For latest edition of heaving homo house party Pump, promoters Neil Prince and Johnny Kalifornia have recruited New York party icons The Carry Nation to unleash their trademark brand of uplifting diva-heavy house on the lazer basement! Fresh off the back of some seriously thumping releases and brilliantly hedonistic accompanying music videos, we caught up with DJ Nita Aviance and Will Automagic to chat New York’s thriving queer scene, Glastonbury’s Block 9 and plans for Pump!
Hi Carry Nation! We can’t wait to have you guys join us at Pump! How has 2017 been for you so far?
2017 has been a brilliant year getting back to work with our mother-label, UK based Batty Bass, run by Hannah Holland. Two of the tracks we released on that label come with videos from two very talented artists we’ve always wanted to work with, Tyler Jensen and Cathal O’Brien.
You guys are involved quite heavily with the incredible Battle Hymn parties in NYC – can you tell us a bit about it? They always look insane!
Ladyfag is a genius and always knows how to throw an amazing party. The roster of guest DJs always blows our mind and it’s a real return to proper partying in Manhattan
You guys have been playing at the NYC Downlow at Glastonbury for a good few years now – do you agree with Mixmag calling it the UK’s best club?
100% yes. Block 9 always delivers some of the highlights of our year.
What is it about the NYC Downlow that makes it so magical?
Sick programming, enticing visuals and enough d—s to choke a horse!
We love the teaser video for your new single, The Queens! Where did the inspiration for that come from?
Our love for London and our many experiences there led us to give our director Cathal free-reign to interpret our NY-based song. Keeping the trans-Atlantic theme we also wanted to feature Sussi, a recent transplant to London from New York.
Dalston Superstore is beyond excited for our upcoming family affair this Friday featuring the unstoppable force that is Shaun J Wright. Between playing at Berghain’s Panorama Bar, releasing tracks on his own label – Twirl – and jetting between gigs in the US and Europe, he and Twirl partner Alinka debut new track, Way Back on Hannah Holland’s label Batty Bass today! We caught up to chat collaboration, dream-gigs and favourite parties.
What has been the most exciting moment for you since the launch of Twirl?
Alinka and I have shared some really cool moments since the launch of Twirl. Getting a nice review for our first single, “Journey Into The Deep” in DJ Magazine was super affirming. Also, having Annie Mac & Heidi play our tunes on BBC Radio 1 was special.
The Twirl brand is a collaboration between you and another Superstore fave, Alena Ratner (Alinka.) How did you guys come together as creative partners?
We met through Scott Cramer, a Chicago-based promoter who is good friends with Alinka. He thought that we would get along well musically and personally. He was correct. He also helped us to facilitate our party Twirl! in Berlin.
The first time we met was in her studio. We had instant chemistry and we haven’t stopped making music since. That really is my favorite part of the process. Sitting with her and creating new material is always fun, always driven by our current moods, recent experiences and encounters with fresh sounds. We sometimes surprise ourselves when we head into new directions. It’s all very exciting!
You guys have had a pretty huge year, from being featured on BBC Radio 1, gaining the support of Robert Owens and featuring artists such as Eli Escobar. What’s next for the label?
We have a single out now called Need Someone with stellar remixes from Aerea Negrot, Snuff Crew and The Cucarachas. We have one more single in the works before releasing a compilation in celebration of our first year.
Can you tell us about any exciting new artists you have coming up on the label?
Yes, Alinka made contact with a young man from the UK named Spatial Awareness who will be our first official release from an artist besides ourselves on Twirl. His sound is massive and we’re really excited to have him on board.
We hear you’re also working on a solo EP– can you tell us a bit about that?
Wow! That’s been quite the labor of love. I’ve been working on the EP for about five years. I have collaborated with Alinka, Stereogamous and Aerea Negrot. I’m very close with all of them so the work and the entire process has been very personal and in ways quite revealing. I find the material to be very inspiring and I hope it resonates with other listeners as it does with me.
It’s been an adventure attempting to carve out my space as a solo artist as I have yet to release any material under my own moniker. I’ve enjoyed the process of discovering my voice with collaborators who I can trust – who push me further than I thought possible. I really thank them for helping me shape this vision.
How much have you, as an artist, been influenced by your roots in Chicago?
