Posts Tagged ‘trans’

VIEGAS at mints

Ahead of his basement debut at Mints this Friday VIEGAS had a little chat with promoters Jon and Emma!

secondpic

Hi Viegas! We are so excited to have you for your Dalston Superstore debut at the next Mints! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Thank you for having me! Come from the suburbs of Lisbon, just finished a photography course, currently work at the contemporary/modern art museum of Lisbon and at Radio Quântica which is the Portuguese community web radio, and have been djing for the last few years.

You are one of the organisers behind Lisbon queer party institution Mina – can you tell us about the collective and what inspired you to start your own party?

 mina is the daughter of two vital Portuguese underground projects. My friend Pedro Marum had long ago started this night that turned into an artistic experimental space called Rabbit Hole. Lisbon was, and still is, a place of prudeness and there was lacking a space where the boundaries for our pleasure were defined by mutual respect instead of being forced by a corporate institution. One of the nights that Rabbit Hole hosted was called Barghain, as a pun for the Berlin club but with a cheap price, and that was a huge success. Violet and Photonz  played one of those nights and loved the vibe. I was collaborating with Rabbit Hole back then and Pedro invited the three of us to start this night that would soon become mina. Two years later, the party is now organized by 13 people and supported by hundreds of queers that attend every event, wherever they happen.

You guys recently joined forces with Berlin-based queer party collective Lecken for a rave on NYE at Fully Automated Luxury Oblivion. We can only imagine the madness… How was it?!

Unfortunately I missed that event but from what I’ve heard it was wild.

You are closely involved with Radio Quantica, the radio platform run by Superstore favourites Violet and Photonz. How did you guys come to be working together?

 It all started with an invite from Varela, who is also an Icon and dj from Lisboa. He was part of the radio since the beginning and invited me to be a guest at his show. After that Inês and Marco heard me play a couple more times and asked if I wanted to start my own show. Since then they have been really supportive and kind.

Which record isn’t leaving your bag at the moment?

Play009 – D for Doggo, by dokter doggo.

What is the best thing about the Lisbon electronic music scene?

 The most interesting things are happening in the fringes, either created by the sons of the African & Brazilian communities (Príncipe Label is the perfect example) or the Queer kids, influence by a global web culture, starting to produce and self-release their music in platforms like soundcloud. There is still a lot of work to be done because most of these people don´t have a regular place to showcase their music.

 What is your earliest musical memory?

 From a very young age my mother used to take me to this big communist party that happens every year in Portugal. The melody from “carvalhesa” which is the trademark of the event is in my head since I can remember.

 Who are some of your DJ inspirations?

 BLEID from mina, Aggromance (and the whole Hiedra Club de Baile), Tzusing, Lsdxoxo and Bala Club collective from London are some of my favourites at the moment.

Can you tell us about some of your Portuguese peers who are doing exciting things at the moment?

 BLEID inspires me a lot. She produces and djs and her sets range from noisy ambient to gabber, and everything in between. Odete is also a key figure in our scene. She was one of the first to mix pop music with more experimental and forward thinking electronics and has just released her first Ep “Matrafona”. Kerox is also somebody to look up to. He owns the sickest tunes and just released a banger called “Braved the storm”. Fabaítos  and Stasya have been uploading really good music on soundcloud (Listen to Paradisis, fabaítos first Ep or Stásya´s Túmulo).  Yzhaq and Shade are also starting to mix and to produce (along with Odete and Stásya they’ve created ÇIRCA, also a name to remember) and I´m really excited to hear what they have to say. RS Produções (from príncipe) have just released a mad ep called Bagdad Style and are one of my favourites from the label. finally DJ VENENO666 is my latest obsession. His soft and melancholic take on dembow infused rhythms is sometimes the only thing I can listen to.

 If you had a time machine and could go dancing anywhere/when, where would you go?

Grace Jones’ 30th Birthday Party.

 Do you have any exciting plans for 2019 that you can tell us about?

Have some ideas for both individual and collective projects that hope will come into form, also have a couple of dates planned outside of Portugal. The Dalston gig will be my first this year so this is a nice start :) 

mints at dalston superstore

Find the event on facebook here

DJ Sprinkles

We’ve borrowed this amazing conversation from our friend Charlie Porter’s website…

DJ Sprinkles is playing at Chapter 10 on Friday night. A conversation, in full, about everything

It’s 7am UK time, 4pm in Tokyo, and Terre Thaemlitz is there on the Skype. Terre is an absolute idol of mine, producing work and playing records under the name DJ Sprinkles.

The work is extraordinary – unrestricted, freeform, sonically aware, made with intent and yet totally inclusive.

