Posts Tagged ‘London’

Dan Govan

As part of our ongoing local queer artist residency at Dalston Superstore Gallery, this Thursday sees the launch our next exhibition ‘Living Vivid’ by Dan Govan!

Dan Govan is an Edinburgh born, camera-carrying, usually-anxious, glamour-adjacent wallflower, for whom photography was a hobby that’s grown wildly out of control. He started with snapshots of nights out
in 2008, but as he moved to east London in 2011 he was naturally was dabbling in club photography by 2012.  A couple of years ago he started dabbling in portraiture. Self portraits at first, exploring vulnerability and colour, muting masculinity in vivid disorienting colours. His latest project ‘Queernift’ documents the eccentric faces of the East London LGBTQ+ Nightlife Scene. 

We caught up with Dan to chat about where Queernift started, some standout experiences of photographing Drag Queens and whats next for Queernift!

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Hello Dan! Can you let your readers know a little bit about your background?
Hi! I’m a sorta-Scottish, nerdy wallflower who’s been floating around gay clubs, pubs and shows in London since 2008. Until last year I always had a camera with me but now I mostly do over-colourful studio portraiture.

The work that you are exhibiting at Dalston Superstore, is the Queernift project which documents the faces of London’s LGBTQ+ nightlife scene. Why did you start this project?
I thought it was an exciting opportunity to collaborate with and signal boost some of the local queer artists promoting their work. It’s been nice to be able to give back to this community that puts so much work into creating queer spaces, putting on so many shows and nights over the years.
 
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How did you come to know the queer performers that you photograph? 
It’s usually people I’ve met out and about! I guess it’s a community project at heart because while sometimes it will be a friend of a friend, by the time the shoot is done we’ve normally gotten to know each other a bit. It’s all people who visit, party and work in the same iconic venues and spaces that I do.
 
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What draws you to portraiture?
Whether I’m shooting events, performances or portraiture, I try to capture situations rather than things. Reactions and relationships. People are always at the core of that. The real kick comes when I manage to show people looking better than they think they look. That’s always a thrill.
 
Through the series there is a consistent strong use of colour. What is the significance to this?
So much contemporary photography pretends to be realistic. It’s not. There’s artful makeup and hair, lights and loadsa photoshopping. Even when I shoot people not in a lewk I still stick with a similar colour formula, because I want my work to be self-evidently fantastical, open about the fact it’s not what you’d see in the mirror, and celebrate it a bit more. Why be humdrum?
 
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What has inspired your work?
Mostly I’m inspired by the queer icons of the scene around me, though I’ve been blown away by some local photographers documenting aspects of a similar subculture, like Luxxer, Corinne Cumming, Kate Bones, Damien Frost and Eivind Hansen
 
As this is your first exhibition IRL, and you’ve mainly used Instagram to showcase your work.  Has social media been useful to your practice or has it been shaped by social media?
Oh queernift is basically an instagram project really, the format follows the 3-wide grid and it’s been so cool chatting to people all over the world about my work! I have another project barenift that’ll have a few pictures up at the exhibition too, that also the same 3-wide format; I fear the day instagram changes the grid!
 
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East London’s Drag Queens aren’t known for being the most introverted of characters. So we’d imagine photographing would bring about some ‘special’ memories. Any stand out experiences photographing them ?
I think my favourite shoots have been when I do a couple of friends at once, taking turns in front of the camera the energy’s always really great. I recently had a shoot with Delirium though who arrived when she said she would, packed 3 very different looks into just 2 poly bags, changed quickly, posed to the gods, and we were all done in an hour. I was amazed.
 
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Who else in East London’s LGBTQ+ Nightlife would you love to photograph?
Oh there’s tons of people that I’ve wanted to shoot for a while but we’ve never quite got it together and I feel shy about badgering them. And a few more that I never got around to asking! Rhys Pieces, Margo Marshal, Ginger Johnson, Grace Shush, Maxi More… Dozens more probably. I used to have a list that I was working through but it made me super anxious so I had to ditch it.

Whats next for Queernift?

