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!
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!).
For the second instalment of heauxmeauxsexy disco Mints for 2018, the all-nonsense party crew invite the Rhythm Sister Collective to take over the laser hole for start to finish! The all female / non binary DJ collective have also programmed an open decks session before the party kicks off called The Floor Is Yours, in order to give any new DJs amongst us the chance to play out. Known for delectably eclectic selections spanning world sounds, house, disco, techno, breaks and beyond, we can’t wait to see what they unleash at Mints! We caught up with founder Jess Farley to chat the changing climate of equality in dance music, favourite female selectors and Albanian summer festivals!
Hey Jess! We are so excited to have you join us for Mints! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself for those who might not know you?
Hello! I’m Jess Farley. I’m a DJ and the founder of Rhythm Sister. I’ve moved back to Bristol after being in London for six years, I have two cats and I also run my own business in marketing & social media for creative brands such as artists, labels and events.
What inspired you to start the Rhythm Sister Platform?
From my personal experience of learning to DJ, and also from speaking to a lot of other women who were going through the same. I found there was a common feeling of nervousness and a lack of self confidence in the process and feeling like music and the ‘scene’ was out of reach and not accessible to them. I think this is a combination of a lack of role models, socialisation of women from a young age, plus the male domination in the scene. So Rhythm Sister was about creating a community and space for women to feel comfortable to learn more about music and DJing from others, and for it to feel in reach for them. Alongside serving as a platform to help shine a light on more talented women and non binary artists, it exists to inspire others and help increase the amount of role models there are. And hopefully it’s doing that
Music is obviously a huge part of your life. What is your earliest musical memory, and what has really shaped your love for dance music in particular?
I don’t remember this first hand but my Mum said when I was like one or two my favourite song was Technotronic – Pump Up The Jam and I used to go mental dancing in my nappy every time it came on haha! I think what’s shaped my love for dance music in particular has to be growing up in Glastonbury and going to the festival since I was young, drinking pear cider and roaming around all the tents by myself, it was pretty eye opening! There was also a big drum and bass scene when I was a teenager so I was listening to that and raving in fields since I was like 14! I guess my love for house, techno and dance music in general developed over the years from this.
You have done some incredible work to level the playing field for female and non binary DJs – we really admire your work! Have you experienced much of a shift in people’s attitudes since you first started?
Aw thanks A huge credit goes to all the Rhythm Sister crew and extended crew who’ve helped and supported along the way. Yes 100% I think attitudes have shifted and are shifting. There’s still a way to go but the conversation of equality seems to be at the forefront in music at the moment. There are more women and non binary artists on line ups, more and more are finding the confidence to DJ and produce, and more initiatives, collectives and nights run by women are popping up! I think there is way less stigma, although it definitely still exists, but I think over the years all the work we’re putting in now will hopefully come to fruition and the scene will continue to unearth all the talented people that have been hiding or have gone unnoticed.
Do you find it really different to play to a queer or female dominated audience compared to the typical straight cis-male electronic music crowd?
There is definitely some type of magic and feeling in the air that exists in queer / female dominated spaces that you can’t really explain. It’s not really the absence of straight cis-males, it’s more an energy that’s created when people are truly feeling free and safe to be themselves, to dance and have fun, not being nervous and contained, which I think happens more in straight cis-male crowds. The openness and freedom is inspiring – we need it more! I think this is also achievable in mixed crowds, it’s like a mutual respect for everyone you share the space with.
Ever since we started our workshops we have really wanted to set up a night for attendees to be able to perform in a club environment. It’s the next step from practising at home, to help them develop flow, read the crowd and be able to invite their friends to see them play out. It can do wonders for confidence and really help cement the nice and empowering feeling that DJing gives you, and hopefully it can be the stepping stone for future gigs! We’ll have four x 45 minute sets that run from 7pm – 10pm before Mints kicks off, and we’re announcing the line up soon!
Who are some of your favourite female and non binary B DJs who are really killing it at the moment?
Who are some of the guests you have invited to join you for the basement takeover?
Jaye Ward has the best selection I’ve heard in a while, have heard many of her radio shows and a few mixes, literally can’t wait to finally meet her and hear her play in the club!! Souvenir are also two very talented DJ and selectors who played one of the best warm up sets I’ve seen at our party at Rye Wax for Peckham Rye Festival last year. Plus can’t wait to combine forces with Mints, should be a cracking one!!
Do you have any exciting plans in the pipeline that you can let us in on?
