Posts Tagged ‘NYC’

Juliana Huxtable

Tonight Clam Jam welcomes special guest DJ Juliana Huxtable all the way from New York City! Known just as much for her music as for her style, Juliana profile has been going from strength to strength in the cities queer scenes. Having set up her own night Shock Value after noticing a lack of nights run by women, “cis, trans or otherwise”, she welcomes all sexuality and genders to her parties and promotes natural diversity. Ahead of the party we caught up the LGBT activist/club princess for a brief chat…

You’re incredibly vocal about how things like sexual harrassment, race, gender identity have affected you personally- what advice would you give to anyone struggling with their own identity and how they reflect that to the world?

Humor, self awareness and the black tax will get you farther than you ever could imagine.
 
How did you come to be part of the House Of Ladosha?
 
I’d loved Dosha and Adam’s performances and I managed to get them to perform at Bard [liberal arts college]. Then I met them and the rest of the house after moving to ny and we raged together with such a good energy it was natural after that. 
 

You express yourself in a wide variety of ways, from music, to style and through your own writing- how else do you like to get your message out there?

You can come to Frieze and see me and my friend and collaborator Marco (False Witness) perform. I’ve done a lot of that, which takes the remove from writing and makes it more present. I do self portraits as well. I’m a bit of a polymath.
 

If you had a time machine and could visit any dancefloor anywhere/anywhen, where would you want to set the dials to?

Studio 54.
 

Your own night Shock Value encourages a spectrum of sexuality and gender, where most queer nights still seem fairly segregated- why do you think this openness is still rare even in major cities like New York and London?

I think we’re oddly in a wave of global conservatism and things are kind of regressing and nightlife is one of the places where that sort of crowd curation is possible.
 

What are your favourite mixed queer parties in NYC?

Papi Juice, Legendary and Holy Mountain.
 

You seem to have a real thing for statement necklaces and chokers- what’s your favourite one you own and the latest one you’ve acquired?

A metal choker with blue eyes plastered all over it.
 

What’s a record you love to play out that represents you in all your glory?

Blaqstarr’s remix of Hole – Violet.
 

Describe your look in 3 words…

Cyborg priestess witch.

In a world where it’s increasingly common for both men and women to not identify with what they percieve to be feminism…. why are you a feminist?
 
I don’t let trends or semantics get in the way of my ideas of what needs to change in the world. I’m indebted to feminism for being in the position I’m in today. Slash feminism is HÄM!  
 
Join Juliana TONIGHT for Clam Jam from 9pm – 2.30am at Dalston Superstore.

Josh Cheon

Next week we welcome a very special guest from San Francisco for a Wednesday dark disco session… Known for being part of the Honey Soundsystem collective, Josh Cheon has also garnered critical acclaim for his record label Dark Entries. Named after a Bauhaus track, the label has been releasing hard-to-track-down coldwave, synth, Italo and beyond as both original releases and coveted reissues from the likes of Patrick Cowley, Jeff & Jane Hudson and Severed Heads.

Ahead of his DJ set here at Dalston Superstore we had an indepth chat with Josh about glitter vinyl, zines, tracking down artists behind limited releases and so much more…

You spent your formative years dancing every Friday and Saturday night at famed NYC goth club The Bank… what are your memories of that time?

I was actually recently DJing on a boat with Jason Kendig [also of Honey Soundsystem] and Ivan Smagghe and I was playing lots of ‘80s songs and there was this moment with just the right amount of fog… and I totally had this moment of déjà vu and recalled this memory of me being at The Bank. The fog had the same consistency and so it triggered all these memories of my dancing ‘80s past or whatever. Things that I had forgotten about- I remember queuing at the door and there was always a long line, just stepping one foot in the door, feeling the fog on my face and hearing Depeche Mode’s Behind The Wheel… and just feeling like I AM HOME, THIS IS WHERE I BELONG, THERE ARE NO WORRIES IN THE WORLD. And just dancing, for hours, until they kicked us out. 

I also read that there was a ghost in the basement! That there was all these rumours floating round at the time that there was actually a ghost in the basement of The Bank… Did you ever hear anything along those lines??

[laughs] I mean I only really caught the tail end of The Bank because it shut down in 1999. I only started going in ’97 so I’m sure people that had been going longer had heard that! I wasn’t even old enough to drink then, I was just going to dance, and there were NO substances involved! It was just this very pure obsession with this ‘80s music!

They were also playing really contemporary bands; I don’t want to pigeonhole it. They were playing modern synthpop stuff too that I was really into. It was a mixture for sure.

For your label Dark Entries you have a really strong artwork aesthetic. I read about your designer Eloise Leigh that you work with- how does your relationship work in terms of coming up with the ideas?