I don’t know if I can separate my Chicago upbringing from my work as an artist, at least, not objectively or analytically. I do recognise how my experience(s) with the various cultural offerings from my hometown are shaped by growing up in the west suburbs and on the westside of the city and coming of age in the 90’s. Oftentimes, it’s easier to talk about house music cultures(s) from Chicago in a homogenous fashion but it was so diverse when I was growing up and it was all under the umbrella of house.
I was a footworker. I joined Mega Sweat (a juke-dance posse) in high school and participated in events like the Bud Billiken parade and local talent shows/competitions. I started sneaking into black gay clubs like The Generator and The East of The Ryan on the southside when I was way too young. That’s where I was first exposed to ballroom culture which opened my mind to an entirely new way of engaging with the music via voguing.
As a dancer and now musician, I’m certain I wouldn’t have received such a diverse education and offering of styles had I not been born and raised here in Chicago.
You must have been to some incredible parties over the years! What is your most incredible Chicago House memory?
Beyond a doubt, Frankie Knuckle’s last birthday celebration at Queen at Smart Bar. Derrick Carter, Louie Vega, David Morales, Michael Serafini and Garret David burned the decks. Inaya Day sang gorgeously. I had the honour of chatting with former Warehouse owner Robert Williams. It was packed to the brim and I thought the roof was going to lift off the building. The energy in the room was palpable!
What is one record you like to throw in as a curveball to keep people on their toes?
I’d have to go with Kink’s Source of Uncertainty. It is so twisted and full of surprises. If I’m looking to raise the energy of the room that one usually does the trick and allows me to push further into darker, more aggressive sounds.
If you had access to a time machine and could visit any dance floor anywhere/anywhen, where would want to go dancing?
If I could only chose one I would go to the Music Box while listening to Ron Hardy spin. Just to experience the newness of house music during that era must have been riveting. I can only imagine the combination of the cutting edge sounds, the looks and the gyrating bodies. Pure unadulterated ovahness!
What does your perfect queer utopia look like?
Sitting in the living room with my closest friends with a bottle of red wine flipping between the latest political news/commentary and vogue performance clips from Ballroom Throwbacks.
Join Shaun J Wright on Friday 8 August for Twirl Presents at Dalston Superstore from 9pm-3am.
This Saturday we welcome the utterly fabulous Mama to Dalston Superstore for Lazertitz! A south London girl, now based in Berlin, Mama will be performing live in the laser basement! Ahead of the party we caught up with her to find out more about releasing on BPitch Control with her close collaborator Argy, her times as a key figure in Hannah Holland’s Batty Bass parties and the weird ways the music press likes to describe her…
You’ve hosted the insane Batty Bass parties, including the infamous NYD sessions… what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever witnessed or partook in at one of these?
Apart from witnessing the occasional nudity and people swinging from the ceiling there was nothing really as explicit as some of my lyrics about abortions, leaving your soul at the door, slags, tits and dicks. People would sing and chant along. I don’t know how they remembered all the words because it wasn’t online and we didn’t have soundcloud around that time but yeah, we had such a fun and open minded crowd.
How did you come to work with your close collaborator Argy?
We met in a dive bar in Berlin, both nursing a stiff drink after splitting up with our partners and thought it’ll be funny to write an album about it together. Two months later the ‘Dominonation’ album was born but wasn’t so much about the exes, we forgot about them quite quickly.
Mama, if you were house mother, what would you house be called and who would be the children of your house?
It’ll be called ‘MAMA’s Play House’. It’ll be full of New York club kids, lip-syncing drag queens, doo wop street singers, a lollypop lady to help the club kids cross the street, Haçienda ravers, top quality stand up comedians and Voguers. 24hr entertainment.
You’re originally from South London… what made you want to leave the wonders of the south for the techno decadence of Berlin?
I only planned to live in Berlin for a summer to record my album but some how after a summer of open airs, meeting creative people and Bar25 every weekend, I just never made it back home. That year I ended up recording with over 20 house and techno DJ/Producers such as Catz n Dogz, Tiefschwarz, MUNK, Bloody Mary, got remixed by Life + Death, Solomon, Paul Kalkbrenner, Jay Haze… the list goes on and on. Living in Berlin has been creatively fulfilling for me because I worked with some great names and I finally got round to writing and producing my solo album Dreams of Liberty. I also recorded an album with MUNK under the name of Mona Lazette (my sassy Brazilian alto ego) and collaborated on the Argy + Mama album project for BPitch Control. I must say though, I was on the tube the other day on the Victoria line and I suddenly felt like I woke up out of a dream wondering why I had left London for ze Germans in the first place, I could’ve written albums in the UK. It was like a surreal stoner moment.
