by Matt Kalkhoff

“David’s mixes are so amazing. He can blend anything together,” says superstar DJ Manny Lehman of his Madtizzy brethren. “He is a human Metronome.”

As the original Circuit DJ, David Knapp has assumed many similarly flattering characterizations during an illustrious career that has spanned two decades. Often referred to as The People’s DJ because of his unique ability to make each crowd feel like it’s the most important party he’s ever played, David is truly there for the audience as much as they are there for him.

In the midst of South Beach’s rebirth in the early 90s as the inevitable international nightlife mecca, David Knapp graduated from the University of Miami Law School and passed the Bar Exam. While he could have easily pursued a lucrative career practicing law, he instead decided to follow his passion for music. And he hasn’t looked back once yet.

An early gig at Boomerang (later known as Groove Jet) led to a career-defining residency at Kremlin. It was during his time at the Lincoln Road Mall hotspot (now called Score) that David first got involved with Miami’s White Party, the annual series of benefit events held during Thanksgiving week. David went on to headline the signature Sunday night party at the lavish waterfront Italian Renaissance-style palazzo, Vizcaya, for an astonishing 10 years. With White Party widely considered the crown jewel of the gay party Circuit, David became its honorary, albeit disarmingly humble, king.

While traveling the world making appearances at the multitude of similar Circuit weekends that popped up across the country and around the world, the Billboard-reporting DJ forged key relationships with some of New York’s heaviest hitters. Having duly impressed legendary DJ/producer Junior Vasquez on several occasions, David was invited by the master himself to guest DJ at Palladium and Tunnel, and eventually landed the ultimate guest residency at Twilo in 1999. He’s also played Boy’s Life, Limelight, the Empire State Pride Agenda benefit, Heritage of Pride’s Pier Dance, and has the distinction of being the first non-New York-based DJ to play the Saint-at-Large Black Party in 1998.

Another similarly prolific alliance with über-promoter John Blair resulted in David sharing a residency at Roxy with Victor Calderone and his being commissioned to remix Volume 1 of Blair’s NYC’s Best DJs CD series. David has also remixed several White Party benefit CDs for Centaur Music, as well as others in the Global Groove and Party Groove series. As a testament to David’s long-standing and fruitful relationship with Centaur, he’ll be headlining the label’s forthcoming music tour in 2004.

Gentleman’s Quarterly also named David one of the six most influential DJs in America in its July 2000 issue. He was also featured alongside Danny Tenaglia, Eddie X, Junior Vasquez and Victor Calderone in the 2002 documentary about global DJs called Dance Culture In The Mix.
In early 2000, David signed on with Madtizzy where George Dellinger has managed his infinitely fertile career since. David has also helped scout new talent for George to bring onboard. His efforts so far have yielded two of the Circuit’s most in-demand talents signing with Madtizzy -- Chad Jack and DJ Ra.

With past and present residencies at many of North America’s most influential nightclubs under his belt, including New York’s SBNY, Coliseum in Fort Lauderdale, as well as regular trips to spin at Le Queen in Paris and Dome in Tel Aviv, David concentrates much of his effort these days on his residency at Blu in his current hometown of Atlanta. Having established a family there with his partner Scott and adopted son Ryan (who, incidentally, celebrates his birthday Winter Party Weekend), David is also building a studio with local musician and protégé, DJ Greg Dean. David and Greg plan to develop Atlantis Studio as a vehicle to produce and remix their own music.

There remain few parties or cities David has yet to play, but among the many highlights are parties in Sao Paolo, Mexico City, Mykonos, Paris, Sydney, Amsterdam, Womb in Tokyo, Montreal’s Black & Blue and New Year’s Eve 2003 at Toronto’s Fly. He also enjoys recurrent gigs at Avalon in Boston, Chicago’s Crobar, Gus Presents’ events in San Francisco, Mark Baker’s Arabian Knights after-hours in Orlando during Gay Disney, and the sunset cruise in Provincetown during the July 4th holiday.

A highly accomplished and archetypal DJ who helped frame the modern party paradigm, David Knapp is a legend in his own right who continues to influence trends in music while entertaining legions of fans around the world. And he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.


April 2004