Well I have a half dozen new shoots to post after the exhibition launches, after that I’ve no idea, more of all of it I hope? More shoots more people more followers. I’l have to think of ways to expand the formula but as long as there’s new people it’s always interesting. Of course there’s physical proof that the work exists now, I’ve no idea what effect that will have, exciting times!
 
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Catch ‘Living Vivid’ at Dalston Superstore from Thursday 6th September till Early November!  

object blue

After their thunderous debut in April, this Friday sees Ni-Ku and J.Aria  return for an extravaganza of boundary pushing experimental club-music at the second instalment of MegaLast! Providing the heat in our lazerhole is none other than the queen of trance-like rhythms, ricocheting percussions and delirious energy, object blue!

The Tokyo-born, Beijing-raised, London-based producer and sound artist has gained widespread recognition and praise for her distinctive take on club music. She was featured as one of Fact Magazine‘s ’10 House + Techno artists to watch in 2018’, and named one of the key influencers in youth culture in the infamous Dazed100 List, alongside the likes of Yaeji and SOPHIE. Fresh from a high profile set at Berlin’s Atonal Festival (one of Europe’s epicentres of electronic music), she is one of the hottest figures in London’s bass and techno sphere right now.

We caught up with object blue to chat about her experience as a queer woman in the music industry, who is inspiring her at the moment and what we can expect from Friday!

Oh hello object blue! We are so excited to have you at MegaLast this Friday! What can we expect from your premier set at DSS?
 
Lots of harshness and intensity, but still will be making sure you dance all night. I really can’t wait!
 
You dedicated your EP Do you Plan to End a Siege to ‘all the women on the dancefloor’ and you have been ON POINT in calling out the misogynist bullsh*t of the music industry. What has your experience in the music industry been like as a queer woman?
 
It’s frustrating a lot of the time! Since I was a teen, male musicians have mistook my enthusiasm for music as an invite for flirting. I’ve had male musicians approach me and say “I love your music, let’s work together,” then disappearing once they learn I have a girlfriend. I still get hit on on the dancefloor after I finish a set and get offstage. Heteronormativity is real! I just want to be taken seriously as a musician, no matter whether I’m f*ckable or not.
 
 
There are some amazing femme collectives like Pxssy Palace, SIREN & Rhythm Sister paving the way for and creating safe club spaces for women and femmes on their own terms. How do you think it is best to support these collectives?
 
Go dance and bring a crowd! And if you’re bringing straight people — tell them to behave or we’ll punish them according to clause 433 of the Gay Agenda!
 
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It’s been well documented about the loss of LGBTQ+ spaces in London, but this change has been more abrupt for queer women. How has this effected what clubs you go to?
Yeah, there seems to be nowhere for lesbians to go. It has been impossible to find a lesbian club to hang out in — once I went to a lesbian bar that’s defunct now, but it was empty with bad music. All the years I’ve been in London, I’ve given up on lesbian-only spaces and chosen good music instead, even if that means I have to be harassed by straight men all night. It’s been traumatic, I’ve gotten badly groped several times. Nowadays I go to Superstore a lot with my girlfriend, and it’s great that there are lots of women-focused events. I really want to go to Opulence, the queer techno party, but I haven’t had the chance!
 

What LGBTQ+ musicians are inspiring you at the moment?

If you had unlimited budget and could book anyone, what would your perfect queer clubnight look like?
 
All of the above + Octo Octa, Yaeji, HAAi, Roza Terenzi, D. Tiffany. and I want all the DJs to play at least three hours each so it won’t be a club night, it’ll be a full weekend. I’ll personally prepare food and serve it. Espresso machines for those of us who don’t do uppers. Several rooms including some darkrooms (though my friends have set up darkrooms at their parties before and it became a Deep Chat Zone!). 


Object Blue Dazed 100 

Catch object blue at MegaLast this Friday 31st August from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore!
 

Homodrop’s Top Ten Pride Tracks

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?

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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!

 

1. Patrick Cowley – Journey Home They were a Pioneer of electronic music in the 70′ in San Francisco! Patrick Cowley was and one of the first artists that died during the AIDS crisis in November 1982 at only 32 years old!
 

