Barry Lederer is a pioneer who was at the forefront of the disco scene - not only as a DJ, but as a sound designer and journalist.

A native of Far Rockaway, Queens, Barry grew up in the Bronx and Long Island. Prior to his studies at Alfred University, Barry’s love of music grew where he was an avid record collector (Barry currently has a whopping 40,000 12" Singles/LPs and about 5,000 CDs) As social chairman of his fraternity, he soon was making mix tapes from the radio and playing them at parties.

After University, Barry worked as a social worker in New York. His work involved everything from being a caseworker to inspecting old -age homes.

His first break came when he was at the club The Firehouse, in SoHo. Familiar with the trendsetting music of Fire Island, Barry complained about the standard of music to the management. They asked if he could do any better, and three weeks later he found himself mixing to a crowd of 300. Word soon spread of his talent as a deejay, and soon the venue was filled with over 1,500 people weekly dancing to the sounds of Brown Sugar, Nathan Jones, and Black Skinned Blue Eyed Boys.
 

In 1972, Barry was offered a gig at the popular Fire Island club, The Botel, which famously offered Tea Dance parties on weekend afternoons. Leaving in 1975, he moved to the Sandpiper for on year. These two clubs were considered to be the best of the best as they not only were frequented by all the top deejays and music heavyweights, but played the latest music, but. In fact, Barry was awarded a gold record for breaking “Do It (‘Til You’re Satisfied)” by B.T. Express.

Barry also worked at a number of exclusive clubs during this time, including Hippopotamus, Doubles and Studio 54 predecessor Le Club. While these clubs were mostly commercial, Barry felt that “a good DJ should learn to play all types of music”.

Complementing his time as a deejay in the early seventies, Barry teamed up with Peter Spar to create Graebar Productions, which designed sound systems for the leading clubs in America including San Francisco’s Trocadero, New York's 12 West and  what is still considered to be the ultimate club - The Saint in the old Fillmore East building in 1980. Through their technical know-how and knowledge of dee-jaying, they were able to create a sweet, lush and richer sound.

Barry also was a music journalist with the famous Billboard Magazine from 1977 through 1982 where he wrote the Disco Mix column. Barry would review new disco releases, provide a compilation of the sales charts from important record shops and also featured club play charts, at first from New York DJs and with time, from DJs all around the U.S.A.

From the early 1980’s to the present, Barry has been creating music tapes for the fashion industry worldwide, and has worked for such fashion luminaries such as Calvin Klein, Donna Karan and Tommy Hilfiger as well as every major US department store including  Sak’s, Macy’s and Bloomingdales.

Today, Barry works predominantly in the US, but still remains influential in the fashion/music scene. As a music lover, Barry has this to say to up and coming deejays – “I would hope that DJs of today go back to the roots and see where the wonderful music came from, and use it for inspiration and to do their own thing”.

Sadly Barry passed away in June 2008. You can visit a dedication page here.

With many thanks to Barry Lederer