Barry Lederer is a New York native and was born in Far Rockaway, Queens. After college Barry became a social worker for the City of New York for about six years. Around 1970-1971 Barry started going out to Fire Island, which was and still is a summer beach retreat for New York City area residents. It was at one of the clubs on Fire Island called the Sandpiper (now the Pavilion) that Barry heard DJ Don Finlay play music he had never heard before. Tracks like “Harlem” by Bill Withers or the Detroit Emeralds-stuff that wasn’t normally played at the clubs in the city. It was this introduction to music at the Sandpiper that got Barry Lederer hooked on buying records upon his return to New York.
One of his favorite record shops was the one in a subway station at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue where the clerks turned him on to even more underground sounds like the releases on the Invictus label.
Having gotten his feet wet to this new sound and now owning a respectable amount of records Barry Lederer first spun records at Le Club, which was a very upscale straight New York nightspot for celebrities similar to Studio 54. It was a good experience, but they only wanted to hear the Top 40 material on the radio. He would soon make his way to a place called the Firehouse, which was part of a gay activist alliance. The Firehouse had dances on Fridays and Saturdays, but Barry wasn’t thrilled with the overly pop sounds the DJ was playing and complained to the owner who in turn asked Barry if he could do better. Barry ended up bringing over two turntables along with a mixer and started playing the new sounds he had just been introduced to. Barry explains, “Although I was not the greatest mixer at all at the Firehouse, the music I played really did the trick. In the beginning they would have 200 people, by the time I left six months later for the summer there was like 1500 people showing up at the door. At the time people were into doing their Saturday night thing and it was all in good fun, but it really increased the attendance.
In 1972 I passed the baton on to someone who went on to become a real popular Disco DJ and his name was Richie Rivera. “
The late Richie Rivera played at the Firehouse and would later go on to play at the Sandpiper, Flamingo and also do his famous “Midnight Mix” remixes on several Disco 12-inch records of the late 1970s.
The Botel, Sandpiper and the Tom Moulton Tapes.
After Barry Lederer left the Firehouse in early 1972 he made his way back to Fire Island and met up with the owner of the Botel, which was another popular club on the beach. The Botel is considered to be where the term “tea dance” originated from as they offered dancing on Saturdayand Sunday afternoons from 4-7PM. Barry was hired from 1972-1976 to provide the music, but even though they had a turntable system he found it easier to provide the music on reel to reel tapes that he made during the week at his home.
During roughly the same period Tom Moulton was providing specially sequenced tapes to the neighboring Sandpiper. It was here that Barry would later provide tapes after Moulton’s departure to concentrate on remixing some of the greatest Disco records ever released. His sets would usually be around six hours. Barry would break it up from 10:30-12 midnight (warm-up), 12-1:30 am (really get them going), 1:30-3:00 am (peak music) and then 3-4:30 am (bringing the crowd down where he collaborated with Richie Rivera for ideas-a little on the sleazy side, but good feeling).
Barry recalls Tom Moulton spending as much as 20-30 hours creating a 3-hour reel to to reel tape deck.
“Moulton would make the tapes on a tape recorder, but they were the most perfectly structured tapes. I would go to his house many times and watch him count the beats; 1-2-3-4-change the song” and he would catch it on the exact beat so the dance floor would never miss a beat.” These tapes were not mixed, but lovingly constructed using simply STOP and PAUSE on a Revox reel to reel tape deck. Barry Lederer originally met Tom Moulton through his working relationship with Mel Cheren of Scepter Records.
As an early Disco DJ Barry Lederer got to know Mel from his weekly trips to get promo records from the different record labels, which included Scepter. This close relationship with Moulton and Cheren allowed Lederer to get acetates of newly released mixes and promos well in advance. One of the interesting things Barry still remembers about Tom Moulton’s early mixes was the fact that Moulton had a magic number: 5:35. This was the total time on many of his remixes. Barry continued to provide tapes and even spin live for the Sandpiper till around 1976-77. “I was never a true DJ. Never quite got the knack of it. The advantage I had was being able to pick out what people liked. Because I liked music so much I was able to pick out what people liked. Because I liked music so much I was able to bring that to the dance floor.” Barry was also one of the original members of the New York Record Pool first with David Mancuso and later with Judy Weinstein and For the Record.