Posts Tagged ‘Cocktail D’Amore’

Jacob Meehan

This Friday our favourite loose cannon PATSY invites you to her Third Birthday! Headlining this glitzy affair is the absolutely fabulous Jacob Meehan! 

A thoughtful DJ and passionate organiser of functions, Jacob Meehan has played everywhere from Smart Bar (Chicago) to Panorama Bar (Berlin), worked behind the counter at Chicago’s legendary Gramophone Records, and now roams about:://blank for 48+ hours straight each month when Buttons, the party where he’s both resident and program director, delights all of queer Berlin.  

Ahead of his hotly anticipated set at PATSY, resident DJ and booker Whitney Weiss caught up with Jacob to talk about summer songs, anti-fascist protests, and floating music festivals.  



Hey Jacob! You’re a resident DJ and program director at Buttons, a great monthly party that combines creative artist bookings and queer debauchery in Berlin. What is a song that embodies the energy of Buttons for you?? 

 Hyper Go Go’s High Cloud 9 Mix


Before Berlin, you lived in New York and in Chicago, where you did the Men’s Room parties and were a resident at Smart Bar. What record makes you think of your time in Chicago?

RIS – Love-n-Music.

 I’ve heard you play everything from house to freestyle to ambient sunrise music to techno. What would you say is the most surprising or unexpected record in your collection?? 

This track from Mr. Bungle’s California album has been stuck in my head, which harkens back to my teenage days as a closeted, stoned, angsty Midwestern nu-metalhead. 

This is your second time at Superstore (thanks for your set at Les Poppeurs a few years ago!) What is a song you’re looking forward to playing late night in the laser basement?? 

I’ve got lots of fresh stuff from friends and colleagues from all over the globe, which I love being able to share. My former co-worker at Gramaphone Records, Ike Release, just gave me some lush unreleased material, and Will and Nita from The Carry Nation inboxed me a great new vocal house track. Plus new cuts from Buttons residents Shingo Suwa & Stanley Schmidt.  

Berlin has been blessed with a lot of sunlight this April and May. What record is your favorite to listen to at home when the windows are open, a breeze is wafting in, and you’re relaxing?? 

Alice Coltrane Featuring Pharoah Sanders – Journey In Satchidananda.

What’s a song you wish you had written?  

Have you heard the latest track by John Roberts? I deeply admire everything that he does.

 Do you write music ever, and if so, what’s it like?? 

I just uploaded a few house tracks to my Soundcloud, which I made with Garrett David ( Smart Bar/Lobster Theremin).

Recently you participated in what looked like a beautiful and successful protest against the far right AfD (Alternativ für Deutschland) in Berlin where the music community outnumbered the fascists. I saw that you were DJing at one point. What sort of songs did you play, and what was the day like?  

Clubbing is one of Berlin’s biggest industries, so to see the scene self-actualise and come together to politically organise against the far right was beyond powerful and necessary. 70,000+ people showed up in the streets to stand up to the AfD, and show them that they are not the majority. The day was a beautifully colourful, peaceful, multi-generational protest soundtracked by a number of trucks rigged with sound systems. Buttons collaborated on the QUEER BLOCK with RiotPornceptualHerrensaunaGegen, Cocktail d’Amore, MembersGDay, and Room4Resistance. It was honestly one of the most important things I’ve ever been a part of, and it was such an honour to be able to play for an hour. My personal highlight was getting to drop Robert Owen’s 1987 classic Bring Down the Walls just a stone’s throw from where the Berlin Wall used to be. 


 You’re one of the organisers of Whole Festival, which is bringing together Buttons, Discwoman, Unter, Horse Meat, Cocktail d’Amore, and more on a peninsula at Greimminer See. What’s a record you know you’ll want to play there, surrounded by friends and community?? 

I think I’m slated to play before Eris Drew on Saturday night before the sun sets. Our stage will be floating in a lake, which is a former quarry, now flooded. I anticipate soundtracking the transition from light into dark, probably through Bezier – B2 Teleconférence. 

What was the first record you ever bought? Where did you buy it?

Babe, we’re gonna love tonight by Lime from Gramaphone and Try Again by Aaliyah off Ebay.


What song have you always wanted to hear someone else play out so you could dance to it?

All Night Passion by Alisha!

Catch Jacob Meehan at PATSY, Friday 15th June from 9pm – 3am at Dalston Superstore!

Benedikt Rugar

This November we ring in the third birthday of our favourite happy-go-lucky queer rave, Homodrop! Over the last three years, the Homodrop crew have cemented their place in East London queer nightlife, with a strong emphasis on the visual element of their identity. Their resident graphic designer for the past year has been Benedikt Rugar, whose lurid, cheeky and abstractly sexual work has been turning many heads in the venue! Having worked with iconic clubs and brand from Berghain and Cocktail D’Amore to Beam Club Bangkok, his artwork is now synonymous in London with Homodrop’s colourful, mad aesthetic. We caught up with him to chat childhood inspiration, mosaics and, of course, gay nightlife!

homodrop at dalston superstore

Hi Benedikt! We absolutely ADORE your kinky, abstract Homodrop artwork! Where do you get your inspiration?

