For latest edition of heaving homo house party Pump, promoters Neil Prince and Johnny Kalifornia have recruited New York party icons The Carry Nation to unleash their trademark brand of uplifting diva-heavy house on the lazer basement! Fresh off the back of some seriously thumping releases and brilliantly hedonistic accompanying music videos, we caught up with DJ Nita Aviance and Will Automagic to chat New York’s thriving queer scene, Glastonbury’s Block 9 and plans for Pump!
Hi Carry Nation! We can’t wait to have you guys join us at Pump! How has 2017 been for you so far?
2017 has been a brilliant year getting back to work with our mother-label, UK based Batty Bass, run by Hannah Holland. Two of the tracks we released on that label come with videos from two very talented artists we’ve always wanted to work with, Tyler Jensen and Cathal O’Brien.
You guys are involved quite heavily with the incredible Battle Hymn parties in NYC – can you tell us a bit about it? They always look insane!
Ladyfag is a genius and always knows how to throw an amazing party. The roster of guest DJs always blows our mind and it’s a real return to proper partying in Manhattan
You guys have been playing at the NYC Downlow at Glastonbury for a good few years now – do you agree with Mixmag calling it the UK’s best club?
100% yes. Block 9 always delivers some of the highlights of our year.
What is it about the NYC Downlow that makes it so magical?
Sick programming, enticing visuals and enough d—s to choke a horse!
We love the teaser video for your new single, The Queens! Where did the inspiration for that come from?
Our love for London and our many experiences there led us to give our director Cathal free-reign to interpret our NY-based song. Keeping the trans-Atlantic theme we also wanted to feature Sussi, a recent transplant to London from New York.
It doesn’t get more iconic than JD Samson, whose long history of superb queer art and music-making includes being in Le Tigre, touring the world with her band MEN, and everything else from writing songs for pop stars to documenting the death of lesbian bars in the US for VICE. Ahead of JD’s Superstore debut at a very special Easter weekend edition of Patsy, we chatted about gay clubbing, balancing art and activism post-Brexit, and her incredible party PAT, which you should go it if you’re ever in New York.
Hey JD! We’re very, very excited to have you at PATSY. What do you think of London nightlife; how does it compare to New York?
I think every party is different. I hate making generalisations about countries and geographic locations because what I think makes the difference are promoters. I think they are more powerful than we usually admit to create a vibe and energy and curate the right DJs for their scene. I’m so excited to play PATSY because I have heard such amazing things about it!
You DJ, make art, curate DJs for places, make music, annnnnd throw a fabulous monthly party, PAT. What inspired you to start it?
Honestly, I had so much success with Scissor Sunday, and was invited to help the club bring in a new clientele. I really enjoy helping to make spaces more queer and give them a new life, so this opportunity was really great for me. PAT stemmed from a really specific idea to be inclusive of all people. The party is free and has developed into such an incredible place where anyone can be anything and be safe to be that while dancing and hugging and sweating and smiling. I love it and that’s why I do it.
What are three records that never leave your record bag (or USB stick, or Traktor playlist?)
Catch the Light- (Man without a clue remix)- Soul Divide
Can’t Get enough- (Vocal Club Mix)- Soulsearcher
You Can’t Hide From Yourself- (Muthafunkaz Vocal Mix) – Marc Evans
You’re a musician first and also a DJ. Is the energy behind performing your own music live markedly different from mixing other people’s songs live for a dancefloor? Why or why not?
Yes. OMG. When you have a set with a band, you play that, and that’s that. It is fixed. You don’t really have an opportunity to look deep in your repertoire and pull up something else. With DJing you could say, ‘oh shit. they hate this’ and switch it up completely. That’s a big part of it for me. The fluidity. But I will say that it is also a lot scarier because it is just me. I am alone. I have to do it myself. No one else to blame for a mistake or a bad set. LOL
Who are some bands and DJs you’re really into lately?
As it’s your Superstore debut, what can dancers expect from your set?
Happy disco/house. I’m just a feeler of feelings and soulful vocals are just in my heart right now.
What was your first gay/queer clubbing experience like? Where’d you go, what’d you think, what sort of music was playing, etc?
Gosh my first experience was some after-hours club in NYC that I don’t remember the name of and everyone was doing K and we were listening to house music. Then I went to Squeezebox and met John Waters and he gave me his address (before cell phones). I sent him a postcard.
If you could go back in time to any dance floor in the world, where would you like to spend an evening and why?
Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for people who might be feeling overwhelmed or having a tough time finding a balance between nightlife and protesting in the wake of things like Trump’s election and Brexit?
Self Care. Take breaks. Enjoy your life. History is long. We have been here before. We can make it. Keep your goals in sight. Protest when you can. Work for your cause and become leaders that can make policy changes. Work for the government.
What’s the last book you read and the last movie you watched?
The last book was Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach. Last movie… omg I never watch movies. I only watch documentaries. Hmmm. I think I watched the Netflix series Abstract. Does that count? I’m a terrible part of our culture. I am very old school and recently went off social media. So I know nothing but what I hear from mouths.
What’s next for you (records or remixes coming out, spring or summer tour dates, etc)?