She does not assimilate into any industry norms, and by doing so makes work that stands high above it.

DJ Sprinkles is coming to London this Friday, November 7th, to play at Chapter 10 at Dance Tunnel.

And so she’s agreed to talk, via Skype.

As I turn my voice recorder on, I’m asking her what she’s been up to today, the day beginning where I am, the day nearly over where she is.

TERRE THAEMLITZ: Actually I’ve been working on some custom edits of tracks for Friday night.

ME: Oh amazing. Do you do that often?

Yeah, if I’m listening to something and I think it would be nice with a longer edit or something like that, I’ll just sit down and make it, and see if it works or not.

What are the edits of?

They’re kind of secret. On the dancefloor people will recognise what they are.

Is it new, or stuff that’s old?

Oh yeah, old stuff, often stuff from the 70s.

Tell me your schedule, how often are you there, how often do you travel?

I try not to travel more than once every two months or so. I don’t like to travel.

But you were just here recently right?

I was, I did a crazy weekend in Cardiff and Bristol. I just got back Monday and next Friday I’ll be going again. But that’s unusual.

How were Cardiff and Bristol?

Alright. I like playing outside London. Different social climate.

What’s the difference?

What do you think the difference is? Everybody in England knows the difference.

Tell me.

This was my first time in Wales and in Bristol, but for example if you go up north there’s more of a history of socialism and unionisation that gives a different climate. London’s like New York or any major megapolis where money shits through it, so that also creates a climate that has a different neo-liberal tension around it the whole time.

What do you mean by neo-liberal tension?

Well you know what neo-liberalism is, right?

Right. [To my shame I don’t]

There’s that climate of where that Right-wing ideological power base is connected to a financial power base in the most obvious ways. When you have big banking and big business and all that stuff you end up with a climate that makes it difficult to breathe.

I’m obsessed with time, and the length of things, and how time affects nightlife. I’m interested in how you skirt over time in some way. You can allow tracks to be long without being scared of them.

I think it’s important when you’re in a club context to get away from the notion of a “song”, and not be like, “oh yeah I love this song!” There’s that weird energy that people get around pop dance music. I like to get away from that, and one way to do that is to have tracks that go way beyond the length of a normal radio edit. Let time pass and start listening beyond that initial recognition of a track, and just experience it as time.

But there’s still also a dynamic inside the track, and a tension that keeps things going.

Well why wouldn’t there be? It’s weird that people are afraid of duration and length as if that’s going to create some sort of stagnant glue on the floor. Sometimes it’s ten minutes before you get into something. If you listen to classical Indian raga, it doesn’t even start until 20 minutes into it. Clubs are also like that, especially if you’re really in a club for all night. Different cities vary, but for example in Japan the subways shut down at 12.30am, and then you’re just stuck overnight until they start running again at 5.30am. When you have those lengths of time to play with, it doesn’t make sense to be changing records every two and a half minutes. Not for me, you know? I’d rather go this other direction, where it just lets time take its own course rather than pushing everything so hard. In a way, playing fewer longer songs can compress time and makes it seem to pass faster, if you allow yourself to get into the grooves and lose sight of the “songs.”

My experience of clubs over twenty odd years is about the constriction of time – that it’ll close at 2am, or 3am.

In that case you can play only four or five tracks and be done [she laughs]. The up side of short sets is that you can come back later and not repeat your previous set.

Have you ever just played four or five tracks?

Sometimes people put you on for an hour or 90 minutes. It’s rare but it happens. Since I make twelve, thirteen minute tracks, I’ll get four or five tracks in and I’m done. But I like that sometimes. It’s good to leave people hanging. It’s OK. It’s funny how out of that duration comes this feeling at the end of, oh yeah it wasn’t enough. The scale of time shifts. This person needed more time to play for it to make sense. Maybe I look at it like playing a bunch of short tracks in a short set is similar to taking a subway. You make a lot of quick stops, but you’re in a tunnel without much of a view. Playing long tracks over several hours is maybe more like being stuck on some freeway in the Midwest of America. You’re just going through nothingness forever, then you come across a town, but you pass through it before you realise it.

I’m also interested in progress, and that there should be progress in dance music, or that it should evolve.

I mean most things that announce themselves as progressive or on the vanguard are the most regressive, right? You can’t get more old-school modernist than stating you’re on the vanguard of something. You still hear that language today, and people are still totally invested in it, but that’s dead over a half century ago, or more.

It’s the assumption that club culture has to be something new or at the forefront.

