Catch Call me Sisssy at Dalston Superstore 9pm-3am Friday 20th July.
Catch Call me Sisssy at Dalston Superstore 9pm-3am Friday 20th July.
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!
This Friday sees the first instalment of MEGALAST, our brand new extravaganza from J. Aria + Ni-Ku! Expect extreme bass, acidic explorations and alien club music. Headlining this experimental, abrasive, uncompromising and trip-inducing experience is LOFT (Astral Plane)!
Following their first release in 2016, the queer Mancunian producer has been quickly making waves. With their mixes encompassing rave birthed drum programming, experimental electronics and kylie edits, their style is renowned for its uniqueness. Having featured in both Crack Magazine and Mixmag, as well as an EP with the label Wisdom Teeth and contributions to the Astral Plane compilation, LOFT is trailblazing the experimental music scene. More recently, LOFT was given the ultimate seal of approval: Björk selected their track Funemployed alongside the most innovative artists in the game, including Arca and Kelela, in her Mixmag cover mix!
We caught up with the experimental producer to chat about their performative DJ sets, their experience of being visibly queer in the nightlife scene and what we can expect from Friday!
Oh hey LOFT, we are SO excited to have you at Dalston Superstore! If our readers aren’t acquainted, can you tell us a little bit about you?
Hello hi friends , I am Joeli and I do the LOFT thing. I’ve been doing it since I was about 14. I make stuff that has the privilege of Wisdom Teeth and Astral Plane Recordings’ love, support and distribution networks.
You’ve been making music since you were 14?! That is quite awhile! Do you have any highlights to your DJ career so far?
Playing in a pub in Lancaster for the drummer of my dad’s best friend’s new krautrock excursion ; playing at a club in Athens where people don’t show up until 2AM at the earliest ; playing in the home HQ safe haven that is The White Hotel on numerous occasions with only the best lineups.
You must have been introduced to some talented DJs, do you take inspiration from anyone?
I’m big into feedback loops , I like listening to Ariana acapella tracks , I’m honoured to be surrounded by people as talented as Anastassia Radtsenko IceBoy Violet, Acre, Forrest Lloyd ,Hesska MICHAELBRAILEY, Szare ; Manchester is fertile atm.
You’re known for having a really unique mixing style, how did you develop this and what is your process in choosing tracks and creating new pieces?
When I was 17 I was a vinyl purist , I’ve done a lot of live “ controllerist “ live sets . I hope I can offer something more dynamic than either of the above these days . Honestly I’m just scrambling for the next tune that will make any ( or no ) sense against the preceding track .
There seems to be almost a theatrical element about you at the decks. Did you intend to integrate performance into your sets?
I get drunk and write poems sometimes and occasionally I perform these to an audience . My main aspiration is to make people feel so included that tears roll from their little eyes .
Queer Femme producers are at the forefront of the Manchester electronic music scene at the moment, with Castles in the Sky seeming to be paving the way. Have you found solidarity and support through other queers at the top of the game?
Yes absolutely, I would argue that queerness requires no explicity and as such most of the people that have chosen to work with me over the last couple years are at least “ queer sympathisers “ . Love and support is strongest feeling I get from everyone I work with.
How have you experienced being visibly queer in the nightlife//club scene?
Y’no what ? it’s been alright , sure I experience some weird stereotyping and code switching ( I always find it funny when someone’s like “ Oh honneeeeyyyy “ and I’m ale drunk and respond in a fairly deep northern vernacular ) but within my surrounding club culture I feel pretty safe . The bad shit happens outside of that .
From your experience playing around the UK and abroad, how do you think queer nightlife can be improved?
More queer spaces in cities outside London . Manchester has a huge gay scene but , as I’m sure we all know , queer =/= gay . BOYGIRL we building it .
So, what would your queer-utopia look like?
Cop out answer : I couldn’t possibly comprehend . I’d make a comment about it requiring the pursuit of each individual’s ideals but that sounds a bit Randian now doesn’t it ?!
Finally, what can we expect from your premier DJ set at DSS?
Fun , tears , hugging each other , maybe a couple minutes white noise .Honestly I’m so honoured to have been invited.
by Whitney Weiss
Sweetie Darling! This Friday sees the ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS globe-trotting, multi-generational queer club experience, PATSY, return to the mothership! This time around they are passing their champagne flute to London’s rising DJ Star, Jaye Ward who will be playing whatever the hell she wants ALL NIGHT LONG! Having her roots set in Hackney, Jaye has been involved in music for the best part of the last 30 years, playing the Club Dog parties in the late 80s, through to working for record shops, to DJing and promoting since the 90s.