What’s been the most pivotal moment of your career so far do you think?
Being the opening act on the Kele (Bloc Party frontman) tour. I was on such a high being on big stages every evening with excellent sound and lighting and a roaring crowd. We toured cities I would never even think of visiting such as Luxembourg and I loved getting rocked to sleep by the moving tour bus every night. It fit my life like a glove but sadly when it came to the end of the European tour I locked myself in the bathroom and cried because I didn’t want to go back to reality. I would happily live on the road like a gypsy singer traveling from coast to coast, maybe with a senile parrot on my shoulder and a cheeky Monkey in hand if you catch my drift.
If you had a time machine and could visit any dance floor anywhere/anywhen, where would you want to go dancing?
The Folies Bergère in Paris where Josephine Baker, the first Black Superstar performed her famous banana dance in 1927. I idolise that era where artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Hemingway, Coco Chanel, T.S Eliot rubbed shoulders in late night bars.
What are your backseat car jams that you used to belt out in your childhood?
’90s r’n’b and acid house. I watched a lot of r’n’b on The Box Channel on cable TV and heard a lot of house music around the house because my older Brother was a club DJ. Think of a vibe that sounds like a mix of Voodoo Ray by A Guy Called Gerald and No One Else by TOTAL and that was my childhood jam.
If you had actual lazer tits, would you use your powers for good or for evil?
For good during the day offering lazer repair eye surgery for the blind and for evil by night to zap thunderbolt lightening up psychopaths anuses and force them to feel compassion and empathy for others.
What’s the best or even the most weirdly incorrect description you’ve ever read about yourself in the music press? “An intriguingly sophisticated diva-in-waiting” is pretty good…!
One prudish or undersexed journalist described my shows as close to a sex show “First off due reference must be made to the support act, MAMA. I’ve never been to, nor do I ever intend to go to, a live sex show but if I think I can rest assured that the eroticism of MAMA’s live show isn’t far off. From her semi-transparent leotard to her suggestive dancing and not forgetting her explicit lyrics, this was a performance dripping with sensuality…. Cyprus Avenue is not an easy place for support acts to come and win crowds over but by the end of her set at least half of the congregation was shouting and clapping, the other half were too busy trying to hide the stalk in their pants”
What does 2015 hold for Mama?
I just want to be on the road touring my solo album. It’s just me on vox and Riccardo Paffetti on live drum machine and keyboards. A little two man circus. I’m also working on album #2 from my laptop where ever I travel.
Mama joins us this Saturday 28th February for Lazertitz at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 4am.
10 things I’ve discovered – rediscovered, obsessed over and loved this year.. art and personal heroes of 2013!
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Fierce women from the ’30s and ’40s that influenced Elvis and Little Richard. Love this women, what a powerhouse. BBC4 did a great doco about her this year, which was great as she’s rarely written about.
I met this magical person in New York, he is living breathing art and made me want to make a track inspired by how much I love New York!! Check out my Live It EP on Get Up from earlier this year!
Jonny Woo, John Sizzle and Ma Butcher made the final 10 year shebang at Hackney Empire, a huge moment in East London herstory. Also I went on an Australian tour with them earlier in the year for Mardi Gras, which was a riot!
The smooth tones of this album have been keeping me company whenever I need some delights upon the ear…
Always a constant obsession with Bowie, but his exhibition at the V & A was endless and incredible.
Alex Noble – Creatures From The Kaleidoscope
My good friend and partner in Batty Bass, Alex Noble, had his first ever solo exhibition, which incorporated his talent into all the different mediums he works with, under the themes of death, spirituality and conscious awakening. The scope of work was beautiful and I’m dead proud!!!!
Loving playing bass for exciting new band Black Gold Buffalo with my amazing girls Keziah and Anna Argiros. We played gigs all over London this year including Lovebox and Loco Disco festival… next year we’ll be releasing some music, watch this space, we’ve been busy in the studio!
Wow the new album Tales Of Us is totally sublime, classic sounding, I can’t stop listening.
I’ve always known about Laurie Anderson, but it took me ’til this year to become obsessed. Maybe the beautiful words she wrote about Lou Reed and his death drew me in, but I can’t get enough of her brain power.