Ooo… we have a few exciting gigs coming up this summer! Most looking forward to playing at Kala in Albania – it looks so stunning. Plus there’s a new mix series and we’re soon to be rolling out a new mentorship scheme!
And finally, in five words or less, what are you planning to unleash on the Superstore basement?
Drums, breaks, ALL THE FUN!
Catch Jess Farley and Rhythm Sister at Mints this Friday 6 April from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore!
Reaching the end of an amazing two years doing parties at our favourite London venue is super sad but also full of joy. We’ve had so many golden moments together! The superb music our guest DJs have brought to the party fill us with pride and joy, so we thought we’d share a couple of moments, and the records we feel have perfectly encapsulated our Cult Culture party over the eight parties at Superstore.
Without a doubt the highlight of our first party was the huge crew that came through from Bristol…especially the minibus ramble… we don’t think Superstore quite knew what was happening!
We’d also invited relatively unknown DJ, Soren Miehe over from Berlin. Not only was Soren an incredible DJ, everybody fell in love with this beaut at first sight.
With his big gorgeous smile, he was dropping bombs like this:
When people ask us to tell them our favourite party or who our favourite guest was, it’s almost impossible to answer. However, we will always affectionately remember our Superstore party with the wonderful Telephones playing downstairs and the incredible johnsmith (Man-Up Winner) performing Madonna’s Vogue in their own inimitable way upstairs. It was the first time I have seen an artist perform upstairs on the bar who immediately affected the whole venue… They finished their performance and it sent palpable shockwaves throughout the building. Meanwhile, Telephones was playing this masterpiece in the lazer pit at peak time and everybody went wild for it:
Our only regret was when we returned to our Airbnb and Henning changed into Oozing Gloop drag that we didn’t soundtrack it with the very same Jazz Carnival!
So when Jan Schulte (aka Wolf Müller, Bufiman and a bunch of other aliases) arrived from Dusseldorf to headline the lazer pit for us, we expected to feel like we’d been hit over the head with millions of drums…and we weren’t disappointed, it was a masterpiece of a set. BPMs dropping to around a 100bpm at peak time and the dancefloor was still jiving hard. BUT it is this record that Jan told us he found in his collection (and thought he’d lost) just before departing to London that he played at just the right moment!
Next up was a choice booking for our headline slot, Auntie Flo. Known for his incredible Afro vibes throughout his productions and DJ sets, he to decided shelve this and instead bought his entire Italo disco vinyl collection, making the most of his apartment being around the corner. We don’t think we have seen anybody play such a flawless Italo disco set before…it was a delight to be there dancing. All this been said, he did divert slightly to play this absolute edit banger!
Now the last record is often a challenge and something we have always found quite difficult to select. You have a choice: you can either chose to close out with a chilled obviously-this-set-is-coming-to-an-end record OR you can leave the dancefloor begging for MOOOOORE…. Auntie Flo kinda achieved both and definitely holds the title for best last record of our party series at Superstore. This got played in its entirety…for this very moment it was the best record ever! There is a video floating around of this moment somewhere but alas we don’t know where?!
Upstairs we were thrilled to provide a wee platform for our friends at Rhythm Sister (a DJ collective that provides a safe and supportive environment for those that identify as women or gender queer to learn and hone their DJ skills.) When Jess Farley played this, it was proof that no matter how well a record is known if you time it correctly it always stands the test of time/never gets old:
Since we are closing our last Cult Culture ourselves this Saturday, we thought we would finish off with a few tracks that have become PLU classics over the years.
We went for years playing this record in every set we played. This clip is actually from the theme tune of the U.S. Sitcom starring a young John Travolta! The edit we play derives from this, but there is not a clip of the edit online. If you are looking for the exact track, it’s a Doug Lee edit.
We have actually had people complain when we have not played this!
I don’t think this record has left our bag for the last 12 months. We LOVE IT because it combines a nod to our love of early nineties rave and – we feel – still has a disco/funk vibe running through it 😉
In terms of the music we play and the artists we book, we play most things: house, Italo, synth, industrial, punk, afro… anything goes, but in our early People Like Us parties we very much just played disco, and this is one of the records that have endured up until this present day… It never fails.
Expect some more of this kinda magic on Saturday night as we go through all night long… Techno/bleep music from a label whose output was, for us, unsurpassed at the time.
Finally, this track remained a wee secret weapon for us for a while, helped by the fact it costs silly money to purchase second hand, so not many DJs had it. We are big fans of Red Axes anyway but they really excelled themselves when they did this edit of Shocking Blue’s Love Buzz. We absolutely love how just before the breakdown they remain true to the original and allow the record to dramatically increase in speed…we’ve seen people lose their shit to this so many times.
