Posts Tagged ‘Dirty Diana’

Final Dirty Diana at Dalston Superstore!

For the last two years at Dalston Superstore, Dirty Diana‘s tear-away club kids, hellafied homos and their gorgeous homies have been stomping in the darkness of the laser basement. The heaving bodies were brought together by their debauched sense of creativity and their uninhibited self exploration. Thanks to the killer, throbbing soundtrack presented by the incredible team of rotating DJs and performers, we have seen some serious magic over the last two years. In honour of the final Dirty Diana at Superstore, we caught up with the crew to talk about what DD has meant to them, and to hear some of the top tracks that had the laser basement screaming for more. 

Dirty Diana is the type of party you grow to love. She celebrates being and thinking outside the box. She is a community where you are celebrated for being the fierce individual that we all have the potential to be. A place where everyone is welcome.

The beats you hear at Dirty Diana take you all over the spectrum from the fiercest house and underground techno to c*nty ballroom chic in the basement. Upstairs you get the latest in trap, bounce and underground hip hop in the Banjee Bar; with regular live performances from up and coming queer hip hop acts, guest go-go dancers and performance artists from New York City, Paris and Berlin. Dirty Diana serves and never fails to deliver. 

Resident basement DJ, Frank.co Harris reflects on his unfathomable ability for tearing up the Laser basement: I literally get to play tracks from the stateside gay/ballroom scene and incorporate it into the ballsy techno and underground sounds that East London has come to appreciate. These kids literally dance, scream and slap the walls with excitement. You don’t get that energy at too many other parties. 

Join us at the final Dirty Diana at Dalston Superstore – DD XV – on Friday 31 July from 9pm-5am.  

Marro

The mysterious Marro joins us this Friday for another road-block edition of Dirty Diana. No stranger to Dalston Superstore, the enigmatic DJ has recently made the move from Berlin to our very own London and is celebrating his new home in style by treating us to a set packed full of tech bumpers and pumpers. Ahead of Dirty Diana he sat down to answer a few of our burning questions and treat us to a Spring-time warm-up mix….!

You recently made the move from Berlin to London at a time when many Londoners are moving to Berlin. What brought you across the continent?

The very reason that Londoners are moving to Berlin leaves London even more in need of a shake of the night life. I find it curious that instead of trying to create some noise in London, we head for Berlin. London historically has been a place where new sounds were born but for the past few years it seems that this has stopped. I felt it is a good time that we create something in London and keep Londoners here for the weekends. Also, I have been playing in Berlin for over 15 years now and it was a good time for a little change for me. Meeting all these Londoners in the clubs I have been playing, telling me that they have to fly over there to hear my music made me think that it’s a good time for me to head to London.

What has been your dirtiest Berlin clubbing experience and who was there to witness it? Behind the decks and on the floor?

One of the things that makes Berlin exciting is the ability to experience many of life’s pleasures on a night out without feeling that your are doing something dirty. Hedonism in all its different forms is a normalised reality on the Berlin club scene and you do not even need to hide behind the decks or in some dark corner. Everyone is a witness to everyone and everything flows freely and disinhibited. So I do not need to be graphic or drop any names… Whatever happens behind the decks and on the floor stays there…

Berlin is known for its hedonism and ridiculously fit men. How does London measure up in terms of either?                                                                                                                  

This is not necessarily true. Maybe this image has been created out of the gym conscious visitors who come to enjoy themselves in Berlin. Berliners are not hung up on looks or clothes (unless we are talking about fetish type of clothes) and the gym look is not really a Berlin thing, which is a breath of fresh air. It may also be that they look more naturally fit because they dance a lot (sometimes for days non stop) as opposed to spending too much time at the gym.                                                                                               

You have a residency at the legendary Chantal’s House Of Shame. Describe her in three words.

Crazy, rebellious and fun.

Berghain… Tresor… KitKat… Where is your preferred Berlin techno situation and why?