It really is on a project-to-project basis. For the straight-up replicas then usually I’ll scan in the artwork, or the band scans in the artwork and then we just recreate the artwork with my logo on the back. Other times it’s totally from scratch where I’ll say “Go ahead, whatever you feel the music brings you,” or we’ll ask the band whether they have any references they want to include… so it really is kind of a freeform thing. We email back and forth every day discussing details so it can be quite collaborative.

Opera Multi Steel on Dark Entries

The label aesthetic also seems to match the ethos… what for you represents that sweet spot where the artwork so perfectly matches the music, either on Dark Entries or just a record that you really love?

…….

I’m thinking.

I’m sitting in a record shop that’s attached to my office staring at a row of Dark Entries records on display and I’m thinking about what’s going on here!

I mean I guess some of my favourite projects are the ones where there isn’t a straight replica, where we do have to be more creative and come up with this kind of collage or y’know, new art for old music…

 I really liked the BART compilation one actually.

Yeah! BART and Neon Judgement. Umm, I’m looking right now at Lives Of Angels… these are all ones that we had bits and pieces for- say, they came from a cassette but we didn’t want to replicate the cassette straight forward so we added textures, new fonts or collage elements…. I also really like Parade Ground… There are so many great ones where there’s classic artwork where we just re-used it, as it’s so iconic, like the Jeff & Jane Hudson one, or the two Dark Day albums.

Parade Ground on Dark Entries

A lot of the reissues seem to elicit a really great response, both from the fans and the artists themselves. Have you managed to coax anyone out of retirement to record new material for Dark Entries?

I have not coaxed anyone; they have been driven to do this on their own.

I just mean that I can see people getting so excited by the reissue that they go “Right! We need to do new stuff!”

Yes, that does happen. A pretty nice percent of the time, the artists might say “Hey, I still have those synthesizers” or “I still have those drum machines, I’m gonna go programme some stuff.” A lot of them have started touring again or do one-off shows or reunite for a special show. I really do enjoy that, but I haven’t released any new compositions by any of the bands that I’ve reissued. It isn’t out of the question, but I don’t ask them to send me demos or record me stuff. It all kind of just happens spontaneously. 

Is there anyone that has started re-recording that you would want to feature?

Umm… I’m a huge fan…. Well I guess I can say this… I’m putting out a compilation by a band called Hypnobeat. And they’re still performing and making music. I really love what they’re doing. They play at Berghain, and they’re actually playing at Half Baked in London the same week I am. I’ve seen YouTubes videos of them, and they’re fantastic. They have three 808s and they’re just going for it. It’s all instrumental techno and it’s really straightforward and beautiful. 

Who else do I love? Oh! Tom Ellard from Severed Heads is still making music that I really identify with, and support. I also really like Robin Crutchfield from Dark Day. He still occasionally puts out an album and it’s more medieval… more acoustic instruments than electronic. It’s done in a way that’s really cyclical and repetitive. It has the same kinda weight to it, as his earlier recordings from 30 years ago, so even though it doesn’t seem like a Dark Entries type of thing, I do really enjoy it.

If you had a time machine and could go back to any dancefloor anywhere/anywhen where would you want to go?

Oh lord. There’s too many.

I mean oh god, this is really sad, there’s too many.

Well…… I would love to experience the Paradise Garage.

That is the most common answer to this question!

Is it?? Oh my god! I know I was like “Here I go!” Oh haha! Well I would love to go to the Batcave in London and see Alien Sex Fiend, I would love to go to the Cosmic Club in Italy and see Beppe Loda… Gosh, there’s just so many.

And Boccaccio, the new beat club they had in Belgium. So that one and of course the Paradise Garage.

Is there anything that’s proved too impossible or too obscure to rerelease?

Too obscure?! Is there anything that’s TOO obscure? I mean, yeah, there are bands that I cannot track down that are just beyond simple Google search or beyond the network of cassette traders from the ‘80s that are able to find people for me…

Well, what’s one that you tried really hard to find but were not able to?

Well… this one is not really mine, but I’m trying to help my friend find a band so it’s more that he’s searching but I am helping. But no one can find this band. Maybe if I give you the name of them, it will put it out there and make it happen! So the band is called Tuning Circuits and they’re from The Netherlands, and they put out two cassettes and no one has been able to find them. We’ve gone through so many channels. Well, this isn’t going to be MY reissue so maybe this isn’t a fair example. But this is an example where a lot of people have been looking for years and no one has been able to find them.

Every time I think I can’t find someone… it just comes together. Out of the list I have in front of me, I think I pretty much found everyone. Which is pretty…

…amazing.

It did take me a long time to find a Japanese artist. Many many years. But I found him! Through his photographer who gave me the artist’s real name. Because that’s the problem- a lot of times there were no names.

But that is amazing to spend years tracking someone down.

Oh yeah, definitely. But with the advent of Facebook… I mean when I started the label, I wasn’t on there and neither were a lot of the artists… but now, especially with the White Pages being online for all countries, it really is a lot easier to find people these days.

