Posts Tagged ‘Whitney Weiss’

Markus Chaak

by Whitney Weiss


Markus Chaak is a huge part of a more diverse and sincerely underground queer scene in Paris, which sometimes gets overshadowed by other shinier more circuity mainstream lesbian parties. Whether it’s a residency at radical queer bar La Mutinerie or headlining the super-fun Fukthename parties (put on by an eponymous feminist collective), Markus consistently turns it with afrobeat and house music. Ahead of her UK debut at cult queer smash hit Patsy, we talked about formative gay clubbing at Le Pulp, where to go out in Paris, and Soul Train.

Markus! We’re super excited to have you at PATSY. Is this your first time playing in London? What have you heard about PATSY?

Hey! I’ve been to London for Pride, just to chill, but yes, this is the first time I’ll come as a DJ! I’ve heard Patsy is the famous queer party, it happens in London and Paris right now and it’s not so often that a queer party is exported, so I am very proud to take part in it. 

You’re based in Paris, where you’re involved with a party called Fukthename. Tell us the story behind the party (the name, the crowd, the mission, etc.)

Fukthename is a feminist collective created in 2011 that organises mixed parties and events that prioritise female artists in music, dance, and all other artistic forms. We like to align with associations and projects that share a common vision to help them collect funds/give them visibility. We want to try to open spaces to a minority that’s often underrepresented or silenced. Now we’re working with the Playnight collective to organise La PrudePride party, which will be the party to go to before the Pride march in Paris. We also have other surprises in store for 2017/2018!

What was your first gay/queer clubbing experience like?

My first lesbian parties were Le Privilege, a club that was under Le Palace, then also Le Pulp, which was around the corner! We danced to house and techno until the sun came up. It was awesome because at that point we weren’t fully out and about as lesbians all of the time. We also used to lie to our friends and parents and go out discreetly to Les Scandaleuses bar to be able to start our nights and have fun. Now, I get to go out to my own parties! 

Where and how did you get your start DJing?

I started DJing in 2011 for the collective FolEffet, who organised militant actions and events. At the beginning, just for fun, we DJed back to back together without any kind of preparation! Then I started DJing solo as Markus, and played places like Acte3 and Le Troisième Lieu. Now, I’m a regular at La Mutinerie Bar, Playnight, and DRH.

How would you describe the queer scene in Paris? Any particular spots/parties you recommend for an unforgettable evening?

Clubbing exclusively for women is not so great. There aren’t a lot of bars or spaces or regular parties, so finding good places is difficult. Now it’s time to remake this scene (editor’s note: we very much agree!) More and more mixed places and parties are opening, which fortunately offer new alternatives for LGBT nightlife. 

What are three records that never leave your record bag (or USB stick, or Traktor playlist?)

There’s always a song by Boddhi Satva, like Sweet Brown Sugar, Ethyene – Sound of Freenidad, and Fatnotronic – Botoque.

You’re headlining in the laser basement – what sort of a set can dancers expect?

I’m expecting a very diverse crowd that’s ready to have fun and also has eclectic taste, so it’s going to be an interesting (and fun) challenge! I’ll wait to be there and feel the energy to figure out what to play. Get ready to shake your ass!

What’s the last book you read and the last movie you watched?

The last film was A Fantastic Woman and I’m currently reading Battling Siki.

If you had a time machine and could visit any dance floor past, present, or future, where would you be going?

I’d go back to the 1970s and 1980s and head immediately for Soul Train! Then I’d go disco, funk, and hip-hop clubbing in New York, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

What is the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever witnessed from the DJ booth?

One time I was DJing on a boat and finishing my set. The next DJ was ready, everything connected and plugged in. He put his headphones on, smiled, put his hands up, started dancing and screaming joyfully except…he didn’t have a sound in the room (only in his headphones) because he’d forgotten to put the volume on for his track. It was very funny, this moment of euphoria in solitude!


Catch Markus Chaak at Patsy on Friday 18 August from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore!

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JD Samson

By Whitney Weiss


It doesn’t get more iconic than JD Samson, whose long history of superb queer art and music-making includes being in Le Tigre, touring the world with her band MEN, and everything else from writing songs for pop stars to documenting the death of lesbian bars in the US for VICE. Ahead of JD’s Superstore debut at a very special Easter weekend edition of Patsy, we chatted about gay clubbing, balancing art and activism post-Brexit, and her incredible party PAT, which you should go it if you’re ever in New York.

Hey JD! We’re very, very excited to have you at PATSY. What do you think of London nightlife; how does it compare to New York? 

I think every party is different. I hate making generalisations about countries and geographic locations because what I think makes the difference are promoters. I think they are more powerful than we usually admit to create a vibe and energy and curate the right DJs for their scene. I’m so excited to play PATSY because I have heard such amazing things about it!  