2. Gloria Gaynor – I will survive No words except this is my hymn of happiness!
 

3. Donna Summer – I feel love Obviously, Donna is here. This track is timeless and the best to end a dj set after a long night dancing.
 

 4.  George Michael – Freedom George Michael is the father of our queer generation, the ultimate icon.
 

 The next two are groundbreaking Berlin based Queer Artists. I also have a big crush on them both! 
 
5. Mikey – Paths A queer Artist to know, to follow and to love. So talented and actually was a regular at Superstore before moving to Berlin.
 
 
6. Lotic – Hunted One word… TALENT.
 

 
Here are some of my favourite contemporary artists that have influenced my experience of LGBTQ+ Culture.
 
7. The Knife – Pass this on Loooove this track! I can listen to it on repeat for hours! Everyone must have danced to it alone on their room infront of a  mirror. Or maybe that is just me?
 

 
8. ANOHNI – Marrow Its so hard to choose just one track because the full album, Hopelessness, is just insane. It was the first album that ANOHNI released as a trans women. It is emotive, poignant and very political.
 

 
9. Vive la fête – Noir Desir Being French,  I had to put this band in. This song is the song I danced to when I first came out. As did many people from my age. 
 

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.

 
 
 

Catch Cheriii at HOMODROP this Pride Saturday at Dalston Superstore 9pm-4am

Bottom Heavy

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.

Chapter 10 Dan

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.

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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!

SofterTouch

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.

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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.

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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.

N: TCF, Holly Herndon, Ase Manual, Lotic, W3C.

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!

 

Nathan Gregory Wilkins

By James Baillie

Ahead of the upcoming Tusk party at Dalston Superstore, promoter James Baillie sits down with History Clock founder, cohort of Ivan Smagghe and all round leftfield DJ, Nathan Gregory Wilkins. Nathan’s current project sees him teaming up with Richard X to create their own strain of music for dancing as the recent Phantasy signing, Cowboy Rhythmbox. They chat past parties, favourite new tracks and plans for the party!

What track do you like to wake up to in the morning?

Problems by New Age Steppers


Cowboy Rhythmbox is yourself and Richard X. Is there a sound that sums up your relationship?

The sound of Richard’s kettle boiling, we’re not very rock n’ roll. 

If you had the chance to remix a track of your choice, what would that be?

I guess something by Yello, so much to choose from though!!!

 

Marc Jacobs calls you up to ask if there are any new bands he should be checking out. Who would you suggest?

I rather like Telegram. And Goat.

 

You were a regular punter at my club Venus back in the early 90’s. What track reminds you of Venus?

Alarm Clock by Westbam

History Clock was your label. What was your favorite stand out track from the label?

Woman by It’s A Fine Line (Ivan Smagghe & Tim Paris). It always gets such an incredible response.
 

You used to do the club night E.S.P. What record never left your box?

What was the last piece of vinyl you bought?

 I bought this last week: 


You are playing at our next TUSK night, what do we expect to hear from Nathan Gregory Wilkins?

A mixture a new and old sleazey electronic music with a few camp disco records thrown in. 

News has just come over the airwaves that the end of the world is upon us. What track are you listening to?

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head. I love that song. 

Catch Nathan Gregory Wilkins at Tusk on Saturday 26 September from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore. 

Nail

Underground house producer and admired cult DJ Nail (aka Neil Tolliday) is the latest electronic legend to headline Tusk at Dalston Superstore. From the huge commercial success of Bent (his project with friend and producer Simon Mills) to the establishment of his own label 89:GHOST, Nail’s career has spanned decades and seen a seriously impressive range of projects and releases. We sat down to talk Nottingham parties, collaborations and favourite gigs.

Your love of house music came about in a really roundabout way – it sounds like it certainly wasn’t your first love. Can you tell us how you came from pirate radio and hip-hop to electronic music? 

I’ve been intrigued by electronic music since I was small, from when my Dad used to shit me up with the Clockwork Orange soundtrack or watching Watoo Watoo cartoons. I first heard Can U Dance by Kevin Jammin Jason & Fast Eddie Smith on the radio when I was about 12 or 13 and shortly after that Jack Your Body was at number one, so I guess it was the charts and the radio got me there to start with. I didn’t start going to clubs until I was 16, but I’d been buying the records for a few years before that.