More recently, she’s been playing a rolling schedule of clubs and festivals, including being a regular face at Superstore! PATSY resident Whitney Weiss caught up with Jaye to tap into her encyclopaedic music knowledge, to find out how she delights dancefloors around the world, summer plans at the first edition of Albanian Festival Kala and how to charm her with a mixtape!
Hello Jaye! Let’s bring it all back to the start. What’s the first album you ever bought? Where did you buy it and what was it like listening to it for the first time?
I think it was Chic – C’est Chic so that’s 1978, I think. From G&M records in Mare Street, Hackney. I LOVED that shop. I had been allowed to buy 7”s before then. Things I mainly heard on the radio (I mean, I was 10). Pop/disco was huge whenever we went on holiday, mainly holiday camps on the south coast. Obviously I got it for Le Freak. It was on the radio ALL the time. And I loved the photo of the band on the cover—they looked so smooth. I was obsessed by Alfa Anderson lying on the floor in the split skirt. Beige was HUGE back then. When I first listened to it, I remember being disappointed that there wasn’t anything else HUGE like Le Freak on it, but I soon got DEEP into those minor chord changes. It’s still maybe one of my all time favourite LPs for the reasons above and for one of my favourite tunes EVER, At Last I Am Free. I have all sorts of versions of the track… the sublime Robert Wyatt version still sends shivers!
Is there a record that reminds you of when you first started going out clubbing?
I was clubbing before acid house but once that happened all bets were off regarding iconic records as it was like someone had turned the taps on full! But even now 35+ years later, if I ever here GO BANG loud, preferably in a club setting, I’m transported back to warehouses full of dancers from all tribes of nightlife getting their dance on… now THAT’S an iconic record!
What songs do you have playing on repeat at the moment?
God, I’m listening to so much as usual but am currently obsessed with that Tommy Awards II record – both sides are psychedelic beauty. The new MC TALLA NAN CREAG thing that’s going to be coming out on Firecracker is immense too. Been going through loads more dance floor style stuff too for me taking over the basement of the mothership for Patsy and it’s been ace to rediscover (sort of) old records that I remember sounding great loud. Also this week I’ve had the first five Bad Seeds LPs on repeat too… I love Nick Cave. I’m doing a remix for MAN POWER at the moment and so far it’s got a swampy Bad Seeds type of vibration to it, so that’s fine by me.
Your taste in music is just so pleasantly well-rounded. What do you think is the most surprising or unexpected record in your collection?
That’s nice to say, thanks. I think that’s mainly because I’m so old! I’ve always liked joining the dots and happily I still seem to be able to put things together that sound like they wouldn’t go well but in reality connect beautifully. I could easily play the same sounding things for ten hours but I’d be bored out of my skull, let alone punters. I like it when a dance floor or room has that up, down and left to right kind of flow to the evening. It gives people a chance to breath and smile. I think there’s nothing that’s too surprising popping up in my collection seeing as I’ve always gone for the weirder end of things. I do have EVERYTHING done by Toyah though, does that count?
What’s the one record that never leaves your DJ bag because it is 100 percent guaranteed to delight a dance floor?
Ummmm there’s quite a few things that are regulars in my box and now permanently on my USB keys. Flim Flam by Yellow Sox on Nuphonic blew me away when it came out and still does EVERY SINGLE TIME. I reckon it’s one of the best house records EVER made. Fight me. Song for Annie by Erot is of its time but still makes people come and ask me what it is. An ace vocoder version on Chic’s At Last I Am Free is a permanent resident, too. Most of the time I try to vary what I play as much as possible. I guess that’s what has always, up to recently, made me either a hard booking in that I’m VERY balearicly minded even though I don’t really play that sort of thing that much or that I’m super flexible. Not sure. Ha!
Speaking of delighting a dance floor, what’s a record that brings you great joy?
The Chance by Reel Houze on Zoom Records. It’s like an edit of Go Bang with extra drums from Harvey. A lot of that mid 90s UK nu-disco stuff was and is amazing. The mid 90s was when the quality control suddenly shot up I reckon. It’s one of my fave records still and I’ll drop my lollipop headphone and go dance for 10 minutes or so if I put it on, it’s still immense. Hearing Glenn Underground, Danny Wang, Maurice Fulton or any of that super deep dub instrumental US house over an ace system WILL make me cry. Make It Last forever by Donna McGhee will definitely make me go sploosh too.