That’s the way it’s always marketed towards youth culture and this idea of the new experience. Here in Japan, a lot of the clubs are in a panic about the population decline, and from the marketing side asking how do you get the young people into the clubs. There is this dominant preoccupation of getting this new experience to the new crowd who haven’t experienced it before. But my ideal audience is 50 year olds.

Yeah.

I mean seriously. It’s not a joke.

Also in terms of queer history and gay culture – the assumption that clubbing involves progress.

I think clubs do play a particular role in the whole cliché mythology of queer immigration to the big cities, and the big cities are where the clubs are. You can’t get access to the music in a small bumfuck town. That whole thing of gaining access to a liberatory space, that’s all part of the role of clubs within this larger mythology of queer liberation and urban sexual ghettos.

When you say mythology, is there an alternate story, or is that the story?

An alternative story is the story of closets, that’s one alternative. Maybe alternate is the wrong word. It’s more simultaneous stories. All the different manifestations of queer existence in open and closeted forms that do exist constantly. The reason I call it mythology is because that is part of – when you grow up in these rural places… I don’t know where you grew up…

100 miles north of London.

So you know how the image of the big city functions outside the city, and the potential it promises to people in the countryside. That’s the cliché we absorb. From my experience of growing up in the mid-west and rural areas, the appeal of the big city was its offering of a space for the outsider and the misfit and the queer. Conversely, if you were a good old boy, why would you want to go to the big city? So there are counter mythologies in terms of who stays in the home town. Who would never want to go to the city? And then within that there’s a subculture of really die-hard farmer queers and shit like that. But by and large the mythology is, you escape the rednecks and you run like hell to some kind of sexual ghetto, where at least within that sexual ghetto you find some kind of solidarity, right? That’s the myth.

And it’s a more glamorous myth than staying in the country.

Depends who you are. It doesn’t mean you have to be a total asshole to want to live in the country. You don’t. It ups the ante, but it’s not a guarantee. And like I said also, when you’re in the city, you have all this fucking financial neoliberal agenda bullshit: careers, etc. That’s also part of the myth of urbanisation – the desire of having a good career – all that feeds into our clublife, doesn’t it?

Yeah.

A lot of the times clubs are entertainment for totally white collar jack-offs, basically. It depends what clubs, but the people who can afford to go to certain clubs are people who are at a particular state in their career. Or it’s a kid thing, blowing all your savings to go have the night of your life type of stuff.

Does that make your own relationship with club culture fractious?

It makes me an employee. And it makes it a site of labour. That’s also part of it, identifying clubs as a site of labour, not only a site of escape and blah blah.

Does that labour allow you to be creative on your own terms?

It’s one way of not working in an office everyday. We all pick our ways to try to survive. For me it’s not about achieving some sort of ideal, some sort of, “oh god I fucking love what I do!” It’s just work, you know?

But your work isn’t attempting to fit into a mass commercial frame.

Yeah but I don’t think most people’s jobs are, even if they have big dreams aspirations of “making it rich”. Most people’s jobs are enough to float them by, regardless of what industry they’re working in. There seems to be a culturally agreed upon assumption that if you’re a doctor you’re this super successful amazing doctor, the same goes if you’re a lawyer, and if you’re a musician you’re a fucking rock star. It’s just, most people aren’t Top Chef. Most people are working at McDonalds.

Do you think subversion still exists in club culture?

I think subversion exists in every aspect of culture, but in varying degrees and often in uncalculated ways. I wouldn’t want to answer that question in a way that could be misconstrued as the cliché, of “club culture is subversive” – I don’t really buy that. That’s a different proposition to how I would approach that question. In general, the answer is not really, but of course subversion exists.

Do you think it’s something that could become more apparent?

No I think it has to do with context, and that makes it against the mathematical odds. Of course, it depends what type of subversion people are talking about. Maybe the most boring club to you or I would still be considered subversive to someone like my dad. To me, subversion would be something else entirely. I am specifically thinking through lenses of queerness, transgenderism, poverty and things like this… The sites where those struggles occur and are branded subversive are going to be small in number, in the same way that with any queer factor of any context you’re dealing with a subset of any audience, a subset of any public, a subset of any group. That’s just how queer subversion works. It’s not like you have one massive club that’s utterly subversive. It’s about subversion occurring in different ways and in different contexts. Some contexts can be more extreme in their relationships to these issues and manifest themselves in more challenging ways. That’s where places become sites for social organising and communal organising. The people who nurture those spaces, they organise themselves not only around music but also in terms of how to survive hetero-normative culture. That for me would become a site of subversion or resistance. But it’s going to be rare, and it’s going to be some place that’s not going to have funding, it’s going to be the kind of place that’s not going to be able to bring me from Japan to DJ, you know what I mean?