Remix for Josh Caffe and Hannah Holland coming out soon. Remix for ROMANCE coming out soon. Sharer songs will emerge whenever we decide. DJing all over in the summer. Can’t wait to keep on trucking.
Catch JD Samson at Patsy on Friday 14 April from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore!
Dalston Superstore’s Polari-inspired Club Vada is thrilled to announce Brooklyn-based DJ, songwriter and jetsetting record producer Lauren Flax will be joining the bill for their next party! Her wild, chuggy house sets have been setting dancefloors alight from New York to London and beyond for years, with a vast range of musical inspirations colouring her own productions. Having collaborated with the likes of Sia and Romy XX as well as making her own music under the CREEP moniker with fellow electronic musician Lauren Dillard, we can’t wait to hear watch she unleashes in the lazerpit! We caught up to chat collaborations, influences and plans for this year.
Hi Lauren! We can’t wait to have you play at Club Vada! How has the first week of the new year been for you?
Actually quite amazing. Obviously last year was rough for many parts of the world and it took some time for me to be able to get back on my feet. It’s so important to be able to keep my vibration high but also to stay angry and to not normalize things. We have a long fight ahead of us the next 4 years but I feel ready stand up and fight with a clear mind.
Dillard and I started CREEP in 2009 I think? We put out or debut record in 2013 and got to tour Europe leading up to that. It was a great experience with a major learning curve for us, but it was all very exciting. Right now I’m focused on solo releases and DJing. We’ll write another record at some point, when the time feels right.
How did you two come to be working together?
We were best friends from the start. I think we both just got bored and wanted to see what we could come up with. I think we learned pretty quickly that we were on to something.
You’ve collaborated with some incredible names over the years from Kim Ann Foxman and Romy XX to Sia – who have been some of your favourite people to remix or work with?
Thats a tough one to answer! Sia was the easiest in that she came to my loft at the time and recorded all the vocals to You’ve Changed in literally 20 minutes. She also wrote the lyrics on the car ride over. She’s made of magic.
What was your favourite release of 2016?
This didn’t come out in 2016 but its my favourite discovery of an African band named Super Mama Djombo. Nissan Na Mbera is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard.
How do you think your upbringing in Detroit has influenced your sound?
Detroit taught me that technique and precision were major factors to being a great DJ. Plus, being surrounded by the people that created techno didn’t hurt either haha. We were all just young and obsessed kids back then, but it was special and a lot of us were able to make a career out of it.
You’ve toured really extensively across your career, what is the weirdest / best place you’ve ever played?
Honestly, I think the weirdest show we did was a daytime show at Shoreditch House. Some of the people were eating dinner and confused, but also we had 50 of our closest friends there all in black. We definitely descended on that place in full force.
How does the LGBT+ party scene in London compare to that of New York?
Honestly I don’t know any places that aren’t LGBT+ anymore and its great! I think both cities offer a great mixed crowd. Even if parties are advertised as queer nights, you’ll still get a mix. Plus everybody knows the gays throw the best parties!
Can you let us in on any plans in the pipeline for 2017?
More dance records to come. And lots of touring Europe. I’ll be based back in Berlin for the summer and am looking forward to festival season.
In five words or less, what are you planning to unleash on Club Vada?
GONNA MAKE THAT ASS CLAP.
Catch Lauren Flax at Club Vada this Saturday 21 January from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore!
In a time when club spaces (and with them, overlooked communities) are disappearing before our eyes, Club Vada promoters Hannah Holland and Cathal O’brien are seeking to preserve queer culture and history, and share them with a new generation. As well as booking DJs who made their names in iconic queer parties of the past, at every party they present a special guest artist, performer or cultural figure to present their piece of LGBT history before the party kicks off. For their upcoming party, they welcome prolific videographer, film maker and archivist, Jeffrey Hinton whose work is focused on underground subcultures, spanning decades between London and New York city. We caught up with Jeffrey to chat a bit about his past work, current collaborations and plans for the future.
Hi Jeffrey! We are absolutely thrilled to have you join us for a pre-party show at Club Vada! Can you tell us a bit about your relationship to promoters Hannah Holland and Cathal?
Well that’s all a kind of club blur! But Hannah and Cathal are great energies and I love what they do, we share lots of the same interests for sure.
How did you first get started as a videographer and filmmaker?
I started recording things on a reel to reel tape recorder age eight, and wanted to mess it up, so hot wired the sound through the speaker outputs on the hifi and fed it back over records and the radio (early mixing). All ways of capturing the world fascinate me, visual and sound. Then experimenting with any tech I can get my hands on and usually doing it all wrong as I have no training but I like the fucked up bits.
How have you watched the gay scene in London change over the years?
Yes, I’ve seen lots of changes around the world but I like change! Patterns do emerge if you’ve been around a while like me.
If you could change one thing about the LGBT+ club scene, what would it be?
Stop complaining too much or being inward thinking and get on with action (despite the obvious issues). Mind you that applies to everything. I like people to get more active and visually out there rather than behind a computer (like I’m feeling right now!!)
You collaborated a few years ago with the V&A for their Club to Catwalk exhibition; can you tell us a bit about that project?