The story of how you tracked down [Patrick Cowley’s] School Daze is really good. Like, finding an address on the back of a porno is pretty great.

Oh yeah, I bought the DVD, looked on the back and it had this address and I googled the address and it happened to be a men’s clothing shop. So I talked to the owners and they were like “oh yeah, that’s the landlord!” So they gave me his phone number, which he was not happy about. Eventually after a year he spoke to me. It literally took me a year before he warmed up to me, and trusted me to have a conversation. So it turned out really well.  Now we talk at least once a month, and I go down and visit him and we hang out.

With the answer to this question you’ve really downplayed it all, but it does sound like it’s such a labour of love and you’re playing the long game.

No, it is! Like, I’m on Skype, calling people in Italy, talking to their wives, begging them to let me talk to their husbands, or finding a relative, like a nephew or niece on Youtube and asking them to talk to their uncle or aunt. It’s not always writing an email to say, “Hey, I wanna put out your stuff.” There’s a lot of hard work to it. Then there are other hurdles like a label claiming they still own the music 25 years later, and they want all the money. That’s always a bit of a disappointment. It’s a little heartbreaking when the band signed a contract when they were 18, and they label still claims they own all the rights, event though the band probably made no money back then. And now I’m offering an advance and the label wants it all and the band see nothing, again. That’s a little sad, I guess.

You’ve spoken in the past about not wanting to fetishize vinyl as a physical product… but you also release a lot of vinyl. Can you explain what many might see as a contradictory ethos?

Oh, well, I’m just not concerned with only releasing on coloured vinyl, and numbering all of my music, because I don’t want it to be this limited collectable thing, because then it becomes less about the music and more about the product. That’s more about how I feel about labels that go “Oh, let’s press on sparkle vinyl for the first 500 copies!” That’s definitely a gimmicky thing that a lot of buyers grew up knowing, these gimmicky, coloured special things and it becomes a more fetishized thing than what the actual music is.

The goal that I get from the music isn’t about having heavy-weight, limited, numbered thing. I definitely value the design, and inserts and ephemera that I include so I don’t want to discount all that work that we do, but I’m more at odds with labels that do the coloured thing. Which I think is a more eBay-driven, collectable market.

I do get some flack for this from people that I know that run labels. Because sometimes they can’t afford to press up a huge amount and then it does sell out and become a collectable thing a few months later because there’s a demand for it.

So in terms of Dark Entries, including zines and whatnot, is a better way to differentiate the records than using coloured vinyl?

Do you think zines are gimmicky?? I’m not including them to increase sales. I’m including them to tell a story. I want to give the artist a voice, for people who aren’t familiar with the back-story, and don’t talk to these artists every week like I do. It’s a forum for them to present memories and lyrics, little thoughts about the songs. So that’s why I try to include them. Even if it’s just a double-sided sheet of paper with notes or anything. Like with the impLOG record, Don Christiansen wrote this really beautiful essay, and we included some photos, so it was a very simple to add to tell people about the recording that was definitely not included with the original release.

But it does seem like zines are something that is very much part of that ‘80s scene and especially part of the type of music you’re putting out, included with the records…

Well some of them were. But a lot of them couldn’t afford to print an extra piece of paper. A lot of them couldn’t even afford to get a vinyl out so they were just cassette runs. But yeah, some of them included ephemera, but a lot of them; they only had a certain amount of money.

But the ephemera, I don’t know where it comes from with me. I loved zines when I was in college I guess. But who doesn’t get excited when you open a record and there’s an extra poster or something. I mean I like that! I tend to shy away from stickers and badges though. It’s not wrong to include them, but I’d rather have an essay or original photos or flyers or something from that time.

What was the last thing that moved you to tears?

Umm. You know what? It happens quite a lot. I’m a really super emotional person….

When I saw the artwork for the new BART compilation…. These are the things that move me to emotional tears! I think I got teary and so appreciative of it. It sounds cheesy I guess. 

BART Vol 2 on Dark Entries

I did just got a record in the mail from Italy and it’s to do with 12” that I’m reissuing that never had artwork originally. So for some reason only the 7” had artwork, but the 12” just came in a regular disco sleeve. It’s an Italo track from 1983, but because only the 7” had artwork I ordered that and got it in the mail and was like “oh my god!! It’s here!!” I just get really emotional over this kind of stuff.

Wait, what was the record?

Charlie – Spacer Woman. It’s a great record. And it’s shocking it hasn’t been rereleased. And so many people have commented on my post about it, “Oh, I played that at a wedding last weekend.” Or “That’s my wedding song.” It’s become such a staple.

What, in your opinion, is the most unusual record on Dark Entries? For example, the S.P.O.C.K. record, the Swedish band singing about Star Trek, that’s pretty out there…

Ohh okay, so I actually distribute records too, more than 150 titles, so that’s actually one I distribute, I did not release that. But S.P.O.C.K. was one of those bands I was talking about before- the modern synthpop bands I was dancing to in the ‘90s.

