Posts Tagged ‘Classic Music Company’

Alinka

One half of Chicago’s Twirl, partner-in-crime to Shaun J Wright and celebrated DJ and producer in her own right, Alinka finally joins us here at Superstore for B(e)ast! Having just quit her day job to focus on making music alongside launching Twirl Records with Shaun, she took a moment out of her busy schedule to talk to us about dancefloors and DJ booths, the importance of her hometown, and of course, the Classic Music Company and Derrick Carter…

Who are your UNSUNG house heroes and why do they warrant more appreciation?

Well I’m very much obsessed with Hard Ton and Mamacita’s music right now. I wouldn’t say they’re so much unsung heroes because they’re doing amazing things and are definitely out there in the world, but I think they deserve all the attention and more because their sound is so unique. There’s so much music coming out these days and so much of it just sounds similar or fits a formula. I think what they’re doing is really creative and special, and I really want everyone in the world to hear it and appreciate it as much as I do!

My unsung DJ hero is definitely Michael Serafini who owns Gramaphone Records in Chicago, he’s by far one of my favorite DJ’s. I’ve known Michael for about 14 years now. I used to skip school to go hang out at the record shop when I was starting out. He would help me pick out tracks, and put away little side piles for me because back then you’d have to fight for all the new stuff and you know I was young and quite little haha. He’s finally getting the attention he deserves. I know he just played Panorama bar recently for the first time and has been traveling quite a bit. He’s just a great person and an amazing DJ that deserves the spotlight.   

Let’s have some positivity instead of eliciting a DJ rant… what makes you full of love?

Shaun J. Wright makes me full of love! Since we met and teamed up, the series of events that have transpired, the people I’ve met, the music we’ve made, all the experiences collectively have been the most amazing and significant in my life. I’m very grateful for that. It’s just been really positive all around and I know that energy and love flows into the music we’re making. I’ve definitely sat down and cried listening back to songs in the studio, and we’ve had many moments where it just feels really magical.  I don’t think I ever really quite fit in or found people I completely relate to musically and in life until the past few years because of meeting Shaun. Not to say I didn’t have great friends and mentors prior, but my newfound little music family around the world has really inspired me and made me feel complete.

We previously had your sister-in-Twirl, Shaun J Wright, playing at B(e)ast here at Superstore- how do you plan to turn it out even more than he did?

Ha! Shaun is an amazing DJ and performer! I don’t think I can honestly say anyone would turn it out more than Shaun, but I’ll do my thing and give you a little piece of Chicago!

What’s had the biggest impact on your sound- the city of Chicago or Shaun J Wright? Or are they inextricably linked?

They are definitely linked! I’ve lived in Chicago since I was eight years old. It’s tattooed on me in a few places, I would say it’s in my blood at this point. I learned from watching DJ’s like Derrick Carter, Heather, and Justin Long so I think my style of DJ’ing is very much influenced by Chicago. Chicago house is what made me fall in love with dance music and basically give up any chance of a basic life (thank god). Shaun has had the most impact on me as an artist. I had taken a break from dance music for a few years because I got really burnt out and I wasn’t feeling inspired by the music that was coming out at the time. I was really down and unsure of where I wanted to go musically and in life. I really didn’t feel like I fit in with what was happening around me. Hercules and Love Affair was pretty much the only electronic music I would listen to at the time, I thought it was so epic. It got me through some difficult times and made me feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I never actually thought I would meet any of those guys, it was never a goal or anything I just really loved their music and it was monumentally important to me.

Flash forward a few years… I was in this band when my manager at the time Scott Cramer said “Hey Shaun J. Wright just moved back to Chicago you guys should do something together”.  I looked at him like he was crazy for not thinking of this earlier and keeping this info from me haha! Three years later here we are. I was so nervous to work with him because I admired him so much as an artist, it really pushed me to become a better producer. He gave me the confidence to finally make the music I always wanted to create. He really brought it out of me. He’s constantly inspiring me to grow and evolve as an artist and a human. I would say meeting him has been the most impactful thing in my career and my life generally. As you can see there’s a lot of love there haha!

Can you talk us through the evolution of Twirl?