That came a bit out of the blue as I went in for a meeting and thought I was just advising them but then they said, “We’re building you a room and want you to fill it with your films and music!” So I did!
As an observer of subcultures and the queer underground, where do you see things developing in the next few years?
We live in such media saturation all regurgitating questions till we’re numb!
The world has shifted a lot but still fails to resolve most old issues. The big rise in controlling right wing powers directly affect us all and especially any queer underground. But I see lots of cracks are appearing and that’s always been a good time for underground activity!
2016 has been one hell of a year in terms of losing some amazing counter-cultural icons. Among all this loss, what has been a highlight for you?
I’m pretty amazed I’m still on the planet!
Who have been some of the most inspiring people you have collaborated with?
That is a never-ending list all for different reasons. I’m so lucky to know and work with amazing people – it’s why I love being alive.
Do you have any exciting projects in the works that you can let us in on?
From 28 November I have a big video installation running for two months covering the ceiling at BISTHROTHEQUE called Big Sky. It features clips and moments from my films covering three decades all wafting around a sky ambiance.
Then next year I’m working on a completely immersed sound and visual installation that I’m also designing the interior for and want to tour. Also I’m developing a play (never done that before!)
I’m very excited so look out for details.
Can you give us a sneak peek of what you have planned for Club Vada?
I’m screening my film Scratch Bowery that hasn’t been shown in this country.
It’s my homage cut up video to Leigh Bowery and the life that we shared including some of my visuals from the club Taboo. Then I’m talking to Max Allan about the visual side of queer language… well along those lines but were known to digress!!
Catch Jeffrey Hinton’s pre-club film screening & discussion with Max Allen at Club Vada from 9pm on Saturday 26 November at Dalston Superstore.
Iconic DJ, producer and true legend of the East London scene Hannah Holland has joined forces with prolific photographer, videographer and DJ Cathal O’Brien to create a new club night which is sure to send ripples through the gay clubbing scene. Having seen through thirteen years of parties together, the friends and artistic collaborators are no stranger to putting on innovative club nights, and their latest project is Club Vada. They caught up to chat about early club experiences, their history, and the inspiration for Club Vada!
Hannah: When it came to the inspiration for my own parties, the club that really blew my mind was Nag Nag Nag, at (former) The Ghetto. That’s where you would meet some very interesting club kids – I guess it was the era’s Taboo club. There was also Bodyrockers at Cynthia’s Robot Bar, with a music fusion of Detroit electro, techno, house and punk. Metalheadz at The Blue Note, was next level, pure energy and bass, with a proper mixed bag of London music lovers.
Nag Nag Nag
Cathal:I loved Nag Nag Nag and other infamous London club nights with strict door whores and strong looks – I remember you had to get past Cormac on the door in his Air force Pilot jumpsuit first – I remember thinking it was like the scene filmed at Danceteria from Desperately Seeking Susan.
Hannah:Boys AND girls mixed, with a common motive for the music, the vibe and the people. It was very creative. One thing that I find sad now is many gay clubs are 90% men, obviously there’s a desire/need for that in gay clubland, but Dalston Superstore is a great space for both to unite. Thats definitely something that’s always been very important to me – at clubs I’ve been involved in, people come from all different walks of life and genders, with the right attitude.
Cathal:Characters you mention like Steve Strange, Leigh Bowery, Jeffery Hinton, Marilyn, Princess Julia showed us it is possible to have this life, to have a story, to have a community to contribute to and maintain. And they look great! This amazing history needs to be fostered – there are stories that need to be passed down and heard! I think that’s something we both want to facilitate right?
Hannah: Absolutely. They are important moments in underground London, and I love the fact that it’s a talented artist like yourself recording, often it’s only the press version that gets told.
Cathal: My heroes are artists who also ran there own club spaces and were involved with nightlife, Basquiat with his band Gray at Area, John Sex, Kenny Scharf and Keith Haring at Club 57 – all peddling their own flyers and fanzines, transforming the spaces, getting their work seen immediately by an audience. I’ve really enjoyed pulling the artwork together for Club Vada. – its a no brainer to run a night where you have your work/ films playing on the walls, branding the night, designing flyers – its all curation to me. Hannah, what made you start doing parties ?
“After a few years of being resident of the infamous TRAILER TRASH (co-promoted by Superstore owner Matt Tucker, one of the clubs that kickstarted the Shoreditch scene mid 2000s), I met Mama, and joined forces to start Batty Bass along with Alex Noble. We really went to town with our imaginations. Mama came from a punk background, Alex’s art and my eclectic music focusing on bass, we mixed live vocals (and instruments sometimes) with DJ sets, Alex’s visual universe and built a loyal following. The party lasted about seven years, outgrew its spiritual home and went into warehouses. By that time we started to move out of London and back and we called it a day. It was still some of the most amazing times I’ve had as a promoter and DJ.
Cathal:Its your Batty Bass label’s ten year anniversary – how are you celebrating it?
Hannah:Yeah, the club started in 2006 and the record label soon after, we’re releasing music again after a little break and celebrating by getting the family back together in sound – Josh Caffe, Mama, The Carry Nation, Alex Noble and more. Cathal:Wicked !