Hi – thank you so much! It is lots of fun to work for Homodrop. I get the concept of the party from my going out in the queer/gay scene in Berlin. I think I understand what Homodrop wants. It’s queer and colourful, sexy and playful, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Music, fun and love are in the foreground of the experience. For the poster series, I developed absurd spatial still-lifes that played around with queer topics, without necessarily showing men. From futuristic penis-instruments to a blowjob fruit salad in a glory hole – clichés from the scene in a new packaging.

Has graphic art always been a big part of your life?

I was always a very visual person. I have trouble remembering names, but faces I never forget. My graphic awakening was quite early, at the end of my school years. University was like a forge for my visual understanding, and drawing has never left me since. Graphics and drawing are a language that can be more easily read and understand across cultures. I find this exciting – that it can breach borders.



You’ve worked with the Homodrop crew for a year now – can you describe the party in three words?

Unicorn, kinky, adorable.

What kind of music do you listen to when you’re making work?

Very different kinds of music. Lena Platonos is super!

What is your earliest artistic memory?

As a child, I drew my own action figures on card, cut them out and made them fight with each other – like you would with actual action figures. Almost all of these card figures were muscly “male mermaids” with vampire teeth. A mash-up of the Little Mermaid, He Man and Count Dracula. They belonged in a world of their own. Sadly I lost them over time, otherwise I am sure they would be on one of my walls now. 

That’s so cute! Which other artists or designers do you most admire?

Of course there a few artists that I like. But off the top of my head, I can think of the posters from Braulio Amado, which are amazing, or I still love – and have done so for years – the graphic and comic worlds of Igor Hofbauer or Yuichi Yokoyama.


Which work of art do you wish you created?

Ask me that again when I’m so old that I can’t hold a pen with my hand.

You were recently commissioned to create a mosaic for Bangkok-based Beam Club – what was that project like?

It was definitely something special. I was asked to design a seven-meter long mosaic wall for the Beam club in Bangkok, which had recently been finished with an interior design concept by William Russell of Pentagram. The wall lies behind the bar in the lounge, a quieter area of the club, so the owner wanted the illustration to have a dream-like feel about it, inviting guests to linger in the space.

My immediate reference were vintage illustrations from the 1960s, where families gather in front of futuristic buildings, a representation of everyday life scenarios but in an imposing environment. These were the raw materials that I used to create a window into a fictional landscape. Instead of a conventional rendering, we decided to solve this challenge by creating a huge mosaic wall in tune with the materials used throughout.

The artwork – which I had to “translate” into the language of mosaics – is made up of hundreds of 1 x 1 cm pixels: the actual black or white tiles on the wall. The technique allowed for matt and glossy finishes, which used in combination allowed me to introduce highlights. 


beam mosaic

You’re involved with a lot of graphic design for nightclubs – is the clubbing world a big part of your life? How does it inform your work?

It has a big influence in my work, yes. I went clubbing a lot, especially during my first years in Berlin. It’s what happens here. In Frankfurt, where I come from, I never found parties like the ones I enjoyed later in other cities.  I got to know many different kinds of people going out in Berlin, and with some I am still connected. When I first met them, I never suspected that it would lead to very nice collaborations later, like record covers and club posters. The scene is full of talented people from the creative business – and it’s not all lost on the dancefloor. Sure enough, I love dancing and going out. It’s a part of life in Berlin.

What does your queer utopia look like?

Queer utopia ? It depends from where you start. From outside: for sure, more love and tolerance. And from inside – for the scene itself: less narcissism, more activism!

Any exciting project in the pipeline you can let us in on?

My biggest project at the moment is to follow my own art, next to my regular jobs. I just had my first solo exhibition in Hamburg, which was a very nice experience, but in very busy periods like those, I miss sometimes the energy and time to work on my own stuff. And it’s from these self-initiated projects I draw the material that I use in my other work, especially in club posters which depend so much on the visual. Free artworks need their own process, and usually jobs don’t give you the time for this. So it’s important for me to be connected with myself like this too.

Check out Benedikt’s artwork for Homodrop, and join us on the next party on Saturday 4 November from 9pm-4am at Dalston Superstore!

Kris Baha

By Ranks

For the latest instalment of rhinestone-encrusted disco bash Cult Culture, the Bristolian partystarters have recruited Power Station mastermind Kris Baha! The Berlin-based DJ, producer and label boss has garnered a cult-status following transcendental sets in the Cocktail D’Amore cosmic hole as well as throbbing EBM releases on his own Power Cuts label. It’s high time we welcomed him to the lazerhole to serve up a slice of his trademark mind-bending body music. Cult Culture promoter and resident DJ Ranks caught up to chat career highlights, unsung talent and plans for the rest of 2017!

We are hyped to have you join us for PLU’s Cult Culture party! You’ve been super busy over the last couple of years; what with a move from your hometown of Melbourne to Berlin, together with the label and a number of great releases – what have been a few of your highlights?

Thank you, I am equally as excited to be joining! It’s been a funny three year transition but I am finally cemented here in Berlin. Some highlights for me have been Salon Des Amateurs last month with Theme For Great Cities‘ Rearview Radio, Aki Aki and an impromptu b2b2b2b with Tolouse Low Trax. I also played at a festival called Ant Bangos run by the Opium Crew out of Vilnius which is on the Baltic Sea beach front (literally on the sand) and down in the cosmic hole last year at Cocktail D’Amore in Berlin.  