How much did your role in DiY collective influence your sound in years to come?

Well I used to go to a lot of their nights here in Nottingham, but in all honesty I don’t really remember much! But obviously I’d hear what they were playing and making for the label, so it must’ve rubbed off on me. They were always armed with such quality tunes.

Your side project with Simon Mills, Bent, has seen great success over the years. How did that project develop? Where did all those bizarre finds come from?

We met in 1998 as he was living next door to my girlfriend and we made each other laugh (well, he makes me laugh anyway) and seemed to be both going in the same direction at that time – as in we wanted to do something different, so we got on fairly quickly. Long story short, we started pissing about and sampling shit records he had bought from charity shops. We thought it was hilarious and kept egging each other on to find the most ridiculous sample, but somehow it worked – I played it to my manager, he played it to some other people and all of a sudden it started taking off.

What led you to start your own label, 89: Ghost? 

Basically I saw some people selling my old records from the 90’s (that I could f**king give away at the time) for silly money on Discogs. So I spoke to my friend James at Juno and decided to press up a few old tunes. It’s not done too bad, considering the amount of new labels there are at the moment. But I’ve started putting out new material on there now, so hopefully it’ll keep going for a bit.

You must have played at a huge variety of parties over the years – are there any clear standouts for you?

I think variety is the best word, different places of different sizes.. no real stand outs though, apart from really shit ones, but there’s no point talking about them. In recent time, playing Globus at Tresor a coupla times was pretty special, and I always loved playing at Crucifix Lane for Cartuli’s Day. I like dark, sweaty places, preferably where I’m not on a f**king stage. DJs should be heard and not seen.

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

Probably something really obvious like the early days of Studio 54 or Ku, see what all the fuss was about :)

Do you have a guilty pleasure record that you can’t help but sneak in every now and then? Perhaps a few weirdo tracks from your days with Bent?

Having dropped a few guilty pleasures into sets in the past, thinking, ‘This will BLOW their minds!!’, only for it to clear the floor, I try to steer clear of gambling too much with that kind of thing.. I don’t play out that much.

What can we expect from your set at Tusk?

House music!

Join Nail on Saturday 25 July for TUSK at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.

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.

Meet Honey Dijon

By Whitney Weiss

Whether spinning euphoric disco sets at Le Bain or stripped-down techno in Berlin, Honey Dijon is always on top of her game. A DJ’s DJ with an encyclopedic knowledge of dance music, she currently divides her time between New York, Berlin, and a packed touring schedule. Ahead of Honey’s set at Fhloston Paradise, we chatted about the current state of New York nightlife, testing tracks on actual dance floors, and why it’s impossible to choose a single historical club to visit with a time machine…

So to be clear for those who might not know, you’re from Chicago but currently based in New York and Berlin, or just New York?

I spent the last three summers in Berlin, and I love the city. I’m just trying to figure out how to move there full-time, since everybody and their mother lives there. And I still work quite a bit in North America. I’m going for three weeks, actually, because I’m going to Tel Aviv to play The Block, then I come to London to play Dalston Superstore, then I play Homopatik, then I go to Ibiza. It’s just easier [to tour in Europe] if I’m there.

Since you’ve been involved in New York nightlife for such a long time, what would you say is the biggest difference between what it was when you first arrived and where it’s at now?

The biggest difference now is that I don’t see very many people of color at the clubs anymore. It’s not as culturally diverse as it used to be. Musically, New York doesn’t have a sound anymore. It was once one of the most influential dance capitals of the world, it had so many influential artists back in the day. There are party promoters who are very successful, like ReSolute, Blk|Market, and Verboten, but I wouldn’t say that there’s a definite New York sound. The only DJs who are really making an impression in Europe right now are Levon Vincent, Joey Anderson, and a/just/ed but I’d have to say they’re much more embraced in Europe than in the States. I mean, EDM is still quite popular here. 

And is that one of the reasons you’re interested in Europe at the moment, aside from the fact that it sounds like you’re booked so often?