In terms of Dark Entries releases, I guess The Product is the most unusual record. They’re from Denmark. They only released one limited cassette. People don’t even really know how many- the band thinks they only made 30 copies. Some of the songs are upbeat but most of it is REALLY bleak, totally electronic music from 1983. It’s probably the nichest thing I’ve done. No one heard the cassette. It wasn’t ripped to a blog or mp3s. There was ONE YouTube video floating around and everyone was like “What? Who is this?” So I contacted the uploader, who was very protective. But he put me in touch with the artist and we kinda went from there. The artist was shocked that anyone had found it, because who thought it would ever make it out of Denmark!

Josh Cheon plays WLVC

Join Josh Cheon on Wednesday 3rd September at White Leather Viper Club from 9pm – 2.30am at Dalston Superstore.

10 Awesome CHERYL Moments

This Saturday we welcome Brooklyn cult party-starters CHERYL to Dalston Superstore for a rare London knees-up. Theme-party-obsessives, the gang are sure to bring their unique brand of weird fun to both floors, with special guest Larry Tee joining CHERYL resident DJ Nick in the laser basement and the UK debut of Buenos Aires duo Father Figures (aka Whitney Weiss and DJ Traviesa) on the top deck disco. Ahead of the party we asked DJ Nick and the rest of CHERYL to pick their 10 favourite bad-ass CHERYL moments to give you all a taste of the night to come…

1. The end of our first party in 2008 (July 31)
 
First CHERYL ever
 
We threw CHERYL at a dive bar in Park Slope, Brooklyn and we dressed up with cat masks and used a lot of shoulder pads and fake blood. We did at as weird as we could and we were surprised people liked it as much as we did. 
 
2. Pizza video shoot, April 2009.
 

CHERYL: PIZZA from CHERYL on Vimeo.

We began making thematic videos to promote each of our themed parties, and the CHERYL: PIZZA video was the first time we did a big shoot out in public in NYC. The New York Times did a little blog piece on us and we forced our friends to dress like pizza toppings. 

3. MoMA PS1 “Move!”  
 
MoMA Ps1 Move
 
In October of 2010 we were invited to take over a gallery of PS1 and we turned it into a psycho interactive salon and photo shoot. American Apparel gave us 400 pieces of nude clothing and we went to town. 
 
4. Our first London party, January 2011 at Star of Bethnal Green.
 
Cheryl London
 
We threw an insane CHERYL party and London instantly got it. We realized our thing worked overseas. 
 
5. Our first Lisbon party, January 2011 at MusicBox.
 
Cheryl Lisbon
 
We threw another insane CHERYL party and Lisbon also instantly got it. We realized our thing worked in another language! 
 
6. MoMA pop rally. March 2012.
 
MoMA Pop Rally
 
MoMA invited us to take over the first floor and atrium of the museum and project our videos and throw a dance party and interactive event. We got about 20 mannequins, dressed our friends as paparazzi, and asked the public to get creative.
 
7. Manchester, May 2012.
 

ROYAL RUCKUS PROMO VIDEO from CHERYL on Vimeo.

Our first foreign artist residency at Islington Mill in (Salford) Manchester UK. We spent a month partying, making videos, leading CHERYL AEROBICS class, screening our favorite cult movie (the apple), and creating a bizarro Queens Jubilee art installation. We keep going back. Those Mancunians understand the CHERYL vibes. 

8. CHERYL van. August 2012.
 
Cheryl Mobile
 
We raised $4500 through kickstarter and bought a CHERYL van which we outfitted with an extremely powerful sound system. We drove around NYC in our van (painted to look like dripping blood) throwing impromptu dance parties on the streets and continually got shut down by the police for noise violation. That was super fun. 
 
9. Boat Party. August 2013.
 
Cheryl boat party
 
We threw a party on a boat in the East River. Someone thought the theme was “cocktails” (which it wasn’t) and showed up dressed as a beautiful purple drink with a lime wedge, and was then mortified to find out the theme was actually not cocktails. But it’s CHERYL and nobody would have noticed.
 
10. ZDB artist residency in Lisbon. June 2014.
 
Cheryl Lisbon June 2014
 
We were artists in residence along with our Manchester pals The Volkov Commanders working under the name SUPERGROUP. We spent the week shooting a music video all over the Lisbon region, dressed as 2-dimensional versions of the band PAUS, for whom we were making the video. Still editing it now. Can’t wait to finish it! 
 
Join DJ Nick and the CHERYL gang this Saturday 12th July for CHERYL:7 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.

Silvia Prada

This Thursday sees the illustrious Miss Silvia Prada in the laser basement with Borja Peña for her DSS takeover! Born in Spain, now living and working in New York; Silvia has long been putting on nights both in Barcelona (Who’s The Boss) and in her adopted home of NYC, including at places like Le Bain and Bassment at Monster. Needless to say, we are delighted to welcome her to Dalston Superstore! Ahead of the party we caught up with her to speak about her art and more…

Before you became a celebrated illustrator, you delved into the world of photography- what attracted you to the medium?