Twirl started out as a monthly party from Shaun, myself, and our good friend Mr. White, with the help of Scott Cramer and our host Sissy Spastik at Berlin Night Club. We started it because we wanted a fun space to DJ together and wanted to showcase some of our favorite DJ’s and friends that weren’t necessarily playing in Chicago as often as they should. We just wanted to do something unique that fit our style. Berlin Night Club and Scott allowed us to really be creative and do our thing. We were fortunate to be able to bring in Eli Escobar, Lauren Flax, Heather, Derrick Carter, JD Samson, The Carry Nation, and a long list of DJ’s we really love. It recently evolved into a record label because Shaun and I were making so much music we wanted to give it a home of its own. We love working with other labels, but nothing compares to having full creative control over your own tracks and really working on every part of the release from the ground up. It’s been really amazing curating remixers and just being involved with every bit of what goes into the process. Luckily we have a great team that works very hard and supports one another. It’s gotten a pretty amazing reception thus far so hopefully we’re doing something right!

You’re taking us out in your hometown… where are we going, what are we doing? What are your Chicago musts!

Ok so I’m a huge foodie and there’s so many amazing restaurants in Chicago, but there’s one I bring every (non-vegetarian) guest to when they’re in town. It’s called Au Cheval and it’s my absolute favorite! Best burger in the universe, though really everything there is amazing. Now that we’re not hungry, we’d have to go to Gramaphone Records and pick up some classics. I hardly play vinyl out of the house these days but I’m still a collector and anyone visiting me likely is as well. It’s just a part of Chicago history you can’t avoid if you’re a music fan. After we’ve gotten that fix we’re off for drinks at Wang’s. Wang’s is my favorite bar, it’s our spot. We have a song called Wang’s On Broadway coming out on Classic Music Company next year, so obviously Wang’s has been an inspiration! It’s just epic. Our friends Banjee Report and Men’s Room have thrown some great parties there. Wang’s is a must. If you can still walk after this there’s obviously some great clubs in Chicago. Smart Bar, Primary, and Spy Bar are all doing great things on the regular so if you’d like to go for a dance then I’d head to one of those. Outside of that I spend most of my time at home in the studio so you’re more than welcome to hang out at my apartment with Shaun and I plus ‘The Ratners’. I have two cats and a dog currently, which I refer to as ‘The Ratners’ or the children. Anyway, you’re all invited! 

How did you come to be part of the amazing Classic family?

I met Derrick Carter when I was 19 through my friend DJ Dayhota who was dragging me around town to lots of amazing places I couldn’t get into on my own. Being illegal and very curious wasn’t always easy, but with the help of great friends anything is possible. Her and Derrick were good friends and I was still very fresh to the scene and learning about house music and life in general. I remember I had drinks with her and Derrick one night and then I went to Gramaphone Records a few days later and that record 10 had just come out on Classic with his picture out it. Whoever was working at the time rushed over and told me I had to get this record, and in my head I was like whatever I just had drinks with that guy no big deal, because I was actually that clueless at the time. Then I listened to it and basically bought every record on the label I could get my hands on, and he became my favorite DJ. The label has a massive section in my record collection dedicated to them and Music For Freaks. I’m a huge fan of Luke and Derrick and the artists they’ve had on the label. Classic and Cajual really changed my life.

Anyway, when we finished our first EP we sent it off to Derrick who then passed it onto Luke. We didn’t really know if they’d even listen to it but we like to aim high and luckily they picked it up! It was a dream come true for me honestly, and it was really encouraging that our first project was going to them. It meant a lot. It’s just been an amazing experience working with them, and I’m really looking forward to our second EP on the label and hopefully others to come. 

We managed to secure you a time machine and you can visit any dancefloor for any point in time! Where/when are we setting the dials for?

Oh wow my own time machine! First I’d go back and buy all the Air Jordans I can no longer afford, then we can go dancing!  To me the best decades were the ’80s and ’90s and I’d have to get to Chicago, NYC, Detroit, and definitely tour the clubs in the UK. I got to go to The Loft last year thanks to my friend Will Automagic, and that was an amazing experience! Honestly my time machine would probably be flying in circles trying to figure it out with a mild hangover like we were trying to decide on brunch. Life is hard sometimes. Thankfully we’ve had some amazing dance music come out throughout the years to make this decision nearly impossible. 

Speaking of dancefloors, who has been your most musically out there guest ever at Twirl?

This is a difficult one. They’ve all been pretty out there that’s why they’re our friends.  Musically I’d have to say Tiffany Roth of Midnight Magic. She’s really incredible and her track selection is brilliant and very versatile. 