Yeah, I think musically. Also, New York is such an expensive place. The best line that I ever heard about New York, as it is today, is ‘New York is a great place to sell art, but it’s not a place to make art.’ I think that’s one of the main reasons why I’m looking more to Europe. And it’s so funny, there’s such a resurgence in house music at the moment, and that’s something I’m very well versed in. They’re talking about how deep house is this next big trend, which is so funny because it never went away. It never went away, it’s just a difference face has been put upon it, if you know what I mean.

I definitely know what you mean.

Yeah. So I really feel more artistically free in Europe as an artist, so that’s one of the reasons that I would consider living there. But fees are not as high; it’s a trade-off. It’s a great place to live, but there’s a DJ every two minutes. And great ones. 

And how do you feel about London?

I absolutely love London, I think it’s such a musically rich city. I mean, the music I find in London I tend to not find anywhere else. The record stores Phonica and Kristina are curated so well, I find such amazing things there. And they just really love music. Not just dance music; you hear all kinds of music in London. From jazz to pop to dub, you can hear anything. It’s very inspiring for me. But it’s mad expensive. And so vast. It’s not like the city of New York, where it’s expensive but you can sort of walk anywhere. it’s really spread out, the east is far from the west. But I absolutely love London.

And what sorts of records have you been playing out a lot lately? What can the crowd at Dalston Superstore expect on the 12th?

I’ve been playing more raw these days, more stripped-back, more techno-influenced, mixed in with classic things. But techno has been really inspiring, I don’t know if that’s coming from spending a lot of time in Berlin. I just listen for things that reflect my personality and reflect how I want to express music. I’ve been accused of being eclectic, and I’ve embraced that. Because when I was on Traktor for so many years, I found that I was more concerned with what I could do with the music instead of letting the music breathe. I realized I was a much better artist just going back to vinyl and using USB sticks and playing records. So I guess what they can expect is a more stripped-down version of house music. I don’t know what to call it anymore! The best word I can come up with is “soultek.” 

So the fashion weeks are about to be upon us. You have a long-time collaboration with Kim Jones from Louis Vuitton and have DJed a ton of fashion week parties in the past. Are you playing this year or doing any shows?

Um, I’ve transitioned more into a personality.

Even better!

So I’m going to more fashion events than actually doing after-parties now. The thing about fashion is it always has to be the next, the next, the next, you know, I’ve had my turn. The fashion crowd went to Ibiza this year for some reason, so I think you’ll be hearing a lot more house music and stuff like that. Now I just work with friends and do soundtracks for events or do soundtracks for shows more than I do parties. Which is much more exciting and fun, because you’re actually collaborating with artists and designers instead of being the after-party soundtrack.

Can you tell us anything about what you’re collaborating on this year or is it a secret?

I think the longest-standing relationship I have is doing the music for Louis Vuitton. There’s always research that goes into that show, that goes into that music, and every season I’ve worked with Kim, I’ve always done special edits of particular music. Last season, I did a special edit of Hounds Of Love. Kim likes really obscure things, so it’s really a matter of doing a lot of research and doing special edits tailor-made for the show. That’s always exciting and challenging and fun.

And do you have any new remixes coming out?

I just did a remix for My Offence for Hercules & Love Affair, I actually have two projects about to come out on Classic. I’m about to do a remix for DJ W!ld, I just did a bunch of original material that I’m shopping at the moment. So I have lots of little musical things on the go. 

Do you think you’ll be playing your original stuff out while you’re DJing?

It’s so funny, I don’t even want to hear half the stuff after living with it. But yes, I slip things in. I have to, just to hear what they sound like. Sometimes you make a track, then you take it out, then you realize that the kick could be a lot louder, or the highs could have a lot more movement. You know, it’s one thing to make a track in the studio, but it’s another thing to play it out and get a reaction from the crowd. And sometimes, you don’t even think the stuff you’re gonna have a good reaction for gets a great reaction. So the trick about making music is just to make it. 

And then test it.

