The Knockturnal lucked out last weekend, when we got to celebrate Output’s Fourth Anniversary in Brooklyn alongside DJ and producer Ray Zuniga.
The renowned club located in Williamsburg has been up and standing for four years now, and to celebrate of course they had to bring top-notch artists to the house. Output did not fail to deliver, since they brought both legends and rising artists, all of whom were absolutely spectacular. In the Main Room was Laurent Garnier playing a rare extended set. Headlining the Panther Room was the great DJ Three, accompanied by Ray Zuniga and Orazio Rispo.
People began to show up at 12, and the house began to fill up little by little. Because the Panther Room is smaller than the main, it tends to fill up faster. To my surprise however, on this night the Panther Room was much more filled than how I’ve normally seen it at the start of a night. I then realized it was because Ray Zuniga was playing and boy was he killing it with his tunes.
I first saw Ray at a Member’s Only warehouse party where he was also opening for DJ Three. He knew how to prep and guide the audience on such a fun musical journey, which he did even better on this night. Music lovers gathered around the booth, some holding drinks, others just swaying to the rhythm of the music, all very happy with what they were hearing. The Panther Room has a special vibe as soon as you walk into the room, maybe because of the huge disco ball hanging from the super tall ceiling, or the fireplace and sofas on the corner of the room, but the energy the room emits mixed with the sound of Ray Zuniga made for an electrifying and magnetic feel to disperse around attendees.
This up and comer has managed to leave his mark in NY’s electronic scene within the span of only 2 years. Every set he performs is unique and a good representation of his vast knowledge of music. His good taste mixed with his talent make for sets that will allow you to groove on and on. From 12-2, Ray gave us a show like no other, allowing us to free ourselves with sounds going from techno, to house, with some disco groovy vibes here and there.
Aside from witnessing this incredible set, got the opportunity to talk to Ray and find about more about his upbringing.
How did you start your career as a DJ?
In San Francisco. I was a resident at a club over there first and then I moved back to LA, where I was in music school. From LA I went to Berlin. I spent three years over there and now I’m in NY, where I have been for almost three years as well.
What about the electronic music scene made you want to follow this career?
Hm.. The EndUp. It’s this club in San Francisco that would open on Friday and wouldn’t close until Monday, like Berlin. There was a DJ that I used to love watching before we knew each other, I would be like “God damn he is so bad!” He’s energy… You know, when a DJ is in his shit and he’s moving, you feel that. I would be on front just staring at him. One day I approached him and he was the coolest most humble guy. I came here and he was a resident here so we bonded again and we ended up playing back to back, it was one of the best sets of my life. Now he’s living back in the West Coast so we’re a little bit separated.
You’ve gotten to play a few shows, what has been your favorite place to play?
Panther Room is one of my favorite places to play in the world. The vibes incredible, they are like no other place. Tonight the floor built slow but by the end, you feel that. I started as a resident here on Sunday nights, and those nights were the best in terms of energy and vibes. Now I’m creeping in the heavier, more busy nights. Zurich, was also nice and Ritter Butzke in Berlin where I played for 9 hours.
9 hours? That’s impressive. How do you prepare for a set that long?
For me what I do is I never ever ever play the same set ever. What I do is, whenever I have a gig, whatever amount of hours I’m playing for, I’ll prepare double. If I play for 3 hours, I’ll prepare 6 hours of music with different directions and different vibes. At Ritter Butzke, I was only supposed to play for three hours, but it turned into 9. It was so good. I had a residency at Club der Visionaere in Monday, which sounds weird, but in Berlin it’s always open and busy.
Do you have anything coming up that you’re excited for?
Air Festival, where I’m playing at the end of March, is happening at the Gili Islands, off the coast of Bali. It’s a specially curated festival, there is not the same lineup of artists you see everywhere. Last year they had Dewalta. That is by far my favorite festival.
When was it people started coming to you and reaching out?
In Berlin, and that’s where me and my partner Mickey started the record-label “Touch of Class”.
How do you come across artists to represent?
It’s a family thing, no randoms. I don’t ever do the random thing.
If you could play anywhere, where would it be?
Panorama Bar in Berlin, I’m DYING to play there. I am ready, it’s gonna happen, it’s just a matter of when.
Not only does Ray have an amazing musical and artistic style but his personality speaks volumes of the humble, grateful kind of person he is. His hard work and passion are paying off and his career I’m sure will be a long one. Catch him when you can!