So actually subversion isn’t the co-opted word in a cliché club way of how do describe a mass body, but it’s more personal and individual, probably unknown and probably really hard for that individual.

Subversion implies discomfort. If the majority of the industry that we’re talking about is pleasure based, then finding spaces where discomfort is actively present – not only in terms of people being so shitfaced that they’re puking on themselves, but a different level of cultural discomfort – those spaces are going to be few and far between, and they’re also going to have much more to offer in terms of educational and cultural organising value.

And also as gay culture becomes more hetero-normative in terms of marriage being the goal.

Aligned with career, owning your own home, child-rearing.

Has it always been clear for you the difference between gay culture and queer culture, in that gay culture has the desire to please heterosexuals.

That would be too broad of a statement, because I think it depends how one approaches that term “gay” – how you approach “lesbian”, “gay”, “homosexual”. If they’re invoked in a predictable LGTB mainstream way, which involves trying to sell ourselves as amazing people about whom straight folks can say “they’re just like you and me”, that sort of stuff to me has always been really alienating, because it appeals to acceptance in dominant culture. It’s like seeking the love of an abusive parent, instead of culturally moving away from the corruptions of family. At the same time there are other forms of exclusion that have to do with transphobia, and the imposition of this strictly homosexual model of gayness that excludes the fact that homosexuality and heterosexuality instantly fall apart if you’re trans-identifying, and you can’t identify identical or counter sexual object choices. If you can’t specify your opposite gender or your same gender, then instantly this very traditional and heterosexually bound category of gayness becomes something quite meaningless, oppressive and limiting. It really depends on how people approach the term “gay”. Some people are pretty relaxed about their definitions and say “gay” when they mean “queer” in a more open sense. But usually it’s the opposite, where people say “queer” when they mean “gay” in the conventional and limiting sense. It just depends on where people’s minds are. For the sake of our conversation we can give people a little credit and say that “gay” is not always so anti-queer, but there are definitely quite oppressive LGBT appeals to mainstream acceptance and power sharing that I find disturbing.

Is the history of queer culture in clubs separate from the mythology of gay culture?

For me, what differentiates queerness from mainstream LGBT language is that queerness is always very much entangled with conditions of harassment and persecution. Even if you try to be “proudly queer”, it’s still a derogatory term. It still comes with this homophobic connection to violence and harassment. That has always been a part of the development of lesbian and gay culture through modernity. Of course the violence and the homophobia have affected people no matter how religiously or loosely they related to a strictly defined homosexual identity. So in that sense queerness is always present. It’s that displacement of not being able to find a safe space. Fifty years ago, maybe you went to a club in search of a safe space, but they were still dangerous. You could be spotted there by somebody and outed. You could be spotted going in. It could be raided by police. You could be arrested and have your name in the paper. There were all kinds of harassment bullshit. Every country has their own harassment stuff. Britain was particularly horrible to people in the 70s.

That for me is queerness, not something that’s just an academic rejection of the hetero/homo binary, but it really goes beyond that rejection to something that originates in violence, and in experiences of violence, and in an urgency and panic of what to do amidst that violence and harassment.

It’s interesting because queerness has a certain posh softness to it.

Yeah I don’t know exactly what the linguistic gap is. I think most British people recognise that Americans use the term “fag” in a derogatory way. There are differences in language, and I’m speaking as someone who was conditioned in the American English language so maybe sometimes these things I’m saying don’t resonate properly.

Oh no they resonate.

In the US the term “queer” has definitely been coopted by academia. It’s become very institutionalised. A lot of people in Queer Studies programmes wouldn’t feel or sense the inherent contradiction in saying “queer pride”. They’re instructing queerness through a pride-based model, and to me that’s just so fucking backwards and insane.

Like the word’s been gutted.

It’s been ripped of contexts where lives are more informed by shame than pride.

And also not seen as a day to day individual reality.

Yeah and I think this goes back to forms of sexual ghettoization. I think the arts and academia are “big city” places where a lot of people run to. There is definitely migratory mythology around that – “my queer migration into academia”. I think that whenever you have these kind of enclaves that are seemingly and systematically granting a kind of safe space to people, it’s easy to forget that it is still a process of ghettoization within the wider culture. People lose sight of violence in a way, and internalise their newfound sense of safety to the point of ambivalence toward certain things.

It’s interesting you say “safe space” about things. It’s like people yearning for comfort, or assuming their life involves the goal of comfort.