Hannah: Has your work always been inspired by people you’ve met in these places?
Cathal: I primarily make portraits, photographically and in short film – I love the challenge of getting someone down on film in a way that they want to be seen and how I see them in that moment. I really returned to this thinking with the party i run with Bica, Clam Jam. Every week I took pictures of an amazing new breed of queer women – I’m archiving it all now. I want to make a book. I don’t think its evident how important this group of women are just yet, it’s a really exciting time and I felt a responsibility to record a part of it. I’m going to be taking photographs at Club Vada as well of course! I don’t want to miss it. I wanna see strong looks!
Hannah: One of my favourite places in the early 2000s was Sundays at The George and Dragon, with Jonjo Jury on the decks. He would expertly move through the very best of queer heritage. Can’t wait to have him work his magic upstairs for Vada. Also Elles is one of my favourite East End DJs right now, she has amazing taste and a great vibe.
Cathal:I can’t wait to have that ‘Lovely Jonjo’ element upstairs for the first Vada. I’ve always loved what Jonjo plays – from when he played at Trash to when I remember him playing Saint Etienne at the pre-refurbished Red Lion pub round the back of Hoxton Square.
Your tracks have consistently sampled gay icons who all made a big difference to the nightlife of their time. You’re releasing a new track – who have you sampled this time ? Does it have a name yet ?
Hannah:My new track is called Diva Bern and samples the diva legend that is Sandra Bernhard. I know we both love a bit of Sandra, I can get lost in her interviews on youtube for hours.
Cathal: Club Vada will be our London residency for both of us – our base – you’ve been playing a lot around Europe – You played at the now legendary ongoing club space Berghain – was that a goal from when you lived out there? How did you find it ?
Hannah:It was always my greatest dream to play there. I did face up to myself years ago, when I lived there, that it was never going to happen, and I was ok with that! Then… came the phone call. Put it this way, I’ve never been so excited or nervous in my life – for a good two month lead up. Couldn’t have asked for the gig to go better. Dear friends were there, we had an opening of the shutters moment… It was very intense. I also got to play in the garden with Cormac, another East End diamond, on another occasion, that was so much fun.
Cathal:So we’ve gone all Polari with the name of the night, I’ll let you explain how that came about Hannah.
Hannah:Vada comes from the gay London slang language Polari, I first heard it in a track by the The Weebles ft. Princess Julia called Moist Womanly Needs – “Vada girl, Vada”
Cathal:When you start looking into it you realise many of the slang words have trickled down into mainstream vernacular.
Hannah:Then Lavinia Co-op introduced me to it first though a really amazing show.
Cathal: I had heard about Lavinia originally related to New York and I have many questions myself, stories I want to hear – Lavinia has given me some prose which mixes Polari and cockney slang which I will put into in the fanzine we’re making to hand out – it all relates to the talk she is giving on the night.
Hannah:Lavinia has been through seventies gay liberation and been part of the fight to make it possible to have these nights and freedoms we all enjoy today.
She was around the time that gay people had their own language, not because of shows like Ru Pauls Drag Race, but because they had to! A secret code, Polari is a fascinating underground private slang, cockney rhyming for the queens. We’re honoured to have Lavinia do her show and have a chat with Max Allen before the party kicks off! Max will then be hosting the evening, and we will be screening the short film shot by Cathal that he stars in.
Club Vada will be all about lost in the music moments, we’ve got some quality DJs lined up for the rest of the year and next. For our launch I’ll be getting into the wormholes of house techno and beyond for a 5hr set.
Catch Hannah Holland and Cathal at the debut of Club Vada on Saturday 24 September from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore! Lavinia Co-op show and panel downstairs from 9pm.
Since starting out as a DJ and promoter ten years ago, Volvox has been challenging and shaping the underground dance scene as a member of the Discwoman collective. Having lived in New York since 2011, she holds residencies at JACK DEPT. NYC and Unter, and has been lighting up dancefloors from Detroit to Puerto Rico with her distinctive raw acid and jacking techno sets. We caught up with her for a whirlwind chat ahead of her appearance at Saturday night’s Lazerdiscz!
Hi Volvox! We’re absolutely thrilled to have you play for Lazertitz at Dalston Superstore! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’ve been a DJ and event promoter for ten years now and based in NYC since 2011…I like dirty acid music and chest-beating techno and I can’t wait to dance with you all!
How did you get involved with the Discwoman crew?
Myself and the Discwoman ladies are all regulars at Bushwick bar/club Bossa Nova Civic Club. We met there and when they formed the group I was the first DJ they approached to join the roster.
How important a role have they played in your development as a DJ?
Discwoman has definitely opened up opportunities beyond all expectations, they’re responsible for this tour I’m on now and I couldn’t be more grateful!
Having grown up in Buffalo, how has your early exposure to the industrial rave scene influenced you as a DJ?
I think it has definitely flavored the style of what I do, dark yet groovy and intensely danceable..
If you could change one thing about dance music culture, what would it be?
Um, how about some more women and POC getting major bookings?