If someone fancied you and was making a mix tape (or CD, or Spotify playlist, or USB), what song they could choose that would really charm you?
IF someone fancied me, especially lovely funky queer ladies who have a penchant for tiny women of a certain age, making me a mixtape containing old 80s post punk love songs (they do exist, trust), lo-fi jazzy experiments, deep spiritual jazz, weirdo stuff, dub, lovers’ rock, songs by Nick Cave or the goddess Lydia, old blues and any curve balls of their own would make me blush and then stalk them… y’know.
What’s a record that makes you think of one of your most iconic nights DJing? And if you don’t mind my asking, what was that night like?
God that is hard. Lots of lovely evenings out where certain records have had people singing along or psychically combining to actually change the atmosphere into something like I imagine The Loft would have been like. Mind Fair’s Secret All Night Carnival Version of Spike’s Fooling Around on Gold Channel has that Loft feeling. It’s SO beautiful. Upstairs at Patsy I’ve played it a number of times and people have sort of stopped drinking and swayed all together and danced in a jazzual way, which you can imagine is a bit of a feat there for hyped-up beautiful queers hell bent on a weekend of damnation.
I was in Cyprus playing records for the ace Whizzy Wig crew last month and everyone was dancing and it was very much ace! People screaming, etc. We were all playing lots of jazzy house, disco and Trax style funky acid classics. I played Loose Joints Is It All Over My Face? – the bloke version – and people lost their shit. That was a fun moment. That record nowadays seems to do that for everyone I think. I love that people into dance music of all kinds are now up to speed with how disco really was the source for everything we listen to. Books with huge chunks about David Mancuso, Nicky Siano and Larry Levan etc. have really opened people’s minds to how everything is connected. It’s ace!
What song have you always wanted to hear someone else play out so you could have a dance in public to it?
God there are so many. I play it, but I’d LOVE to here someone randomly play Vinceremos by Working Week. I’d loose my shit totally and sing along, arms waving aloft. Scoops in Columbia by Plaid would have me kicking my shoes off and running to the floor making sure my boob tube was still up—amazing record loud! Random plays by other people is my absolute fave thing.
If you had to choose one album to listen to all summer long, what album would it be?
Ummmmm, wow, another hard one! The loft box sets, ha! Calling Out of Context by Arthur Russell, Colossal Youth by Young Marble Giants, North Marine Drive by Ben Watt, Nothing Can Stop Us by Robert Wyatt or Neil Young On the Beach all have summer vibrations associated with them for me. So maybe them. Tomorrow I may feel differently.
Speaking of summer, what’s a record that you’re really excited to play at the first edition of the Albanian seaside festival Kala this summer?
Not sure yet. I’m taking a seriously wide range of things because they have me playing at various times and in various situations. I really want to get to play glacial electronic stuff alongside pretty songs when the sun goes down under the stars. Living in London I very rarely see stars and really want that scene to happen.
What’s one song that you wish you would have written? Do you write music ever?
I mess about making things. Edits for myself to play. Mainly extensions of things. I have zero musical chops apart from having a good ear for things I suppose. Musicians blow me away. My friend Margo is a producer and amazing musician. She talks about stuff to do with composition and I have to work hard to keep up. Totally in awe. I could easily list a hundred songs that make me go ‘Whoa! How?’ And easily a thousand dance records that I have no idea how they came up with what they came up with. People who do this are living, walking gods to me. In the Bad Seeds film 20,000 Days on Earth there are two moments within that one LP alone where he’s singing songs that they are still working on – Higgs Boson Blues and Give Us A Kiss – where my hair on my arms have sat bolt upright and I’ve started to cry. When he sings Jubilee Street at the Sydney Opera House. The words “I’m vibrating I’m transforming” make me eternally jealous. But to be honest, I’ve had 40 years of records making me feel this way.
What record makes you think of PATSY?
God, lots of records! But the first time I played records for PATSY and played I Need Somebody to Love Tonight by SYLVESTER, not only did people dance but a few started singing along and I thought YES!!!
Catch Jaye Ward at Patsy on Friday 20 April from 9pm-4am at Dalston Superstore!
This Saturday, we are thrilled to present the top floor debut of London house, disco and soul institution, Northern Soul Rave Patrol. Having played host to the likes of Andrew Weatherall, Sean Johnston and Doc Sleep over the past year, the Tusk crew have become synonymous with dark, deep, quality programming, and we can’t wait to see where they take us in 2018. Promoter and resident Ant C caught up with Chris Sweet and Will Nicol of Northern Soul Rave Patrol ahead of Saturday’s TUSK to chat London clubland, dream gigs, and record bag classics!
