Catch Marie at Outré Voyage Friday 21st September 9:00PM-3:00AM at Dalston Superstore!
Catch Marie at Outré Voyage Friday 21st September 9:00PM-3:00AM at Dalston Superstore!
After their thunderous debut in April, this Friday sees Ni-Ku and J.Aria return for an extravaganza of boundary pushing experimental club-music at the second instalment of MegaLast! Providing the heat in our lazerhole is none other than the queen of trance-like rhythms, ricocheting percussions and delirious energy, object blue!
What LGBTQ+ musicians are inspiring you at the moment?
We can’t believe it huns… Our pure nonsense heauxmeauxsexy disco party Mints is entering their terrible twos this Friday! To help celebrate, they have invited none other than Australian wunderkind selector Toni Yotzi to the mothership, joining a very special lineup of international special guests including Johannes Albert and Jaqi Sparro! Toni Yotzi has reached icon status down under, having helped put Perth on the underground electronic music map by programming Deep Doogs’ sunrise rave and presenting parties for the like of Kenji Takimi, Bell Towers and DJ Nozaki. In 2018, she has gone from strength to strength, with highlights including headlining Golden Plains Festival and being a recent special guest on Tim Sweeney‘s New York dance music institution Beats In Space radio show! We caught up with Toni to find out about her infamous Camp Doogs festival, the Australian electronic music scene and what she thinks makes queer crowds so special!
Hey Toni! We are so excited to finally have you at Dalston Superstore! You’ve been on a bit of a whirlwind tour over the last few weeks, how has it been?
I’m so excited too! I feel like I’ve been away for ages but it’s been great! It’s been a bit testing at points., learned a lot and listened to club music on nice sound systems which I’ve been missing in Melbourne. Inspiration on tap.
Can you tell us a bit about Camp Doogs, the festival that you co-curated in Western Australia?
Doogs is a booteek festival a few hours out of Perth, we celebrated our fifth birthday last year by giving ourselves a holiday in 2018 haha! I book Deep Doogs, the rave part of the weekend and Stephen Bellaire (Reef Prince) works on the main stage. It’s a really special weekend for a lot of people that celebrates local and national artists. We never release the line up which is a programmer’s dream because you can create a weekend of deep creative cookery. People come with an open mind and leave feeling excited about enjoying something they wouldn’t necessarily normally rave too.
You have hosted radio since 2011. What do you love about community radio?
Community radio is so important to me. It’s been the start of so many amazing artists’ careers, like CC: Disco!, Noise In My Head and Andras. I love the freedom of expression, which has undoubtably shaped how I DJ. Community radio gives the underrepresented a voice, and way to explore ideas and passions. Creating stories with sound is so interesting to me, I wouldn’t even know how to begin trying to convey the same visions with film. I love how it’s adapted to changes in people’s listening habits. Radio will never die.
How do you think your hometowns of Perth and Melbourne have influenced you as a DJ?
Brits love the seaside, so Perth has always had a lot of English expats (my mum being one of them)! I suppose this lead to a strong drum n bass scene in the 90s and 00s and a general UK club influence. I didn’t quite realise the influence until I noticed it wasn’t as common across Australia to thrown in trap, bass music and rap in a club set. I’ve been listening to Noise In My Head mixes for a long time as well which filtered a unique Melbourne eclectic ~ vibe ~ throughout too.
The Australian electronic music scene is finally starting to be recognized on more of an international scale, and we think it’s about time! Who are some under-represented Australian artists who we should have on our radar right now?
I’m loving Hame DJ, he’s just put out a great ep on Vulcan Venti, Rok Riley is Perth’s spiritual guide to everything good: the best selector, DJ and carer. Tourist Kid is also a true inspiration to me, he can play anything. I joke he’s a mix machine because he churns out so many incredible sets. A boy genius, crazy fast worker, he just put out an amazing textural experience on Melody As Truth called Crude Tracer, but he also makes next generation library music and bangers (hopefully soon).
What is special about playing to a queer crowd?
NRG, expression, appreciation, cheekiness…all the absolute best things.
You have become known as a master of genre-bending sets. With such a diverse repertoire, what are some of your favourite places to discover new music?
Gahhhh the genre mash – my truest love-hate relationship. I often say to myself, ‘Whyyyyy can’t you just play one thing!’ But it doesn’t work like that. So for digging in the last couple of years, I’ve started buying records again which is really good for finding old but fresh labels then I can discogs dive. I especially like 90s rave and percussion-driven house. I listen to a lot of mixes and I really like Bandcamp for finding new releases because their emails are very specific to what artists and labels you like.
What has been a personal highlight of yours over the last few years?
