An unimaginably long 20 years passed after the first wave of superstar acts like George Michael, Elton John and Boy George came out of the closet with barely a sign of any new openly gay musical artists following in the path they left behind. Devastating factors like HIV/AIDS, homophobia and the struggle for equal rights might explain this absence of representation in the music industry, but Sir Ari Gold has never been interested in playing the victim card. Since his debut album released in 2000, Sir Ari has trail blazed his own musical path as an openly gay artist from the beginning of his career with the Billboard Top 10 hit “Where The Music Takes You,” #1 Logo video “Wave Of You,” “Love Will Take Over,” which bumped Madonna out of the top spot on the top 10 video countdown and his newer provocative material like “Make My Body Rock” and “My Favorite Religion.”
With a hotter than hot cover photo by superstar photographer Mike Ruiz, “Play My F**kn Remix,” due out June 4, is a best-of collection that Ari is calling a “Remixed Retrospective.” In his own words, “I like the idea of a remixed retrospective because it pays respect to the
past but with an ear toward the future.”
Congrats on the new remix album. Tell me about the selection process for the songs. Were they solely based on single releases or on personal favorites as well?
Love this question! It’s a combination. When I first started with this album, the idea behind it was simply putting together some of the remixes that never got released. As it progressed, it became a remixed retrospective, and I included some mixes that are my personal favorites. I also commissioned some brand new mixes and then ended up recording an entirely new version of my first single “Wave of U,” which debuted with the launch of the Logo network. There are two new songs on the album as well!
Who are some of the remixers on it? Any guest features or collaborations?
Sasha Allen from this season of “The Voice” is featured on new mixes of “Where the Music Takes You,” multiplatinum selling contemporary jazz artist Dave Koz is back, Sarah Dash from the original Labelle and of course I could not have done this album without the talents and prowess of Jared Jones. There are remixes by Quentin Harris, RasJek, Dr. Brooks and Country Club Martini Crew and more. People always ask me where did you find the strengh to take the risks to be openly gay, and I say I really don’t know. But the one thing I do know is that so much of my own coming of age happened on the dance floor, and so this album pays homage to that. House music is the soundtrack for LGBT liberation.
You have the most #1 videos for a male artist on Logo. Who were some of your favorite video artists growing up?
What female artist has more? Madonna? Gaga? I think I beat them too! Can’t a gay artist at least beat the straight blond girls on the gay network? LOL. I know, Logo’s not gay anymore. Actually, it was a personal triumph to bump Madonna out of the top spot, ‘cause I was the first openly gay artist and independent artist at that to do so…and she is the greatest video artist ever!
What was your initial reaction when you saw your name on the Billboard charts for the first time?
I’ll never forget doing my weekly read of Billboard and seeing an article about me in it that Larry Flick wrote. I’d been reading Billboard before I reached puberty! I cried like a baby. I’ll forever be grateful to Larry for that.
In addition to your recording career, you are also a successful DJ – particularly in the NYC area. How did you branch out into that?
People don’t realize that I’ve been DJing for over 10 years now. Its a very natural thing for someone who writes, produces and records their own music to wanna play the music they love and the music they make and their super-talented friends make for a crowd of people.
You have one of the best bodies in the dance music industry. Can you tell me what your workouts consist of?
Thanks, Lovari! I workout three to four times a week and just divide body parts. I try to do legs more than once a week after I do some upper body, ‘cause it’s easier once the endorphins are going. I’ve recently started running a bit and hope to build my stamina. I must admit that I’ve been blessed with some good Jewish genes though!
Tell our readers how you received the title of “Sir” Ari Gold.
I kneeled in front of an Empress drag queen, and she knighted me in front of a thousand people at the Night of a Thousand Gowns for the Imperial Court of NY, which is one of the longest-standing human rights organizations. I personally hold more reverence for what drag queens have done on the front lines of the LGBT rights movement than the Queen of England, so for me it’s a huge honor.
There are several cameo appearances in your new 3D music video for “Play My F**kn Record” directed by Francis Legge. Can you tell us who?
Who isn’t in this video?! LOL. We got porn impresario Michael Lucas, Mayor Bloomberg’s decorator Jamie Drake, transgender actress Laverne Cox, recording artist Meg, Internet drag sensation Sherry Vine, Village Voice columnist Michael Musto, your sexy self and my mother!
You have a scene in your new music video where you are naked in public. Did unsuspecting passersby catch a glimpse? Were you slipped any phone numbers?
You gotta do what you gotta do to get people to play your f**kn record these days! It was a blast. Very liberating. Lots of folks took their camera phones out, and luckily I did not get arrested! It’s camp, and I’m reclaiming its roots from the days of Oscar Wilde! No numbers unfortunately, though.
What’s one of the favorite places or cities that you have performed at?
I loved Switzerland, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami…but there’s no place like home. It all seems so “bashert”—meant to be—that the Stonewall riot which kickstarted LGBT liberation happened in New York, which is the city that raised me. I’m just grateful to be here and feel like I’m a part of that history.
“PLAY MY F**KN REMIX: A Remixed Retrospective” will be available on iTunes worldwide from June 4. Sir Ari kicks off his summer promo tour in Berlin and returns to NYC for a concert at XL on June 14.
Photo by Mike Ruiz
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