These big names were a lot more fun 10 years ago. For the past few years, I enjoyed myself in a lot more in smaller underground venues like Golden Gate, where I had a residency for over 6 years. In these smaller venues you can be a lot more intimate with the crowd and be part of the fun.

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

I would definitely go back to the old Panorama bar at OstGut at the beginning of the new millennium. This was Berlin at its peak and the best parties you could have found yourself in. The music was unique and non-commercial, which you could only listen to at Panorama. I remember how the guests kept asking during this time at Panorama “what kind of music is this?” It was also a venue where you completely felt at ease with yourself and everyone around you.

What advice would you give to your younger self as a dj?

It’s not so much an advice. It’s more of a reminder that you have to be genuinely passionate about music as opposed to be doing it with the hope of becoming a famous DJ.

What is your favourite track to end the night on?

After an amazing party you need to end the night on a nice, mellow, happy and peaceful way. One of my all time favourite tracks that I would play would be Mummy Wants Some Eggs by Robert Calvin.

Join Marro this Friday 29th May for Dirty Diana at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 4.30am.

Pedro

Ahead of this Friday’s Dirty Diana roadblock, we sat down with resident DJ Pedro to find out more about the up-and-coming DJ, about where he’s from, where he’s going and where he’d take us on a queer date in Lisbon. Not only was he gracious and answered all of our burning questions but he also sent us this hot mega mix! Enjoy…

How do you think growing up by the beach in the Algarve has influenced your musical style and taste?

There was a lot of big stuff happening in Algarve, I remember seeing posters for Jeff Mills playing in one club and Carl Cox playing in another one mile away, but the clubs were always very mainstream. My group of friends were all music fans, producers and DJs and partied hard, we made our own parties on the beach or in the woods. It was free like that, that’s where I heard underground music and independent producers. I just observed everything and did my own thing at home in my room, always teaching myself.

We want to know about the gay scene in Lisbon! If you were taking Superstore on a date there, where would you take us for drinks, dinner and dancing?

Lisbon is the best place I have ever lived, very bohemian, the nightlife there was so different from my home town, there was always something to do or somewhere to go. I never went to the proper ‘gay bars’, these were mostly chart dominated and tacky! The gay scene I knew was just spread all over the place, every good club with good techno, house, electro etc would have a big gay following. The scene wasn’t segregated, we were representing everywhere! I would take you for dinner and drinks in Barrio Alto, the arts district, hundreds of little bars and restaurants in a maze of steep cobbled streets, after that would definitely take you to LUX! Best club I’ve ever been to, always amazing line-ups. Other good spots in Lisbon are Music Box and LX Factory.

Describe your dream venue that you’d run- where would it be, what would be the music policy, what would be the key features?

That’s the big dream! I’d go beyond possible, haha!

I would open a huge industrial venue just by the sea. I’d love a multi functional venue where during the day it would have gallery shows or arts events, a restaurant with tapas and cocktails. In the evening  there would be live music and performances from new or unheard artists, gypsy, punk, ska music, somewhere for musicians to get together, matinees and sunset parties. Obviously for night time there would be an amazing basement room leading to the sand, where we can all get together for the best and freshest electronic music, techno, electro, drum & bass, hip hop…. EVERYTHING. HA WHEN I GROW UP!

What’s one record people would be surprised to know you love?

Baltimore by Nina Simone, she has been there for me through some tough times, absolute babe!

If you had a time machine and could go back in time to any dance floor anywhere/anywhen, where would you want to go dancing?

I would definitely go back to Boom Festival in Portugal just last year. Just waking up with the sun on my face, in front of the dance floor and stumbling down dancing to whatever DJ was playing, just the energy and the happiness around sums up everything I need! BUT I would probably use the machine to go to the future where I’m playing along side amazing DJs in my beach venue!