I think playing at Golden Plains a few months ago will be a lifetime highlight… Peaked too soon! The sound system is incredible, one stage with 10 000+ people in a natural amphitheatre surrounded by incredible Australia bushland, working on visuals with friends. I cried a bit on stage playing Hiroshi Wantanbe’s Infinity Sign because it was just all so beautiful.
What is the craziest thing that has happened during one of your sets?
The fact I can have a existential crisis while DJing and keep playing is pretty wild to me lol.
Who are some of the DJs and selectors who have inspired you?
Gosh ummm lately DJ Bone’s mixing style, Luca Lozano for party vibes, Gatto Fritto, Gene Hunt. They aren’t really who I would’ve thought I’d enjoy but it’s so nice to be surprised because I see so many sets that it gets blurry. Kenji Takimi and DJ Nozaki a few years back. Roza Terenzi also played some insane sets on tour recently too.
In five words or less, what do you have in store for us at Mints?
~ nasty’n’nice ~ tuff’b’fun ~
Catch Toni Yotzi at Mints on Friday 10 August from 9pm-4am at Dalston Superstore!
This Pride our favourite happy-go-lucky rave situation HOMODROP is taking you out of the commercial noise of central London and queering Pride with an underground, sweaty rave situation! They’ve roped in a line-up of LGBTQ+ Nightlife trailblazers including Iranian vibe wizard Kasra V!
To get you in the mood for Pride, we thought we’d ask HOMODROP Promoter Cheriii for their top ten Pride Anthems! Honestly huns, this track list is going to get you ready for a big old messy Pride weekend! Slay!
So what made the cut Cheriii?
We have to start with the classics! LGBTQ+ History is so intertwined with music and club culture! It’s so important to know where we came came from!
Finally of course…
10. RuPaul – Sissy that walk Whilst I don’t agree with everything RuPaul has said, it’s astounding what he has created in the last few years. To have created a platform to showcase the creativity of Drag and LGBTQ+ people more broadly is important. And more importantly, for young LGBTQ+ people to see themselves on a mainstream TV show is definitely a positive. SO, now Sissy that walk.
On Saturday, the Laurel and Hardy of Dalston and legendary DJ’s, Dan Beaumont & Wes Baggaley, are joining forces to get you all bumping and thumping to some deep homosexual house with their brand new night: Bottom Heavy! Having both been prominent figures in London’s queer nightlife for over a decade and played some of the most infamous parties around the globe including The NYC Downlow, we are pretty sure that these two bottoms know how to throw a TOP party.
Despite their quite sickening resumés and having been pals for years, its actually the first time they’ve collaborated together! Don’t worry huns, this isn’t the only venture for the duo. Later in the year, Dan and Wes will be playing back-to-back at Farr festival alongside Prosumer, Tama Sumo and Lakuti!
To get you lubed up and prepared for Bottom Heavy, Dan and Wes had a little chinwag amongst themselves! Read on to find out what these two legends think about the state of London’s LGBTQ+ Nightlife, their most played records and whats on the horizon for them both!
Dan: Can you remember the point in your life that house music grabbed you?
Wes: I do actually. I was still at school and too young to go clubbing but I remember when Steve Silk Hurley’ ‘Jack Your Body’ and Raze ‘Break For Love’ were in the UK charts and on Top of the Pops. I remember the video for ‘Jack Your Body’ having a bucking bronco in it. Then there was the whole acid house /rave thing in the tabloids. I became mesmerised by it. I used to buy 7-inch singles every week with my pocket money from being really young and I remember buying ‘Jack Your Body’, ‘Love Can’t Turn Around’ and Inner City ‘Good Life’ on 7inch. The first house music 12 inch I bought was Lil Louis ‘French Kiss’ in 1989/90 which I still have and still play.
Dan: I remember all those weird cartoon videos they threw together for those Chicago house records that became hits. Also remember thinking ‘who is Steve Silk Hurley and why isn’t he in his video?’ Then I got totally obsessed with Betty Boo.
Wes: What inspired you to open Dalston Superstore?
Dan: I met Matt and other Dan (DSS co-owners) when they were running Trailer Trash, and I was doing a party called Disco Bloodbath. As promoters, we often had problems with venues, and talked a lot about starting our own. Eventually we began looking in earnest and around 2008 we found the site that became Superstore. It had been empty for a couple of years before we found it. We just wanted to create a space where the people who came to our parties would feel at home, where the music, drinks and food were all good and our friends could be themselves.
Dan: What sounds are you looking for when you go shopping for records to play out? What are you trying to communicate through DJing?