A record that perfectly sums up these highlights?

Tell us about your relationship with the legendary Berlin based, gay party Cocktail D’Amore crew?

It happened pretty organically which is something I go with a lot. From afar in Melbourne (pre-Berlin transition) I was already a fan of the label and knew about the party and then had some people I knew playing there who relayed that it is exactly like it’s reputation – wild and musically open. We also tried to book Discodromo for our party Power Station in 2014 but we postponed it until 2015. Coincidentally some demos of mine were sent to the DD guys in early 2015 and this was about the same time we put out our first record on Power Cuts which they really liked and then the rest, as they say is …. 

One of the reasons we’ve invited you to play for our Cult Culture party is your eclectic taste and your ability and willingness to weave disco, industrial, punk and house into your sets.  With house becoming ever more popular in the mainstream, do you think there is an appetite in the underground for more than just your standard house and four to the floor? Has there been an emergence of music that looks to challenge what we have become used to as the usual rhythms of dance music?

Sure, I think people are becoming much more open… Well I hope so, otherwise I am out of a job!

If so, are there any records that perfectly encapsulates this?

Here are some I have enjoyed playing out:

Favourite record of 2017 so far?

I don’t have favourites, but some reissues and OG music I’ve been listening to a lot that were released this year are

Esplendor Geometrico’s – Fluida Mekaniko on Geomtetric 

S/M Nurse on Domestica 

Khidja’s Microb incl TLT Remixes on Malka Tuti. 

Modern Art – Stereoland on No Coat

Nv – Binasu on Mind Japan

The Resident Advisor top 100 DJs poll has just regurgitated a very similar list to last year and the year before – if you could turn the spotlight onto some unsung artists, who would they be and why?

As they always do 😉

Artists who I think have saddled around the rodeo for some time as well as some up-and-comers are Tolouse Low Trax, Vladimir Ivkovic, Lena Wilikens, Jan Schulte, DJ Normal 4 also Dane//Close, Zozo, Allesandro Adriani, Elena ColombiDon’t DJ, Alexis Le Tan, Odopt.

As we head into the festival season and the half way mark of the year, what exciting plans are in the pipeline?

I’ll be playing live again which I have been eager to get back into since my departure from band world – I have an experimental industrial duo thing happening with Niklas Wandt who is a very talented drummer. Also I have my other project with Dreems which is called Die Orangen and we’ll be playing live at Monticule Festival France in June and our LP Zest will be coming out on Malka Tuti mid year which we are pretty psyched about. Short of that, you will see a Kris Baha EP on Cocktail D’Amore very soon, another Power Cuts release, a new label series merging Power Cuts and Bahnsteig23 as Power23, a release on Pinkmann Records, more output from Power Station and the Power Cuts Label and I’ll try and sleep at some point as well.  

Talking about festivals… Which dance bomb do you have in your bag that you can’t wait to unleash in the sunshine?

In five words, what do you have in store for Cult Culture?

Dark energy waves of sweat 

Catch Kris Baha at PLU presents Cult Culture this Saturday 3 June from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore! 


By Florian Dovillez

For the latest edition of banging gay bash Homodrop, promoter Florian Dovillez AKA Cheriii invites Parisian big guns Abajour for their lazer basement debut! The duo have shot to cult status after closing the Cocktail D’Amore main room with cosmic marathon eight hour sets. No stranger to throwing their own parties, their Berlinons Paris nights have grown from small illegal parties to legendary full-throttle raves, and we can’t wait to see what they bring this Saturday! 

The last track you played at Cocktail D’Amore in Berlin?

Yello – Lost Again (Extended Dance Version)

Your BEST producer and why?

Considering the fact that we are playing many different styles there are a lot of producers that are important for us. At the moment we are particularly into DJ Sotofett. The quality and the creativity of his productions are simply incredible.

How and when did your party BERLINONS PARIS start?

It all started with small illegal private parties we threw for our friends at different spots around Paris. It was a way to express our vision of how we wanted a party to be like. Several friends joined us to form the [BP] crew  and we continued to organise more parties that grew bigger and bigger while keeping the same objective.

Berlin or Paris??

They are two very different cities and we love them both and wouldn’t like to have to choose!

The club / place you would LOVE to play ?

To be honest the last eight hour closing sets we did at CockTail D’Amore at Griessmühle in Berlin were particularly intense. The crazy energy of this party perfectly suits our sound. We are fully satisfied knowing that we will play there again in August.

Tell us 2 tracks you’re sure you gonna play at Homodrop!

We never really plan which songs are gonna be played, yet these two are good candidates for Homodrop:

D’Marc Cantu – Hungry for People


A Split Second – On Command

Catch Abajour at Homodrop this Saturday 6 May from 9pm-4am at Dalston Superstore!



For the final instalment of transcendental gay rave DISCOSODOMA, the crew have recruited Japanese DJ and producer Powder as their special guest! Little is known about this enigmatic rising star, whose Internet presence is limited simply to Soundcloud, allowing her music to speak for itself. She has recently been catching the attention of parties across Europe, after her set at Berlin’s Cocktail D’Amore cemented her as a serious force to be reckoned with. We are absolutely thrilled to be welcoming her to Dalston SUperstore for her lazer basment debut. She caught up with DISCOSODOMA to chat Japan’s party scene, travel and plans for the future!