What is your ultimate DJ booth horror story?

Ooh I have a good one! This happened recently actually. I’ve never been one to understand the ‘request’ thing but I try to be as polite as possible about it when it does happen. Like if I’m playing at your house or your brother’s birthday party then fine I could see a reason for asking me to play your favorite song which you just heard 10 times in your car on the way to the party. But luckily we’ve moved past that point in my career when you show up at the crowded club. Anyway, I was opening for Roy Davis Jr to a packed room. About half way through my set I could see this group of girls in front of the booth staring at me like they wanted to have a chat. I knew where this was going so I continued mixing and didn’t pay any attention to them. A minute later I could see long dark hair to the side of me in the DJ booth and of course I thought it was my friend because who else would force their way into a tiny DJ booth at a packed club when they don’t know the DJ. Please visualize a tiny space where there is definitely not enough room for two people to stand unless one is being pressed back into the wall.

All of the sudden the long hair started getting closer and I turned my head to notice not only is this not my friend but she’s now pushing me off to the side and leaning over the CDJ’s reaching out to her friends while laughing and trying to have a conversation with them like reality has just left the building. As I’m in shock and staring at this person with a look of confusion while also in the middle of a blend, she elbows the CDJ stops all the music and then continues her conversation as well as hovering and bumping into me and the gear at which point I have to restart the track and everyone is staring at both of us. I asked her if she knew that she was in the DJ booth and why she was there. Instead of having any kind of remorse she turned to me and said “I’m here to make a request” with a very eager look on her face, to which I responded “Absolutely not.” This did not register and left her in shock and unwilling to leave at which point I knew we would never be on the same page. So it ended in her getting escorted back to her circle followed by her making evil eyes at me while all my friends and I shook our heads in disbelief while mouthing “Unbelievable.” She still didn’t understand why anything was wrong with any of this and thought I’d done her a great injustice by not letting her back in or playing her song. I’m not sorry.  

Join Alinka for B(e)ast at Dalston Superstore on Saturday 6th December from 9pm – 3am.

Meet Honey Dijon

By Whitney Weiss

Whether spinning euphoric disco sets at Le Bain or stripped-down techno in Berlin, Honey Dijon is always on top of her game. A DJ’s DJ with an encyclopedic knowledge of dance music, she currently divides her time between New York, Berlin, and a packed touring schedule. Ahead of Honey’s set at Fhloston Paradise, we chatted about the current state of New York nightlife, testing tracks on actual dance floors, and why it’s impossible to choose a single historical club to visit with a time machine…

So to be clear for those who might not know, you’re from Chicago but currently based in New York and Berlin, or just New York?

I spent the last three summers in Berlin, and I love the city. I’m just trying to figure out how to move there full-time, since everybody and their mother lives there. And I still work quite a bit in North America. I’m going for three weeks, actually, because I’m going to Tel Aviv to play The Block, then I come to London to play Dalston Superstore, then I play Homopatik, then I go to Ibiza. It’s just easier [to tour in Europe] if I’m there.

Since you’ve been involved in New York nightlife for such a long time, what would you say is the biggest difference between what it was when you first arrived and where it’s at now?

The biggest difference now is that I don’t see very many people of color at the clubs anymore. It’s not as culturally diverse as it used to be. Musically, New York doesn’t have a sound anymore. It was once one of the most influential dance capitals of the world, it had so many influential artists back in the day. There are party promoters who are very successful, like ReSolute, Blk|Market, and Verboten, but I wouldn’t say that there’s a definite New York sound. The only DJs who are really making an impression in Europe right now are Levon Vincent, Joey Anderson, and a/just/ed but I’d have to say they’re much more embraced in Europe than in the States. I mean, EDM is still quite popular here. 

And is that one of the reasons you’re interested in Europe at the moment, aside from the fact that it sounds like you’re booked so often?

Yeah, I think musically. Also, New York is such an expensive place. The best line that I ever heard about New York, as it is today, is ‘New York is a great place to sell art, but it’s not a place to make art.’ I think that’s one of the main reasons why I’m looking more to Europe. And it’s so funny, there’s such a resurgence in house music at the moment, and that’s something I’m very well versed in. They’re talking about how deep house is this next big trend, which is so funny because it never went away. It never went away, it’s just a difference face has been put upon it, if you know what I mean.

I definitely know what you mean.