Wes: That’s a tough one. I like a really wide range of different music and play various styles but when I’m looking for sort of functional dancefloor records I tend to be drawn to quite energetic stuff with lots of percussion. I’m a massive fan of the old Cajual, Relief and Dance Mania Records and always tend to gravitate towards that type of jacking type sound. I also like disco and I’m a sucker for a disco sample but I don’t like playing the same sound all night. I just tend to play what feels right at the time, could be soulful, disco, acid, techno, hypnotic deep stuff, jazzy stuff, ravey breaks type stuff, broken beat, African percussion.
Wes: You’re partly responsible for some of the best LGBTQ+ parties around at the moment including my favourite, Chapter 10. What are your thoughts on LGBTQ+ clubbing in London at the moment, especially with a lot of venue closures in the last 5 years?
Dan: I personally think that LGBTQ+ clubbing is very inspiring right now. Adonis, Discosodoma, Homodrop, PDA, Femmetopia, Gay Garage and loads of others are all pushing underground queer music and culture to new places. Unfortunately the gay scene is still affected by misogyny, internalised homophobia, body shaming, transphobia and masculine bullshit, but it seems like more interesting voices are starting to come through, which means more creativity and more talent steering queer clubbing. Also it’s exciting to see groups like Friends of the Joiners Arms, Resis’Dance, and London LGBTQ+ Community Centre (all rooted in queer dancefloors) disrupting the status quo.
Dan: What do you think are the positives and negatives of LGBTQ+ clubs right now?
Wes: I also think it’s a very good time for LGBTQ+ clubbing at the moment. In spite of a lot of the recent venue closures there are great nights popping up in non LGBTQ+ clubs. Seems to be a sort of creative DIY culture happening which is great. There same is happening in other cities like Manchester with great nights like Meat Free at the White Hotel and Kiss Me Again at the Soup Kitchen. There’s some great music events and brilliant cabaret stuff going on at the likes of The Glory and The RVT. As you mentioned, the internalised homophobia, transphobia and misogyny needs to be addressed. A lot of the fetish venues have closed down and some of the bigger LGBTQ+ fetish nights in London are struggling to get venues. I do think this is a vital part of the culture that is dwindling. I reckon we need a LGBTQ+ fetish rave with good music.
Dan: Good point about all the amazing queer parties outside of London!
Wes: Can you tell me some of your favourite producers and record labels at the moment?
Dan: Labels: Lionoil, Let’s Go Swimming, Lobster Theramin, E-Beamz/Hothaus/UTTU, Not An Animal, Ransom Note, Sound Signature, Stillove4music, Dolly, The Corner, Work Them, Mistress. Producers: Telfort, Powder, Mr Tophat & Art Alfie, Jay Duncan, Midland, Jonny Rock, LB Dub Corp, Stephen Brown, Garrett David, Steffi, rRoxymore, Pariah, and everything Luke Solomon touches. Loads more that I’ve forgotten!
Dan: I love it when you find a record that you know intimately from the first bar to the outro, and it does a really long stint in your bag. What are your most played records over the past couple of years?
Wes: I’ve got a few of them. I’d say my absolutely most played record is Braxton Holmes and Mark Grant –The Revival on Cajual, which has never left my bag in 20 years. I actually need to replace it because I’ve almost worn it out. Also the Maurice Fulton Syclops ones, Where’s Jason’s K, Jump Bugs and Sarah’s E With Extra P are go to tracks but luckily he’s just released another album of gems. The man’s a genius. There’s Kinshasa Anthem by Philou Lozolo on Lumberjacks in Hell that came out a couple of years ago that I’ve played a lot, and then there’s that Danny Tenaglia remix of Janet Jackson – The Pleasure Principle that I’ve owned for many years but didn’t know what it was until I heard you play it at Phonox haha
Dan: I’ve totally stolen The Revival off you. It’s pure magic.
Wes: Tell us a bit about the idea behind Bottom Heavy. What can we expect?
Dan: The main idea is so we can play together all night and I can steel your tunes! Whenever I’ve heard you play, I can hear a sound in between all your records, a sort of energy that I’m always searching for myself. It’s hard to describe, but it exists in the space between that jacking Chicago sound, leftfield Detroit stuff and tribal New York tracks. Plus also jazz, afro, techno, electro and disco elements. As we mentioned earlier, here are loads of great gay nights popping off, but I think what’s missing is a really great HOUSE all-nighter that joins the dots between all those sounds.
Wes: Haha! Well there’ll be a lot of tune stealing going on because I’ve been known to have a sneaky peek through your bag as well.
Dan: Back to your earlier point about Fetish nights. Why are they important to the gay scene? Are there any you remember particularly fondly? If you were to throw a fetish party, what would the vibe be?