Hello Powder! We are really excited to have you at DISCOSODOMA this December, which is also one of the dates of your second European tour. Which city has caught your heart so far during your travels overseas?

… I’m feeling a sprinkle of love in every city!

Through your travelling, we assume you have seen different interpretations of Japanese culture. What are the biggest mistakes people make in representing your country’s culture? For example in food and music? 

Thanks to the Internet, people make less mistakes in the representation of Japanese culture, but of course I feel a bit sad every time I come across something being misrepresented.

After the repeal of the dancing ban in Japan, how has the dance scene in the country changed? Are there any notable new club spaces and parties?

I have never taken an active part in Japan’s and more specifically in Tokyo’s officially regulated scene. I have always preferred warehouse parties, both before and after the repeal of the dancing ban.

What about clubbing for the LGBTQ+ community? What makes it more different compared to your experiences in Europe, with Cocktail d’Amore for example?

It’s quite different. As far as I know, it is no exaggeration to say that there is no other party like Cocktail d’Amore and other parties in Europe. In Japan, the community is evolving in their own unique way in a different field such as bar, show, karaoke!

Where would you take us out if we were visiting Tokyo?

There are 2 options:

  1. ramen tour
  2. deep spiritual coffee shop ‘Meikyoku Kissa Lion‘ (no marijuana)


In your opinion, who are the DJs and producers coming out of the Japanese scene that we should take notice?

Between my day job and music, I am unfortunately left with no time to discover new talent…

If you could travel to party to any time in history, where and when would you go?

Definitely in a block party at Bronx during the 70s!

Are there any new exciting projects you are working on and you could share with us?

You will have to wait and see 😉

What shall we expect from your set at DISCOSODOMA?

We’ll just be having super fun!

And finally disco is?

Disco does not discriminate me.

Catch Powder this Saturday at DISCOSODOMA from 9pm-4am at Dalston Superstore. 

Luigi di venere

The DISCOSODOMA crew have had quite the prolific summer, flitting from their Dalston Superstore hotspot to Grecian boat parties and back again! For their next party, they welcome Italian DJ Luigi di Venere who has recently been making serious waves in Berlin. From gigs at Cocktail D’Amore to the hallowed Berghain garden, he has seen a meterioric rise this summer, and we can’t wait to welcome him for his Superstore debut! He caught up with the DISCOSODOMA crew to chat the anthropology of clubbing, Berlin’s virtues and what to expect from his first set in our lazer basement!

Hello Luigi, we are really excited to have you with us for our next party. Can you tell us a bit about you for those who aren’t familiar with your DJ career?

Hello guys! I am from Bari in Italy.  I started DJing during my Stockholm university years where I was hosting a radio show and throwing monthly parties. I am currently living in Berlin.

I always wanted to move here because I was so fascinated by the club scene, and… Here I am, three years now and quite satisfied with it! I play regularly at Cocktail d’Amore and I have my own parties – Maximum Joy, and Overdrive. I also played at Berghain Garden this past summer and… Yeah, that was insane!

On your Resident Advisor profile, it writes that you are “an anthropologist who decided to have clubbing as his object of study and DJing his form of expression”. How did this transition happen?

During my university career I focused on studying the club scene, the fundamentals that make it happen and the styles/fashions that come out of it. The DJ is a key figure in this environment – he/she absorbs the energy of the crowd and transforms it into a lively vinyl narrative composed of moods and rhythms. The result is a unique story that can’t be replicated. I like to express my thoughts through music, it gives me direct satisfaction because the feedback from the crowd is immediate and quite palpable. 

Do you think Berlin is still a city where young creatives can afford to explore and experiment on their art?

Berlin is still a creative city – young people can still afford to express themselves, but it is changing a lot. Rents are rising, clubs are disappearing and the energy of people that move here is different than before. We get a lot of very normal people that work for big corporations and start-ups; people with a 9 to 5 job and a family, totally unaware of the historical importance of the club scene and of all the movements that have made Berlin what it is today.

Would you consider moving to a different city to pursue your artistic endeavours?

If I would choose, now I would rather move to Athens, learn Greek, have great food and beautiful islands around me. That city has an amazing energy and wow, it’s so beautifully decadent! Tip! 

If you could travel to any point in time, when and where would you go? 

I would first go visit Neanderthal man, then I would check out Ancient Egypt, then I would go hang out with Leonardo Da Vinci in Renaissance time and I would go to New York between the 70s and the 80s. The list is long… Shall I go on? These places in time and space I listed are so fascinating for me!

Have you ever thought what would be the ideal party for you?

Arthur Russell live and a Ron Hardy after concert DJ set. A great crispy soundsystem, a wooden dancefloor, beautiful women with fluffy hair and great dance moves, sweaty hairy men shaking their bodies…nothing else matters!

What are the top five records you always go to at your personal times to lift your mood?

Sad City – Introduction To Lisboa, Aged In Harmony – You are a Melody, Michal Turtle – Astral Decoy, Lucio Battisti – Ancora Tu, Soft Rocks – Talking Jungle (Justin Vandervolgen Remix).