Catch PLU at Cult Culture this Saturday 5 August from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore!
A few years ago, before I moved briefly back to the southwest; I started writing a column for QX Magazine titled Life Outside London. The column highlight amazing queer scenes and spaces that existed beyond the big smoke. I spoke to DJs and promoters in places like Belfast, Stockholm, Brooklyn and of course, Bristol. London’s LGBT scene is amazing, and one of the most diverse on the planet. But every now and then it needs a lil shake up. It needs some fresh blood. An injection from the outside world.
Think about what makes London so fab and gorgey. It’s the people right? And who of those are FROM LONDON? Which is why I decided to turn Life Outside London into Outside, a party where I ship over a whole bunch of DJs and hosts and drag kings and queens right to your doorstep so you can try a slice of that city without even leaving the capital.
So without further ado, please meet your entertainers for this bank holiday Sunday!
DON’T TELL YOUR MOTHER
The DTYM gang are some of the most beloved in Bristol’s extremely closeknit LGBT scene. Their monthly socials are every queer’s calendar highlight. A place to kick back, hang with friends and dance to pop and indie guilty pleasures. It helps immensely the ElectroNic and Mister Morgan are the nicest people ever and operate an LGBT+ friends door policy because, as they say “EVERYONE is welcome…as long as you like a good boogie and smile lots. Smiling is very important. Expect glitter, pop bangers, sequins, delicious disco, glitter, rude r’n’b and all round glamour!”
MOTHER & AUNTIE
These two matriarchs come as part and parcel of Don’t Tell Your Mother. They’re on hand to keep you in check (so make sure you’re behaving…fabulously!) Expect the type of Carry On In Drag that we all know and love.
In a really short year Bitch Please has figured out how to combine the straight dance music scene and the credible gay scene into one amazing inclusive party that never feels Not Queer Enough. In a city as small as Bristol, they manage to bring amazing bookings like Honey Dijon and The Black Madonna to parties populated by voguers, drag queens and all the city’s gays, making for mad, colourful nights that are full of nonsense!
These three absolute babes will be closing the basement. Their gay techno night has taken the southwest by storm with its uncompromising musical stance combined with that typically lovely Bristolian welcome. You can usually find Amour Ami happening at The Elite Retreat (a gay sauna with a rooftop that’s even played host to Ostgut Ton’s Boris) or The Queenshilling, one of the last remaining proper gay bars to regularly feature RuPaul Drag Race stars thanks to its regular night Eat Sleep Drag Repeat.
A familiar name to Superstore regulars no doubt and one may wonder their inclusion on this list. Okay, they might not be from Bristol. But this will be Rhythm Sister founder Jess Farley’s last gig as a Londoner before she decamps to our fave city. Liv Ayres joins Jess in the basement for a b2b session through the breadth of their record collections.
Another Londoner who has defected, Strawberry K cut her teeth playing at legendary gay nights Trade and DTPM (that’s the nights all the daddies you fancy went to when they were baby homos). She’s regularly in London though, and can be found playing at PLU Cult Culture, The Magic Roundabout and of course at Golddiggers at Egg London alongside DJs like Tafkanik.
Duo Liam John and Travis Derrick AKA ZENZERO are rave buddies turned house music collaborators and conspirators. They front Bitch Please alongside Amour Ami and the list of nights and festivals they’ve smashed it at is longer than my arm. Catch them opening the basement and start your night the way it’s meant to go on.
Hi that’s me. You may remember me from such nights as Les Poppeurs, or probably more accurately the girl who plays disco records that makes boys wanna kiss.
If you don’t know who Chaka Khan’t is, who even are you? Do you even go here? This Kween of Superstore became an honorary Bristolian when she brought her drag act Cissy down to mixed queer night Keep It Cute and managed about four outfit changes over the course of the night.
This drag performance artist (and I say performance artist because wait ’til you meet her and see her lewks) is no stranger to Superstore, having hosted the Amy Grimehouse pre-party for Peaches Christ‘s screening of ShowGirls. Just look at her. She’s amazing. That’s all I need to say!
Drag Kings don’t often get too much of a look in at gay bars, and Oliver Assets and Roddy Jodphurs are on a mission to change that. They, alongside their guest drag king Chiyo are ready to live out their teenage Coyote Ugly fantasy dreams dancing on the bar.