You DJ, make art, curate DJs for places, make music, annnnnd throw a fabulous monthly party, PAT. What inspired you to start it?   

Honestly, I had so much success with Scissor Sunday, and was invited to help the club bring in a new clientele. I really enjoy helping to make spaces more queer and give them a new life, so this opportunity was really great for me. PAT stemmed from a really specific idea to be inclusive of all people. The party is free and has developed into such an incredible place where anyone can be anything and be safe to be that while dancing and hugging and sweating and smiling. I love it and that’s why I do it. 

What are three records that never leave your record bag (or USB stick, or Traktor playlist?) 

  1. Catch the Light- (Man without a clue remix)- Soul Divide
  2. Can’t Get enough- (Vocal Club Mix)- Soulsearcher
  3. You Can’t Hide From Yourself- (Muthafunkaz Vocal Mix) – Marc Evans

 

You’re a musician first and also a DJ. Is the energy behind performing your own music live markedly different from mixing other people’s songs live for a dancefloor? Why or why not? 

Yes. OMG. When you have a set with a band, you play that, and that’s that. It is fixed. You don’t really have an opportunity to look deep in your repertoire and pull up something else. With DJing you could say, ‘oh shit. they hate this’ and switch it up completely. That’s a big part of it for me. The fluidity. But I will say that it is also a lot scarier because it is just me. I am alone. I have to do it myself. No one else to blame for a mistake or a bad set. LOL 

Who are some bands and DJs you’re really into lately? 

I like my friends’ art a lot. Eli Escobar is pretty much my fave right now. I love Justin Strauss. Carry Nation are killing it. DJ Rimarkable goes there for me. Bands… hmmm I listen to NPR talk radio, and Keith Jarrett. I’m kind of in a zone these days. 

As it’s your Superstore debut, what can dancers expect from your set? 

Happy disco/house. I’m just a feeler of feelings and soulful vocals are just in my heart right now.  

What was your first gay/queer clubbing experience like? Where’d you go, what’d you think, what sort of music was playing, etc? 

Gosh my first experience was some after-hours club in NYC that I don’t remember the name of and everyone was doing K and we were listening to house music. Then I went to Squeezebox and met John Waters and he gave me his address (before cell phones). I sent him a postcard. 

If you could go back in time to any dance floor in the world, where would you like to spend an evening and why? 

Denver Colorado. DJ Sprinkles. Best DJ in the world.  

Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for people who might be feeling overwhelmed or having a tough time finding a balance between nightlife and protesting in the wake of things like Trump’s election and Brexit? 

Self Care. Take breaks. Enjoy your life. History is long. We have been here before. We can make it. Keep your goals in sight. Protest when you can. Work for your cause and become leaders that can make policy changes. Work for the government. 

What’s the last book you read and the last movie you watched? 

The last book was Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach. Last movie… omg I never watch movies. I only watch documentaries. Hmmm. I think I watched the Netflix series Abstract. Does that count? I’m a terrible part of our culture. I am very old school and recently went off social media. So I know nothing but what I hear from mouths. 

What’s next for you (records or remixes coming out, spring or summer tour dates, etc)? 

Remix for Josh Caffe and Hannah Holland coming out soon. Remix for ROMANCE coming out soon. Sharer songs will emerge whenever we decide. DJing all over in the summer. Can’t wait to keep on trucking.


Catch JD Samson at Patsy on Friday 14 April from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore!

 

Sara Zinger

We are ready to give 2016 the grand send-off it deserves with the special debut of spangly queer Parisian discotheque Patsy! Having jetsetted to Paris, New York and Buenos Aires, it is high time she crash lands in London for her long-awaited Dalston Superstore debut. For the very special premiere we have recruited French uber babe and dark disco expert Sara Zinger. She has spent the year playing across the dancefloors of Europe, and we can’t wait to see what she unleashes on the lazer basement! We caught up to chat dream collaborations, favourite parties and plans for Patsy.

Hey Sara! We’re super excited to have you play at Dalston Superstore! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

All right so I’m 30 years old, I live in Marseille in the south of France, and I’ve been DJing for six or seven years now and producing for two. I actually spent several months in London few years ago! I’m in love with this city, always a pleasure to come play here.

If you had to trace your DJ career back to one track that started it all, what would it be?

The track that made me wanna start DJing is Booka Shade – Oh Superman

 

I was in this big club in Belgium called H20 and the DJ was like a king for me, I used to spend all my weekends in this club and couldn’t help staring at the DJ all night long. A track that would define my DJ sets from the beginning is Sometimes by Chloe. I’m never sick of playing it.