And then test it. But that’s the thing, back in the day you used to have residencies where you were able to test your stuff. But now, you just test it on the road. And you don’t get a chance to really hear, you know, have a place where you can go. I don’t know how to express it, like if you had a residency, you could test things and live with them and see the crowd’s reaction change before you release it to the world. But now, now you don’t have that. Unless maybe you’re a Berghain or Panorama Bar resident. Or a Robert Johnson resident. A club where you can have a residency to play that kind of music. I think that’s the biggest challenge. 

Now for the classic Dalston Superstore question, which is: if we had a time machine ready to take you to any dance floor, past present or future, where would you like to go and why?

God, that’s such a loaded question because there are so many dance floors. Oh my god! I mean, you’re talking to a person who loves music. Okay, I’m just going to give you a list. I would have loved to have gone to The Loft to hear Nicky Siano, I would have loved to have gone to The Music Institute in Detroit, I would have loved to have gone to The Warehouse in Chicago. I would have loved to have gone to Berghain in 2004. The Mudd Club, 1978. Danceteria, 1979. The World with David Morales and Frankie Knuckles. Disco 2000. Um, of course Paradise Garage. Of course Ministry of Sound in the early ’90s. The Saint. 

But also, there are so many clubs that people don’t talk about that were heavily influential in my development as a person and as an artist. There’s one called Club LaRay in Chicago, Rialto’s, Cheeks. These are all clubs that were in Chicago that weren’t talked about. They’ve sort of been erased from the dance music vocabulary because they were predominantly black gay clubs that were very underground. And back in the day, the most two famous ones were The Warehouse and the Power Plant, but back then they were really… you know, it was black and gay. Straight people went, it wasn’t like straight people didn’t go, but they weren’t the popular clubs. Like I said, there are so many dance floors around the world… God. It’s like, there was Fabric when it first opened, or Home when that first opened in London. Jesus Christ, I mean it’s hard for me to say which and when and what because yeah, there are just so many. DTPM, Trade. For me, it wasn’t about black white gay straight, it was about a movement of music. And I didn’t think there was one school, the list could go on and on and on. So if I had a time machine, I would probably go back to each and every one of them.

I appreciate the history. I had never heard of Cheeks before you just said it.

Yeah, Cheeks was actually a trans bar where Ralphi Rosario used to play. I’ve been going to clubs since I was 12, I don’t even remember what year that was, but it was definitely late ’80s early ’90s. But I was able to get a fake ID and go to these places, and I was friends with a lot of other DJs and I got snuck into clubs, too. It was a different time, you know. It’s so funny now how…you know, it’s funny to me, I don’t want to use this word to offend anybody because at the end of the day anybody who loves this kind of music and promotes this culture I’m all for, but I don’t see a lot of um, it’s still a very heavily male dominated industry. I don’t see a lot of people of color that are tastemakers. There are hardly any women of color. I don’t see any queer women of color. I just have a different reference point about it, I suppose. But I don’t want to insult anybody or sound like a victim or sound like I’m jaded or bitter or upset. I think you have to be very careful in how you word these things, because it should be about the music at the end of the day. 

And do you feel, because like, as a female DJ  I don’t usually like asking other people the identity question, but do you feel responsible as a public figure or as someone in the scene, for being…

Trans?

For being representative, for doing a good job representing your viewpoint?

Well, I think you can probably answer this. You don’t want to be considered a female DJ, you’re a DJ.

Exactly.

You don’t want your talent to be pigeonholed by your gender. But having said that, I don’t think I would have had the experiences I’ve had if I wasn’t who I was. So I think it’s important for me to tell those stories and those experiences, because those stories won’t be told otherwise. So it’s not so much that I feel a responsibility to anyone, it’s more that I feel like I’m giving a voice to experiences that otherwise would not have seen the light of day. Being a trans person now has become en vogue, as we so care to say. It’s one of those things I don’t want to be put in a box because of, but at the same time, it’s a thing that also gives me the advantage of having had such a rich musical cultural experience. And being able to move between different worlds and being able to have different dialogues with different audiences with music. You couldn’t put a Chicago house DJ on the main floor at The Black Party, but yet they did, because I’m from Chicago, and I’m trans. 