Sum up your signature sound in one sentence…

Techno straight from its funky old skool Detroit roots with a touch of 21st century bass and power!

You’re resident at Dirty Diana- if you had booking control and an unlimited budget, what lineup would you curate over both floors keeping in the DD ethos and spirit?

So upstairs I would keep it varied and experimental, I would love to see more live acts. If I was thinking big I would go for Die Antwoord to headline! Genuine bad-asses and completely original. I would have underground Londoners My Bad Sister to support, singing, dancing identical twin sisters – love these girls – and DJ sets from Can Blaster and Crookers! Downstairs it would have to be the big techno heads Rene Bourgeois, Manu Ferrantini, Marc Ashken, Rødhåd etc, and probably hosted by an off the rails bitch like Lindsey Lohan!! 

Tell us about your upcoming live A/V project…

I’m teaming up with a very good friend, also called Pedro! (Zoid Factory) and fellow techno addict. He is a drummer and a video projection mapping pro, also on vocals is the fabulous Madeleine Wood – MZ. who you can also catch on the East London scene at nights such as Inferno (here at Superstore) and Grunge (over at East Bloc). We’ve got some old skool analogue synthesisers to combine with Madeleine’s amazing vocals and Pedro’s video mapping skills for a full live Audio/Visual show! what do you reckon?!

What inspires you to find new music, to play new parties and to visit new clubs and festivals?

I spend hours on the internet searching for underground DJs, always listening out for new styles, new techniques and underground music. Most of these I find at warehouse parties and festivals that I come home from with names of artists and tracks written on bits of paper or in texts I have sent to myself! From there I add influences to build up my own style, choosing my favourite tracks to share! I am also influenced by the people I live with, a beautiful selection of DJs, artists and performers, and by the sounds I hear on 72 hour mixing sessions in our basement!!

What’s your favourite record to start the night with (whether this is at home for pre-party or opening your set with) and your favourite record to end the night with?

One of my faves to open is Louisahhh!!! & Maelstrom – Rough & Tender.

And to close I would go for Breger & Manu Ferrantini Feat Alekai – Walking On This Planet (Manu Steps Solid). 

Join Pedro this Friday 27th March for Dirty Diana at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 4am.

Hugo Bo Chanel

Currently studying at the Fine Arts School of Marseille, and as an erasmus student at Camberwell College of Arts, Hugo Bo Chanel is multidisciplinary practitioner, specialising in photography, painting, dancing, performance, video and music, not to mention a performance artist at Paris’ notorious Cockorico party at Rex Club. Ahead of tonight’s Dirty Diana roadblock party, we caught up Hugo to find out more from the latest go-go dancer to grace the Superstore bar-top for a flesh-filled performance! 

Who is Hugo Bo Chanel?

I am one in perpetual movement, very multi-purpose, completely fickle and I love artistic adventures. I do not try to define myself. But, at the moment I am a student at Camberwell College Of Art. I was born male, and my name is Hugo Bourquelot Chanel and I am about to turn 27.

Hugo Bo Chanel

Tell us about the Legaleyes Collective…

Legaleyes Collective is more than a collective, it’s a family, a long story of friendship and love and a common way to think our lives. Yeta Jermor, my boyfriend, my best friends Sandra Coelho and Santiago Mora… and sometimes just lovers and friends. We do lot of photos, performances, graffitis, videos, music, sculptures and many other things; we are genderfucking, too mature kids and we like creating all the time.

What’s the most unusual or weirdest music video you’ve danced in?

I can think of two videos. The first one is for Ideal Corpus – Dans Mon Jardin, made by Systaime. It’s really psychedelic and cyberpunk . I just appears in a few flashes but I love the final result.

The second is the Worakls video Le Jardinier. It’s unusual and the sound is good, can you guess where I am in this video? 

Can you share with us one of your favourite paintings or photos by yourself? And what is it about this particular work that you love?

This photo represents me well I think, at night, of facets, of the shadow and of eyes.