Well I do think the LGBT movement has reframed the urgent need to escape persecution as a quest for comfort, reconciling that with standard right wing neo-liberal agendas of seeking pleasure and seeking relaxation. That’s “safety” in the way you just invoked it. I am not speaking of safety as a quest for comfort. For me, safety is about not getting punched, not getting spat on, not getting disowned and kicked out of a house and made homeless. That for me is safety. That’s the level I’m thinking on. I do think that through the mainstreaming of LGBT agendas, this kind of urgency has been reframed has hopes and dreams and good ol’ folks who share the same dreams and ambitions as everyone else. Of course that’s partly true because we’re all fed the same bullshit aspirations from childhood onwards with Sesame Street and all that crap. But one’s relationship to those, and what relationships we’re socially allowed to have or denied as a result of issues of sexuality, gender, etc., can result in quite different experiences of social conditioning around those expectations.

Were you always fearless?

It’s funny. I always think of myself as afraid.

Yeah as soon as I said the word “fearless”, that’s what I thought you’d say.

And again, there’s this way in which dominant culture wants to frame things as heroic, wants to frame things as about being in some sort of vanguard, with the fucking wind in your face and yeah you’re just so fucking tough. No it’s totally about acknowledging being really fucked-up and fragile and lost. That’s a different kind of isolation than the heroic model, that for me resonates with queerness and not with the whole pride movement stuff. The whole Pride movement shit is totally reconciled with all this vanguard modernity, face-the-future, go-for-it bravery shit. For me that’s the language and the style and the aspirations of the people who were kicking my ass as a youth. So I’m like, fuck that. It doesn’t click for me. It’s not interesting to me. It’s not helpful to me. It’s stopping me from identifying the material bases for my cultural alienations, which is a prerequisite for social agency.

Were you always allergic to the thing that felt wrong, rather than assimilate to it?

Oh no I was desperately trying to fit in, of course. I think that’s the normal thing, to be so fucking desperate to fit in, especially going through youth. Youth is a nightmare, wouldn’t you agree?

Yeah beyond.

Would you ever want to go back?

No. Literally never.

Never, never want to go back. Getting older is the best fucking thing that ever happens to people. And that’s really difficult to talk about in a cultural climate that’s so fixated on youth.

But it’s interesting when you realise only you as an individual is going to live your life, so live your life and make your own choices.

Again, you’re invoking this modernist language of individualism. I mean I think it’s important to always have active language that keeps a person from buying into the lie of those choices being a wide breadth of choices. In the end, the majority of people never overcome the class barriers that they were born into. That’s just a statistical fact. The reality of what choices we’re allowed to make are very limited, beginning with most people not being able to step out of male or female, not being able to step out of a singular hetero-/homo- sexual identity. Once we internalize these things, then even if we feel like we’re really making choices, the range of our choices are so few, very few. Culturally, we’re given just enough choice to psychologically squeak by. Dominant cultures don’t forgive choice, don’t forgive difference and diversity.

And then as we get older, we solidify those gender differences ourselves, so that our idea of female is defined by make-up or appearance.

Yeah, about ten years ago I stopped wearing make-up when in femme drag, in feminist solidarity against the tyranny of the cosmetics industry. Make-up is so fucking expensive, and I know so many women who are really at the poverty line blowing so much money on the labour of looking feminine. And it really is labour. Similarly, within trans communities, that’s part of the labour of passability. That is a heavy duty work load, and I don’t have much skill for it, especially as I get older.

I’m not one of those people who feels comfortable when I’m in femme drag. I’m feeling uncomfortable always, in male or female clothes. So I just stopped doing make-up, but then people comment about how I’m too lazy to shave. It’s like, I do shave, as close as I can. I’m just not piling foundation on, and I’m not taking hormone treatments, and I’m not paying people to do laser hair removal. I’m trying to have a non-medically mediated relationship to my body as trans. That’s a very unpopular thing that brings a lot of hostility, not only from transphobic assholes pointing out what a mess I am, but also people within trans communities pointing out what a mess I am. My attempts to divest of certain representational procedures involves a completely different kind of trans labour that doesn’t have much visibility around it, as opposed to the labour of trying to pass in a more conventional way.

Do you mean the labour of coping with the reaction you get?

It’s a lot of work to maintain oneself, and sometimes I get lazy – by which I really mean exhausted. Like what I’m wearing right now – my lazy clothes are my boy clothes and part of that laziness is they grant me a gender passability that is less questioned than when I’m in femme drag, even if it’s casual femme. I don’t mean gala stage queen stuff. I generally don’t do that. I generally try to wear more everyday, standard femme clothes – which is as much about the fear of creating a spectacle that results in being spotted and harassed on the street, as it is about rejecting clichés of MTF campiness. But choosing clothes also has to do with where my mind is. Am I in the mindset where I have the patience to deal with the looks and the stares when I’m going to the market? Especially since I am already a racial spectacle in my neighbourhood. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I really don’t. And that affects how much labour one is able to put into it. It’s work to dress, no matter what you’re aiming for.