Photography is just another media practice for me to represent my discourse as an artist. I guess at that time I needed to say something specific with that energy and represent some ideas about my creative process… Later I decided to move to the drawing practice as part of  a natural evolution, but the message never changed, only the medium.

 Can we see some of your dog portraits? Also, why dogs?

I’m pretty sensitive with things and images that make people happy and optimistic. My drawings are a celebration of beauty and life and my dog portraits were somehow the same, always smiling at the camera and saying “everything is ok”.

Silvia Prada's dog portrait

What was the last thing you saw/heard/read that truly captured your attention?

Last thing I heard that totally caught my attention was the speculations about William Shakespeare and that he was actually a  woman, which I totally believe as that has so much sense to me.

Have you noticed much discernible change in your creative output depending on what city you are living in?

Definitely. And it’s not about living in certain cities, it’s about moving… about movement and about change….

What was the thought behind the illustrations you did for Kim Ann Foxman’s video for Creature?

I wanted to create a certain environment and a sexual fantasy between geometries and human beauty.

Why did you decide to team up with the wonderful Borja Peña for your Dalston Superstore takeover?

Borja is one of the most talented and beautiful creatures I’ve ever met. He is a super hero and a reference in London. I would always team up with him… any excuse is good!

Can you talk us through your creative process for your illustration work a little?

The process is so simple and honest… I’m totally in contact with myself and with my personal taste and I constantly research and study our contemporary culture. Anything that I enjoy, any image, experience or any input that is attractive for me, becomes a real work on paper.

Even when some people consider me as an illustrator, I am not really an illustrator, as I don’t usually do work to join a text or illustrate a text or an article… I do my own books and projects and I have my own themes and iconography; I create my own world with my subjects. So I consider myself an artist that also does commercial work.

What living and contemporary artists influence you?

This sounds strange but none. Even though I have an extensive knowledge about contemporary art and I enjoy it, I don’t feel influenced by art itself. I’m  more influenced by music, advertising, fashion, communication or cinema…..
But I have to say Andy Warhol and some artists like Keith Harring, Basquiat and all that generation are so important to me, but not really their legacy. I’m more interested in their lives.

Your most recent exhibition was called The New Modern Hair. What was your favourite or the most interesting hairstyle you depicted in this body of work?

My favourite is the cover hairstyle called “Alexander”. I love this clean, confident and bright beauty, almost Mediterranean.

What one track will you play to make the laser basement go wild on Thursday?

Hmm… this is a good question!!! Mory Kanté’s Yeke Yeke? Hahaha! Kidding. I don’t know yet, I never know what I’m gonna play ’til I get the vibe of the room… and hope to get the laser going wild most of the time!! 

Join Silvia for Silvia Prada DSS Takeover this Thursday 7th March from 9pm – 2:30am.

Danny Taylor

After the success of last month’s Banjee Boy Realness launch party with Rushmore from House Of Trax, Josh Caffe and Joe Robots are back for another helping with NYC resident Danny Taylor, aka A Village Raid, in the lazer basement. The three of them will be welcoming “all banjee boys, banjee girls, butch queens and club freaks back to class where we’ll be schooling you with ballroom, house and club tracks, past, present and future...”
 
In between “taking that bitch to college”, resident DJ Joe Robots caught up with Danny Taylor to talk about vogue past and present and his move from London to New York…
 
 

The Cream Always Rises – Strictly Cream Mix by A Village Raid on Mixcloud

 

Where Brooklyn at? Can you tell us a little about where you at/from.

I live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. I’m English but moved to the US permanently last winter. I started going to NYC in 1999 so it’s changed a lot since then. Like London the nucleus has moved and also some of the flavour… But all good cities have periods and growth and stagnation.

The spotlight in the UK has moved beyond Paris Is Burning and onto the current ballroom scene a bit in recent years. What’s your experience of this in New York? Is it still a small underground movement or is it gaining momentum?

I always tell people to go watch the documentary ‘How Do I Look?’, which is basically ‘Paris Part II’, as that VHS got worn out a long time ago. But that film (Paris Is Burning) I think everyone could watch a thousand times over and never tire. I went to my first proper ball this year in Queens, and it was actually pretty scary, and then again to MikeQ’s night Vogue Knights which is a bit more friendly. But that culture translated here in my experience in the last 10 years has never been more than a tranny doing a triangle with her hands down the Kingsland Road, which you know can be just as fabulous. It’s only very recently with people championing that world and music, such as Diplo, Kingdom, DJ Rizzla, Queenbeat, Nightslugs and Fade To Mind Record labels, and of course MikeQ, that the music has truly found a second wind and a new global audience.

When and why did you move to London and what’s your impression of the East End as it compares to Brooklyn? Is it possible to pick a favourite or are they too diverse?