Yeah. So I really feel more artistically free in Europe as an artist, so that’s one of the reasons that I would consider living there. But fees are not as high; it’s a trade-off. It’s a great place to live, but there’s a DJ every two minutes. And great ones. 

And how do you feel about London?

I absolutely love London, I think it’s such a musically rich city. I mean, the music I find in London I tend to not find anywhere else. The record stores Phonica and Kristina are curated so well, I find such amazing things there. And they just really love music. Not just dance music; you hear all kinds of music in London. From jazz to pop to dub, you can hear anything. It’s very inspiring for me. But it’s mad expensive. And so vast. It’s not like the city of New York, where it’s expensive but you can sort of walk anywhere. it’s really spread out, the east is far from the west. But I absolutely love London.

And what sorts of records have you been playing out a lot lately? What can the crowd at Dalston Superstore expect on the 12th?

I’ve been playing more raw these days, more stripped-back, more techno-influenced, mixed in with classic things. But techno has been really inspiring, I don’t know if that’s coming from spending a lot of time in Berlin. I just listen for things that reflect my personality and reflect how I want to express music. I’ve been accused of being eclectic, and I’ve embraced that. Because when I was on Traktor for so many years, I found that I was more concerned with what I could do with the music instead of letting the music breathe. I realized I was a much better artist just going back to vinyl and using USB sticks and playing records. So I guess what they can expect is a more stripped-down version of house music. I don’t know what to call it anymore! The best word I can come up with is “soultek.” 

So the fashion weeks are about to be upon us. You have a long-time collaboration with Kim Jones from Louis Vuitton and have DJed a ton of fashion week parties in the past. Are you playing this year or doing any shows?

Um, I’ve transitioned more into a personality.

Even better!

So I’m going to more fashion events than actually doing after-parties now. The thing about fashion is it always has to be the next, the next, the next, you know, I’ve had my turn. The fashion crowd went to Ibiza this year for some reason, so I think you’ll be hearing a lot more house music and stuff like that. Now I just work with friends and do soundtracks for events or do soundtracks for shows more than I do parties. Which is much more exciting and fun, because you’re actually collaborating with artists and designers instead of being the after-party soundtrack.

Can you tell us anything about what you’re collaborating on this year or is it a secret?

I think the longest-standing relationship I have is doing the music for Louis Vuitton. There’s always research that goes into that show, that goes into that music, and every season I’ve worked with Kim, I’ve always done special edits of particular music. Last season, I did a special edit of Hounds Of Love. Kim likes really obscure things, so it’s really a matter of doing a lot of research and doing special edits tailor-made for the show. That’s always exciting and challenging and fun.

And do you have any new remixes coming out?

I just did a remix for My Offence for Hercules & Love Affair, I actually have two projects about to come out on Classic. I’m about to do a remix for DJ W!ld, I just did a bunch of original material that I’m shopping at the moment. So I have lots of little musical things on the go. 

Do you think you’ll be playing your original stuff out while you’re DJing?

It’s so funny, I don’t even want to hear half the stuff after living with it. But yes, I slip things in. I have to, just to hear what they sound like. Sometimes you make a track, then you take it out, then you realize that the kick could be a lot louder, or the highs could have a lot more movement. You know, it’s one thing to make a track in the studio, but it’s another thing to play it out and get a reaction from the crowd. And sometimes, you don’t even think the stuff you’re gonna have a good reaction for gets a great reaction. So the trick about making music is just to make it. 

And then test it.

And then test it. But that’s the thing, back in the day you used to have residencies where you were able to test your stuff. But now, you just test it on the road. And you don’t get a chance to really hear, you know, have a place where you can go. I don’t know how to express it, like if you had a residency, you could test things and live with them and see the crowd’s reaction change before you release it to the world. But now, now you don’t have that. Unless maybe you’re a Berghain or Panorama Bar resident. Or a Robert Johnson resident. A club where you can have a residency to play that kind of music. I think that’s the biggest challenge. 

Now for the classic Dalston Superstore question, which is: if we had a time machine ready to take you to any dance floor, past present or future, where would you like to go and why?

God, that’s such a loaded question because there are so many dance floors. Oh my god! I mean, you’re talking to a person who loves music. Okay, I’m just going to give you a list. I would have loved to have gone to The Loft to hear Nicky Siano, I would have loved to have gone to The Music Institute in Detroit, I would have loved to have gone to The Warehouse in Chicago. I would have loved to have gone to Berghain in 2004. The Mudd Club, 1978. Danceteria, 1979. The World with David Morales and Frankie Knuckles. Disco 2000. Um, of course Paradise Garage. Of course Ministry of Sound in the early ’90s. The Saint. 