You have seen quite the meteoric rise to success over the last few years, what has been your proudest moment?
This year has been filled with life-altering events but I have to say playing Boiler Room was really something special, the crowd was dancing behind and in front of me and I just felt like I was in a vortex!
If you had a time machine and could go dancing anywhere/anywhen, where would you go?
I wouldn’t mind checking out European high bohemian life of the 1920’s..
Favourite track of 2016?
Have to say it’s Justin Cudmore – Crystal (Servito’s 730 Reshape)…song of the summer, no doubt!
Go-to pumper to rescue a waning dancefloor?
Anything by Andreas Gehm…gutted he’s not with us anymore. His talent was beyond.
Can you give us a hint of what you have in store for us at Lazertitz in five words or less? Crazy Funky Nasty Dirty Acid!!!
Catch Volvox at Lazertitz presents Lazerdiscz on Saturday 23 July from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore.
Planningtorock is something of an enigma. The Berlin-based artist defies categorisation – both musically and politically. She has worked as a music producer and video director with a strong emphasis on collaboration and experimentation on the boundaries of genre. It is not surprising that, with a long list of collaborators such as The Knife and Mount Sims (with whom she co-wrote an Opera for Danish performance group Hotel Pro Forma), Planningtorock’s experimentation echoes more political motivations. Ahead of her appearance at Lazertitz on Saturday 29 August, we take a look at her incredible back-catalogue of work.
In addition to her music, Planningtorock produces experimental video work which calls attention to the absurdities of gender performance.
She lists Patriarchy Over & Out as a kind of political turning point for her music, and all releases since have been driven by an inherently feminist, genderqueer intent and charged with an eloquent anger.
Planningtorock directs a lot of the videos for her music, creating a distorted, intriguing sensory experiences that magnify the poignancy of her music. Her releases over the years have ranged from the dreamy and ephemeral to outright funky dance tracks.
Catch Planningtorock alongside Debonair, Hannah Holland and more at Lazertitz on Saturday 29 August at Dalston Superstore.
Dalston Superstore is beyond excited for our upcoming family affair this Friday featuring the unstoppable force that is Shaun J Wright. Between playing at Berghain’s Panorama Bar, releasing tracks on his own label – Twirl – and jetting between gigs in the US and Europe, he and Twirl partner Alinka debut new track, Way Back on Hannah Holland’s label Batty Bass today! We caught up to chat collaboration, dream-gigs and favourite parties.
What has been the most exciting moment for you since the launch of Twirl?
Alinka and I have shared some really cool moments since the launch of Twirl. Getting a nice review for our first single, “Journey Into The Deep” in DJ Magazine was super affirming. Also, having Annie Mac & Heidi play our tunes on BBC Radio 1 was special.
The Twirl brand is a collaboration between you and another Superstore fave, Alena Ratner (Alinka.) How did you guys come together as creative partners?
We met through Scott Cramer, a Chicago-based promoter who is good friends with Alinka. He thought that we would get along well musically and personally. He was correct. He also helped us to facilitate our party Twirl! in Berlin.
The first time we met was in her studio. We had instant chemistry and we haven’t stopped making music since. That really is my favorite part of the process. Sitting with her and creating new material is always fun, always driven by our current moods, recent experiences and encounters with fresh sounds. We sometimes surprise ourselves when we head into new directions. It’s all very exciting!
You guys have had a pretty huge year, from being featured on BBC Radio 1, gaining the support of Robert Owens and featuring artists such as Eli Escobar. What’s next for the label?
We have a single out now called Need Someone with stellar remixes from Aerea Negrot, Snuff Crew and The Cucarachas. We have one more single in the works before releasing a compilation in celebration of our first year.
Can you tell us about any exciting new artists you have coming up on the label?
Yes, Alinka made contact with a young man from the UK named Spatial Awareness who will be our first official release from an artist besides ourselves on Twirl. His sound is massive and we’re really excited to have him on board.
We hear you’re also working on a solo EP– can you tell us a bit about that?
Wow! That’s been quite the labor of love. I’ve been working on the EP for about five years. I have collaborated with Alinka, Stereogamous and Aerea Negrot. I’m very close with all of them so the work and the entire process has been very personal and in ways quite revealing. I find the material to be very inspiring and I hope it resonates with other listeners as it does with me.
It’s been an adventure attempting to carve out my space as a solo artist as I have yet to release any material under my own moniker. I’ve enjoyed the process of discovering my voice with collaborators who I can trust – who push me further than I thought possible. I really thank them for helping me shape this vision.
How much have you, as an artist, been influenced by your roots in Chicago?
I don’t know if I can separate my Chicago upbringing from my work as an artist, at least, not objectively or analytically. I do recognise how my experience(s) with the various cultural offerings from my hometown are shaped by growing up in the west suburbs and on the westside of the city and coming of age in the 90’s. Oftentimes, it’s easier to talk about house music cultures(s) from Chicago in a homogenous fashion but it was so diverse when I was growing up and it was all under the umbrella of house.
