donkeyblogPhotographs by Justin Fulton

To kick off our DONKEY Store Mix Series, we had the guys (Sparber and Mikey Fuentes) stop by the studio for an interview and shoot. Check out what they had to say about the process of creating the store mixes, their experiences in NYC nightlife, and the first records they ever owned.

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OAK: What makes a DONKEY mix a DONKEY mix?
A DONKEY mix is the culmination of both of our music tastes blended together to create a sound that makes you want to groove out, regardless of whether it sounds like house, techno, disco or all of the above mixed together. [We want DONKEY mixes] to take you on a journey with us.

OAK: Each store mix stands alone but the series also works as a Megamix. Can you touch on the process of creating these mixes for the OAK stores?
We created sets that we thought of as mood boards to pull together sounds we thought would work for each store and city. The first mix is for the Bond Street store, where we decided to give a darker techno and tech-house sound while the others will feature disco, funk and other sounds that we feel hold true to DONKEY.

OAK: DONKEY are mainstays at NYC’s 11:11. What’s been one of your favorite experiences DJing that party?
DJing regularly at 11:11 has been a real highlight for us as we get to play to a Friday night NYC crowd that is ready to GO OFF. LadyFag allows us to have total creative freedom with our sound so we’ve been delivering beats to start the weekend off right. We want the crowd to go home exhausted from dancing but eager for more.

sparberblogSparber wears OAK Side Cowl Tank in black.

OAK: How do your styles differ and how do you compliment one another?
We both have similar house and disco music tastes, yet we can be polar opposites when it comes how we should deliver them. This actually works to our benefit because we end up balancing each other out. For example, we both love a good diva vocal and we both love a good ballroom beat but we sometimes disagree on when either one is appropriate. We usually share music ideas before, during, and after our sets but we live for seeing how our ideas translate to the crowd through our mixing.

OAK: What has been your strangest DJ gig in NYC or otherwise?
We DJed at 10 AM on Sunday morning last summer at ://about blank in Berlin. It was an outdoor party that our friend Tom Peters threw and the crowd, much like us, were ready to party. It was our first live morning-time set and we had no idea what to expect but everyone was so welcoming and loved us. Honey Dijon was on right after us so it was nice to have a familiar New York face to help us represent the proud sound of NYC.

OAK: What was the first record/CD/cassette you ever owned?
MIKEY: The Bangles “Walk Like An Egyptian.”
SPARBER: I didn’t know that! The Bangles Different Light Tour might have been my first concert. Swing Out Sister It’s Better to Travel was my first CD.

OAK: What’s the best piece of music/best musical discovery in your collection?

We were gifted a vinyl collection by a close friend of ours that includes too many gag-worthy tracks to mention. We’re still discovering vinyl gems when we open any one of the dozen crates we now possess, which includes many of the old Tribal Records releases.

mikeyblogMikey wears OAK Short Sleeve Crew in heather grey (inside out).

OAK: What are you hungry for right now?
MIKEY: Bife Acebolado
SPARBER: Churrasco with chimichurri sauce.

OAK: What’s your favorite brand of water?
MIKEY: NYC tap water
SPARBER: Pellegrino

OAK: If you could get a tattoo no one would ever see what would it be?

OAK: If you could be on any reality TV show, what would it be?
MIKEY: The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
SPARBER: Same but only because I’d want to be in the studio with Kandi talking production. And kicking it with Nene.

donkeyblog2Mikey wears OAK Short Sleeve Crew in heather grey and OAK track pant. Sparber wears OAK Rib Panel Crewneck and OAK Cargo Short (coming soon).

OAK: 2014 is almost half-over(?!) What was your New Year’s Resolution and have you kept it?
MIKEY: Wow. It feels like it just started. My New Years resolutions are to be happy and enjoy life. So far, working out, eating healthy and surrounding myself with the good energy of my friends has helped me maintain a positive and healthy outlook on life.
SPARBER: I have the same resolution every year: live life to the fullest. This year, I’ve already spent one month in South America and produced two solo tracks, which were both goals of mine.

OAK: What are you most looking forward to about summer? Do you have any plans to travel?
MIKEY: I’d like to get back to Ibiza in August. It’s become a summer tradition. I have been going for the past 6 years. We both went together for the first time last summer.
SPARBER: And I’m headed back to Provincetown at the end of August for my annual gig at Fagbash on September 3.

OAK: What’s next for DONKEY? Do you have any dream projects for this collaboration?
We have a couple of upcoming gigs in New York and a few remixes coming out on Tribal Records for our friends The Carry Nation and The Cucarachas. When we’re not together as DONKEY, we’re off working on solo productions and solo DJ sets. We also have a few unfinished remixes and original works that we hope to release as an EP within the next year. Our dream would be to remix Roisin Murphy and then have her come sing live with us at our Ibiza residency.