But also, there are so many clubs that people don’t talk about that were heavily influential in my development as a person and as an artist. There’s one called Club LaRay in Chicago, Rialto’s, Cheeks. These are all clubs that were in Chicago that weren’t talked about. They’ve sort of been erased from the dance music vocabulary because they were predominantly black gay clubs that were very underground. And back in the day, the most two famous ones were The Warehouse and the Power Plant, but back then they were really… you know, it was black and gay. Straight people went, it wasn’t like straight people didn’t go, but they weren’t the popular clubs. Like I said, there are so many dance floors around the world… God. It’s like, there was Fabric when it first opened, or Home when that first opened in London. Jesus Christ, I mean it’s hard for me to say which and when and what because yeah, there are just so many. DTPM, Trade. For me, it wasn’t about black white gay straight, it was about a movement of music. And I didn’t think there was one school, the list could go on and on and on. So if I had a time machine, I would probably go back to each and every one of them.

I appreciate the history. I had never heard of Cheeks before you just said it.

Yeah, Cheeks was actually a trans bar where Ralphi Rosario used to play. I’ve been going to clubs since I was 12, I don’t even remember what year that was, but it was definitely late ’80s early ’90s. But I was able to get a fake ID and go to these places, and I was friends with a lot of other DJs and I got snuck into clubs, too. It was a different time, you know. It’s so funny now how…you know, it’s funny to me, I don’t want to use this word to offend anybody because at the end of the day anybody who loves this kind of music and promotes this culture I’m all for, but I don’t see a lot of um, it’s still a very heavily male dominated industry. I don’t see a lot of people of color that are tastemakers. There are hardly any women of color. I don’t see any queer women of color. I just have a different reference point about it, I suppose. But I don’t want to insult anybody or sound like a victim or sound like I’m jaded or bitter or upset. I think you have to be very careful in how you word these things, because it should be about the music at the end of the day. 

And do you feel, because like, as a female DJ  I don’t usually like asking other people the identity question, but do you feel responsible as a public figure or as someone in the scene, for being…

Trans?

For being representative, for doing a good job representing your viewpoint?

Well, I think you can probably answer this. You don’t want to be considered a female DJ, you’re a DJ.

Exactly.

You don’t want your talent to be pigeonholed by your gender. But having said that, I don’t think I would have had the experiences I’ve had if I wasn’t who I was. So I think it’s important for me to tell those stories and those experiences, because those stories won’t be told otherwise. So it’s not so much that I feel a responsibility to anyone, it’s more that I feel like I’m giving a voice to experiences that otherwise would not have seen the light of day. Being a trans person now has become en vogue, as we so care to say. It’s one of those things I don’t want to be put in a box because of, but at the same time, it’s a thing that also gives me the advantage of having had such a rich musical cultural experience. And being able to move between different worlds and being able to have different dialogues with different audiences with music. You couldn’t put a Chicago house DJ on the main floor at The Black Party, but yet they did, because I’m from Chicago, and I’m trans. 

I think my quote unquote ‘gender experience’ has allowed me to navigate different worlds, which has given me the opportunity to have a rich musical cultural experience that I get to share with other people. I can’t control what other people say about me, but I can control what I say about myself. I don’t define myself by my gender, I don’t define myself by the music that I play, I don’t define myself. I just define myself as Honey. I’m Honey. And all of these experiences have made me who I am as a person. So if I have to communicate that to other people, that’s the best answer that I can give, that I’m fortunate in a way that I’ve been able to navigate different worlds, because I’ve been many different things. I’ve been able to go from straight to gay, gay to straight, whatever you want to call it, black white straight gay bi purple trans, and each has its own language and vocabulary, and I’ve been able to incorporate all of that into my expression of music. Not a lot of people get to do that. Most people you know have only been to one, they’re comfortable. Not comfortable, but if you’ve never had to question your identity and you’ve been able to be successful in one lane, well, there’s a whole freeway out there. 

Join Honey Dijon for Fhloston Paradise in the laser basement and Whitney Weiss in the top bar for Nancy’s this Friday 12th September at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.