You recently released an EP in collaboration with Alda. How did that partnership come about and what was your production process like?

I met Alda like two years ago and it’s been a musical crush since the beginning. I was playing at a club in Marseille and when I walked out of the DJ booth he came to me to talk about my set. He was from another city, so added me on Facebook the day after and started sending me his productions to have my opinion on them. I asked him for a remix of one of my tracks (which is not released yet by the way, hopefully it will be early 2017). The idea of making music together came easily, so I jumped on a train and spent two days at his place, where we finished the track My Mind.

Can you tell us a bit about your party Backroom in Marseille?

One Sunday night, a bartender I know told me a bar contacted her and asked her to find a concept for Tuesday nights once a month. I said okay and that was it. I had to quickly find a name, decide on an atmosphere (dark and no rules, like, come dressed however you want, feel at ease, feel free to do whatever you want, get crazy). The lights were barely on and I was playing electro rock tracks. The first one was a success, it was totally full. I stopped when summertime arrived in Marseille because we just wanna be outdoor when summertime is here.

Who would be your dream musical collaboration (alive or dead?)

Chloe definitely remains an example for me, so yep, it would be her.

You’ve spent the past few months playing around Europe. What is the weirdest/best place you’ve ever played?

Zurich last month was amazing. Lexy Club was such a wonderful place with good energy and after my set, the boss took me to two other clubs and introduced me to lots of people. They really know how to party out there, so I had a blast.

You’re taking us on a date in Marseille. Where are we going to eat, drink, and dance?

Okay so there’s this place by the Vieux Port called Cours Estienne d’Orves with lots of bars and restaurants. It’s like where everybody meets after work, so we’ll just chill and go from one bar to another then eat at Le Bistrot de l’Horloge because the staff is very friendly and the food is above the average for a nice price. After the shot they offer you once you’ve paid the bill, we would walk directly to La Dame Noir VII, which is a new bar that opened just next to the club La Dame Noir Dancing. It’s a warm classy spot with sexy downtempo music where local and international DJs come to play. And even if it’s a bar, you’ve got a proper dancefloor. That’s my second home, I often play there. Down tempo , red light, shooters all night long.

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

The Parisian institution that was Le Pulp. Ivan Smagghe and Chloe made their names in that club, they were the residents. The Kill the DJ label comes from there as well. Unfortunately, it had to close in 2007.

What are your plans for 2017? Any big shows or record releases?

2017 will be big for me, I think. There’s some cool projects, like a collaboration with Nico Ameviscious for an album and live shows. A good gig in Berlin. Several tracks from other producers will be out with my voice on them, I’ll be involved with parties for La Dame Noir, and at least two EPs are gonna be released.

What are you planning to unleash on the laser basement at Patsy?

You’ll have to come and see!


Catch Sara Zinger on at the debut of Patsy on Saturday 3 December from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore!

 

JONJO X WHITNEY X TERRY

By Rachael Williams

It’s time for another spangly edition of Les Poppeurs and not only are we donating a portion of the door and DJ fees to the fab Albert Kennedy Trust who support homeless LGBT teens in your city, but we’ve plumped for a b2b2b extravaganza happening in the basement! Prepare yourself for the unholy trinity of Jonjo Jury…. Terry Vietheer…. And Les Poppeurs resident Whitney Weiss! What’s better than cramming the three of them in a DJ booth all night long? Why, getting them to spill the tea on each first of course!

Jonjo: tell us a secret about Whitney…

She knows about the magical powers of eggs and she has a strange effect on the ladies but has many husbands…..

Whitney: tell us about the first time you met Terry…

The first time I met Terry, I thought he was the sweetest guy with the nicest smile (I know that sounds like a Sweet Valley High book or something, but seriously). Shortly thereafter, he played a wonderful version of a Tina Turner song that I love, fully cementing the excellent first impression he had already made.

Terry: what track do you really hope Jonjo plays?

Abba – Gimme Gimme Gimme

Jonjo: what’s your fave time you’ve ever played on the same lineup as Terry?

It has to be the first time he got me over to play Club Sandwich with him and of course it ended up being a hot mess after both playing a brilliant set.

Whitney: what track everytime you hear it instantly transports you to a Jonjo-memory?

There are lots! Chemise’s – She Can’t Love You reminds me of champagne-soaked hugs at the end of his fabulous set at PATSY, a party I throw in Paris sometimes, so when I hear it now, it takes me right back to that glorious December night with him and Hannah Holland. I think we also had a moment to it at a Savage once, but that is a bit hazy as you know how Savage gets…

Terry- how would you describe Whitney’s music taste?

Heavenly!