Wes: With the fetish thing I thing it’s important to have those spaces where you can dress up and sort of act out your fantasies and do whatever you want within reason. I’m actually not massive into the sexual side of it myself believe it or not, but I do like the spectacle of the whole thing and the dressing up and the fact people are free to express themselves sexually at those nights without judgement. Sadly a lot of the fetish nights are also men only parties that go hand in hand with the whole gay misogyny thing.
A few years ago me and my friend Lucious Flajore put on a fetish night at The Hoist which is now closed. The night was open to everybody, gay, bi, trans, heterosexual men and women. The soundtrack was dark disco, slow brooding techno and weird electronics in one room where we also had alternative cabaret and showed art house horror movies and in the other lighter room we played disco and showed John Waters films.
The atmosphere was great but we had problems with the sound and there was no dancefloor to speak of then the venue closed. We also had a problem with heterosexual men complaining about gays (I know right? At the Hoist!). I am actually thinking about re-launching the party at a new venue and putting in a good sound system but making it more LGBTQ+ focused and making sure people know that women and trans people are more than welcome
Dan: That sounds amazing. You need to make it happen!
Dan: OK last one from me. Who is your biggest DJ influence?
Wes: That’s really tough but I have to say Derrick Carter. I first heard him play in about 1995 and became obsessed. I loved the way he seemed to mix different styles with ease and mix the records for ages.
Dan: I used to go to his Classic residency at The End religiously, and would always try and describe tunes that Derrick played to people in record shops the following week. I never had any luck. I was probably trying to describe about three records being played at the same time.
Wes: And for my last one I’m going to fire that question back at you and also ask if you have any music coming out soon?
Dan: I’ve got a bunch of music nearly finished that I need to sort out. I’m going to lock myself away and do that. Arranging tracks does my nut in.
Catch Dan & Wes at Bottom Heavy Saturday 23rd June 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore!
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??
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 Riot, Pornceptual, Herrensauna, Gegen, Cocktail d’Amore, Members, GDay, 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!
Can you believe its been a whole year since SofterTouch made their cosmic crash-landing at the mothership? This Thursday sees an intergalactic celebration of the rowdy, abrasive, noise intensive experiencé that has become a cult-hit! With three successful club nights AfterTouch, SofterTouch and MEGALAST as well as playing at festivals such as Secret Garden Party, LeeFest and Glastonbury, J.Aria (Jacob Aria) and Ni-ku (Nik Rawlings) are renowned across East London for their eclectic and bratty DJ stylings. We caught up with Jacob and Nik to chat about how their friendship blossomed, why we’ve heard Barry Manilow play at SofterTouch, and what we can expect from Thursday!
Hiya Jacob and Nik! For our readers who aren’t that well acquainted with you two, can you tell us a bit about yourselves ?
J: I’ve been working as a musician in some form or another since I was about 15. Loads of different bands and gigs, festivals and all that. My main focus is a vocalist and experimental producer. I started to find my feet as a DJ about eighteen months ago.
N: I come from a choral background, had a noise band when I was a teenager and ended up studying Sound Art in Brighton, and DJing and promoting went hand in hand with that. For a long time I was obsessed with voguing and that informed a lot of my earlier DJ sets, and I organised a series of voguing events in Nottingham. I’ve always been drawn to more textural, intense, manic music. I think some highlights for me so far have been playing for Boo Hoo at Südblock in Berlin, at Tropical Waste with a hero of mine, KABLAM, and at Intruder Alert in Warsaw. Travelling and making new connections is one of the best things about DJing.
You’ve been collaborating with one another for quite some time now. Let’s rewind… How did you two meet?
J: We met at a Lotic gig in Brighton and hit it off. We’re both quite unbearable so we compliment each other pretty well.
N: Jacob and I hit it off pretty much immediately (ie. we both ranted a lot). Our interests and taste clicked so when I moved up to London it was an obvious move to work together. We’re a good balance as a duo and Jacob’s happy to tell me to shut up which is important when you work with me.
Your first club night, Aftertouch, seemed to have a real underground and experimental vibe to it. Tell us a little bit about the premise behind it?.
J: We wanted to bring together experimental queer performance art with experimental queer club DJing in a way that we hadn’t experienced before in London – it was usually one or the other.
N: We had spoken a lot about how at the time (2015/16) there was a lack of queer nights that focussed on the more experimental club music we were both into whilst also making a good space for performance art and radical drag. We wanted to present a night that was darker, more confrontational, disco-free, without being too overtly serious or prescriptive.
Aftertouch provided an amazing platform for queer artists. There seems to be an abundance of amazing LGBTQ+ performance talent but a lack of spaces for them. How can London become a better city for performers?