I first moved to London in 1999 when I was 16 and have lived on and off in the East End since then, so I have a lot of history invested there, but the decision to move to Brooklyn was to find some space to breathe and grow, something I found increasingly more difficult to do in London. So it’s less about the place and more about the place that I’m at in mind. They are both incredible parts of the planet which I owe a lot to so it’s impossible to choose.

How long have you had the DJ moniker A Village Raid? Are we right in thinking its a reference to the Stonewall riots?

No, but what would be an amazing reference nevertheless! The name came around a few years ago when I moved to Brazil for a year and needed a DJ/project name, but the story comes from where I grew up. I grew up on a farm, which by the early ’90s became derelict, and one night became squatted by a huge rave. People still talk about that night even now back down where I’m from, which is quite funny. They syphoned off the electricity from the farm house and it went on for two days until eventually it got raided. I just remember watching all the chaos from my bedroom window singing and dancing along to all the happy hardcore. It was definitely one of favourite memories from childhood and my obsession with rave culture probably started from that very moment.

Your recent series of Vague mixes draw together everything from dancehall to booty techno. What are your musical inspiration, either DJs or artists, or night spots here or in New York?

I like to create images and stories when I make mixes. Image and sound is always so strongly connected for me so in any one mix I might be thinking about periods of time, places, people I know, people I don’t. The Vague mixes are a nod to that culture but are more about taking the sounds and energy and creating something different… An old boyfriend of mine is the only person who I know who can vogue properly in London as he grew up in one of the vogueing houses in New York, so often in my mind I have the image of how he would be dancing to what I am selecting and mixing. It is very difficult for that sound to truly translate on a foreign dancefloor as it is a functional form of music, but the interesting thing about now is how culture or one idea can now be global.

What are your classic vogue tracks?

George Morel – Officer Where’s Your Brother? Get Her! (12″ Version)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOkj2xkkhcU

Tylon – Feel The Rhythm Of House (Underground Vogue Mix)

Banji Boys – Love Thang

What are your current vogue tracks?

KW Griff feat. Porkchop – Bring In The Katz (Bmore Original)

DDM feat. Rye Rye – Click Pow (B. Ames Remix)

Danny Taylor (A Village Raid) plays Banjee Boy Realness this Friday 28th September 2012 from 9pm – 3am with Joe Robots (SOS) and Josh Caffe (Batty Bass).

Voices Agency

ReviveHer welcomes the brains behind the Voices DJ Agency into the Superstore this Friday night. The agency is a collaboration between London DJs Alex Pewin (who also curates the Voices parties) and Lazermagnetic’s Johnny Hillier, the pair look after a stable of internationally renowned DJs with some serious pedigrees behind them including past-Superstore guest DJ Nature and former Paradise Garage resident Victor Rosado. We caught up to dig deeper into the Voices sound…

You have some real legends on your roster – how did you come to meet Victor Rosado and DJ Nature? 

Alex: I had been aware of both of Miles (Nature) and Victor, their important contributions to music and club culture for many years prior to friendships being forged, which coincidentally is something we have first. Then we are naturally real fans of that artist, their music and their vision in terms of DJing and production. Victor always stood out for me as someone who had this amazing musical sensibility in his DJing. He would program music that would make sense musically for the dancer, but also convey a message lyrically through his selections, which is no easy feature at all… he can really connect with you on the floor through songs but also through instrumental music on its own or via a combination of both. It is something that he has mastered. It’s made a real deep impact on me, as I’m someone who always looks for more in music and how to convey it to people on the dance floor. Victor has also always been known for playing something a little different too, there are many records that were played at both the Garage and Loft that Victor had discovered and shared with both David Mancuso and Larry Levan. These records became staples of their club’s playlist, this is something a lot of people don’t realise. His ear can be very left of centre, which is good with me as well haha…

So getting back to your original question…sorry haha… I met Victor first through David Mancuso after a trip to the New York Loft party a good few years ago… Victor was cooking his favourite lasagna dish as part of his contribution to the party. We struck a good friendship, which has continued to this day and has led to us representing him through the agency.

Voice Agency play at Dalston Superstore

I met Miles (Nature) a good few years back, but had been aware of his involvement with the Wild Bunch Soundsystem (who later became Massive Attack) since my school days. I had a friend whose brother used to run with Soul To Soul when they were a Soundsystem and I always remember seeing this great flyer on his wall…Soul To Soul Vs Wild Bunch…this would have been 87-88. I had also worked for Stussy UK for a long period and Michael K, my boss at the time, introduced me to Miles whom he had been friends with for many years.  We approached Miles much later in terms of work; he is also someone with a great ear for old as well as new music and has not aged at all like some DJ’s sometimes eventually do. He is also extremely current, very underground and creative as a DJ, and that has continued and can be heard in his productions as DJ Nature. We also both love a good Soundsystem, so we have a few things in common!