Jonjo: This is your second time playing at Les Poppeurs, and maybe your five millionth time playing at Dalston Superstore… what are you gonna bring to shake things up a little?

I haven’t played a basement pumper set for a while so I’m really looking forward to trying some new bangers out, and I’m sure our Jury-Weiss-Vietheer human centipede show will really get everyone gagging….

Terry: This is also your second time playing at Les Poppeurs! But last time you were being Whitney for the night. What are you gonna bring to actually be Terry this time?

Playing Whitney was like being a social butterfly and I didn’t get to dance much. This time I will be on the dancefloor from open till close.

Whitney: Why are you excited about this b2b2b extravaganza with Jonjo and Terry? Can you articulate what’s amazing about it?

I mean have you seen these two? Everyone would like to be in the middle of a b2b2b with such total hunks. Aside from the joy of being next to Jonjo and Terry all night long, our musical sensibilities are complementary, so it’s going to be a lot of fun (and also sass, and also house, and also disco). We’ve had a wonderful time at Club Sandwich at the YOYO together during our separate sets this past year and both Jonjo and Terry have been guests at Les Poppeurs before, so combining forces for a night of b2b2b seems like the natural progression.

What is your ultimate last track of the night and who do you think/hope out of the three of you will get to play it?

Jonjo: I’m such a sucker for Over and Over by Sylvester for family vibes hugs and kisses at the end of the night, this is ten min of pure joy happy clappy lurrrrve.

Whitney: As long as one of us plays Erotic City and we get to have a moment to it at some point during the evening, I’ll be happy. ?

Terry: I think DJ Koze’s extended disco remix of Låpsley – Operator would sound great to finish the night. I’ve played a lot of closing tracks so I will let either Jonjo or Whitney make this happen.

What dates/project do you wanna plug?

Jonjo: I’m playing a day party at Manchester Pride called Come As Yu Are, Festival No 6 and on 28th September I’m playing the Savage takeover of Pikes Hotel in Ibiza. Also playing Good Room in NYC for the Carry Nation boys… Can. Not. Wait.

Whitney: I’m excited to play in Marseille for La Dame Noir this August, looking forward to Les Poppeurs at Homoelectric for Manchester Pride, and delighted for fall dates in London, New York, Milan, and Paris, as well as the next PATSY.

Terry: I’m off to Berlin next weekend to play for my good friend Gloria Viagra’s wedding party, which will be a lot of fun!

 

Join Terry, Jonjo and Whitney for their b2b2b basement extravaganza this Saturday 6th August for Les Poppeurs!

Les Poppeurs

Holy hell, we wish our first year of life was neeearly as exciting as it has been for our fave lil Italo Hi NRG disco party Les Poppeurs! Between serving up a smorgasbord of supercute guests from Protopapa to Rory Phillips, Pjotr to Kiddy Smile, it’s been an absolutely crazy, sequin-clad, chiffon twirling, liquid gold rollercoaster! Ahead of their first birthday bash featuring none-other-than Comeme superstar Christian S, we sat down with promoters Whitney Weiss and Rachael to reflect on the past year, and work ourselves up into a bit of a tizz over what the next party has in store!


Congratulations on an incredible first year of Les Poppeurs! Can you tell us the story behind that incredible name?

WHITNEY: Aw thank you! Two summers ago I was on a beach in southern Italy with Protopapa (who DJed our first party) and a bunch of his adorable friends, who were all in summer debauchery mode. I was earnestly studying French verbs to better communicate with the person I was seeing at the time when someone handed me a bottle of what I think was Blue Boy. Naturally, I took a big whiff. Just then, Rachael texted to ask what I was up to, so I told her. She immediately responded “les poppeurs” and we both agreed that it was THE perfect name for a party. Or at least I think that’s how it happened…I was a bit light-headed. 

How have the Les Poppeurs parties brought to life your vision as promoters? 

RACHAEL: Working at Superstore really showed me what works there and what doesn’t. I waited a long time before actually throwing a party there, as I knew I wanted all the elements to be just right. From a partner in crime, to music policy, to the friends and friends of friends we invite to play, even down to our amazing posters (done by Martin Wollerstam, who does all the artwork for WetYourself over at Fabric too). 

WHITNEY: I just wanted to do something that was sincere but perhaps not super-polished or high-profile, where DJs could come and make use of their secret encyclopaedic knowledge of disco or Italo or whatever. My main party-throwing experience was in warehouses or parks in South America, and when I DJed at Superstore the first time, I immediately felt at home because there was a similar vibe. It’s such a great place.

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If you had to sum up Les Poppeurs in three words, what would they be? 

WHITNEY: Spangly. Frisky. Chiffon. 

What has been your proudest moment? 