Hugo Bo Chanel Mask

 This drawing is one of my porn series. I like trashy old comics.

Hugo Bo Chanel Gang Bang

What will you be doing at Dirty Diana?

I’m looking forward to it because I love this party, and ‘cause I can do what I want on the bar. I am gonna dance a lot, move my butt, maybe show some flesh and move a lot.

Hugo Bo Chanel

What’s your favourite track to dance to?

So many. I love music in several different ways, a good stango, electro, ragga, pop-rap, French, indie, house or old jazzy stuff. I am really open minded to a good beat, but in this moment it’s VV Brown’s Apple.

What’s the motto you live your life by? Or the ethos you make art by?

My motto is create your life.
We are everything we are nothing. Life is an art, art is a life.

What’s your favourite dancefloor in Paris?

My favorite dancefloor in Paris is Cockorico, and Bizarre Love Triangle is a really good party. I love the sound and the mixes crowd. In Marseille it would be Les Dock Des Suds, Le Polykarpov and Le TroleyBus. I picked from both Paris and Marseille because I like my two towns!

Join Hugo Bo Chanel TONIGHT (Friday 28th November) for Dirty Diana at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 4am.

Rify Royalty

Next week we’re honoured to welcome a man of many talents to Dalston Superstore… Rify Royalty! A New Yorker known for his inventive looks, go-go dancing prowess, drag-infused acts and so much more, Rify joins us for another edition of cult night Dirty Diana! Ahead of the party we caught up with him to find out more about what we can expect from his performance…

Actor, model, go-go boy, make-up artist, burlesque performer… what doesn’t Rify do?

Ummm… Rify does not limit himself to anything. He doesn’t sing live though. Haha. That’s not his forte.

What other things are you doing with your time at the moment?

I’m just embracing all the work that I’m getting, broadening myself as an artist. That being said, I do a bit of drag, I do a bit of burlesque, I do performance art, and because I’m an actor and I have this acting background, I really like to play different characters. A lot of my peers are just burlesque artists or just drag queen artists, and that’s great for them. But I would get bored of doing the same thing over and over, so I always switch it up and do something different and new and fun.

What’s been your fiercest looks of late?

Oh that’s a tough one. I’ve been working really hard to put on really fun looks. I did a blue look for Bushwig, this festival that happens in Brooklyn. I had these two friends of mine who sew, make me this very slutty blue fishscale outfit. And I had a blue wig and a blue mask and I had a Smurfette lunchbox… and stripper heels. Yeah, it was a really fun look.

How many people go into creating your looks?

I usually just use my girls, they’re called The Big Hair Girls. They’re recording artists and they are also seamstresses so they help me sew but usually my looks will come from me. Sometimes I work with different make-up artists. I had this famous make up artist called RainBlo paint me one time… twice actually, for a few events. But usually my looks come from me, and every now and then I’ll work with an artist who wants to paint me, or put me up in a design that they’ve made… with a little bit of my feedback of course.

Rify by Darrell Thorne 

As a go-go boy who works on Fire Island, you may have noticed Queers For The Climate highlighting that rising sea levels could leave the whole area underwater… if you could galvanize the gay community around one social issue what would it be?

Oh god, there’s so many social issues wrong with the gays. But one of the things I’m really working hard right now on is trying to- and I think it’s getting better, or maybe it’s just getting better around me, so I don’t know how it is for other people- but for a long time I was encountering the type of gay man who is woman-hating and hetero-normative. And I feel like the more I grow as an artist, the more I incorporate drag into my looks… you’d be surprised by how many men are so very intrigued or interested in getting to know me better… for whatever intents and purposes haha.

And that’s why I infuse some drags into my go-go looks as well. I want people to know that this is nightlife, and it should be fun, and we shouldn’t be in this hetero-normative way – man/woman, femme/masculine, etc etc. In many years this will make a difference.