Are there any exciting future projects you can share with us at this time?

 I am working on my first record with J.E.E.P. He is a French musician/producer based in Berlin. Can’t tell you more at the moment!

What shall we expect from your set at DISCOSODOMA?

Love is in the air!

And finally, disco is?

Glitter balls, organic harmonies. Disco is more than being alive!

Catch Luigi di Venere at DISCOSODOMA on Saturday 8 October from 9pm-4am at Dalston Superstore!

Debbie Upper

By Whitney Weiss

Debbie Upper (civilian name: Jared Abbott) was born in Michigan and scampered away to New York, where he leapt into nightlife and never looked backed. A former Razzmatazz resident, he traded Barcelona for Berlin and now delights dancers at an impressively diverse array of parties and throws ICKY, a delightfully sleazy Sunday party at Ficken3000. Ahead of his Dalston Superstore debut at Les Poppeurs, we chatted about Berlin nightlife, being inappropriate around famous people, and preferred brands of poppers.

Oh hello! Please introduce yourself/tell the world who DEBBIE UPPER is.

Hi! Debbie is one of Berlin’s more versatile DJs and can be spotted out playing all kinds of cute shit. Her speciality is more on the lost funk and disco and ’80s maxi-cunt vibe, but she definitely keeps up on the all latest rap/r&b and house and techno records. She also hosts the show Single Black Female on Berlin Community Radio.

You throw ICKY, a Sunday night party at the Berlin sexclub Ficken3000. What is the most scandalous thing you’ve witnessed from your not-particularly-secluded perch at the DJ booth?

I’ll never tell! What happens at Ficken, stays at Ficken.

What is the story behind your rather clever DJ name?  

It’s really just a joke that went too far. When I worked for the late, great, and dearly missed Brian Tennessee Claflin at PORK, we’d make up jokey new DJ names all the time. That one just kind of stuck around.

Please take us out for a glorious night of debauchery in Berlin. Where are we having dinner and drinks? What clubs/parties will we visit? What time will we eventually stagger home?  

Dinner would most likely be a shitty curry for 5 euros. I’d definitely take you to my friend Mauro’s sexy ass party BeiTola. And I also love Members, Cocktail D’Amore and Panty Splatters. I’m an old lady, so I am usually home by 7am. I can’t really do the “three days with no sleep” thing anymore.

You did a super-cute show of music you grew up listening to for Hot Pony and many of the songs were from ’80s and ’90s movie soundtracks. So our very important question: what is your favorite erotic thriller? 

Poison Ivy with Drew Barrymore and Sara Gilbert. So much atmosphere! And Love Crimes with Sean Young. It has some fucked up sexual politics, but I love it. Oooh, and Color of Night with Bruce Willis, but that’s really more of a comedy.

I was surprised to learn that you are pro Gwyneth Paltrow. Please explain your stance on this very pressing matter.

She’s just trying to impart some wealthy white woman wisdom and we should all be open to it. And her mother is Blythe fucking Danner. Show some respect.  

You also sometimes throw a karaoke party called Sisters With Voices. In your expert opinion, who is the most underrated female songstress of all time and why?

Lindsay Lohan!!

Now that it is spring, what are the warm-weather jams you cannot stop listening to? 

I’ve been listening to Monie Love a lot lately. And Janet’s first album, the one before Control.  And Millie Jackson’s Caught Up. Also, a lot of Patrice Rushen, but that’s not really a seasonal thing. 

As you are a wonderfully eclectic DJ, what can the dance floor at the next Les Poppeurs expect? Do you have surprises in store? Will you divulge one?

Aw, thanks. I’ll give you a hint: it’s in the Sylvester Stallone movie Cobra.

Also, what is your preferred brand of poppers?

I’m a BlueBoy 4ever <3

Since you were in NY for a fruitful era for clubbing, you must have many excellent stories. Please share a particularly juicy one. 

I caught the tail-end of Roxy, Tunnel, Limelight, etc, but they were all pretty tame by 1999. I’d have to say Madonna “DJing” my friend’s tiny 100-person party was the most memorable evening. A few of my fun stories involve being inappropriate around famous people, like drunkenly telling Susan Sarandon that White Palace is her best movie.

And now, the classic Superstore question: if you had a time machine to travel to any dance floor ever, past present or future, which would you choose and why? 

It’d have to make a few stops. I guess something like CLUB USA or Limelight in like 1994, then the clubs in Basic Instinct/Scarface for a little while, then some sort of Paradise Garage situation, and then ending it all with a shady quaaluudey morning music moment at The Saint. 

Join Debbie Upper this Friday 24th April for Les Poppeurs at Dalston Superstore from 9m – 4am.

Photo credit: Gerard Estadella

Jeffrey Sfire

Detroit DJ Jeffrey Sfire joins us here at Superstore for an extra special European date in between playing at Panorama Bar and at Lab.oratory in Berlin. With a love of all things hi-NRG, Italo, ’80s, Chicago house; Jeffrey’s sets span genres and gets gay men dancing across the world’s discotheques. He’ll be flexing his disco muscles next Saturday for Little Gay Brother’s Locker Room down in the laser pit with Vauxhall babes Maze & Masters.