I think my quote unquote ‘gender experience’ has allowed me to navigate different worlds, which has given me the opportunity to have a rich musical cultural experience that I get to share with other people. I can’t control what other people say about me, but I can control what I say about myself. I don’t define myself by my gender, I don’t define myself by the music that I play, I don’t define myself. I just define myself as Honey. I’m Honey. And all of these experiences have made me who I am as a person. So if I have to communicate that to other people, that’s the best answer that I can give, that I’m fortunate in a way that I’ve been able to navigate different worlds, because I’ve been many different things. I’ve been able to go from straight to gay, gay to straight, whatever you want to call it, black white straight gay bi purple trans, and each has its own language and vocabulary, and I’ve been able to incorporate all of that into my expression of music. Not a lot of people get to do that. Most people you know have only been to one, they’re comfortable. Not comfortable, but if you’ve never had to question your identity and you’ve been able to be successful in one lane, well, there’s a whole freeway out there. 

Join Honey Dijon for Fhloston Paradise in the laser basement and Whitney Weiss in the top bar for Nancy’s this Friday 12th September at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.

Hifi Sean In NYC

By Hifi Sean

Many Glaswegians like myself have a big thing for NYC. I grew up, along with many of my friends, influenced by the sound of the bands that came from there like The Velvet Underground, The Ramones, Blondie, Suicide, and Talking Heads. So during the early ‘90s I basically spent most of my time in USA after the success we had with The Soup Dragons over there.

DIVINE

That success includes the top 20 hit single Divine Thing, which yes, for the record was influenced by John Waters and his movies, in fact we even spoke to John back then about shooting a video for the follow up Pleasure, which we were all excited about, but Serial Mom had just been released and really took off, so sadly he had to put it on the back burner and time was against us. That is still my biggest regret that it slipped away. So instead off we went to a ‘50s trashy hotel called Madonna Inn just north of San Francisco, in good ole Russ Meyer fashion.

Most of this period was spent with me living on and off in New York, East Village to be exact. It was crazy and hedonistic times, I saw and experienced things that have influenced me and still cherish many of the memories and the people I met there and then.

Limelight, Disco 2000, Sound Factory, Club USA, The Roxy, Save The Robots, Jacqui 60’s, they were all clubs I frequented. I wasn’t even gay then, but let’s just say the groundwork had been laid out in front of me for my coming out in 2001!

SOUND FACTORY PUNCH

I loved the freedom and the outrageous fun attitude, in fact first time I ever went to Sound Factory I was ushered into a room and offered some punch from the infamous punch bowl laced with E! The next 6-8 hours was a musical journey via Junior Vasquez, which introduced me to something that opened up my mind to new exciting avenues of sound and beats… which still to this day is imbedded in my psyche.

I was in The Roxy when the DJ (I can’t remember who) played the first ever play of Vogue by Madonna, and people stood in awe as he announced it over the system and they cheered as it played. That’s something I have never heard or seen in a club ever again.

CLUB KIDS

Also happening at the same time was the whole ‘Club Kids’ phenomena. It was interesting to watch it grow as we had just left a rave-tastic UK 89/90 and here we were in NYC 90/91 and watching the same chaos and freedom happening there but primarily focused on the gay scene, which took that vibe deep to heart. I actually met Michael Alig and supposedly I met Angel too (as he was host for many of his parties). I hung around a lot of drag queens too as my closest friend at the time Lavinia Co-Op used to take me to clubs; many a time I found myself pushing a huge balloon dress into and out of NYC cabs as we headed out into nightlife. Lavinia is on the cover of the last Soups album dressed as a poodle walked by a Wall St gentleman banker…. as you do. 

Soup Dragons - Hydrophonic

BUFFALO GALS GO ROUND THE OUTSIDE

Everywhere in NYC you saw the influence of club land coming out onto the streets through fashion and attitude which to be honest NYC has always been about. When we made the video for Divine Thing with director Nick Egan, who I got on-board as I loved his video for Buffalo Gals by Malcolm McLaren (another homage to NYC) and we went round the city’s clubland and got some of the club kids and party people to appear in a kind of homage to downtown NYC. We shot it in a disused warehouse in the Meat Packing district overnight, watching trans* hookers on corners pick up truckers delivering the meat to the stores that morning.