Voice Agency play at Dalston Superstore

What is the Voices Agency philosophy and is there a common thread that identifies your artists?

JH: Each of our bespoke artists has a unique VOICE – a sound, creative vision and entertainment quality gained through many years of dedication and experience playing at some of the best clubs around the world. Individually, our DJ’s and producers have developed their own trademark sound, and are not driven by trends, but inspired by musicianship and art. Bobby Viteritti, Victor Rosado, DJ Nature, Rahaan, Lee Douglas, Lord of the Isles, Perseus Trax and Gatto Fritto, plus more exiting ones to come! Many have influenced or shaped a certain subculture. At the same time, our artists are looking into the future and by applying their rooted knowledge and interpret it with the inspiration current electronic music and technology has to offer, hopefully will inspire tomorrows VOICES. We, the Voices Agency would like to assist our artists to grow professionally by exposing them to new situations and nurturing their careers via relationships with other like-minded people. Could that like-minded person be you?

‘A common thread?’… Yes most of our artists are very knowledgeable… Bobby is a master of the sleaze sound otherwise known as morning music, Rahaan is globally known for being a world-class boogie expert, Nature can throw down an obscure New Wave set and Perseus Trax has created many retro Chicago house future classics and LOTI has had a tons of release out in the past 10 months. There is a cross-over point with many of our artists, even if they don’t know so yet, we do…haha! Seriously each of these artists has easily played a trademark track of one of their peers at some point in their sets – probably without knowing so. What unifies them is a leftfield ear for music and the ability to stay far away from the hype or trends and do their own thing. They are all extremely all open-minded artists and this is the one quality we’ve been looking for in our search for talent. Individually, they embrace many different forms of quality dance music, but are aware of different situations and can adapt to play for a particular audience, whether it’s an eclectic set or contemporary electronic one. Essentially they are party DJ’s with plenty of secret weapons of heat, as much as they are world-class collectors.  We hope that we can push boundaries in the future by joining the best elements, shake ’em all up and enjoy the fruits of new collaborative outcomes.

Voices have their own sound system… Is the understanding of sound a lost art among DJs?

Alex: I don’t think the understanding of sound is lost among DJ’s as such, a lot of DJ’s are aware of sound and the formats they use to play music to their audience, their tolerance for good sound has been lowered though as we live in more disposable, downloadable times – the introduction of MP3’s, something I’m not adverse to either, just a sign of the times. I think club/venue owners are also responsible though in terms of their focus on good sound at their venues. Over the years in this city, apart from room one at Fabric or Plastic People whose owner want to settle for nothing less than amazing sound. Plus some sound guys I know such as Mickey Boyle who helped us with the Voices Soundsystem. Lucky Cloud (London loft party based on David Mancuso’s legendary NYC party) Beauty & Beat who are an extended part of our crew, there are not many others…I think that many people have not experienced really good club sound in their clubbing lives yet and I advise them to indulge themselves at any of the parties listed above for a few reasons. The better the sound the better the experience and better the memory, music is special so try and hear it the best way we can.

JH: Once you have experienced good sound culture, there is no way back! The set-ups at some of the best clubs during the heydays of NYC’s and SF clubs in the ‘70s is well documented, and engineers like Richard Long, the Greabar Soundsystem, Alex Rosner were responsible for developing quality set-ups in large clubs. First generation DJ’s like David Mancuso are known for taking the audiophile approach at his Loft parties to a wider audience, using Klipschorn Speakers in combination with high spec turntables and phono pre-amps only to enhance the experience for the listener and dancer. On a good system you will be able to hear and discover parts of a recording that you previously hadn’t noticed, another feature of a good system is that whilst it is playing music out clear and at a healthy volume, you will still be able to chat to the person next to you. No ringing ears or fatigue at all!

Voice Agency play at Dalston Superstore

But what was also cultivated in those days was the perfect DJ booth for the resident DJ’s, a place or haven where they could go to work and play long sets, develop and master the art of programming and manipulating the crowd with the effects that were give to you at the time. One of our DJ’s on the roster, Bobby Vitteritti, resident at SF’s Trocadero Transfer from 77-81 would play on the Greabar System and his beloved Bozak mixer to take crowds up and down, whilst working closely with his lighting man to create dramatic effects during his 10 hr sets. His technique of mid-range blending is stuff of legends and his specific playing style was also being advocated at iconic NYC clubs like The Saint. You can say that the development of a specific sound, genre and subculture (in his case: high-NRG disco, morning/sleaze music, dance floor drama, physical expression and visual definition of gay culture) was the direct result of the vision of the owner and the DJ’s. All this was made possible by creative use of good sound, in fact so much that it still lives and is celebrated on today via certain club nights around the globe (Horse Meat Disco/Honey Soundsytem etc).