It’s interesting that it’s your body, your hormones and DNA that make you you, so why would you want to add hormones.

I don’t know. I really think that the whole discussion of hormones and DNA… if you really get to that level, if you really want to talk about biology, you really have to get into such detail that genders become non-quantifiable. And that’s the point where you leave conventional western science, because conventional western science relies on quantification, dismissing the minor percentages and going with the bulk percentages, and making sure you can identify things by counting them. And that is how we culturally justify what is real and what is not, what should be funded for research, what should not. This makes it difficult to speak about non-quantifiability and the fact that, really, if you want to get pissy about it, every single person has a unique gradient of gender going on. So that makes the active discussions around DNA and hormones and stuff more problematic. It doesn’t make them totally useless, but it often makes them unhelpful when thinking about social organising in relation to harm reduction and violence reduction. Because in that case the organising really has to do with a social capacity to make decisions and engage in choices that will reduce violence. If you limit the conversation to the realm of biology and medical treatments, your choices are made for you, and there is no room for language of personal agency. Neo-liberalism loves that, they love to legislate rights around “I can’t help it, I was born this way” rhetoric. Because that’s totally in line with feudalism and aristocracy: that your rights are bestowed to you based on the blood in your veins. It’s a completely conservative and familiar argument, and the fact that western democracy continues to legislate around “what can’t be helped,” DNA and blood lines, all this stuff is a sign that we have never really entered democracy at all. In the same way there’s never been a communist society, I would argue there’s never been a democratic one. The gap between the ideals of democracy and how rights are actually legislated around the body is so obscene and feudalistic, that gap for me is as big as the gap between communism and Stalinism. It really is that broad for me, but most people won’t feel it as that broad.

Do you have any hope that there will ever be the right legislation or the right protection against violence, or is it just getting by with having to deal with what’s there?

I think there’s been a real deliberate backwards trend since Reaganomics and Thatcherism that has lead to a global reinvestment into the privilege of individuals and ownership, privatisation and getting away from state projects. Even though we keep the language of democracy, socially we’re moving further and further away from state projects, we’re going more and more into privatisation – our healthcare and things like the postal service, the power companies and all these things that were built through our taxes are then sold off and privatised to people who are free to then just make billions, which they do. Especially now, since we’ve exported so much of our labour and manufacturing to places and cultures where they really have far less issue with openly exploiting the labour classes on a slave level than in the west, it really allows the west to feel like, “oh yeah, we can still talk about freedom and how we’ll get there someday and things are getting better.” Fuck no, everything’s going fucking backwards, we’re just totally in shit. Capitalism works better with slavery, people in power know it, the wealthy know it, and that’s how we get into all this privatisation shit.

And capitalism works even better when the slavery’s somewhere else so you don’t have to look at it.

Yeah, that’s a huge part of it. That’s part of the whole western agenda of marketing pleasure: to obscure and obfuscate the actual practices of labour required to sustain our privileges – even if that’s the privilege of living in the lower classes in the west. We’ve just got to hide all that shit so people can live in their delusions. That’s classic capitalist alienation and reification in extreme.

I’ve got to run soon, but I’m interested in how we keep coming back to language, and the limitations of language, or the way language defines things in a way that feels separate from the truth.

Language is oftentimes enslaved to expressing the inversion of material conditions. Dominant cultures cultivate language, especially in an era of mass communication. Of course language is the main means of explaining and justifying the imbalances of power. Language is fucked up, and we’re all fucked up by it [she laughs].

The loveliest thing about your thinking and you is that the work you create is so warm.

Well I think people buy into a very monochromatic model of what warmth is. That includes presuming warmth and happiness are aligned. A lot of times they aren’t. A lot of times warmth has to do more with a capacity for sympathy and empathy rather than actual pleasure or joy, and I think that’s a big mistake that people make. I think they also make the mistake that if you acknowledge your sufferings and oppressions in an attempt to step into a space where you can start to react to them on a material, organisational level, then you’ll be trapped in existential crisis. You’ll just be paralysed, you’ll have Sartonian nausea, you just won’t know what to do. No. There’s all kinds of mobility out there that are fuelled by negativity. I mean important kinds of mobility rooted in urgency, not the luxury of hope. People are taught that “negativity” breeds the “bad things” in life. But what morality does that reflect when you as a person are branded a “bad thing” to begin with? What does it mean when most of the fag-bashers I grew up with were socially accepted as positive, athletic, god-fearing role models? Most people would categorize fag bashing as a negative thing, but for me its horror is a reflection of the “positive,” the plusses, the praised, the excesses of systems of cultural domination. For me, all of this destabilizes one’s perception of warmth and coldness, and creates false expectations for where we might find such things.