I haven’t felt this much excitement for a band since I was about 14. The girls totally kick ass live and their album is killer, stripped back to its raw energy and the message – Silence Yourself.
What a woman! She curated this year’s Meltdown Festival, and it was the best line up I think I’ve ever seen there!!! Iggy Pop, Savages, Kim Gordon, Bo Ningen, Peaches, Siouxsie Sioux etc and lots of Yoko’s art throughout the South Bank centre. A great moment in London for 2013 especially women in music
I love this pic I took of one of my teenage heroes Kim Gordon.
Ahead of tonight’s Grizzle Cosmic Fembot Extravaganza we pinned down man about town DJ/Producer Josh Caffe. His debut release Caffe Culture Pt 1 is out now on Batty Bass featuring the track Let Love Ruin with David Newtron and remixes from Hannah Holland, The Carry Nation and Leo Zero! He told us all about the track and more!
It’s Grizzle’s Cosmic Fembot Extravaganza tonight… what/who is your sexy robot pick?
I love the fembots by Hajime Sorayama. Proper sex bots.
How long has Caffe Culture been in the making for?
For quite some time. I initially came about idea late last year but I wasn’t really sure whether to do it or not as it was my first production and vocals project and I kinda felt a bit out of my depth. I’m quite a perfectionist with my music and wanted this project to be 100% amazing but didn’t feel confident enough…..I overcame that!
Working with Jeroen (aka David Newtron) was such a natural process too, we really bounce off each other with ideas, which made things a whole lot easier in the studio writing or messing around with random objects for instruments. The guy managed to get me to sing! Never would have dared try that on my own.
Which remix of Let Love Ruin can we expect to hear tonight?
I’m hoping to squeeze all of them in. They’re all good!
Who is your biggest inspiration for the record?
Without a doubt Jamie Principle.
What prompted your personal transition from DJ to producer?
It just felt like the right time… and also meeting the right people to collaborate with at the right time. I love DJing to bits, but being able to play out something you’ve produced and worked day and night on is such an amazing feeling. Really makes me want to produce more and more and DJ more and more. Just want to constantly keep sharing good music with people really.
And you sing too! Who are your vocal heroes?
I do! That was a hard experience, which I didn’t like at first since I’m not a natural singer at all. But the more we worked on Let Love Ruin the more we felt it needed more than just a simple hook. I really had figure out how my vocal limit/range could work on things and ALSO I hate the sound of my voice so I criticized everything but Jeroen was like “seriously Josh this is good!”
Vocal heroes would have to be Ralph Tresvant, Robert Owens, Vikter Duplaix, Larry Ernest Blackmon (to name a few).
Describe your ideal music video for Let Love Ruin…
Ummm, I’m having discussions about potentially doing one so I can’t really say the idea otherwise it will ruin the surprise when you see it. It would be my dream idea if it happens though.
Who would you just die to collaborate with?
Todd Terry, Sonny Fodera.
What’s next for Caffe Culture?
Well Caffe Culture comes in two parts so we’re just finishing up the second release As I Look which will be out later in the year. Watch this space!!
Paris’ Acid Ball queen and Batty Bass head honcho Hannah Holland lays this hot mix on us to brighten your Friday! Featuring tracks from some of our favourite people including Cormac, The Carry Nation, Shaun J Wright, Ashworth and recent laser basement guest Brodanse, it’s sure to have you slipping on your dancing shoes. Get hyped for tonight courtesy of Miss Holland.
Ashworth – Changry [Native City] Auntie Susan – Triangle [Forthcoming on Batty Bass] Cormac – Tone Alone [WetYourself! Records] Ashworth – Cash Soup (Aggborough Remix) [Native City] Shaun J Wright & Alinka- Love Inspired [Classic Music Company] The Carry Nation & The Cucarachas – Oracle (Dub) [Tribal Records] Josh Caffe & David Newtron – Let Love Ruin (The Carry Nation Remix) [Batty Bass] Christy Love – I’m Goin’ Under (Hannah Holland Dub) [Get Up Recordings] Brodanse – Activate ft Cari Golden [Danse Club]
Our good friends at Batty Bass Records have been kind enough to share this amazing interview with the legendary Roxy! Superstore fave Josh Caffe sat down to Skype with the Love To Do It vocalist to talk about the latest Ride Committee track, Guess Who, and about coming over to London…
Listen to Ride Committee feat Roxy – Guess Who out now on Batty Bass…
Batty Bass boss Hannah Holland has just sent us the latest offering from the label from New York’s The Carry Nation. With remix offerings from herself, Luke Howard & Severino and Al B, we just know it’s going to get a lot of love within these four walls. Have a listen and check out the official word from Hannah below…
The Batty Bass New York Series showcases some of the legendary talent that serves the city’s underground house scene, ‘This Bitch Is Alive’, as The Carry Nation’s debut tune announced. These artists and tracks are to be heard in secret loft spaces, where voguers carry on and on til sunrise and beyond.