Rify by Maro Hagopian

Photo credit: Maro Hagopian

 

Actually, I don’t know if you saw the past season of Drag Race. I had kinda an issue with it because they had Scruff, the social app, doing some promotional stuff. I had a really big problem with this as Scruff is notoriously known for that kind of behavior…

Straight-acting.

Yeah, sexy straight-acting men. And then you’re gonna put them on a show that focuses on drag queens! It’s kinda disrespectful. It’s THEIR show. Drag queens have it hard enough meeting men in general. Men that take them seriously anyway, seriously beyond drag. And then you’re shoving your agenda down their throat by not even acknowledging that it’s a drag competition. My issue was “Great! You want to put your Scruff pit crew in it, fine. But put them in heels. Or wigs.” And I think it would be really funny and really camp. These really sexy muscled guys with heels and make-up.

And actually integrated into the show as opposed to advertising on top of it.

Exactly. That would be waaay more integrated into the show. It would definitely break boundaries because these men are like idolized amongst other gay men. They have their own following on Instagram and Twitter. I just think the Scruff founders could have been more responsible in incorporating them more, rather than “these are our sexy masculine men” and advertise them on the show.

It sounds more like piggybacking.

Yeah. I mean it doesn’t have to be full drag. But just in heels and a wig. Or diamond bracelets. Then it would have been really sexy and funny. And they could have still kept their integrity but worked with the show a bit more.

Tell us about your involvement in Mr(s) Williamsburg?

This was their second year having Mr(s) Williamsburg and last year I watched and thought how fun it was, but I didn’t compete. This year I competed in round two and I won!

Yay!

Well I won round two, but I didn’t win the whole competition. I was a semi-finalist. Round two was representing Metropolitan Bar. And one person from each bar won. So they had the top three winners and from those top three, one person won. And that person was the one that beat me from Metropolitan. She’s great; we work together all the time. She’s a drag queen. But it was amazing to win round two, as it was my first ever pageant. To place as a semi-finalist, in the top nine, out of 50 performers was pretty great.

You split your time between NYC and London- what are you doing here?

I was in London last year for three and a half months. I wasn’t working. I was doing “fuck all” as you guys say. I was on a long holiday and going to places like Berlin and Munich, Amsterdam, Iceland, Barcelona… but mostly using London as my homebase.

I went back to New York, and within the year, nightlife has really kicked off for me, and I made a lot of connections in London so it all kind of just fell into place. I hope to be booking more work in London on a regular basis that allows me to come here and do what I love to do. And get paid for it. Because ultimately we all want to get paid, we all want to eat! And if I’m flying 3000 miles, that ain’t cheap!

Rify Royalty Hot Rabbit

Who are your current New York nightlife homegirls?

Hmm. That’s a good question. I’d say Merrie Cherry is the like Queen Of Brooklyn right now. She’s been one of my biggest supporters. Since I started performing in nightlife, she’s booked me for a lot of gigs. I do feel like a lot of people in Brooklyn haven’t been entirely supportive of what I do, because I kinda came out of nowhere and I don’t stick to the norm. I’m not just one thing. Merrie’s been like “ Whatever! Do whatever! You wanna show your penis on stage? Go for it! You wanna lip-sync? Go for it!” She doesn’t really care haha!

So I would say Merrie Cherry, I would say Aja…. Ummmm. Thorgy Thor. Who else has been really good? So many people! It’s a good question. I would say Culture Whore. Culture Whore is a group, two guys; they’ve booked me for some stuff as well. And Lady Simon. Yeah. They’re some of my homegirls.

So these are the people who support you, no matter what you do?

Yeah, they support me, I party with these people, and I do gigs with these people. Oh I’d also say Boy Georgia, she’s another go-go dancer who performs with me at a party once a month. So these are people that support me, come to my shows, put me in touch with other gigs and they’re just people that I party with. I mean I have so many homegirls but these are the ones that come to mind.

