What It’s Like at a Beach Party Where Goldman’s David Solomon Is the DJ
(Bloomberg) -- Facing a dozen king-size day beds filled with millennials on a beach in Montauk, the incoming chief executive of Goldman Sachs got behind the DJ booth.
David Solomon’s gig -- or rather, DJ D-Sol’s, to use his chosen moniker -- was barely publicized, with a scribble on a chalk board in a hotel lobby. No one introduced him as he slipped into his set on Sunday afternoon, clad in pink shorts, a T-shirt from the surfing and kiteboarding outpost REAL in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and a black baseball cap.
But Solomon had picked the right spot to be recognized, at least by some junior bankers.
"He’s like my role model," said Ilya Svintsitski, 30, who works in mergers and acquisitions at a boutique investment bank and does some DJing on the side. "There’s a real pull to Silicon Valley, and finance has been forced to evolve. David embodies that. He shows that it’s possible to work in finance and be interested in other things on the side."
That kind of reaction arguably helped Solomon win the job he’ll start in October. The 56-year-old’s outside interests project a sense of work-life balance that many younger people perceive is lacking in the banking industry.
"I do this for fun once a month, and I’ll keep doing it for fun," Solomon said in an interview on one of the decks at Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa after his set. "I enjoy it. Everybody needs an outlet, an opportunity to do something that takes their mind off their primary focus. I do this."
Solomon joined Goldman Sachs as a partner shortly after the firm went public in 1999, and has climbed the ranks through its investment-banking division. He ran that unit for a decade and led a push into debt underwriting, a business that had record revenue last year.
When it comes to spinning, Solomon said the technical aspects of, say, transitioning from one song to the next, are interesting -- but he’s more excited by the music curation.
On Sunday at the iconic, oceanfront venue in Montauk, New York, he started his set at 3 p.m. playing mostly electronic house music from a thumb drive, including "Sax on the Beach" by Party Pupils and MAX. The music’s tempo matched the scene of clear-blue sky, post-brunch, with people easing into the second day of a three-day weekend in the final weeks of summer.
It was chill, yet exuberant. A few women in bikinis danced by the booth. A couple of cornhole games were in play. The loungers on the day beds sipped rose. There was a bachelorette party, the lead singer of the band East Love and a Quick Fix IV specialist, who’d just returned from infusing a client with a hangover.
"It’s a beach day, it’s kind of quiet, people are just hanging out," Solomon said. "It’s different when you do it in the evening, it’s a different vibe."
Things picked up about an hour into the set -- maybe it was the alcohol consumed, or a familiar riff. At around 4 p.m., Solomon dropped his original remake of the Fleetwood Mac song "Don’t Stop." Since he released it in June, the track has garnered more than 2 million plays on Spotify (a company whose IPO was done with Goldman Sachs). Solomon said sales of the tune will benefit nonprofits working on the opioid-addiction crisis.
On the sand in front of the DJ, tanned-and-toned bodies danced to recognizable samples ranging from the Beatles ("Twist and Shout") to the Bee Gees ("Stayin’ Alive").
One millennial banker was a fan of Solomon’s picks. "I liked the throwback disco funk," Drew Regan said. “I’m a big trance guy, but it’s disco funk that’s coming up now." When the 28-year-old found out that the DJ was Solomon, his jaw dropped.
One admirer who approached the DJ was Kellan Carter, a 2009 college grad and venture capitalist, who was wearing a T-shirt printed with the dubious honorific "Lehman Brothers Trader of the Year 2008." He asked to pose for a photo and Solomon obliged.
"He’s amazing," Carter said afterward as the duo Disco Killerz took over the DJ booth and kept the party going. "It’s a remarkable guy who can be CEO and also appeal to young people."
Asked if he’s working on any new songs, Solomon made clear his mind is on Goldman. He would have loved to stay longer, but ended his set at 5 p.m. because he had other plans, a social event "with a lot of work," starting at 7 p.m. in Southampton.
As for preparing for his upcoming new role, "I’m in the transition. I’m very focused on it. I’m working hard," Solomon said. "It was nice to be able to come out here and take a break for a few days at the end of the summer. It’s back to work Tuesday morning."
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