I was a footworker. I joined Mega Sweat (a juke-dance posse) in high school and participated in events like the Bud Billiken parade and local talent shows/competitions. I started sneaking into black gay clubs like The Generator and The East of The Ryan on the southside when I was way too young. That’s where I was first exposed to ballroom culture which opened my mind to an entirely new way of engaging with the music via voguing.
As a dancer and now musician, I’m certain I wouldn’t have received such a diverse education and offering of styles had I not been born and raised here in Chicago.
You must have been to some incredible parties over the years! What is your most incredible Chicago House memory?
Beyond a doubt, Frankie Knuckle’s last birthday celebration at Queen at Smart Bar. Derrick Carter, Louie Vega, David Morales, Michael Serafini and Garret David burned the decks. Inaya Day sang gorgeously. I had the honour of chatting with former Warehouse owner Robert Williams. It was packed to the brim and I thought the roof was going to lift off the building. The energy in the room was palpable!
What is one record you like to throw in as a curveball to keep people on their toes?
I’d have to go with Kink’s Source of Uncertainty. It is so twisted and full of surprises. If I’m looking to raise the energy of the room that one usually does the trick and allows me to push further into darker, more aggressive sounds.
If you had access to a time machine and could visit any dance floor anywhere/anywhen, where would want to go dancing?
If I could only chose one I would go to the Music Box while listening to Ron Hardy spin. Just to experience the newness of house music during that era must have been riveting. I can only imagine the combination of the cutting edge sounds, the looks and the gyrating bodies. Pure unadulterated ovahness!
What does your perfect queer utopia look like?
Sitting in the living room with my closest friends with a bottle of red wine flipping between the latest political news/commentary and vogue performance clips from Ballroom Throwbacks.
Join Shaun J Wright on Friday 8 August for Twirl Presents at Dalston Superstore from 9pm-3am.
The two mega-babes behind Clam Jam have certainly been busy this year, and we’re only just over half way through! In between booking festival slots at Lovebox and Secret Garden Party and club nights at XOYO and East Bloc, they’ve gone all ‘Yonce on us and sprung us with a surprise single release! We sat down to chat party plans, inspiration and …uh… Victoria Sponge!
Bica and Cathal, your Clam Jam babe-duo is such a big part of the success of your parties. How did you two come together?
B: I bought a box of cereal one day, which is strange in itself considering I am a full English breakfast kinda gal, and lo and behold he was the free gift in it. I kinda liked him so thought I would keep him.
C: Whilst trawling the internet I stumbled upon Serbianmidgetlover.com, placed a bid and won her for 2p and a ten pack of Richmond Menthol Super 10s. She seemed happy enough and I haven’t had the heart to get rid of her since then. They run a strict no exchange or return policy so we’ve been stuck together for years now.
We knew you could throw an amazing party, but had no idea you had a bloody single up your sleeves! How did this all come about?
C: Ah yes! Well… we had this tune in mind for a while, then our mate producer Alex Blanco, who had been coming to cLAM jAM a while and loving what we played, suggested we all get in the studio……
B:…. and the rest is history.
Where did you draw inspiration for your video?
B: Cathal has been doing amazing video work forever now, for various personal and professional projects, bands, festivals and fashion designers. I love Victoria sponge…. And he loves to make me look demented!
C: There is no one simple answer for this, being that a ‘big bitch’ isn’t a comment about size I suppose. Its about being fully saturated, excessive and comfortable in your tastes, sexual habits, body, sense of humour or unapologetic lack of it even. One man’s big bitch is another man’s cream cake.
2015 is looking set to be a big year for Clam Jam! Can you tell us a bit about your party plans for the next few month?
C: We are keeping our Thursday nights, OBVS, at the Mothership Superstore which just gets better and more lushed-out by the minute. We are playing at this year’s Lovebox for the Little Gay Brother Vegas Room on the Friday 17 July, which we are excited about. Then the weekend after we are set to get all at one with nature, ahem, and play at the Secret Garden Party Festival !
B: Also, this is super secret still but we’ll let ya onto something… cLAM jAM will be doing something bigger and better in an unusual location in August. Can’t say more than that, but watch his space.
You have an extra-special guest planned for the debut of your single. Can you tell us a bit about her ?
B:Yep! Super excited that we got a DJ set for the single launch courtesy of the fabulous Perera Elsewhere from the band Yahcoozi.
C: We’ve been following her for a while now, since she has done bits with our mate Hannah Holland, who in turn hooked us up, and we really wanted her to do the set for this night especially. Check her out – it’s gonna be ace!
This Saturday Lazertitz present a mega lineup as the girls from hotly tipped band Evvol join Lauren Flax, The Carry Nation and Hannah Holland for this Glastonbury warm-up party. Julie Chance and Jon Dark, as well as being dark-synth-pop musicians, also run the label and party My Haus in their adopted home of Berlin. Ahead of Saturday’s fun, we caught up with Chance & Dark to find out more…
You guys founded My Haus and are part of amazing band Evvol… seriously, how do you find the time?? How do you balance the more analoguey side of things with the more dance music side of things or do you just find it all dovetails?
Jon Dark: So far we have had no problem managing them, we find that when we have time to write for one we tend to be gigging with the other – for example when we were writing the Evvol album we were doing lots of DJ gigs, and now we are touring the Evvol live show, we will have more time to write a new track for My Haus, and then we will move on to the second Evvol album.