RACHAEL: At the party in December, Loki Star was going for this laid back Christmas party hangover vibe upstairs, but when I went downstairs Betty was at the decks and Kiddy Smile was surrounded by everyone and they were all voguing and it was SO MUCH FUN. I had a huge grin spread across my face and I felt so proud and happy. 

WHITNEY: Personally, it was throwing on Somebody Else’s Guy in the middle of a very upbeat stretch and watching everyone squeal with delight. That and accurately sussing out who in our audience is French with Etienne Daho songs.  

If you could trace your love for italo, hi NRG and disco back to one record, what would it be? 

WHITNEY: Man 2 Man’s Male Stripper, which I have played to death but am somehow not sick of yet.

RACHAEL: That’s a tough one! I think Q – Voice Of Q is the first Italo record I bought, which is wonderfully cosmic. 


What has been the craziest moment on the Les Poppeurs dancefloor? Is there a track that takes you back? 

WHITNEY:  I was very impressed when Rory Philips played Carole King to great success and fanfare. Debbie Upper pulled out some Taylor Dayne at just the right moment once. And I’ve seen some wonderful things happen during “Erotic City.” 

RACHAEL: Rory playing Carole King was SUPERB. I was in the toilets when I heard that. I ran straight to the DJ booth and then Rory and me were playing air piano. 

Another one that came out of the blue was Protopapa playing Wamdue Project’s King Of My Castle. I was blown away that anyone was managing to play that in the Superstore basement, and really just blown away that anyone remembered it. I had it on CD single when I was 14…! 


Record that has lit up the lazer basement? 

RACHAEL:  For me personally, I have lovely memories of playing Dharma – Plastic Doll and the whole basement jumping along. 


Best Les Poppeurs last song? 

WHITNEY: Sade – The Sweetest Taboo is the one I’m giving away. There’s another one that is pure euphoric sleaze but I won’t tell you the name; you’ll just have to come hear us play it sometime. 

RACHAEL: For a different type of last song, I closed our last NTS radio show with Teena Marie – Behind This Groove and Trevor Jackson told me it was the first record he ever bought and that I sounded v. professional.  


You have the incredible Christian S of Comeme as a guest for your first birthday party – what do you love about him as a DJ and producer? 

WHITNEY WEISS: I am beside myself with joy to have Christian S at our one year birthday because he is just so great. He understands the art of a warm-up set but also I’ve seen him turn people out at the height of the evening. And every time I hear him play, I fall hard for at least three tracks I’ve never heard before. Production-wise, what he does with percussion is just lovely. 

RACHAEL: I am excited to see him play for the FIRST time! I’ve watched his Boiler Room to death and I know he’s gonna kill it in the Superstore basement. 


After such a bumper first year, what do you have in store for the next year of Poppeurs? 

WHITNEY: Bigger hair! Foggier fog machines! Bespoke poppers! Actually, we just want to bring a bunch of other DJs we really like and admire to DJ at Superstore while introducing London to friends from Berlin and Paris and Buenos Aires and beyond who haven’t played a ton outside of their home cities yet. 

RACHAEL: We’ve already planned out most of the year! Expect some familiar faces, some surprising faces, some European faces (obvs), some Parisian lesbian faces and of course the usual smattering of Poppeurs friends and family <3

Catch Rachael & Whitney Weiss with Christian S and special guests at Les Poppeurs on Saturday 6 February from 9pm-4am at Dalston Superstore!

Rory Phillips

By Whitney Weiss

Super-duper guest of honour at Saturday night party Les Poppeurs is London legend and DJ/producer/remixer extraordinaire Rory Phillips. From his time at Trash alongside Erol Akan to his stint guiding the fabulous East London party Durr, Rory has played a pivotal role in underground dance floor debauchery. His new monthly night, Creatures, takes place at Dalston venue The Victoria, sometimes involves friends guest-DJing, and has a delightfully laid-back policy that “dancing is not mandatory, but encouraged.” As Rory has a pleasantly eclectic (and vast) knowledge of music, it only seemed right to ask him about some records that are near and dear to his heart.

The first record that you remember buying?

The Beastie Boys – No Sleep ’Til Brooklyn

A record that is absolutely quintessentially London for you?

Soft Cell – Seedy Films

A record that never, ever leaves your record bag?

Banbarra – Shack Up

A record that you really wish a DJ would play one night when you just want to have a dance?

Teddy Pendergrass – You Can’t Hide From Yourself

A record that reminds you of when you first started clubbing?

Dub Narcotic Sound System – Fuck Shit Up

A record that you’re dying to remix?

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi Love

 A record that always makes you think of Superstore?

Paul Parker – Right on Target

A record that’s missing from your collection?

Dorothy – I Confess

 A record that you can’t stop listening to this summer?