It’s funny, as I write this out now, I think to myself, wow how gay was I for a straight boy?! I just loved it all, the chaos, the hedonism; put it this way I wasn’t singing “I’m free to do what I want” on every bloody radio in the USA for nothing… 

Don’t be afraid of your freedom… indeed.

Little did we know how that video was about to explode, MTV went crazy for it and it was the most played video of that year on that channel and ended up being nominated for a MTV Video Award. 

Crazy thing is, I was told afterwards how ground-breaking it was, as people like Connie Girl were the first drag artists to be given daytime rotation on T.V in the USA which, back in early 90’s, was nowhere near as open minded as it is now. Funny that it was shot like Nick shot Buffalo Gals, totally about the streets, the nightlife, guerilla style and all just edited together afterwards, nothing pre-fashioned or contrived, just honest to good love of life at that period, and to me it captures a perfect moment of what NYC was all about then. 

UP YOURS

So what has this got to do with Up Yours you’re asking?

Well myself and Severino have a big mutual love for NYC, we’ve both DJ’ed there a lot over the years and our last two singles London and Devil were released on the great underground house label Get Up Recordings that’s ran by DJs Christy Love and W. Jeremy Pelser from House of Stank, who’ve ran many a great party in the big apple. 

Not to mention, our video for London is a homage to everything cool about London/NYC. Yes the city has changed and cleaned up a lot over the years. Yes a lot of the big parties closed down due to the crystal meth epidemic within the gay scene and people just staying home at sex parties rather than heading out to cruise and have a dance.

But in the last four to five years lots of great thing are happening again and a whole new underground of great artists, DJs and parties are bubbling away and NYC has got that great buzz again that everyone thought it had lost… but we knew it would get back again.

Join Hifi Sean and Severino for Up Yours this Saturday 31st May at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.

Silk86

By Greg Spencer and Greg Lowe

Back for their second Fhloston Paradise party, Greg Lowe (half of Zigzag Samstag) and Greg Spencer (of Public House fame) are bringing rising London stars Silk 86 into the lazer pit for some spaced out homo galactic madness. At a time when the London scene can be too fragmented by genres, Silk 86’s Finnian Casey and Tom Lunn bring a wide variety of styles and influences to the dancefloor, all put together with razor sharp mixing. We caught up with them as they were finishing their latest track out later this year on local imprint Newington. They reveal some of their secret floor killers, what it’s like to DJ as a pair, and why three boobs are better than two…

What releases do you guys have coming up and how is 2014 shaping up so far for you?

We’ve spent a fair chunk of the year so far in the studio, so we’re feeling good, but perhaps not looking as resplendent as usual. Looking forward to summer, our track Dem Curves should finally be out and we’ve got a few bits on the London record label Newington alongside some vocal tracks, so 2014’s shaping up nicely.

DJing with another person can be hard, did you guys have to work at it or were you in sync from the start?

We’ve never really DJ’ed together outside of a club environment… so it’d be a stretch to say we worked on it! To start with we had to pretty much jump in and see what happened, so we’ve probably got better with time and we feel like we bounce off each other pretty well. 

Do you have any killer tracks that are always in your arsenal and what are they?

True magicians never reveal their secrets. We’ve got a few gems that we like to work into sets every now and then. When we want to step it up a notch, this track normally takes things up a gear.

A bit of Mr G never fails either.

Such a versatile track. You can pop it in at any point in your set and it works. 
And if there’s energy in the room, this tune multiplies it by 10…

If you guys could play back to back with any other DJs who would you choose?

There’s already two of us, so if we had to squeeze another DJ into the booth… we’d have to go for… off the top of my head… Nina Kraviz. Don’t ask why. Failing that, the late and great Aaron Carl. 

If you could describe your sound using one character from a sci-fi movie, which one would it be and why?

The three boobed girl from Total Recall. Cheap Thrills a plenty.

Join Silk 86 at Fhloston Paradise this Friday 9th May at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am. 

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