Who lives in a House Like This? New York’s finest… DJ Nita & Will Automagic. They are nothing other than legendary expert DJs and dancefloor magicians , their potent combination as The Carry Nation has literally created dancefloor gold dust. Debuting the incredible ‘This Bitch Is Alive ft. Viva Ruiz’, they carry on to their 2nd release with Batty Bass, ‘House Like This’. Bouncy basslines, congas and a groove that penetrates the dancer to make them werk the floor and ignite the party. ‘Oh it was wonderful, Build your house of the future, House like this’ announces the vocal, giving us The Carry Nation’s own slice of future New York house.
Label boss Hannah Holland’s House Like This remix serves up touches of acid thunder, a pokey baseline and magnetic snare rolls, building the house with an element of UK old skool for a late night deep affair.
London legends, Luke Howard & Severino (half of Horse Meat Disco) have expertly taken This Bitch is Alive into a techy hypnotic bitch of an alive remix. Late night strings, rims, claps and snares march the dancefloor deep into the night.
Al B’s New York flavour for ‘This Bitch Is Alive’ takes us back to the era of Sound Factory with a full on tribal werk out. Al B made this mix back last year and the response on the dancefloor has been nuts , particularly from NYC’s runway ballroom scene kids. It would only be right to spread the love to all the floors!
Miss Hannah Holland has kindly shared with us her brand new single, Candy Darling, for her label Batty Bass…. AND in the spirit of Halloween generosity is also giving away for free a copy of her recent Mykki Blanco bootleg! We got the lowdown on both tracks from the lady herself…
What is it about Mykki Blanco’s sound that attracted you to make the bootleg?
He’s one of the most exciting emerging artists around, when Sinden sent me through the beats I was blown away with the downright filthy bass hiphop snarl and had to create it into a 4/4 situation so I could work his attitude into my sets.
What’s the inspiration behind your latest track Candy Darling?
Candy Darling was one of Andy Warhol’s factory superstars, she’s had records made about her, by both Lou Reed and Blondie! An utterly fabulous character; I found some snippets of her speaking and decided to work a sleazy number around it.
And who are Clouded Vision, the remixers?
Clouded Vision are Matt Walsh (Turbo / Bugged Out) and Steve Cook. I’m a huge fan of their music and was honored they made this incredible remix, I LOVE it, it blows the dancefloor apart.
Can we expect to hear either track at Paris’ Acid Ball next weekend?
And any other gems upcoming on your label Batty Bass that we should know about?
Next year we’ll be doing a special New York series from some amazing artists making ferocious beats that are rocking the floors of New York’s underbelly… plus a brand new Ride Commitee ft. Roxy track, which we are completely gagging about! Myself and Dan Beaumont are working on a remix, as well as Batty Bass and PAB favs The Carry Nation.
Catch Hannah Holland at Paris’ Acid Ball next Saturday 3rd November with special guests Farley & Heller and residents Dan Beaumont and DJ Squeaky from 9pm – 3am.
This Friday sees Jahcoozi front woman Sasha Perera over from Berlin to DJ at Club Lesley. Signed to Bpitch Control, Jahcoozi is made up of Sasha and “two beat-freak producers/multi-instrumentalists — Teuton Robot Koch and Tel-Aviv born Oren Gerlitz.” Between them they create bass-heavy electronica that wins over fans of both dub and dance.
We caught up with Sasha ahead of her set to find out just what we can expect from this eclectic lady…
How did you meet your Jahcoozi band mates Robot Koch and Oren Gerlitz?
We met through a turntablist friend of ours in 2002. Berlin was much smaller then than it is now in terms of its creative scene. Everyone kind of knew each other personally and there was no internet. Most people didn’t even have a mobile phone. All three of us went to an Anti Pop Consortium concert and have been mates ever since.
As a native Londoner- can you tell us your favourite hometown hotspots?