The different approach is something that is fun for us actually. Keeps us fresh.
Describe My Haus for the uninitiated…
Julie Chance: My Haus is a collective of friends who DJ and a label. We have put out a white label 12″ release with remixes by Massimilliano Pagliara and a new track not yet released which features vocals from Katie Stelmanis of Austra. We also put on monthly parties in Berlin.
What for you was the moment where you felt like you’d made it? Or at least reached a level of success you hadn’t anticipated?
Jon Dark: The concept of “making it” is really fluid, because when ever you reach a milestone, you then re-set your goals on the next one! But having K7 put out our record feels pretty great.
If you had a time machine and could go dancing anywhere/anywhen, where would we be setting the time machine dials to?
Jon Dark: I’d be in Chicago and Detroit in the late ’80s.
You guys met in Paris! Can you talk us through that clearly fortuitous meet-cute?
Jon Dark: Julie was DJing in a bar and I was living in Paris at the time, I just happened to go to this party, we started talking at the bar, and then hung out all night, realised we had a shared passion for music and pretty quickly decided to do something together, next thing I know my bags are packed and i’m on a plane to Berlin. Never looked back!
What was the last piece of art of any medium or format that moved you?
Julie Chance: We are both really into cinema, I think that we would both agree that Under the Skin – got under our skin. Particularly the amazing soundtrack from Mica Levi.
What’s your lights up/hands in the air track to end the night on?
Jon Dark: Chez Damier – Can You Feel It, an oldie but a goodie.
Considering one of you is Irish and the other Australian, we’re guessing the recent Irish referendum and the knock on effect it’s had on the probability of marriage equality in Australia must have been particularly poignant for you both… what did you do to celebrate?
Julie: It was a great day for Ireland and actually both of us have Irish passports! We were very emotional. When the results came in we were DJing at Bucharest Pride on top of a float so we felt this was no better way to celebrate, Bucharest is still a bit conservative and has a long way to go in terms of LGBT rights.
If you had actual lazertitz, would you use your powers for good or evil?
Julie: We would probably use our lazertits to break into bank vaults at night and empty them out! Lazer tits are also good in self defence, walking the streets at night etc…
Join Chance & Dark this Saturday 20th June at Dalston Superstore for Lazertitz from 9pm – 4am.
Evvol play The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington tomorrow night from 7.30pm with support from Black Gold Buffalo. Grab a ticket here.
Tomorrow night we welcome Parisian up-and-coming DJ and producer Clara 3000 to Dalston Superstore for another edition of LAZERTITZ! A protégé of French legend (and Superstore fave) Chloé, Clara made her name as a DJ and kick-started her career at the tender age of 19 supporting famed electro band Justice. Now she’s made her own EP for French label Kill The DJ and playing in our basement! Ahead of the party, we caught up with her to find out more…
Your DJ name makes you sound like a futuristic robot disguised as a hot girl… Are you a modern day Maria from Metropolis?
I’ll just take the compliment.
You started writing for a dance music magazine at 17 AND you interned at Ed Banger… is there a better induction into dance music for a french teenager?
It was a good way to start indeed and I learnt a lot about clubs, music, and its business. Looking back, I realize how lucky I was: in 2007-2008 Ed Banger was the most exciting thing in the French electronic scene, there really was a feeling of “here and now”. These two jobs also gave me an excuse to spend three nights a week going out, which allowed me to start figuring out more precisely what sound I really related to, what worked and what was boring, what I loved in the night itself, etc. After a while I realized I wanted to be more than witness of this and I eventually started DJing myself.
If you had a time machine and could visit any dance floor anywhere/anywhen, where would you want to go dancing?
Wigan Casino 1965, Mudd Club 1980, Hacienda, 1985.
Your Rinse FM show is described as super eclectic… how do you go about digging records for it? Do you start with a theme or do you freeform it?
It’s more like wandering, every week I listen to a lot of stuff from different sources (blogs, YouTube, Discogs, books…) I usually just get caught by something I like and research around it. Most of the time you have listen to a hundred bad songs to find a good rarity.
At our sister venue Voodoo Rays we have pizzas named after Giorgio Moroder and Hot Mix 5…. What base and toppings would a Clara 3000 pizza have on it?
Pepperoni for ever.
Talk us through your debut release! Super exciting! We want to know all about it please…
It’s been super interesting to lock myself in the studio, and it was more introspective than I thought it would be. I knew nothing about production so it took some time to learn about the technical stuff but the EP is almost finished now and I can’t wait for it to come out. It’ll be released in Kill The DJ after summer.
If you taking us on a date in Paris where would be going to eat, drink and dance?
First a rubbish bar because it’s always more fun, then sea food at Terminus Nord, and after we improvise.
But if you could change one thing about Paris nightlife what would it be?
More girls behind the decks.
You’ve previously spoken about your childhood love of the Batman soundtrack… if your music was scoring a film what film would it be?
You describe yourself as a “no-pants DJ”… Firstly,do you mean American pants or British pants because frankly your answer changes EVERYTHING. And secondly, is this something we can expect at Lazertitz?