What is the motto you live your life by?

I would say: Do What Works For You. In all aspects, all across the board… do what works for you. I think people jump the gun, thinking, “Oh I could never do that!” And that is great if you are aware of your surroundings but I think people should just do what works for them. And for me a lot of things work for me, so I do them. I get that some drag queens don’t feel comfortable doing a burlesque act, they just love lip-syncing to their favourite songs, and that’s great. There are a lot of rules, but I think you should just do what works for you. Do what makes you happy. And get paid! You can perform in all these places all you want but unless you’re paying your rent, then you’re not really working. And I think that’s really important, because money circulates. A lot of my paid gigs have helped me get other costumes, and I’ve been able to pay people to design things for me. So it comes into full circle. Well, it is a job, nightlife has become a full-time job. So do what works for you, and do something you love. 

Join Rify next Friday 26th September at Dirty Diana from 9pm – 4am at Dalston Superstore.

Main photo credit: Ryan Pfluger

Dope Boy

Tonight sees a very special live performance from young up-and-coming gay rapper Dope Boy at the freshest party in town, Dirty Diana. Ahead of the festivities we caught out with him to find out more about his roots, influences and style…

Who is Dope Boy and where does he hail from?

Dopeboy is a London Based Gay rapper from Nottingham. But I’ve been in London for about four years now.

What are you earliest musical memories?

This is so bait but when I was a kid at about 3-5 years old I loved Take That and I  knew every song and every dance. I swear my auntie has a video of me singing into a fork with my tux on. 

Why is a visible LGBT presence in rap important?

I think now it is very important with everything changing within the gay rights movement and equality. Like how gay marriage is being accepted in many countries and that’s still growing. The reason it would be important in hip hop is because it’s currently the most influential within the music industry at this precise moment. People relate to music and I think it grabs people’s attention. I think it’s something that should of happened along time ago but I’m happy it’s happening now because I get to be apart of it.

Who are your hip hop heroes?

Missy Elliot, Busta Rhymes, The Fugees, Lauryn Hill, Eve, Lil Kim, 2Pac, Biggie, A$AP Rocky, Lil Wayne  and that just a few. I’d say for right now…. it would have to be Mykki Blanco, Le1f, Brooke Candy, Junglepussy, Chance The Rapper, Childish Gambino are among many people repping the gay community. I like what they’re doing and I think it’s different within the industry right now…. they’re like the next big thing.  

If you could only listen to one record on repeat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

En Vogue – Don’t Let Go. THEE MOST EMPOWERING SONG!!! GIVES ME LIFE.

Describe your look.

Futuristic, punk, grunge, MOD, Chav, ghetto space cadet.

Dope Boy perfomance

What will a live Dope Boy performance here at Dalston Superstore entail?

Sexy girls, naked boys, fabulous outfits, good music, sunglasses, platform shoes, booty shaking, split dropping, turnt up realness.

As a self-proclaimed East London gay rights preacher, what would you change about the queer scene here?

I don’t think there is anything wrong with the gay scene. We turn up, we have fun, and we do us. I don’t think its the gay scene that is the focus. We all just here to have fun.

We have a time machine and we can go visit any dancefloor from anywhere/anywhen…. where are we going?

’90s America. New York City.  Danceteria. Specifically Michael Alig’s Club Kids scene.

Out of your own tracks, which are you most proud of and if you could explain in one sentence why that particular track is so awesome…

That tough. I would probably say Find Yourself because not only was it my first track but it was very personal and I’ve had many comments, especially after performing at Pride that it can really effect the younger gay generation. Help them through school and all the tough bits when growing up as a gay or trans* individual.

Join Dope Boy tonight Friday 25th July at Dirty Diana with Boris (Ostgut Ton) at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 5am.