Having discovered Detroit’s underground warehouse scene at 15, moved to Chicago at 18 and having lived in Berlin, Jeffrey has finely tuned both his music taste and DJing style to suit banging clubs, sleazy afterhours and gay discos, and that’s all in addition to releasing productions under the Sfire name with Samuel Long on Discodromo’s celebrated Cocktail D’Amore label. Ahead of the Little Gay Locker Room we chatted to Jeffrey about his secret past as a restauranteur, going on dates and why everyone loves hi-NRG again…

The theme of the party here at Superstore is Locker Rooms. What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve ever got up to in a locker room?

A boring old BJ.

That’s not boring! That’s naughty!

But it’s not as exciting as it could be.

Tell us what happened.

Oh no wait; I have a good locker room story. It’s not naughty though. My biggest crush in high school, one year in fitness class, had his locker next to mine and it was kinda unbelievable haha. Nothing naughty ever happened but… no I’ve never really gotten up to too much in a locker room.

You’re super influenced by the ’80s- what did you look like then and what kind of music were you listening to… tell us about 80s Jeffrey!

Well I think a lot of my musical influence comes from riding around in my mom’s car listening to pop music.

Mum Jams.

Yeah totally. And I had a little afro because I had really curly hair. She used to make me have this little golden-brown afro which was cute. Oh and my mom used to make me model in department store runway shows! Which is pretty adorable!

I always go back to my mom’s, listening to pop music in her car…. like Madonna, and Wham, just early ‘80s pop. Just radio hits, but back then it was all synthesisers and drum machines, and it was all dancey stuff so it really appealed to me.

If you’d been in your early 20s in the ‘80s, what music do you think you’d have been into of your own accord though?

I don’t know, I always wonder that. You never know… you could have found something else totally interesting. I always wonder what people then thought about the ‘80s music I listen to now. Some people say Italo disco was like trance in the ‘80s. Certainly when dance music from the ‘70s to the ‘80s became more electronic, there were so many musicians that totally disregarded it because they thought it was soulless. Um, I don’t know. I hope I would have been into the same dance music! The Chicago taste, and the Detroit taste really appealed to me, which was mixing everything together- from disco to house to pop to freestyle- all that stuff, just mixing it all together and dancing. I think the New York sound was a little more Afro for me… but then I also think ‘would I have been really New Wave?’ like the Liquid Sky soundtrack kinda music. But I think being in the Midwest especially; it’s humble and more about having fun than being fashion.

Back to baby Jeffrey… you were going to warehouse parties in Detroit from the age of 15. What are your formative rave memories?

It’s funny because I just moved back to Detroit and I’ll pass some burnt out warehouse and be like “didn’t we party there?!” I just remember when I was coming up I was so interested in DJing and so many of my older friends were DJs and I was all about just soaking it in, learning by watching and going to see as much music and different styles as I could. I was so excited. I grew up in a suburb that’s very Old Money, kinda posh and conservative, so getting to escape on the weekends and go to these crazy parties, with tonnes of queer people and all these older people too, so there was all these freedom. It was everything.

But mostly for me it was about watching DJs. There’s so many good DJs here, and so many good styles.

Who are some of the first DJs you saw around that time?

One of my favourites is this guy called D. Wynn. He’s an older Detroit guy, along the same time period as Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson. But he like didn’t become mega famous. I think he’s one of the best DJs from Detroit ever though. He had a really cool style. Also Mike Huckaby was a huge influence, just in his DJ style. And some of my friends that I hung out with all the time, like this guy Derek Plaslaiko who lives in Berlin now. Him, and some other people, I would watch them all the time, and pick up on their styles. I think they had a huge influence on my taste. I think Detroit has a really specific taste. I mean even between Detroit, New York and Chicago, even other cities, I feel like each has a very specific taste. I’m really grateful to be from here, and picked up that, y’know. 

D-Wynn Boiler Room Detroit DJ Set by brtvofficial

Why do you think hi-NRG making such a resurrgence this year?

Because everyone who is like 20 wasn’t sick of it eight years ago! Because they were 14 haha! Honestly, I was at a house party the other day, and this girl that had to have been like 21, she put Spacer Woman on. She was like “Oh.My.God. you guys, listen to this song! It was made in like ’81!!” and she put it on and I was like “You have got to be kidding me. You’re not like totally sick of this song??” She said “I’VE NEVER LIKE HEARD THIS BEFORE!!”

It was just resissued by Dark Entries…

Oh well that’s probably why. I was in San Francisco too. Well that makes sense. Hahaha! It is funny though, because things like that pop up and you’re like Ohhh that’s why.

It has felt since at least the beginning of the year that the genre is reaching a zeitgeisty point and people have started to get a bit bandwagony…

Well I feel like it keeps going through waves.

Everything is cyclic, certainly… but hi-NRG is like the “thing” this year.

Well that’s good to hear, because I like to play it. I mean I guess people just got sick of house music.

If you had a time machine and could visit any dancefloor anywhere/anywhen, where would you want to go dancing?

I think I would wanna go to the Muzic Box in Chicago. And hear Ron Hardy DJ. I would wanna hear him do his thing live.

Or even, there was a club in Detroit called Heaven with this guy Ken Collier.

Tell us about how you met Samuel Long and how Sfire came about?