J: There are loads of amazing things happening now. But it’s always a nightmare trying to get a venue to support you with your stuff. There’s usually always a catch, and doing something that isn’t super conventional is always a gamble. I think London would benefit from having more interesting and accessible spaces to party in. The licensing laws here are too tight, it stifles a lot of freedom when you’re regulated in that way. It needs to loosen up, and we need more funding to be put into creative outlets. It’s kind of a rich kids playground, and rich kids are boring c**ts.
N: There’s some fundamental issues being in London that need to improve that would positively impact all creative scenes and especially queer performers. Space tends to be in short supply, but so is time; without lower rent and better wages it’s impossible to take time to make work! We all need more time and space than we often have in London if we want to be able to make ambitious, honest and original work. I’m sick of seeing new build flats sold on the credibility of the ‘creative quarter’ that they knocked down. Dedicated spaces are in short supply, so hats off to the LGBTQ+ Community Centre project. Projects like that are going to be wildly important in supporting performers.
Why did you decide to move away from performance to a music-centred night with SofterTouch?
J: I just wanted to bring something really different to the Dalston Superstore programming, and to have a regular night to work on my DJ skills I guess. It had always been that I was the one that sorted the performance aspect of afterTouch and I wanted to cross over into DJing. Plus Superstore have always been so supportive of us as both friends and mentors that we wanted to do something there, something ‘at home’.
N: We’d both worked at Superstore – and for me it was a formative club when I first started coming to queer clubs, so obviously we wanted to ‘come home’. But we were also really excited to disrupt what people might expect from Dalston Superstore, and bring something a bit more confrontational and manic. It’s been a really great learning experience for both of us; we play B2B all night, and play a really frenetic and sometimes jarring combination of tracks, so the music can be a real journey. It’s kind of like an argument on the decks, but somehow it works. Oh, and generally I’ll close out with a basic bitch trance or donk remix of something so there’s that.
In terms of your DJ styles, who or what have been your inspirations?
J: My influences are all over the place. Sometimes I’m pretending I’m Black Madonna or Honey Dijon, other times it’s Aphex Twin or JLin. I dunno, I’m super messy. I get most of my inspiration from my DJ friends or by being on the other side of the desk on the dance floor and kinda peeking over to see how the DJ is working. I’m always trying to study whoever I see.
N: Big question. I think the whole of our particular scene looks to TOTAL FREEDOM as an originator. KABLAM, originally of Janus in Berlin is still my current favourites, we have a lot of choral influences in common too. Then also I always look back to the Bubblebyte party, maybe seven years ago in Peckham where AIDS-3D & TCF (then known as Craxxxmurf) played loads of insane bubbling and hardstyle – it still stands out years later, and I’ll weave in some tracks from that period throughout most sets. When I’m playing a solo mix I’ll plan a trajectory and think about the textural and emotional story I want to tell, and when I play SofterTouch with Jacob it’s much more about wild trax that’ll just about fit with whatever they’ve been playing and keep bodies moving without being too stuck to genre or tempo.
Its safe to say that you both are quite contrasting in what you play, but we’ve never experienced a dull moment when you’re both going b2b at SofterTouch! Why do you think you both work so well together?
J: It just keeps the night evolving, because the mood is constantly shifting. We have totally different tastes but there’s a middle ground, we are both trying to experiment in similar ways – just with different tracks. If I think Nik is being too bratty I’ll play Barry Manilow just to piss him off.
N: We kind of battle each other a bit and sometimes there’ll be 30 minutes of us playing tracks that mix smoothly and then you’ll have a whole load of material that shouldn’t work together but somehow does. There’s a huge range of genres we’ll play from…. and every now and again I’ll drop a lipsync track in and get on the bar. We play a lot of quite intense music but it’s all with a sense of humour.
More recently, you both brought your experimental flare to our Friday night line-up with MEGALAST! Whats in store for the next one?
J: MegaLast is our new Friday night party. It’s kind of a natural progression from softerTouch. We are bringing in challenging and experimental DJs from across the country and the continent. I guess we are really trying to shake up the kind of programming you would expect on Kingsland Road on a Friday night. We are back on August 31st for round two, it’s gonna be even bigger and rowdier than our first. I’m super excited about who we are looking to get down to the lazerpit this time around.
N: MegaLast brings both SofterTouch and AfterTouch’s music policies together; there’s artists downstairs playing more abrasive, experimental and intense music downstairs in the basement and diverse party tracks upstairs. The next one will be headlined by Object Blue whose recent release on Tobago Tracks is one of the standout records of the year for us; they’re also a regular Superstore-goer and so we’re really excited to have her at DSS for the first time
Who would be your dream booking?
J: Flying Lotus or J Lin would be nuts.
In five words, can you describe what we can expect Thursday?
J: Bratty, erratic, explorations, heaviness and audacity.
N: Cute bounce, much booty, kick.
