House Of Shade

By Niall Connolly

In the cult classic ’90s documentary Paris Is Burning, “shade” is defined by the legendary drag queen Dorian Corey as the art of throwing humourous insults at your rivals. “I don’t tell you you’re ugly, but I don’t have to, because you know you are ugly.” Accordingly, Berlin’s House Of Shade doesn’t have to tell his competitors they’re not as good. Just one listen to any of his DJ mixes on Soundcloud and wannabe ballroom DJs will hang their heads in shame, they’ll know they’re not as good. That’s the beauty of shade. Ahead of his debut London dj gig at Dalston Superstore this Friday for Banjee Boy Realness, we sent House of Shade head honcho Jan some questions to answer…

Who/what is the House Of Shade?

House Of Shade is not a real house in the ballroom/voguing sense, so no mothers, fathers and children, unfortunately! House Of Shade is more of a DJ moniker and at the same time a characterization of the sounds I play, which is house, disco and ballroom beats that have a certain fierceness to them to get you in a legendary and shady mood.

You are known for your vinyl-only DJ mixes. Is it a conscious decision to just use vinyl, and do you think using one format only can limit a DJ? 

Using only vinyl can be limiting, true, because a lot of the newer beats are not released on vinyl anymore. But often limitation is also a good thing, and personally I just love the whole process of mixing records too much to give it up for now. You know, the challenge of pitch adjusting and blending two records manually without fucking it up – so much can go wrong. It’s exciting!  

How is the vogue/house scene in Berlin?

The house scene is huge, obviously, but the vogue/house scene isn’t, at all. There’s not much drama on the dancefloors in Berlin, being competitive or even fierce are somewhat foreign concepts in the clubs. But there is in fact a budding voguing scene. Last year in August, Georgina Philp – who’s the best voguer in Germany – organized the first Berlin Voguing Ball which had legendary Hector Xtravaganza over as a judge and drew competing houses from Hamburg, Düsseldorf, even Paris. The next Ball will take place on August 17 at Festsaal Kreuzberg.  

If Willi Ninja walked on to the dancefloor while you were DJing, what track would you play for him to dance to? 

»Love Is the Message«, of course, if he was in a classic mood. But it would also be nice to see how he’d work it out to some of the newer ballroom beats which he sadly didn’t get to hear anymore. Recently, House Of E have made a nice »House Of E Dub« which uses some parts of a mix Murk once did for Willi’s very own »Hot«. So I’d press up a dubplate of that and play it for him. I’m sure he would have loved it! 

Have you played in England before? What are your favourite places to play and why? 

No, I haven’t. I’m excited! So far, I’ve most enjoyed playing some of the Pet Shop Bears nights at Berghain Kantine, and being invited over to play the Queer Night at Club Modern in Bucharest last December was definitely a highlight – such a beautiful club and such lovely people!    

What are your all-time top 5 HoS favourite tracks?

1. Malcolm McLaren & The Bootzilla Orchestra – »Deep in Vogue«

2. Funky Green Dogs From Outer Space – »Reach For Me«

3. Deee-Lite – »Build The Bridge« (Satoshi’s Holographic House Groove Mix)

4. Ashford & Simpson – »Bourgie Bourgie«

5. Jody Fingers Finch – »Jack Your Big Booty« (BHQ No Acid Vocal)

Who is your favourite famous Banjee Boy?

Musically, it would have to be Kenny Dope and Armand van Helden.

Join House Of Shade at Banjee Boy Realness this bank holiday Friday 24th May from 9pm – 4:30am.

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