He and I met on a dancefloor, in Berlin. His band was playing at an art gallery. We had some mutual friends so we were introduced. Then I saw them play and I was really into it, and I could hear the genius in his music. I suggested they make a dance version of a song they did, and he was like “well, why don’t you come and help me make it.” He had heard me DJ a few times, and he just invited me over. He’s very friendly and like ‘lets just have fun making music’ kinda guy. So we worked on it, and then we made a new song and then we were like “lets make a new song”, “lets make a new song”, “lets make a new song” and after a while we had a handful of songs, and we became really good friends. It was really fun just to go hang out and be really casual about it, but still have fun.

Any plans for more Sfire records?

Um yeah, we have maybe five songs that haven’t been released that we could work on. I think the project will turn into us working with lots of different people for each record. It’ll be really fun. Some new producers, and new friends, people from all over really.

You’ve lived in Detroit, Chicago, Berlin… where is your spiritual home?

Oh that’s a tough question. That’s my existential crisis right now. I left Berlin about a year ago and that was my spiritual home for a long time. So I’m really wondering this right now. But I’m starting to think it’s California. It’s a really magical place, and people are really happy there.

Where in California?

San Francisco.

Whilst in Berlin you were also a restauranteur, how did that develop from your supper clubs?

Well my ex boyfriend who I moved to Berlin with, he is an extremely talented chef, so for money we did a supper club that got a ton of press for it. We just ran with it, and it just seemed like an easy thing to do, to open the business in Berlin. There was a great demand for it, so we knew it would be successful. And so we went for it! American style!

There’s a video interview online with you both in the restaurant and the décor is amazing, especially all the lights… owl lights, and deer lights… it just seemed like you’d obviously put a lot of thought into that.

Yeah. We did. We completely renovated that place. It was this disgusting filthy restaurant before, so we tore out everything, and built the bar, and the shelves and everything. The flea markets in Germany are so great because they have so many of these animal figurines; actually most of them are on my desk right now! The owl lights and all the bunnies. Flea markets in Berlin on Sundays. You just have to go. And the best thing we would do was take loads of road trips, and if you drive down the country roads, every town you get to has a second hand shop where you can fill up a trunk for €10. It’s incredible.

RADIUS.TV | Little Otik | Jeffrey Sfire & Kevin Avery from RADIUS. magazine on Vimeo.

You’re taking us on a date in a city of your choice. Where are we going, what are we eating and where are we dancing?

I could do this for all the fun cities right now. But lets say San Francisco. We’re gonna eat Burmese food, and we’re having tea salad (lahpet thoke). My favourite restaurant there is called Burmese Kitchen.

Isn’t it closing down?

Oh yes it is. We’re going before it closes. Anyway, this is a fantasy so it’s still open. So we’d eat there and then we’d go get a doughnut at Bob’s Doughnuts. Then we’d go to a Honey Soundsystem party. It would be amazing.

What are we drinking though?

What are we drinking? Well honestly we’re probably drinking tea, because me and Josh [Cheon] and Robot Hustle always have tea when we’re together because we’re old ladies. We’ll drink tea and then go for a dance.

What’s the first record you ever bought?

A Jeff Mills record. Purpose Maker record. When I first started DJing I was really into a lot of hard techno. So I think my first records was like Jeff Mills records and Joey Beltram records.

The last record you bought?

A Mantra record on Bunker from The Netherlands.

And what’s the record that never leaves your bag?

It’s this freestyle record that I love to play. It’s by Shana and it’s called I Want You. It really never leaves my bag. I played it once in Berlin and my best friend was like “oh, such a Jeff record.”

What’s the reaction it gets from people, other than those that already know you?

I think it’s normally a great reaction. But the best reaction I get is when I play in New York or Chicago and someone runs up and you can tell it was a childhood track of theirs and they’re like “I FUCKING LOVE THIS SONG!!! THIS IS MY SONG!!” A lot of times that happens and it’s the best. When you see someone with that genuine look on their face and it’s not a club hit. Especially in Chicago, I get that a lot. Almost everything I DJ was on the radio in the ‘80s there. People just get so happy to hear that stuff so you get these genuine reactions that are priceless. I love that. Going back to Chicago and DJing is really fun for me.     

Join Jeffrey at Little Gay Locker Room at Dalston Superstore on Saturday 15th November from 9pm – 3am.


This Saturday sees the return of one of our favourite parties, Discosodoma. And this time they’ve invited Italians-living-in-Berlin, Discodromo to the Superstore basement! Fresh from the 5th Birthday of their own party/record label, CockTail D’Amore, the duo will be joined by local heroes 2Dads’Boy, MDMX, Y.O.T.I. and Anywayyouwanna. Ahead of the party the Elektra Complex collective posed a few questions about Berlin, dancing philosophies and global politics to find out more about them…

By Elektra Complex

It’s been a year since your last appearance at Dance Tunnel in London. What has changed since then?  

Not much to be honest… no wait, we’re both one year older and our baby just turned 5!

Recently you celebrated the five-year anniversary of CockTail d’Amore with Joe Claussell as your special guest. What have been your most memorable moments during this journey?  

Oh, way too many to remember… one time we had a half hour black out though, and the dancefloor turned into a huge darkroom. 