Catch J.Aria and Ni-Ku at SofterTouch: One Year this Thursday 7th June 9pm-2:30am at Dalston Superstore!
This Thursday sees Littlebocker, the rebellious little sis’ of Queer Dance Party Knickerbocker, return to our homo-pleasure palace! Since 2015, Promoters Alex Lawless and Aaron Zimbra have been slaying the night with Knickerbocker at their residence in The Yard in Hackney Wick! With queer inclusivity at its core, an irresistible mix of alt-pop, indie-dance & house and a plethora of East London talent having performed on their stage, its no wonder that Knickerbocker has reached iconic cult status.
For the seventh instalment of our collaborative lovechild, Littlebocker, we thought it was about time we had a ki-ki with Alex and Aaron! We caught up with them to reminisce about the beginnings of this dynamic-duo, their thoughts on masc4masc culture and why they think that the queer scene should be under the sea!
Oh hey Knickerbocker! Could you each tell us a bit about yourselves for those who don’t know you?
Hiyaaaaa. We’re two friends who have somehow ended up DJing and promoting parties together. We’ve both got irregular day jobs that influence what we do –Alex is a producer at BBC Radio 1 (you may have heard him 9pm weeknights alongside Charlie Sloth aka ‘Dusty’) and I’m a curator of performance art for Fierce Festival in Birmingham.
Knickerbocker is our bastard baby love child/Queer Dance Party that we started THREE YEARS AGO (don’t) at The Yard in Hackney Wick. Recently we’ve started a monthly sister night called Littlebocker on 4th Thursdays at Dalston Superstore which is real niiiice.
How did the two of you meet and start promoting together?
We met very much by chance in Edinburgh in 2010. After a one night stand and me deleting Alex off facebook for a year, its turned into an 8 year sentence, and counting. I’d wanted to start a club night for a little while, but was scared to take the jump, but then my friend Jay (at The Yard) started pushing me to do a night at his venue, and eventually I ran out of excuses, roped Alex in and bit the bullet.
What inspired you to start Knickerbocker?
We’d been clubbing in London pretty hard for a while, but our interest had started to wane: Looking back we were just going to the wrong clubs. We’d often found our women friends feeling uncomfortable in certain male dominated spaces – parties with ridiculous, hyper sexualized, or masc4masc names like PORK PARTY.
We wanted to create a more inclusive space, where our women and non-binary friends felt welcome. At the time we also found ourselves frequently dancing in pubs with bad sound systems – so we wanted to create a party that put the music first. At the time we weren’t exactly techno-heads, and felt that the world of electronic music was a little exclusive but we were also sick of hearing the same 20 party classics on repeat.
At Knickerbocker you hear the alt-pop you love earlier on, and as things get late, we ramp up the BPM and do a lil bit of crate digging as closing time looms.
For those that have never been to your party before – tell them what it’s about (and what they’re missing out on!)
It’s a friendly house party, where anything goes really. It’s a knees up for the mid week partier, a monthly salon for the queer, the interesting and the messes.
If you could change anything about the queer scene in London, what would it be?
Maybe it would be fun if we were all mermaids and it was all underwater and straight people were jelly fish.
If you had to sum up Littlebocker’s sound in one track, what would it be?
Hmmm, it’s not necessarily a KBR classic, but in terms of getting to the essence of what we’re about I think the Joakim remix of Robyn’s ‘With Every Heartbeat’ is probably a pretty good shout. It’s familiar, but strange and you can get lost in it. It’s a great track for late on when everyone’s slightly worse for wear. It calms people down for a bit before we crank up the dial again.
What has been your favourite release of the year so far?
I’m enjoying Peggy Gou’s It Makes You Forget – bring on summer!
Do you have an all time favourite music video?
Victoria Beckham – Let Your Head Go
If you had a time machine and could go dancing anywhere/when, where would you go?
I wouldn’t go back that far to be honest. I don’t fancy dancing to a fiddle and flute in a tavern humming of sewage. Maybe Weimar Berlin, but I guess Liza Minnelli wasn’t actually there and it didn’t turn out so well in the end. Probably David Mancuso’s Loft – it certainly inspired Knickerbocker a bit. Though actually I was reading about Grace and the illegal raves she threw in the 90s with the DIY Collective recently that got them branded the ‘most dangerous people in Britain’ – that sounded like a good time.
Who are some of your favourite performers in the East London queer scene at the moment?
Excuse the inevitable omissions, friends, but we love Eleanor Fogg, Victoria Sin, Edythe Wooley (Manly Stanley), Ellis D, Jamila-Johnson Small, Lucy McCormick, Thom Shaw aka Pam Lustgarten, marikiscrycrycry and of course HRH Oozing Gloop and our own ARTIST IN RESIDENCE Katy Baird. There’s a real rigor, inventiveness and political edge to all of their performances – and they’ve all performed at Knickerbocker at some point. Oh and I literally can’t stop laughing whenever John Sizzle walks onto any stage.