Voice Agency play at Dalston Superstore

Moreover, these specific platforms, or ‘way of life’, allowed the DJ’s/residents to play a certain way to the audience, allowing their music to breathe. The sonic qualities of rotary mixers for example is superior to most mixers on the market today, you get the punch and warmth at the same time and another important point is that once you are given these tools you’ll opt to play certain records, because you know that they come to life at a club with the right sound. But this insight is not restricted to the past – In my opinion, DJ Nature’s deep, yet raw sounding sets require a good system (as much as Theo Parrish does) to accentuate his sound and showcase his talent to maximum effect! In this respect an understanding of sound is still prevalent by those who have experienced and fully believe in it. But every piece of the puzzle has to come together, so you, the crowd gets to feel the desired effect.

Unfortunately, there are still plenty of DJ’s that think really loud equals really good. I’ve come to learn that a lot of quality DJ’s do insist on a sound check before their gig, it gives them idea how far they can go or what the dynamic of their gig could turn out to be. Now I’m not saying that there aren’t great DJ’s out there that can’t pull things off by being spontaneous, but it really helps taking these cues in!

Also, today’s production techniques allow easy access to any producer to use tools such as vintage warmers and compressors to help breath life into production and you can hear this quality in extra punch and kick. Contemporary NYC DJ/producer Lee Douglas who is on our roster is one such example. He embraces certain production aesthetics from the ‘70s, but has developed a forward thinking sound that is not easy to pin down (it kind of keeps developing and mutating every year), but he has high standards and he doesn’t choose the easy route of playing the latest re-edits to rock a party. Rather, he uses current production techniques to get the best sound out of both worlds!

There are still plenty of clubs around that have great set-ups. I’ve had the pleasure of playing at Japanese clubs like Air, Module or with Kamome Soundsystem in the past, all of which were built on the former NYC models, but combining that with the best of today’s technology at the same time. Alex already mentioned Fabric’s Room1 and Plastic People… clubs like Robert Johnson in Frankfurt and Cookies in Berlin all have amazing DJ booths and a range of quality mixers to choose from and it literally is a joy to ‘go to work’ – great vinyl set up with 3 decks… all the trimmings, isolators, effectors! A good sound set up!

So what we have today is a landscape of many music lovers (producers, DJ’s promoters etc) understanding and applying individual aspects of the sound stage from production to set-up, but not always with all the elements come together. We all know that the priority of most club owners is given to other aspects of the club business, other than prioritising good sound as part of their vision. Now some might say that we are idealists that care about sound but don’t chase the dollar. In most cases the businessman doesn’t always care about sound first, but money. And here is the crux of the matter. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO COST MUCH TO ACHIEVE GOOD SOUND, just do your research before you spend your money, develop an understanding of the fundamentals, rather than settle with buying or renting set-up’s off the shelf, or because you are led to believe that certain brands are in vogue! Good sound should be final piece of all pieces to the puzzle and the messenger. Everyone in the production chain has put efforts into the end product, so why compromise at any one stage?

Here’s a quick formula on how things could be improved in an idealistic world: club owners and promoters need to honor a few fundamental principles and start thinking about it all BEFORE money is spent. Without getting too technical, if you take into account the specific room acoustics and apply optimised speaker positioning at the venue, this amounts to 25% already. The next 25% can be achieved through applying the various (inexpensive) treatment and sound insulation options (25%) to get a good acoustic room behaviour. The installation of an adequate sound system for that room adds another 25% to the sonic picture, and finally if you allow room to fine tune the system to suit the DJ’s sound (25%) then you are there. Now an average sound system will sound much better in an acoustically treated room, more so then the best sound system money can buy will do in an acoustically non-treated room. A good sound system will sound excellent when all elements are in place and will bring perfect happiness to all exposed to it, as long as the DJ can play well, haha.

Finally, to make all this happen what is needed is a sense of belief, commitment and longevity in sound from club owners to give a meaningful platform for artists to develop timeless art.

Describe your perfect evening in a discotheque – where is it? Who’s playing? Who’s on the dancefloor? 

I’d take a spaceship back in time to see Roy Thode (The Saint), Bobby Viteritti (Trocadero Transfer) and Ann Margaret spin at the Billboard Disco Convention in 1978 in LA….

One night at the Music Box in Chicago circa 1985 with Ron spinning with Rahaan when he was starting out as a dancer!

Voice Agency play at Dalston Superstore

Trocadero Dancers

Voice Agency play at Dalston Superstore

Visit the Mudd Club in circa 1980 in NYC: Michael Holman, Klaus Nomi, Henri Chalfant , Chris Stein, James Chance on the dancefloor.

Voice Agency play at Dalston Superstore

You can listen to artists on the Voices roster via their Soundcloud and keep up to date with all their latest news through their Facebook group.

 Catch both Alex and Johnny of Voices Agency playing at ReviveHER takes place this Friday 25th May from 9pm – 5am with Lord Of The Isles, Gatto Fritto, Men & Machines and the ReviveHER residents.