That’s not easy as I haven’t lived there for 12 years! I’m not in London too often apart from Jahcoozi gigs. The last place I lived was Brixton. That was one of my favourite spots at the time. But, I guess it’s changed a lot, as has London as a whole.
I actually love Southhall for its Indian and Sri Lankan food. It’s one of the most intensely Asian/Somalian /Polish areas of London. You can’t find anything like that in Berlin.
My ecologist cousin works at an old cemetery in Tower Hamlets telling kids about the plant species that live there. It’s actually a great spot to hang out. I’m serious!
What led you to call Bpitch Control your record label home?
Modeselektor who were signed to Bpitch did a remix of an early Jahcoozi tune called Black Barbie in 2004. Then I wrote a song called Silikon on a Modeselektor beat for their debut album. A Jahcoozi tune called BLN also came out on a Bpitch compilation. So there have always been ties.
Ellen Allien had talked to us a couple of times in the past about releasing an album with them, and so with our third album Barefoot Wanderer we took that opportunity. Ellen has always loved our live show. She’s seen us playing all over Berlin ever since we released our first record and I think she digs that live energy as well as the sound.
What was the last record you bought?
Actually a Vex’d record called Gunman. It’s some early nerdy dubstep tune. Bought it in 2005 in Hard Wax. I assume you mean vinyl. The last MP3 I bought was a track by Joe on Hemlock Recordings.
You tend to collaborate a lot so who would be your dream person to work with?
Right now – Gonja Sufi, he’s a proper hero.
In the past – Moondog, also a proper hero but he’s dead.
Can you tell us a bit about the music exchange program you were involved in last year in Kenya?
BLNRB = Jahcoozi, Gebrüder Teichmann and Modeselektor headed out to Nairobi and recorded a load of tunes with Kenyan musicians, Mcs and singers. The Goethe Institute funded the project and rented a house which we converted into makeshift studios. We ate, slept and worked in the same house. It was mental!! (and loud!) One day we took the soundsystem down to Kibera, which is the biggest ghetto in Nairobi and put on a party in front of a church (it was the safest place). An amazing day and a serious eye-opener that was only possible with the help of our friends at Kibera street-art collective Massai Mbilli. 22 Kenyan artists were also flown to Berlin for a big BLNRB concert for the Worldtronics Festival. They saw snow for the first time!!
What’s in your record bag for Dalston Superstore?
Not telling, I don’t want to pre- ejaculate. Ok you twisted my arm. I admit I can’t stop playing tunes by Objekt. And there is the filthiest juke/footwork bootleg of a Destiny’s Child tune, which I’m often scared to play, but I might just have the balls to this Saturday. Maybe some Evian Christ to soothe the people after that… or some Monolake. Don’t know actually. No idea. I DJ with Ableton so I might just feel it out.
Where’s been the most unusual place you’ve ever played a gig or DJ set?
Brandenburg Gate in Berlin! Jahcoozi live and televised before A-HA at the opening of the Athletics World Championships in 2009. That was rather surreal, especially the crane shots of us on the telly!
We also played in Havana, Cuba in 2011 at a dilapidated amusement park in the jungle. Unfortunately there was a power cut after 7 songs. That kinda hurt because the place and vibe was so special.
What does 2013 hold for Jahcoozi?
We’ll be releasing the tracks we made this year on a project called Sound Camp Asia where we made music with electronic musicians from Kabul, Karachi, Delhi, Mumbai, Dhaka, Colombo and Berlin. It was a two-week residency with 20 artists on an island with no shops and just a dirt trail.
We’re also releasing a tune we made with Barbara Panther on Bpitch Control and working on a new Jahcoozi album too. I have a load of solo stuff which sounds absolutely nothing like Jahcoozi and the album is almost finished. Exciting!!
Jahcoozi frontwoman Sasha joins us for a DJ set at Club Lesley this Friday 19th October from 9pm – 3am.
After the success of last month’s Banjee Boy Realness launch party with Rushmore from House Of Trax, Josh Caffe and Joe Robots are back for another helping with NYC resident Danny Taylor, aka A Village Raid, in the lazer basement. The three of them will be welcoming “all banjee boys, banjee girls, butch queens and club freaks back to class where we’ll be schooling you with ballroom, house and club tracks, past, present and future...”
In between “taking that bitch to college”, resident DJ Joe Robots caught up with Danny Taylor to talk about vogue past and present and his move from London to New York…
Where Brooklyn at? Can you tell us a little about where you at/from.