I always think about Hush Now, and how it’s so warm and bouncy, and then the “Silence = Death” chant comes in, and it so amazing the way the two are connected, and it’s like the perfect delivery for that.

That’s a reworking of something from the Archive Of Silence by Ultra-red. That project was very much around how silence functions in relation to the history of HIV and AIDS activism, and how we’ve re-entered a period of silence. So that “hush now” is in a way the hush we have now, and it’s also an order – “hush now, be quiet”. So having the track transition from the phrase “hush now” into the old HIV/AIDS activist chant “silence = death”, reinvoking that chant today, was the gesture I was going for.

—-

Here’s that work, Hush Now.

I’ve included this YouTube clip, and not others, because it was posted by its record label. 

For years I’ve wanted to get her 2008 CD, Midtown 120 Blues.

It’s one of those ones that goes for £££ on Discogs.

She’s just released a special edition on Boomkat.

Here’s a sampler – click on it to buy.


Read full review of Midtown 120 Blues (Special Edition) – DJ SPRINKLES on Boomkat.com ©

My copy turned up over the weekend.

Some of the sleevenotes:

“The audio on this CD is identical to the 2008 first edition and subsequent represses on Mule Musiq. There are no plans for a vinyl edition because the bass spatialization effects that give many of these recordings their sonic character are incompatible with vinyl mastering techniques.

Featuring Comafidelity Multi-Channel Sound. No fucking-sucking-licking-sticking without latex. Clean your works with bleach and water. Do not attempt usng any part of this product as a safer sex device.”

Amazing.

Join Charlie Porter and DJ Sprinkles this Friday 7th November for Chapter 10 at Dance Tunnel from 10pm – 3am.

Visit Charlie Porter’s website: charlieporter.net

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.

International Day Against Homophobia And Transphobia

As today is International Day Against Homophobia And Transphobia we thought we’d share our favourite recent LBGT videos, images and links from around the internet…

Alan Turing Sculpture

WWII codebreaker and tragic gay computing pioneer Alan Turing has been chosen as a “local hero” of Paddington and commemorated in this 2D sculpture.

Via Pink News

This is the moving story of 11 year old Caine from Texas who was bullied badly at school because of his lesbian mums. He fought back by giving this speech to his school board.

Via Upworthy

This eloquent monologue comes from a young boy in Singapore who addresses his homophobic bullies directly in an incredibly mature manner. 

Via All Out

Meanwhile, over in France, this heartening clip shows a waitress stand on a table to announce she’s a lesbian who can finally marry. The diners applause is what makes this video so amazing.

Via Buzzfeed 

Finally, over on Autostraddle, one trans woman writes about how there is no right or wrong way to be trans in I’m A Trans Woman And I’m Not Interested In Being One Of The “Good Ones”.

Via Reddit

Main image: The I-35 Bridge in Minneapolis lit up in rainbow colours to support same-sex marriage via Buzzfeed.

 

New Years Extravaganza!

It’s a New Years Triple Bill kicking off tonight here at Dalston Superstore! Leading the charge will be trans-loving party starters Sink The Pink who’ve recruited a whole troupe of wild “tranimals” to keep their party pumpin’ all night long. We caught up with some of the key Sink The Pinkers, including head honchos Glyn & Amy, to find out their fave tracks and moments of 2012 and got them to explain their New Years Eve look in this cute feature on them. They’ll be kicking things off at 9pm and going on until 5am! Tickets are available in advance for £10 or you can pay £12 on the door.

Check out all the info via the Sink The Pink Presents Tranimals Facebook event.

For those keeping the fire burning, Wet N Wild will be on hand to ensure you start 2013 as you mean to go on! Their all-dayer kicks off at 1pm and takes you all the way through until 8pm. Brighton’s Schtumm! will be in the house for a special DJ set as will Wet N Wild regulars Lee Pattison (Deepgroove), Shay Malt, Nick Gynn, Paul Dragoni, Emma Rudge and Ruth Nichols. They’ve even got a special guest surprise up their sleeve but they say they’re keeping schtumm on that one…

Check out the full details via the Wet N Wild New Years Day Party Facebook event.

