. We have a pretty strict “No Top 40” policy, which I like. I’m not a fan of mainstream music and prefer to introduce left-of-center tracks and challenge the crowd a bit. I give them a chance to listen to upbeat, danceable music, and it doesn’t have to be conventional or something you would hear on the radio.
Where are we most likely to find you around town?
Always at Balthazar eating a pastry of some sort.
The recipe for a perfect night in NYC:
I’d say a perfect night out in NY is dinner at Raoul’s and an early bedtime.