Jack J – Thirstin’

A record that you wish you’d written?

Harry Nilsson – Together

Catch Rory with Jonjo Jury, Whitney Weiss, Richard Kahwagi, Elles, and Rachael at the next Les Poppeurs, Saturday August 22!

Go in the running to win a Les Poppeurs Prize Pack here!

Protopapa

by Whitney Weiss

The first edition of brand new queer dance party Les Poppeurs also happens to be the London debut of Italian DJ Protopapa. Perennially sweet and often bearded; Protopapa is known for being a resident at Milan’s infamous party La Cannibale (and for his own legendary underground parties). Ahead of his first time at Superstore, we caught up with him to chat about Italian nightlife, Patricia Pellegrino, and releasing owls into the world (seriously).

Where and how did you get your start DJing?

I was still living in my hometown in the south of Italy, studying fine arts, when a crazy female friend of mine called “Fatina del rutto” (literally The Burping Fairy) decided we were going to start DJing with another girl, Gaia. Our sound was totally electroclash and every time we had a gig, we wore strange and colourful clothes (like flippers and diver’s masks) and fluorescent make-up.Our first name was Electrogroupies ’cause we were able to get into every backstage possible.

You DJ a lot for fashion-related things, but also throw underground parties. How is your approach different in each situation, and do you prefer one over the other? 

I’m still so lucky to work with some big names in the fashion industry and every time, I feel like a fish out of water because I like fashion, but I’m not so into it personally. What I’m good at is changing shape to adapt myself to different situations. What I like the most is when I see big fashion names at my underground parties.

How did you get involved with Le Cannibale? 

During the first three seasons of Le Cannibale, we were competitors because I was throwing a Friday party and Le Cannibale was on the Friday too. And I was kicking myself since they always had the best guests ever, like Peaches and Hercules & Love Affair. For the third season, they switched to Saturday, so I was invited to DJ there once every few months. Now they’re on their fourth season and I’m proud to be their resident DJ! I feel lucky when I play after or before Miss Kittin, Siriusmo, Pional, Azari & III and many more of my fave producers!

Take me on the best debauchery date ever in Milan, please. Where are we having dinner and drinks? What clubs/parties will we visit? Where are we going to after-hours? What time will we eventually stagger home?

If it’s going to be a hard night, I would not have dinner, but a typical Milanese Aperitivo on Navigli, then two or three house cocktails at LeccoMilano, where the best drinks and weirdest people are. Then, if it’s a Friday, we will find some secret party in an unexpected location. Then, of course, we’ll end up at an after-party full of fun trannies and techno music, or just some after party at someone’s house, maybe mine! No matter what, don’t forget your sunglasses, cause we’re going home late (or early, it depends on your point of view…)

Please explain your love for Patrizia Pellegrino (and describe who she is for readers who are sadly, until this moment, unaware of her existence). 

First and foremost I love disco, and sometimes I even feel a bit obsessed by it, and I love everything from the 70s/80s. That was a time when every hot chick social climber, like Patrizia Pellegrino or Sabrina Salerno, was able to sing great disco songs and act in visionary videos. At that time in Italy, there were a lot of super fancy TV shows and their themes were my inspiration: sequins, glitter, sparkling lights and clothes, fantasy worlds and ambiguous lyrics. Yes, I’m definitely the gayest gay alive, thanks to Patrizia.

In addition to your work at LeccoMilano and Le Cannibale in Milan, you throw ridiculously sexy house/disco pool parties during the summer in Puglia. I hear there was a particularly good one with Alixander from Azari & III. How did that come to be?

I’ve thrown parties since I moved to Bologna some years ago, then in Milan for the last four years, but doing it in Puglia is not easy at all, even if is my home. Every summer I go there, enjoying holidays and my family, saying ‘this summer I’m going to do something big here,” but dreaming is not like reality and there are a lot of problems with locations there (and some mafia stuff too). Last year I was in Puglia, posting photos of my holidays, and Alixander III wrote me (we met each other DJing together at Le Cannibale and had fun later at an after party) saying he was willing to come to Puglia to play. So I called a good friend who organized a festival there, found a nice villa with a pool, called some friends to help and voila, there were 500 people—boys, girls, gay, straight—inflatable dolphins, good music, and my mother cooking for everyone. 

What is the most ridiculous thing you have witnessed from the DJ booth?

Aside from some blowjobs, couples fighting for jealousy, threesomes, a guy who threw a cocktail on my computer and then come back with “SORRY” written on his hand, every kind of drug (even under my feet in the DJ booth), girls falling off the podium, blood and wounds, and naked guys… nothing.

Who are a few current Italian DJs or producers you think are doing really great things/making cool music/should be getting more attention? 