Bringing up the rear for those who got their daily disco naps will be Martyn Fitzgerald’s Handsome party. Upstairs sees favourite yesteryears for the New Year, whilst the basement takes on some deep uplifting house, all courtesy of the The handsome Kris Di Angelis, the handsome Rokk, the handsome Dan Beaumont and the handsome Jamie Bull. Proccedings will be free before 7pm but £5 on the door after that.

Check out all the relevant information via the Handsome New Years Day Party Facebook event.

Stav B’s T Club In Pictures

With Stav B’s monthly Thursday night of T fun almost upon us again, we’ve found these great snaps taken the last one on one of our favourite sites, The Most Cake. Set up as the club for trans, drag kings, gender queers and everyone in between who’re ready to throw some shapes, T Club is free and welcome to everyone. On the night, DJs will be The Librarian, Shampain, Felix and Ronnie King, there will be readings by HotPencil Press in the unisex toilets and short film screened in the basement.

Stav B's TClub at Dalston Superstore

Stav B's T Club at Dalston Superstore

Stav B's T Club at Dalston Superstore

Stav B's T Club at Dalston Superstore

Stav B's T Club at Dalston Superstore

Stav B's T Club at Dalston Superstore

Stav B’s T Club takes place this Thursday 17th May at Dalston Superstore with DJs, readings in the unisex toilets and a screening downstairs of ‘XWHY’, a short film by Jake Graf.

Photo credit: Leng Montgomery // for the full set of pictures visit The Most Cake

Stav B

Dalston Superstore is proud to launch a special new party called the T-Club, we asked promoter Stav B to give us the lowdown… 

You’ve been a fixture of London clubland for a while… Tell us about yourself!

A fixture? Haha! That is cute! I suppose I have become after all these years of diverse outings!
I have lived in london for 22 long, challenging and rewarding years and I still love london and constantly discover marvels and delights everywhere I go!
I am a visual artist, using photography and performance to manifest my work. It’s all about love and identity and they are dramatic, humorous visual spectacles. I have been an active, practising artist since 1993. I own and run a pop up cocktail bar, called Stav B’s Liquor Bar, where thematic one night only events and site specific approaching keep it fresh and alive, via the consumption of tailor made cocktails which I devise and mix. I also organise an avant garde night for women, called Queen Bees, which started romantically and nicely in a tiny bar in Brixton in 2006. All are welcome, but women take over the stage, the decks and the walls. Again, the theme is paramount for its character and Grace Jones its mascot. The T Club is my new venture, launching proudly this March at Dalston Superstore and I’m very excited about it. In between all this activity of conceiving, planning, curating, arranging, delegating and ultimately performing, I hold a full time job, endlessly socialising and cultivating my being…
 
What are your favourite places to go out?
 
For lunch, cake and camomile tea and TLC, I’ll go to Fabrica; for a meeting, lunch, dinner, an artist’s private view and club, you’ll find me at Dalston Superstore, which is perfect, friendly and open minded; Vogue Fabrics, for some downright sweating experience and supporting friend’s nights, Alibi, East Bloc and the old stint at The Joiners the last minute for a nightcap and a boogie on trash classics! Also, totally open to a good house/ warehouse/ club party with good music and good folk!
 
What prompted you to start the T club?
 
A trans friend of mine was refused entry to a lesbian club. He was distraught. I was furious. I did not understand why a disco would refuse entry to a punter, who just wanted to mingle, dance and generally socialise, for the fact that he was transgender! A Facebook debate begun, among butch, lesbians, trans, queer folk… I jokingly said: what if I open a club for trans, women as guests? And it had a positive and understanding response and as my mind is ticking constantly for new things, a flame triggered and I decided to follow it through…
It is very important to understand though, especially for the people who read this and don’t know me, that the T club is an avant garde night for trans people and all in between and everyone is welcome. What is not welcome is discrimination, fear and intolerance… The T Club is celebrating gender diversity and is giving out trans sisters and brothers a safe disco to have fun in! It’s rather simple…
 
How can the queer community help fight transphobia?
 
Education, visibility, communication, honesty, acceptance, understanding and tolerance and lots and lots and lots of love! We are all in this pot of life together and we must stick together, celebrating difference, which makes us all very special and unique! 
 
What music can we expect to hear at the T club?
 
The music policy in my clubs is always of the highest quality and the array of genres… diverse: expect a good combo of hip hop/ garage/ riott girl punk/indie/ ragga/ drum n’ bass/ ’60s girls garage/ new indie northern soul/ post punk between kanchi and the librarian and I suspect DJ Felix would probably throw some lively pop in too!
 
Stav B’s T Club takes place at Dalston Superstore on Thursday 22nd March from 9pm to 3am.