Hi guys! I hope you have been enjoying your Easter. Have you been out and about to any parties over the long weekend? What, where and who was playing?
CS: Yes, it’s been a big bank holiday weekend. Started with Jill Brook at our weekly Thursday night party Record Box at The Eagle, which is a vinyl only night playing Torch Song disco, sleaze/ morning music and hi-NRG, influenced by classic clubs like The Saint, Paradise Garage and Heaven. Then Patterns in Brighton on Saturday where Horse Meat Disco have a residency and then back to The Eagle for the packed HMD bank holiday party with Heidi Lawden over from LA – so lots of fun and good music.
WN: Went to see Gilles Peterson at Dreamland in Margate on Friday at the newly refurbished Hall By The Sea. It’s an amazing venue – closest comparison would be the Box at Ministry but with a decent bar in the same space. Some great tunes and we really enjoyed ourselves. Saturday I was DJing at Cinque Ports, again in Margate, which was fun although Johnny Henfry (Synth System Sisters) got me into all sorts of trouble!
Where did the idea for NSRP come from and how would you define your sound?
CS: About eight years ago we formed NSRP to reflect the music we loved and the scenes we had been into from soul to disco and house. It’s me, Will and Sean Leonard. We realised we had been friends since the mid eighties mod and Northern Soul scene and 100 Club. Then all got turned on in 1988-89 with the acid house and rave scene, inspired by the madness of Nude night at The Hacienda, Quadrant Park and Will at Shelleys. Plus amazing parties like Boys Own, Sign of the Times and NY house clubs like Body&Soul, Sound Factory and The Shelter through Sabresonic and up to A Love From Outer Space and Horse Meat Disco. All those clubs have soundtracked our lives and influenced us – we love house music but with some heart and soul and a dash of disco.
If you could play any gig/party/venue anywhere in the world, past or present, where would it be and who would be on your ideal bill with you?
WN: Hacienda 1989
CS: Ha! That’s a hard one as if we had the nightclub time machine there are a lot of destinations we’d want to plug in… From Manchester’s Twisted Wheel or Wigan Casino or Blackpool Mecca for Northern Soul, to Chicago’s Warehouse to hear Frankie Knuckles or Ron Hardy, but probably the maestro Larry Levan at the Paradise Garage must be the place, to paraphrase Talking Heads.
London has seen a huge amount of change in clubs and clubbing over the past few years, with the closure of many venues. Is this all just part of a repeating cycle in line with current politics, or do you think London is really changing permanently this time?
WN: I think the whole UK club market has changed enormously in the last 15 years – I don’t think it’s just London. The massive growth in festivals and kids looking for the “big event” rather than a weekly club to call their own, has caused a huge shift. In London with the economics of gentrification this is multiplied. I think it’s a shame, but then I’m an old git!
CS: I think the relentless rise in house prices in London and redevelopment has led to the loss of so many clubs and music spaces, which squeezes the nightlife out of the city and prices people out. It seems a shame London is becoming a bit sanitised like New York, unlike Berlin. That’s why it is so important for key venues like Dalston Superstore and The Eagle that support quality music and are welcoming spaces.
WN: London is a versatile and ever changing city, so it will adapt or mutate and re-emerge like dance music culture has over the decades. As Kerri Chandler said, really you just need a red light, a basement and music with feeling – we know Dalston Superstore and TUSK tick all those boxes!
What is one track that never leaves your record bag, and one new one that excites you right now?
CS: A total classic would be The Night Writers – Let the Music Use You (Frankie Knuckles mix).
Lots of great recent music but two that I love and have that emotional content of electronic music with soul would be The Black Madonna – We Still Believe.
and Sophie Lloyd feat Dames Brown – Calling Out.
WN: Soul classic: Ann Sexton – You’ve Been Gone Too Long.
Catch Northern Soul Rave Patrol’s bar takeover at TUSK on Saturday 07 April from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore!
This Thursday, we are beyond thrilled to welcome local East London drag superstar, Lowstakes Festival curator and performance artist Ellis D for a crash course in drag makeup! Expect ‘Low Budget, Lower Concept Last Minute Glam’ from our resident superstar thrifty MUA. She’ll be running through top tips and tricks for executing a flawless face on a budget. Everyone is welcome, and it’ll only set you back a fiver! We caught up with her to chat witchcraft, performance platforms and sources of inspiration!