I live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. I’m English but moved to the US permanently last winter. I started going to NYC in 1999 so it’s changed a lot since then. Like London the nucleus has moved and also some of the flavour… But all good cities have periods and growth and stagnation.
The spotlight in the UK has moved beyond Paris Is Burning and onto the current ballroom scene a bit in recent years. What’s your experience of this in New York? Is it still a small underground movement or is it gaining momentum?
I always tell people to go watch the documentary ‘How Do I Look?’, which is basically ‘Paris Part II’, as that VHS got worn out a long time ago. But that film (Paris Is Burning) I think everyone could watch a thousand times over and never tire. I went to my first proper ball this year in Queens, and it was actually pretty scary, and then again to MikeQ’s night Vogue Knights which is a bit more friendly. But that culture translated here in my experience in the last 10 years has never been more than a tranny doing a triangle with her hands down the Kingsland Road, which you know can be just as fabulous. It’s only very recently with people championing that world and music, such as Diplo, Kingdom, DJ Rizzla, Queenbeat, Nightslugs and Fade To Mind Record labels, and of course MikeQ, that the music has truly found a second wind and a new global audience.
When and why did you move to London and what’s your impression of the East End as it compares to Brooklyn? Is it possible to pick a favourite or are they too diverse?
I first moved to London in 1999 when I was 16 and have lived on and off in the East End since then, so I have a lot of history invested there, but the decision to move to Brooklyn was to find some space to breathe and grow, something I found increasingly more difficult to do in London. So it’s less about the place and more about the place that I’m at in mind. They are both incredible parts of the planet which I owe a lot to so it’s impossible to choose.
How long have you had the DJ moniker A Village Raid? Are we right in thinking its a reference to the Stonewall riots?
No, but what would be an amazing reference nevertheless! The name came around a few years ago when I moved to Brazil for a year and needed a DJ/project name, but the story comes from where I grew up. I grew up on a farm, which by the early ’90s became derelict, and one night became squatted by a huge rave. People still talk about that night even now back down where I’m from, which is quite funny. They syphoned off the electricity from the farm house and it went on for two days until eventually it got raided. I just remember watching all the chaos from my bedroom window singing and dancing along to all the happy hardcore. It was definitely one of favourite memories from childhood and my obsession with rave culture probably started from that very moment.
Your recent series of Vague mixes draw together everything from dancehall to booty techno. What are your musical inspiration, either DJs or artists, or night spots here or in New York?
I like to create images and stories when I make mixes. Image and sound is always so strongly connected for me so in any one mix I might be thinking about periods of time, places, people I know, people I don’t. The Vague mixes are a nod to that culture but are more about taking the sounds and energy and creating something different… An old boyfriend of mine is the only person who I know who can vogue properly in London as he grew up in one of the vogueing houses in New York, so often in my mind I have the image of how he would be dancing to what I am selecting and mixing. It is very difficult for that sound to truly translate on a foreign dancefloor as it is a functional form of music, but the interesting thing about now is how culture or one idea can now be global.
What are your classic vogue tracks?
George Morel – Officer Where’s Your Brother? Get Her! (12″ Version)
Batty Bass resident and Superstore favourite Josh Caffe launches a brand new night for the Bank Holiday weekend: Banjee Boy Realness! Along with Joe Robots from SOS and special guest Rushmore (House Of Trax), he plans to provide you with the necessary intake of ballroom, UK house and hot banjee boys required for a long weekend. After Joe’s great mix, we thought we’d speak to Josh about his favourite banjee boys. Here’s his top five…
Kurtis Blow – not gay but definitely has Banjee Boy credit plus the his name and album cover are amazing!
Cazwell – original Banjee Boy – totally fearless with his lyrics and best mates with Amanda Lepore, schwerrrrk!
Frank Ocean – An amazing talent, who is definitely switching things up with Hip Hop RnB, I salute his confidence and music.
Le1f – Just watch the video for his track Wut. I hate to use the word ‘fierce’ but he has bucket loads of it. Definitely one to watch.
Zebra Katz – Bringing Banjee Boy Realness to the fashion pack (in a good way) – he represents what’s currently happening in the NY Vogue/Ballroom scene.
Josh Caffe plays Banjee Boy Realness on Friday 24th August with Rushmore (House Of Trax) and Joe Robots (SOS) from 9pm – 3am.