In three words or less, what should we expect at the next instalment of Littlebocker?
Communal Liquid Gold
Catch the Littlebocker DJs at Littlebocker every fourth Thursday of the month from 9pm-2:30am at Dalston Superstore
Next Friday sees the Clash Bash queens return their forth mismatched instalment, SEXY SHAPES! Headlining this asymmetrical experiencé, is LA based DJ & nightlife extraordinaire, Sindri! Having been at the forefront of LGBTQ+ nightlife for 15 years and playing at iconic parties across the pond such as Dickslap (Seattle), Honcho (Pittsburgh) & Blow Pony (Portland), there’s no doubt that Sindri is going to unleash some algebraic absurdity in our lazerhole! We caught up with them to chat about their involvement in Taylor Mac’s ‘A 24 Decade History of Popular Music’, meeting Róisín Murphy and what techni-coloured garms we can expect from them at their Superstore debut!
Hey Sindri! We’re stoked to have you joining us soon for Clash Bash! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m pretty much all things nightlife. DJ, party promoter, performance artist, avid dancer on a Friday night, sweating it out! Been twirling in different facets of club land for about 15 years now. I have a couple residencies and parties I throw in LA, and I dabble in making short films and party promo videos. My newest venture is learning to work with neon and making some fierce art pieces out of that, which I’m really excited about!
You have been involved in Taylor Mac’s “A 24 Decade History of Popular Music”! That’s incredible! Can you tell us a bit about your involvement?
Yeah, the whole Taylor Mac experience was amazing and truly inspiring. The show is a very particular retelling of history through an exploration of popular music from 1776 to present day. Though told through a very glittery and eccentric lens and done in a 24 hour format. It’s the kind of show that takes audience participation to the nth degree! With surprises around every corner and some of the most over the top costumes I’ve ever seen. I was a “dandy minion” and was in charge of doing anything from handing the audience ping pong balls that they’d later throw at Taylor Mac, to helping hold up a giant 20 foot long inflatable penis around the house, to finding an audience member to make out with during Purple Rain! Taylor was an absolute sweetheart to work with and so genuine, I felt so honoured to be one of the 24 people chosen.
You have played at some of our favourite queer parties across the pond, from Honcho Pittsburgh to Dickslap Seattle and Blow Pony in Portland. What are some of your favourite dancefloors to play at?
I always have the most magical time playing and performing in Provincetown, Massachusetts for Bear Week. It’s a very storybook little New England harbour town that gets taken over by the gays every summer and attracts some of the most amazing queers from all over the world. I dj at Fagbash which has been a staple party there for the past 10 years. It’s also become a tradition that I perform at the massive Horse Meat Disco party that happens during Bear Week!
What has been your career highlight thus far?
Hands down meeting my music and style icon, Róisín Murphy! I’ve been a big fan of hers since her Moloko days. She rarely comes to the US, and many silly Americans don’t know who she is. I’ve kinda been a major advocate of hers from my SF days, spreading her gospel by throwing many drag tribute nights in her honour, playing her catalogue at the clubs, or making my own fan music videos, one of them going viral to her then unreleased song Simulation. Kinda doing all these things to get her attention oversees, and during a time when Youtube and Instagram were barely coming into existence. It’s to the point now where everyone I know thinks of me when they see or hear anything of hers, and that suits me just fine! I got to throw her an after party for the end of her American tour in 2016. She hadn’t been to the states in 8 years. I got to meet her backstage at the show and then party with her afterwards. It was surreal, and she was everything I hoped she’d be. We got to hang again the next year she was in LA, and we keep in touch online and love to share music with each other. We might even share a pint at a pub while I’m in London!
You made the move from San Francisco to LA about five years ago. How has that move impacted on you musically and creatively?
Yeah around 2013, after living in SF for 11years, I decided I needed to “grow up” a bit and start fresh in a place where I wasn’t as known. To kinda test myself and see if I can make it in a bigger pond. San Francisco was the perfect incubator for a queer creative mind, but it was time to really spread my wings. I wasn’t even sure I’d find a like minded community of freaks and music lovers down south. But I did, and it’s been such a rewarding journey. There’s just so much to tap into in LA that the possibilities are endless. It can seem daunting how big it is, but I like that challenge. Even after you’ve stuffed your face with one nook of the city, there’s still so much more to discover. It keeps you on your toes. It’s kinda like you can choose your own destiny. But of course it’s still up to you to work at it. It just inspires you to keep doing more!
You’re playing one of our most colourfulparties, Clash Bash. Will you be packing a special outfit for the occasion?