Come and see!
Join Clara for Lazertitz this Saturday 25th April at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 4am.
This Saturday we welcome the utterly fabulous Mama to Dalston Superstore for Lazertitz! A south London girl, now based in Berlin, Mama will be performing live in the laser basement! Ahead of the party we caught up with her to find out more about releasing on BPitch Control with her close collaborator Argy, her times as a key figure in Hannah Holland’s Batty Bass parties and the weird ways the music press likes to describe her…
You’ve hosted the insane Batty Bass parties, including the infamous NYD sessions… what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever witnessed or partook in at one of these?
Apart from witnessing the occasional nudity and people swinging from the ceiling there was nothing really as explicit as some of my lyrics about abortions, leaving your soul at the door, slags, tits and dicks. People would sing and chant along. I don’t know how they remembered all the words because it wasn’t online and we didn’t have soundcloud around that time but yeah, we had such a fun and open minded crowd.
How did you come to work with your close collaborator Argy?
We met in a dive bar in Berlin, both nursing a stiff drink after splitting up with our partners and thought it’ll be funny to write an album about it together. Two months later the ‘Dominonation’ album was born but wasn’t so much about the exes, we forgot about them quite quickly.
Mama, if you were house mother, what would you house be called and who would be the children of your house?
It’ll be called ‘MAMA’s Play House’. It’ll be full of New York club kids, lip-syncing drag queens, doo wop street singers, a lollypop lady to help the club kids cross the street, Haçienda ravers, top quality stand up comedians and Voguers. 24hr entertainment.
You’re originally from South London… what made you want to leave the wonders of the south for the techno decadence of Berlin?
I only planned to live in Berlin for a summer to record my album but some how after a summer of open airs, meeting creative people and Bar25 every weekend, I just never made it back home. That year I ended up recording with over 20 house and techno DJ/Producers such as Catz n Dogz, Tiefschwarz, MUNK, Bloody Mary, got remixed by Life + Death, Solomon, Paul Kalkbrenner, Jay Haze… the list goes on and on. Living in Berlin has been creatively fulfilling for me because I worked with some great names and I finally got round to writing and producing my solo album Dreams of Liberty. I also recorded an album with MUNK under the name of Mona Lazette (my sassy Brazilian alto ego) and collaborated on the Argy + Mama album project for BPitch Control. I must say though, I was on the tube the other day on the Victoria line and I suddenly felt like I woke up out of a dream wondering why I had left London for ze Germans in the first place, I could’ve written albums in the UK. It was like a surreal stoner moment.
What’s been the most pivotal moment of your career so far do you think?
Being the opening act on the Kele (Bloc Party frontman) tour. I was on such a high being on big stages every evening with excellent sound and lighting and a roaring crowd. We toured cities I would never even think of visiting such as Luxembourg and I loved getting rocked to sleep by the moving tour bus every night. It fit my life like a glove but sadly when it came to the end of the European tour I locked myself in the bathroom and cried because I didn’t want to go back to reality. I would happily live on the road like a gypsy singer traveling from coast to coast, maybe with a senile parrot on my shoulder and a cheeky Monkey in hand if you catch my drift.
If you had a time machine and could visit any dance floor anywhere/anywhen, where would you want to go dancing?
The Folies Bergère in Paris where Josephine Baker, the first Black Superstar performed her famous banana dance in 1927. I idolise that era where artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Hemingway, Coco Chanel, T.S Eliot rubbed shoulders in late night bars.
What are your backseat car jams that you used to belt out in your childhood?
’90s r’n’b and acid house. I watched a lot of r’n’b on The Box Channel on cable TV and heard a lot of house music around the house because my older Brother was a club DJ. Think of a vibe that sounds like a mix of Voodoo Ray by A Guy Called Gerald and No One Else by TOTAL and that was my childhood jam.
If you had actual lazer tits, would you use your powers for good or for evil?
For good during the day offering lazer repair eye surgery for the blind and for evil by night to zap thunderbolt lightening up psychopaths anuses and force them to feel compassion and empathy for others.
What’s the best or even the most weirdly incorrect description you’ve ever read about yourself in the music press? “An intriguingly sophisticated diva-in-waiting” is pretty good…!
One prudish or undersexed journalist described my shows as close to a sex show “First off due reference must be made to the support act, MAMA. I’ve never been to, nor do I ever intend to go to, a live sex show but if I think I can rest assured that the eroticism of MAMA’s live show isn’t far off. From her semi-transparent leotard to her suggestive dancing and not forgetting her explicit lyrics, this was a performance dripping with sensuality…. Cyprus Avenue is not an easy place for support acts to come and win crowds over but by the end of her set at least half of the congregation was shouting and clapping, the other half were too busy trying to hide the stalk in their pants”
What does 2015 hold for Mama?
I just want to be on the road touring my solo album. It’s just me on vox and Riccardo Paffetti on live drum machine and keyboards. A little two man circus. I’m also working on album #2 from my laptop where ever I travel.
Mama joins us this Saturday 28th February for Lazertitz at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 4am.