Shaun J Wright

This Saturday we welcome DJ, producer and vocalist Shaun J Wright over from the Windy City to our little Dalston laser basement for B(e)ast’s 3rd Birthday! As a former member of Hercules & Love Affair, and now an acclaimed producer and DJ in his own right, this banjee boy is sure to set the basement on fire! Ahead of the party we posed a few questions to him about running hot gay nights in Chicago, releasing on Classic Music Company and his time living in London…

What inspired you to set up your night Twirl?

My close friend and musical partner Alinka and I were constantly discussing the type of party that we wanted to attend prior to starting Twirl. We wanted an intimate night with quality dj’s that focused  on house music and where we could test run our new demos with little pressure. Berlin, the legendary venue where we have the party, is a Chicago landmark. Everyone is welcome at Berlin. The full spectrum of sexuality and gender expression can be found in the club and it creates a unique, pulsating vibe. The door policy is very relaxed and everyone is up for a good time instead of posing. That sense of inclusiveness was important to us from the beginning.  A Club Called Rhonda, the incomparable monthly in Los Angeles, was also a source of inspiration. I would talk endlessly about how I wanted to start a mini-Rhonda in Chicago. A party that felt inspired and free. I hope we’re on our way to having a Rhonda-ita or a Rhonda-ette. 

Boystown was recently voted “most incomparable gay neighbourhood”. As a Chicago native, can you attest to this and if so, what is it that makes it so special?

Honestly, I’ve spent the majority of my adulthood away from Chicago. I’ve only had the last couple of years to reacquaint myself with the city and that has been disrupted by frequent travel. I spent a lot of time in Boystown during my teenage years skipping class and shopping at the vintage shops with my friends. It was a very safe space for me then and it still feels that way now. My favorite place in Boystown is a bar called Wang’s that everyone traveling to Chicago must visit. It’s off the beaten path on Broadway and is the most charming space in the city. There’s a cute dancefloor tucked in the back where my friends Harry, Jpeg and Ace throw a party called Men’s Room that is off the charts. There’s always something fun happening there. I also love Smartbar, which is in the neighborhood directly north of Boystown. Queen at Smartbar sets the bar for impressive gay parties in the city. This past Sunday the line-up included Michael Serafini (Gramaphone Records), Garrett David (Bell Boys), Derrick Carter, David Morales, Lil’ Louie Vega, Ultra Nate and Inaya Day for Frankie Knuckle’s Birthday Bash! I spent part of the night chatting with Robert Williams from The Warehouse. I guess those kind of things are what make Boystown specifically, and Chicago in general, special. 

Can you tell us something we should know about your girl -and close collaborator- Alinka? Any plans to release together on Classic again?

The most important thing that I can tell you is that she is awesome! She’s an amazing dj and super talented producer. We have such a great mutual respect for each other and we also encourage one another to grow, grow, grow. I have learned so much from her.  As a singer I’m often faced with collaborations where the roles are super rigid or there are geographical and time constraints that don’t always allow the nurturing of a personal relationship prior to working. With Alinka I’m free to express myself in a very open manner and I think that translates into our music. We talk about life experiences and hang out together and that makes our music much more personal and cohesive. 

Classic will be releasing a remix package of Twirl Vol. 1 very soon. We hope to release a Twirl Vol. 2 with Classic, too. 

What, in your opinion, is the most pressing issue facing queer people of colour in the US at the moment?

I can not answer this question sufficiently with a singular issue. I would say, in general, there is a very widespread and accepted disregard for the humanity of queer people of color. This manifests sociopolitically with policies and practices that continue to allow and encourage discrimination based on sexuality, gender, class and race.  Queer people of color tend to find themselves the most vulnerable with the least amounts of resources and agency when their historically oppressed identities intersect (e.g. black, transgender and impoverished). 

I’m often left shocked by the lack of advocacy for the end of violent transmisogyny by larger LGBT organizations that tend to focus primarily on the issue of acquiring gay marriage while our sisters are being murdered everyday. While I believe fighting for marriage equality to be a noble cause, transwomen of colour, particularly black, are murdered at a disproportionate rate to others in the community. If they receive any media attention they are often misgendered and blamed for their victimization. It is tragic that their lives have not been regarded as a cause worth fighting for on a much larger scale. 

Who would you say are your protégées right now?