Hello gorgeous! We can’t wait for your Drag Make-Up Demo this Thursday! You’ve been SLAYING the East London drag scene for years now, but how did it all start? Let’s hear your DRAG-HERSTORY babes.
I started doing drag in 2012(13?) because it seemed like an accessible stage, it’s amazingly easy to find yourself subjecting a packed club to utter trash only two weeks into your illustrious drag career. After a couple of solo ventures I ended up in the Yeast London Cabaret with Oozing Gloop and Rodent DeCay which is where I got most of my terrible librarian drag out my system. Back then it was lipsync or nothing, I was really inspired by performers like Dickie Beau and 2boys.tv. Recently I’ve fallen out of love with lipsync in favour of a semi-improvised, reactionary, ritual mode of performance (performance art – you know the gig). I’ve taken work in that style to performance festivals a few times now and I’m continually frustrated and inspired by it.
The Glory’s cult drag competition LIPSYNC 1000 has now become a phenomenon, and you were its very first winner! How have you developed as a drag artist since that experience?
I wouldn’t perform the act I won with now – it was a little slow and stationary which I do kind of love, my favourite thing is a queen who plants her feet – too many people panic on stage they try and lay claim to every inch by stamping a heel on it and that will always look awful. Be statuesque. But that said it just wasn’t considered enough, it needed a better structural cohesion & a stronger visual – it relied almost entirely on the lip sync precision – which was obviously flawless because I don’t enter competitions I don’t know I’ll win. I had a lot more self-confidence (read: delusion) back then.
As well as your own work, you’re quite the community queen! Last year, you were one of the curators of the Lowstakes performance festival, which provided a platform for upcoming performance artists! Can you give us the DL?
Lowstakes is a performance festival that I run along with Edythe Wooley and Malik Sharpe. The first iteration at New River Studios was a two-day affair with ?25 artists showing new and developing work. We followed that with a club night at VFD which returns this month on the 23rd. The first festival was done with no money at all and our approach was to programme as many people as we possibly could and work it out on the fly. I’m confident that we had the largest programme of new performance work anywhere in London. We want it to be as painless as possible to access and are always looking to take risks – sketch us a doodle and promise us a show and there’s a good chance we’ll programme it. The two day festival returns in June this year, with the open call to be announced imminently and this time we know what we’re doing.
From tarot card reading at TUSK to WITCHY performances down the road at VFD, Ritual seems to be the main theme of your recent performances. Can you tell us how this has become the subject of your work?
At first it was a practice of self-care, I found the meditation and goal visualisation of spellcraft helpful, and still do to an extent. I’m not as submerged in it all as I was a year or two ago, but I find the structures and beats of ritual are useful skeletons around which to build performance. The danger being you fall into the trap of spiritual display and exhibitionism which always makes for the most unbearable stomach- churning horrendous work. Mythology has always been what I return to when making new work – I’ve always been obsessed with Norse mythology and read a lot when I was younger, I’m interested in how fictions might inform future socio-political forms, a process called fictioning. Spellcraft is a fictioning, a story told to manifest change. I think performance can do the same.
We are absolutely GAGGED by the LEWKS you’ve been pulling, where do you get your inspiration?
I am continually inspired by a whole host of folks. As much as I enjoy makeup, I’ve never really studied it or put much effort into researching references and I am blissfully oblivious to any makeup greats but to name a couple of Instagram favourites: Imp Kid, Nico, Yuri Guaìí. I’m also always here for a Siouxsie Sioux graphic liner moment or a Nina Hagen blush. For the most part I just make it up as I go and trust I’m soaking in influence from somewhere.
Drag-Makeup tutorials are everywhere on YouTube, but they definitely aren’t the most accessible to queens who are new to the game! How will your tutorials help beginners in a rush and on a budget ?
Okay here’s the deal… I’m not Miss Fame, I’m broke as hell and I have very little patience for makeup. Expect tips & tricks, shortcuts and knock-off products. They’ll be as accessible as I can make them for beginners, I’m not giving myself three hours to tinker away – this is ‘just finished my shift and have two hours to be in face, dressed and out the door’ makeup. I want people just starting out to have a real shot at recreating the look straightaway. That said I can blend a base with the best of ‘em so they’ll be gorgeous no doubt.
2018? Give us a sneaky peak of what’s in store for Ellis D.
Alongside returning to and nurturing my performance practice and continuing to platform some of the best performers and friends I have the honour of knowing 2018 is all about becoming a much pricklier customer, oh and padding.
Join Ellis D at the “I Have How Much Time?” Drag Demo this Thursday 15 March from 7pm in the Dalston Superstore basement for £5!