Above all I can definitely say Populous, Clap! Clap! and Go Dugong. They’re working so hard and so good, experimenting and putting themselves on the line. Take a listen to their latest productions and you’ll say “I agree!”.

Others I really like and hold in high esteem are: Bottin, Rodion, Brioski and Marcello Giordani.

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?

Paradise Garage to dance like no one is watching while Larry Levan plays some new unknown house or disco track. Or, I’d go visit a Soul Train episode and do the catwalk dancing with Raffaella Carrà. I’m really obsessed with that period cause everything seems like it was easier, with less problems, full of cosmic universal love, full of freedom in its deepest meaning.

What was the first record/CD/tape you bought on your own, and do you still listen to it?

Okay, this is embarrassing. I think I bought Aerosmith and Beach Boys CDs the first time I had money on my own. Also when I was 11/12, I used to listen crappy ska, reggae and Rage Against the Machine music with my friends while secretly listening to Madonna’s records and some ’70s disco greatest hits on my own.

Have you ever released an owl into the wild before a DJ set? If yes, elaborate.

AHAHAHAH LOL. Yes, it really happened once, during a weird festival in Puglia. I was DJing in between live shows and the festival name was “The night of the barn-owl,” located in a far and isolated vineyard in the countryside. Every year during this festival, they release some owls found and treated by a local animal hospital,and the promoters asked me to release a owl puppy from my hands before the show began. It was so exciting, feeling that little heart beating in my hands and then knowing a charming night bird like that was free again. I think I felt some kind of empathy with that night creature…

Join Protopapa this Friday 20th February for Les Poppeurs at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.

Whitney Weiss

This Thursday Paris-based international DJ Whitney Weiss joins us for a r’n’b infused jam at weekly girl-night Clam Jam! Ahead of the party, residents Bica and Cathal quizzed Whitney on Parisian lesbians, songs involving prolific use of the word “pussy” and Prince…

By Bica and Cathal

Hiya Whitney! Welcome to cLAM jAM……what naughty words on the street have you heard about it?

Oh hey! I’ve heard wonderful things about Clam Jam, that it gets packed and crazy and there are apparently a lot of cuties and interesting fashion choices involving denim? I hope that’s all true. I’m very excited.

As an international lady loving bird, give us some inside info on Buenos Aires and Parisian lesbians?

Buenos Aires is great because it seems like there’s not so much nesting, plus there are tons of mixed parties where  you can’t tell who sleeps with who until you try to sleep with them, which I think is cool. The art mullet is very much alive and well there, for better or worse.

Since it’s not that big, Paris is already a city where it can feel like everyone knows (or has slept with) everyone in a particular subculture. This is especially true with Parisian lesbians. If you want to engage with a French lesbian—which you can totally choose to do—try asking her about the best place to get gluten-free bread in Saint-Ouen/Canal St. Martin/Montreuil, her electronic music project/accessories line/adorable puppy, or how amazing it was to be a lesbian in Paris during the Le Pulp era, which you (and I) tragically missed out on.

On the “official richter scale chart of lesbianism” 0 being closeted Barbara next door – 10 being being Ellen Degeneres baking muffins with Portia De Rossi whilst listening to Tracy Chapman on the radio, what position would you say you were?

I’m more of an Angelina Jolie circa Hackers vintage 1990s overly-optimistic college sophomore sexuality/gender is fluid kind of girl, to be totally honest!

You played with some big acts/DJs, but I kinda wanna know about the most recent one, Zebra Katz. How did that go?

It was absolutely wonderful and also somehow super-French. We both played at this lovely party called ONO at Faust, which is a new club under the Pont Alexandre III bridge in what used to be like a customs space for maritime imports. So just picture a huge bougie cave of a room packed with people who work in fashion and lesbians in heels with expensive haircuts and professional voguers and stylish foreigners of indeterminate sexual orientation and a handful of enthusiastic barely legal French teenagers, all frolicking together. I got to play thanks to my dear friend Kiddy Smile, who DJed an incredible set the same night. Vjuan Allure, who is an amazing ballroom DJ from the US, also turned people out. And of course Zebra Katz was fantastic.

I know you gonna bring it at cLAM jAM! Tell our girls what kinda music choices have you got cooked for them?

So much Janet, a reasonable amount of ballroom, a little bit of freestyle, some Robbie Tronco songs that prominently feature the word “pussy” and mid-90s treasures you forgot you knew the words to but will remember when on the dance floor. Oh and Prince. There will be Prince.

First time I met you was at legendary CHERYL. Mental night in the best possible way. How did you get involved with that?