I don’t think of myself as someone established enough to have protegees. I’m still learning the ropes myself. I do have a few close friends who are at an earlier starting point to their careers as far as releases are concerned. Some, like Newbody or Banjee Report, have been working on music as long as I have and they are dope. We share experiences and encourage one another. I’ll get back to this question in about five years. Hopefully, I’ll have some names. 

Signature catch-phrase…

My signature catch-phrase is literally catch in all of it’s variations. Catch it (punctuated with a finger snap)… You caught?… CAAATTCHHH! 

What’s your most tangible memory from your time with Hercules & Love Affair, like if you could step back into that frozen moment right now…?

There are just too many! It was such a special period in my life and the friendships that I was able to establish with the other band members are so precious to me. What sticks out the most was our tour with Gossip. We opened for them in sold-out stadiums throughout Germany and France. That was exhilarating enough but to top it off we had so much fun with them backstage after the shows, laughing and carrying on until the bus call. It was a blast! 

What was the absolute best thing about studying fashion at London College Of Fashion and what impact (if any) has that time had on your life now?

Living in London was the absolute best part of the entire experience. It had been a lifelong dream of mine to live in London. During early childhood my grandmother shared with me the movie ‘To Sir With Love’ starring Sidney Poitier and Lulu and I knew that I would live in London one day. The kids were so cool and I loved everything about their environment.  In the U.S.A. we have much fewer historical buildings so when I arrived in London and it still resembled the imagery from the movie I fell in love again. It is my favorite city in the world and I hope to live there again. 

I studied MA Fashion Curation at LCF and it was such an enlightening course. The approach to education and research was much different than I had experienced during my undergraduate studies in the US. The process was much more relaxed, but the expectations were just as high if not more so. I feel like the experience helped me become more confident in my ability to create and execute my own ideas instead of relying on others to see the value in them. 

You’ve spoken at length before about your introduction to the ballroom scene and your decision to join the House of Escada… If you were setting up your own dream House, what would it be the House Of and who would be your children?

[read the article on ballroom that features Shaun here]

Ooooh, very interesting….It would be the House of Revolution and my children would be a mix of fab, progressive political figures, vogueing children, and fashion icons. We would cause a stir on the steps of D.C. goverment buildings as we sashayed (instead of marched) for change. Yes we can, Hunteeee!

Join Shaun this Saturday 1st February at B(e)ast 3rd Birthday at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.

Photo by: Emily Marren

Classic Goodybag Giveaway

Just ahead of this weekend’s next Classic Music Company party, they’ve had a dig about the office and filled another Classic tote bag with goodies (including signed vinyl) for us to give away. 

They’re teaming up with local heroes Paris’ Acid Ball for a whole night of two-floor bumpers and pumpers and all-round acid mischief. Classic boss Luke Solomon is joined by Hannah Holland and DJ Squeaky in the basement whilst upstairs Horse Meat Discoer Luke Howard and Superstore head honcho Dan Beaumont takeover.

For your chance to get your mitts on a Classic goodybag plus free entry for you and a pal to Saturday’s party email the correct answer to hello@dalstonsuperstore.com by 12pm (noon) Friday 6th September.

*only the winner will be contacted

Which other Luke will be joining Luke Solomon this Saturday?

a. Laidback Luke

b. Luke Whostalking

c. Luke Howard

Join the whole gang this Saturday 7th September at Dalston Superstore for Classic X Paris’ Acid Ball from 9pm – 4am.

Five Minutes With Dave Kendrick

Dave Kendrick returns to Superstore this Saturday with a Macho City dream team in tow, consisting of himself, Severino and Charlie Porter. The three of them takeover the top bar for our second Classic Records party, whilst the laser basement plays host to Classic boss Luke Solomon, Chris Duckenfield and Dan Beaumont!

We spoke to Dave ahead of tomorrow’s party to find out all the latest updates in Macho…

What is currently on repeat on your stereo?

I’ve dug out Daft Punk’s – Homework again for obvs reasons. It’s still as berserk as ever.

I’m also listening to a radio recording of the Paradise Garage 2nd Birthday Party with Larry Levan in the mix.

Tell us the Man Of Macho for 2013!

Ron Swanson from Parks & Recreation! He’s the ultimate Man of Macho. He loves Meat! And Hunting! He’s Hot!

Ron Swanson Man Of Macho 2013 

What are your favourite defunct nights of London- what would you resurrect given the chance?

Garage at Heaven, Queer Nation at the Gardening Club and The Cock!

Best DJ set you’ve seen or heard recently?