Photo credit: Dope Boy

Imma/Mess

New York performance artist Imma/Mess joins us here at Superstore this Friday to make his London debut at, of course, Dirty Diana. We sat down with the enigmatic artist to find out more ahead of the party…

Who is Imma/Mess?

Imma/Mess is kinda like this mix-up of who I long to be and my childhood references and memories. I grew up around majority women… and when I say “grew up” I don’t mean in physical presence. I was always listening to Tina Turner and watching ‘80s TV. So “women” in the broad sense of what a woman could be. Even down to my grandmother, just watching her cook, and things like that.

Imma/Mess is kinda like a combination of all those memories piled up into one and then me, now, the journey that I’m on. So I kinda use childhood memories to manipulate the present.

What can you tell us about your performance this Friday?

Since I’m new to London it needs to be about me introducing myself. A lot of performances are dependent on space, and so here at Superstore it’ll be about having fun… a lot of body haha showing a lot of body… a lot of make-up… but other than that, just a good time.

You lived in NYC- are you from there originally or did you gravitate towards there because of the richness of the performance art scene and the avant-garde scene?

I grew up in Montgomery, Alabama but I have always been drawn to New York. Even as a child I would draw the city’s skyline… then one day I was moving to Atlanta and my teacher was like “You should audition for Alvin Ailey.”

Who is that?

It’s an African-American dance troupe, artistically run by Robert Battle, and Judith Jamison was the director but now she’s not.

So it was pretty crazy for my teacher to suggest that I audition there as my aunt had just taken me to a performance there a week before. And that’s what took me to New York. 

Where has your art provoked the biggest reaction?

I will say that race comes up a lot. And racism comes up a lot, and all that. Because sometimes I will do blackface… but I don’t want to call it “blackface”. Sometimes I will use all black make-up or all-white make-up and people want to say “Oh my god why is there a black guy putting on black make-up?” and then they call it “blackface” or “Why is this black guy covering his whole body in white?” I think in the art world, sometimes, a sense of humour can be lost, or diluted down a bit…

ImmaMessmakeup 

Or maybe they don’t have the same drag references?

Right. I love performance art; it’s allowed me to get to where I am now. But I feel like a lot of times when my art comes up it’s always in reference to someone who is maybe not even medium-wise close to me…. But like the closest thing. So like Nick Cave because he’s an African-American performance artist who does these amazing, beautiful Soundsuits. And a lot of people, just because I use dance, are like “Oh Nick Cave.” And it’s like “No. What about Leigh Bowery? And all these people that ARE my references?”

Leigh Bowery

I guess the closest thing that is my reference is Grace Jones. That’s it. Okay, yeah maybe you’re right. Maybe they don’t have the same book of references as me.

You mentioned studying at Alvin Ailey- have you always studied dance?

My training background? I originally began studying gymnastics. Then my gymnastic teacher TRICKED me into doing dance because she used to do dance competitions and I was the only boy- actually it was me and her brother. He was four years older than me. She got both of us to do a duet- Mortal Kombat- Oh my god, and she was like “It’s gonna be the coolest duet! If you guys do it you will win the trophy.” And all I cared about was the trophy…

Did you?

And we did! It was called I Love Dance and we went, and I was so into it! I was so into it because I was thinking Trophy Trophy Trophy… And I got the trophy. Anyway, that’s where I started. And then I went onto a performing arts high school in Atlanta. Then it was onto Alvin Ailey, then I went to a Conservatory in Connecticut- in the middle of nowhere- some of the best years of my training life. Then after that I went to Holland and then I was offered a training position with Atlanta ballet so I went back and I grew up in the ranks pretty quickly. The director was so amazing. After the third year there I wanted to quit. I didn’t want to dance anymore. I wanted to do more with my voice. So I applied to school in secret and went to Parsons where I graduated with honours. I just recently applied to CSM (Central Saint Martins) so I’m going there for my MA in fine arts.

Besides Leigh Bowrey who you already mentioned, which artists- of any medium or method- inspire you?