I’m really excited to come play Clash Bash! Especially with ShayShay being a California native like myself! Although this particular trip to London I’m not bringing my alter ego Ambrosia Salad, her costumes usually require a whole other check-in suitcase. I will be flashing some serious colour wheel and haute boy drag!
What does your queer utopia look like?
It would probably look like every set from Dario Argento’s cult horror classic Suspiria! Haha except without all the murders!
If you had a time machine and you could go dancing anywhere/when, where would you go?
A Bacchanal in Ancient Rome would be fun! But all the of the music I like wouldn’t have been invented yet. So maybe I’d enjoy transporting myself to Italy in the late 70’s early 80’s during the birth of Italo Disco. And hopping across the Atlantic to New York City for a bit of leather bar cruising in the West Village.
You’re taking us on a date in LA. Where are we going to eat/ drink/ dance?
Okay wow let’s see. Mimosa brunch and pool moment on the roof of The Standard Downtown. Packing a dinner and having a picnic at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Starting the night at Bar Mattachine for my weekly residency Salad Saturdays (shameless plug), then heading to my favourite underground, Spotlight, till the wee hours. If anyone’s sober enough to drive after, maybe make our way to Malibu to catch the sunrise.
In five words or less, what are you planning to unleash on the Superstore basement?
All-u-can eat funky beat.
Catch Sindri at Clash Bash no.4 ~ Sexy Shapes Friday 25th May from 9pm-4am!
Our East London queer-topia is diving head first into her tweens, and this Bank Holiday Sunday it’s our Ninth Birthday Bash! After nine years full of all-star special guests, heartwarming fundraisers, drag debauchery and all-nonsense brunch extravaganzas, we are cramming all the best of Dalston Superstore into TEN HOT HOURS OF MAD BIRTHDAY SHENANIGANS! This line-up of infamous faces including Wes Baggaley, Fannar, Rachael, Goldsnap, Chaka Khan’t, Super Drama, Michelle Manetti and A Man To Pet continue to be at the forefront of LGBTQ+ nightlife and have thrown some our most iconic BANGERS over the past nine years. But the real question is, what brings them back?
We asked them to spill the tea on what they really think of our homo-pleasure palace and what we can expect from them on Sunday!
My favourite experience or night in Superstore would have to be all the Meat nights, obvs! But when we did meat New Year’s Eve and my mother came down only to stay few hours but ended watching me for five hours while I pretending to be all cool and professional, and when she left that was the end of me, and I crashed out in the DJ booth! Very professional, innit! Til hamingju med afmælid Superstore!
I love Dalston Superstore and feel really honoured to have been asked to play at the birthday bash for the second year running. I love it so much because it’s so much more than just a club. You can go there during the day and work on your laptop or just hang out, get food, have drinks or even look at the gallery. It’s all things to everybody. There’s a real sense of inclusivity and a proper community feel. No matter what time you go in you, will always see somebody you know. Not to mention the banging soundsystem in the basement with some of the best, most forward thinking LGBTQ+ nights in the country. My favourite memory of Superstore was playing back to back with Dan Beaumont at the eighth birthday party last year alongside my DJ heroes Derrick Carter and Luke Solomon. I’m really happy to have been asked back to play with the badass Nadia Ksaiba. Here’s a picture of my alter ego Tina Turnip with some of her best friends at Superstore.
I’ve been part of the Superstore family since the third birthday! The first time I was invited to play the birthday party (AKA the best party of the year), I was so honoured that I knew I had to pull a very special set out the bag. So I composed a vinyl love letter to Dalston Superstore. My set included Womack & Womack’s Teardrops because the very first week I worked there, we went bowling and all ended up in the karaoke booth in Rowan’s singing it at the top of our lungs. I played Sharon Redd – Can You Handle It cos Dan Beaumont bought me that record for my 30th birthday. I played Pointer Sisters – Dare Me ’cause that was basically on repeat on the disco daytime playlist every day for about three years straight. EVERY.SINGLE.RECORD I played during that set meant something to me about my time there, and every time I’m invited back to play is a goddamn delight!
My first memory of superstore was Jonjo’s Hot Boy Dancing Spot‘s construction party, I’m not sure they had finished building but I just remember being jealous of my friend Rory as he went. My favourite experience would have to be one of the Optimo parties back in 2010 that may have started on a Friday and carried on ’til Monday! The Superstore basement is still one of the most underrated clubs in London, there’s always something good going on for £5! I keep coming back because it really is like like family. It’s always good to hear a Dan Beaumont set at a Superstore birthday!
Catch all these special guests and more at Dalston Superstore’s Ninth Birthday Bash this May Bank Holiday Sunday from 7pm-5am!