Tama Sumo at Dance Tunnel was by far was the most inspiring set I’ve heard in ages. She was like an artist, playing B side vinyl jams, weird drum tracks, Chicago and Detroit oddities. The place went crazy.

Who is your ultimate Macho City icon?

Giorgio Moroder by a mile.

Giorgio Moroder Macho City Icon

Why should everyone support same sex marriage?

Because they’re fabulous. Gay weddings should be enforced by law, for everyone.

With Dalston having been bathed in sunshine this week- what is your go-to summer music to play out?

House Music!

Join Dave for the Macho City top bar takeover at Classic X Superstore #2 this Saturday 27th April from 9pm – 4am

Win A Classic Goody Bag!

Next weekend sees one of our favourite record labels, Classic Music Company, return to Superstore for another amazing team-up! Classic boss Luke Solomon is joined in the laser basement by Chris Duckenfield and Dan Beaumont, whilst upstairs it’s a Macho City takeover with Severino, Dave Kendrick and Charlie Porter all taking to the decks.

Ahead of the party, the lovely people at Classic have sent us one of the amazing and super limited edition hand-printed Dalston Superstore X Classic tote bags FILLED WITH CLASSIC TREATS to give away to a lucky winner!

You too can look as good as Honey Dijon and Classic co-boss Derrick Carter showing off your Classic tote around town…

Honey Dijon and Derrick Carter

All you have to do to be with a chance to win is email the correct answer to hello@dalstonsuperstore.com by 10am Tuesday 23rd April with the subject “I NEED A DALSTON SUPERSTORE X CLASSIC BAG!”

Only the winner will be contacted.

Who runs Classic Music Company with Luke Solomon. Is it…

a. Beyoncé Knowles-Carter

b. Aaron Carter

c. Derrick Carter

Join Luke, Chris, Severino and more at Dalston Superstore on Saturday 27th April for Classic X Superstore #2 from 9pm – 3am. 

Image courtesy of Honey Dijon’s Instagram.

Luke Solomon

Luke Solomon is one of the true heroes of house music. From the legendary midweeker Space that he ran through the ’90s with the late (and much missed) Kenny Hawkes, to the hugely influential Classic Music Company he started with Chicago’s Derrick Carter, Luke has always championed the underground, the leftfield and anything that makes you move. Now that Classic are bringing the party to Superstore, Luke kindly answered some of Dan Beaumont’s questions…

You have been prolific in the studio lately… What drives your creativity?

Mostly sadness, pain and sorrow, oh and anger and frustration… I find it quite hard to be creative when I am happy. I usually use the happy periods to finish the music I made when I was unhappy. Well you did ask…..

The Digital Kid… An analogue experiment… Whose side are you on in the format wars? 

I am generally at war with myself in the format wars. My mind constantly contradicts itself. I buy digital music continuously. I also buy physical music continuously. What I have begun to realise is that they are almost like two completely different worlds running in tangent to each other.

It’s kind of interesting because at Classic we do one thing, i.e. we release vinyl, run vinyl exclusives, and then do digital.

But at Defected, we will release digital, then if the record does well, we will release vinyl post release….

So I like both… I just hate the downside of the internet… i.e. piracy and idiotic people.

And I dislike the fact that it’s so hard to sell vinyl and break even on it….

But the world needs a balance of both.

Why does HOUSE need Classic now more than ever?

I think house needs a a community again, especially in the UK. I think that the whole scene became fragmented by egos and people just looking out for themselves. I guess money and a rubbish economy naturally does that to people. Both Derrick and myself feel that that selflessness needs to be injected back in order to grow a world of great music within our scene that is not just centred around a DJ using a label as a vehicle in order to rule the world and be the next biggest thing ever.

What do you argue with Derrick Carter about?

We don’t really argue. Especially not about music. We have had our moments, but those are generally because we are both being big old grumps. Nothing more.

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

Paint testing parties. And the rise of the welly sock. 

What record do you wish you had signed?

Knights Of The Hunted – X The Beat.  But it got lost on my hard drive after Parrot sent it to me and Toddla and Raf picked it up. We got to release the vinyl though as compensation.

What tune has spent the longest time in your record box?

I always take something by Spencer Kincey. He’s my musical good luck charm.

Join Luke Solomon, Dan Beaumont, Rob Mello and Severino for Classic X Superstore on Saturday 26th January from 9pm – 3am.