I am drawn to people who I feel I can take something away from. I love Cindy Sherman. I love Nick Cave. George Condo. All art-wise. I’m kinda conflicted with Grace Jones, between performer or artist… for me I feel like she’s an artist, so she’s one of my biggest references. I LOVE John Waters. And from that I love Divine. And all his movies. So that’s where I’m at reference-wise.

Nick Cave

I love beauty but I love… beautifying the grotesque. I LOVE grotesque. The nastiness. Like how Divine is. It’s so amazingly ugly. It’s like wearing Prada: it’s so ugly it’s good. It’s like who puts those colours together and that crazy fucking goat fur and when you see it all together you’re kinda like bleurghh, but then a little bit down the road you’re like huh, this is not so bad.

Can you talk us through your style a bit… how would you describe it, do you make your own costumes, who are your favourite designers to wear?

In my normal life I wear all black. I wish I could afford Comme des Garçons. I’d wear Comme des Garçons every day. The avant-garde pieces. The womenswear. Rick Owens I would love to wear. Gareth Pugh… oh my god I LOVE. But right now, what I can afford is Y3 and pieces I find in vintage markets.

In my normal style I like a little bit of the crazy, but since I wear all black it’s easier for me to put it together. I can focus more on the texture, shape and form and all that. But, as Imma/Mess… I love glitter. Oh my god. I LOVE glitter oh my god. I wanna paint my nails glitter, my face glitter… I’ve yet to get a glitter bodysuit… I need to meet Manish Arora or Ashish. I need to meet one of them because they just do glitter and sequins haha and I like it. But I need it slutty. Y’know, less is more. As Imma/Mess I just glitter and fake eyelashes. I always end up losing my lashes by the end of the night and then I go to take off my bra and they’re both in there! Oh! There you are!

What has drawn you to London?

I feel that here I am able to be myself, and I don’t mean to just do whatever, I just feel that London is so open to opportunity, compared to New York, where opportunity is there- don’t get me wrong- but it’s such a dreadful journey to even just find the door of opportunity, let alone getting inside. And then once you are inside, there are so many subdivisions of opportunity but I feel like in London, opportunity is so readily available. The community here is always on the search for something new. Just London in general, just walking down the street, people are curious… and not to make fun of you, but are interested in you as a person. In coming to London I am finding out more about myself through engaging with the people that are here.

Who would you most like to collaborate on your art with- from contemporaries to up-and-comers you’ve got your eye on?

Boychild, I also love FKA Twigs, Zebra Katz, Angel Haze, and this new girl, a rapper called Dominque Jones Unqiue… but, I just wish I knew more people in the nightlife here.

Come get to know Imma/Mess at Dirty Diana this Friday 28th March at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 4.30am.

Photo Credits: Lee Morgan Photo / Tyler Dean King / Imma/Mess

Dirty Diana Top Tracks

Next Friday sees the next edition Dirty Diana over both floors of Dalston Superstore. As East London’s most royally salacious bender, it’s not about your clean cut Queen basking in perfection, it’s about individuality, fierceness of all shades and cutting edge beats of all kinds of heat! So with that in mind we asked a few of the local hero DJs playing to pick their top track ahead of the party…!

1. Frankco Harris

AAARON – FEELIN THIS

2. Pep Sanchez

MISS KITTIN – GRACE (BLACK LABELLES MINIMAL GRACE MIX)

3. Camplin & Vietheer

FRITS WENTINK – MOUSE

4. Chema Diaz

MARLON HOFFSTADT & DANSSON – SHAKE THAT (ORIGINAL MIX)

 

5. Disco Smack

SYLVESTER – DO YOU WANNA FUNK?

6. Conner West & Samantha Togni

ANGEL HAZE – WERKIN GIRLS

Dance to all this and more on Friday 29th November at Dirty Diana from 9pm – 4am at Dalston Superstore.