If you had the chance to do it all over again, would you have changed something?  

No way! 

How has the Berlin scene changed over the years from your perspective? Do you enjoy the growing popularity of the city as an international destination? 

Music-wise we can say it’s much more diverse now. Forget about Berlin as just techno city… there’s a lot more going on these days. Part of it is because of all the newcomers. Gentrification though, is spreading though and well… who likes that???

Due to the volatile political situation between Israel and Palestine, you found yourselves issuing a statement reassuring your fans in Tel Aviv that your gig will happen no matter what. Do you find politics and social issues informing your music and performances?  

Actually that statement was more about music as a peaceful message. That’s why we pointed out we played in both Ramallah and Tel Aviv.

“Nothing Matters When We’re Dancing” is a strong statement with multiple interpretations. Is music the ultimate form of escapism and a driving force for inclusiveness of all identities? Is this what sits at the very core of your work?  

*nothing matters when we’re dancing* is more a declaration of love to music. It’s about becoming one thing with it and loosing yourself. You call it escapism? We’d say more *meditation* 

With your new compilation, featuring Young Marco, Chymera, Lord Of The Isles, and yourselves among others, out in late October, where do you see the future of dance music going? Are there any distinctive sounds or styles emerging? 

It’s funny you ask this cause dance music is becoming everyday harder and harder to define. Genres are melting and contaminating each other in unexpected ways. These experiments in genres crossover are what excites us the most.    

Next week you will be taking your CockTail d’Amore at ADE for a special event with cosmic disco patron, Daniele Baldelli. Do you have any equally exciting future projects you would like to share with us? 

Yeah well our compilation is coming out soon and that’s something we’re really excited about… plus there is another Cocktail d’Amore in Paris at the Gaité Lyrique on the 25th of October celebrating the 5 years of the party.

What shall we expect from your Discosodoma set? 

Everything… and more!

And finally, disco is?

THE answer. 

Join Discodromo this Saturday for Discosodoma at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 4am.

Borja Pena

Superstore Saturday nighter B(e)ast is run by our favourite international party boy Borja Peña; a man who knows a thing or two about what makes a party go with a bang. We asked him about his favourite dance floors across the globe… 

Uhmm…. well apart from the obvious choices that would be Berghain Panorama bar or Fabric on a Sunday… and the best of all of them Dalston Superstore especially while my night B(e)ast happens… hehe… my five choices are more intimate places with fantastic music and amazing crowd that make this five dance floors the best ones in the world to have a party…. in no particular order as I really like each and one of them for different reasons.


One not to be missed if you go to Barcelona; this party is organised by the one and only Silvia Prada who’s a fantastic DJ, a great host and an all round gorgeous girl who curates a killer party… Cabaret was sadly closed by the government last year but thanks to the wonderful people of Barcelona it has reopened again and it’s back in full form with great music courtesy of Silvia herself and her guests that go from Hercules And Love Affair’s Kim Ann Foxman to the creative director of Luis Vuitton Kim Jones himself… and if you add to this hottest Spanish guys and girls, well if you happen to be in Barcelona keep your eyes open for this one… Super recommended!


This party encapsulates the essence of Madrid: really underground local DJs, guests from all over the world, crazy shows, short films… It’s a very special party that moves from one club to another so you really have to check on Facebook if its happening when you visit Madrid. The promoter/DJ/ host of the night Juan Vulker is an icon of the Madrilian night who never fails to deliver with a really mixed crowd all really up for a good time. Really good fun.


In truly underground New York style, this party is something of a hidden gem… The top floor of the bar where this takes place is a Broadway style kind of bar with people singing musicals and enjoying a glass of wine but when you go downstairs it’s The MONSTER… and this party curated by Jools Pamper and Mandy Graves… who also happen to be wicked DJs. It attracts from the vogue houses of New York to fashionistas and music lovers… it’s a very special party that happens on Thursdays. Regular DJs include Sean B & Will Automatic from SPANK (another very cool party that takes place in NY), Honey Dijon or international guests like The Lovely Jonjo.


Some people say it’s the best party Berlin has to offer… Very lo key and run by Discodromo and Boris Dolinsk. This is a truly spectacular gay party that we were lucky to have at Superstore some months ago. It’s pretty much gay and the music is genius, it also changes location so it’s better to check in Facebook if you are in Berlin to see if it’s happening. This is the one party when you hear tracks from past, present and future that keep you dancing all night long! BRILLIANT! It also has international guests and DJs like London’s own Simon Rigg from Phonica Records.


Who said the Swiss were boring…? This party makes an exception because the hottest guys of Zurich come down and get tougher to dance the night away. The promoters are really amazing guys and are always bringing cool DJs from all over the world to keep this party the best one Zurich has to offer. It’s getting bigger and bigger from its start in a little bar in the centre of town now being held in an enormous venue part of a hotel with 2 rooms. Last time I went… I forgot how I got home… ridiculous fun! GOOD times!!

There’s so many other dancefloors all over the world that are worth a special mention but I do keep these ones above in a special place next to my heart! ENJOY!!

Borja is next playing at B(e)ast at Dalston Superstore with SNAX, Kevinfunkt and a very special guest on Saturday 4th of February! Don’t miss.