Oh my god I have such fond memories of that night! It was one of the highlights of my summer for sure and the London debut of Father Figures, my party/DJ and production project with DJ Traviesa. I had heard about CHERYL through a friend in New York and actually wanted to bring them to Buenos Aires a few years ago. We went out for Polish food and totally got along, but bringing them to Argentina fell through in a colossal way thanks to South American logistics. Instead of hating me, we stayed friends and they had me play CHERYLWEEN V, CHERYL: Alien, and Jennifer Aniston’s fake funeral, which was a personal highlight of my clubbing life. I joined them on their tour two summers ago in Europe, which actually eventually led to me moving here—thanks, CHERYL! I absolutely adore them and they consistently throw the best parties. We had a wonderfully debaucherous time together at Glasslands in August, too; just thinking about it makes me grin. I just can’t say enough good things about them.

You are also involved in the Vogue Balls in Paris. Tell me more……?

Yes! I am Whitney Míu Míu, the DJ for the kiki house Míu Míu. The absolutely wonderful Kiddy Smile invited me to play the Grace Jones Ball last fall, and it kind of grew from there. There was a Janet Jackson Ball last summer, which was great as well. I’m definitely not an expert on the Paris vogue scene at all, but it seems like it’s really growing and expanding. Teki Latex, who is an amazing French DJ, is also quite involved now. I’d say the vogueing community is one of the most creative and legitimately fun facts of Paris nightlife, since people aren’t afraid to dance and actually appear to be enjoying themselves when at parties.

P……p……ppp PRINCE gonna just come out with it. What’s going on between you two? Is it love or lust or both?

Oh my god, it is something that I’ll never comprehend, just like his gender identity/sexual orientation. I’ve been deeply in lust with Prince since puberty and felt funny feelings for him starting with when I was a precocious youngster and saw the cover of Purple Rain in my parent’s record collection. I’ve been listening to him since I was 9 or 10, long before I understood what he was talking about (which explains a lot, really). I love and respect him and am a little bit afraid of him at the same time. I have started relationships with people where their level of enthusiasm for Prince was a determining factor, no joke. Also, according to Wendy and Lisa, he counts as a lesbian. Do with that information what you will.

Join Whitney this Thursday 4th December for Clam Jam at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 2.30am.

Visit Whitney Weiss’ website: www.whitneyweiss.com

How Do I Look

How Do I Look: Talking Ballroom with Wolfgang Busch

By Whitney Weiss

Documentary filmmaker/activist Wolfgang Busch started life managing bands in Germany, relocated to New York in the 1980s, and leapt right into nightlife and activism, the latter of which still keeps him busy on a daily basis. How Do I Look, his look into the voguing community of New York, is a deliberately constructed counterpoint to Paris is Burning and a selection at this year’s Fringe Film Festival. Ahead of the screening, he spoke candidly about New York in the ’80s and his experience with the politics of queer subcultures. 

How were you first introduced to the ballroom scene in New York?

In 1987, I saw my first ball by accident at the New York club Traxx. It was an Xtravaganza ball, and I experienced the magic of Dorian Corey, Pepper Labeija, Avis Pendavis and voguing legends Jose and David Ian Xtravaganza. I was so mesmerized and I remember saying to myself that I would love to work with this community one day.

In 1989, I created the New York Promoters League of NYC club promoters to raise funds for local charities and was introduced to Mike Stone, the youngest gay black promoter in NYC club history. We became friends and I learned about the discrimination in NYC clubs. At that time I was a club promoter and booking agent for the Limelight and I had access to all the clubs in Manhattan. I helped Mike to find clubs for his parties and we did parties together. Mike introduced me to the Ballroom icon/historian/activist/living legend Kevin Omni. Kevin educated me about ballroom history and introduced me to many icons and legends. I learned that the documentary Paris is Burning was rejected by the ballroom historians and many icons because of its imbalance and because it portrayed the community as thieves, prostitutes and drug users. Unfortunately, the public is not aware of this, because many people in the ballroom community have been selling out the community for personal gain and they continue to promote this film, which left behind many scars. Ballroom historians understand the positive in this film, but the exploitative elements in this film still affect this community.

And how did you decide to make a documentary about the ballroom scene?

Kevin asked me if I would be interested in doing another documentary about the ballroom community that would be cultural and educational. We had many meetings at the LGBT community center in NYC, which was attended by ballroom hall-of-famers Octavia St. Laurent, David Ultima, Junior LaBeija, Marcel Christian and Kevin Omni. We talked about what they wanted How Do I Look to be and we had many screenings to let the community know of the direction of the film and they gave me input at every step of the way. Nobody signed the agreement until the film was completed.. This is a rather unusual way of making a film, but due to the situation with Paris is Burning and the fact that Jeannie Livingston was sued by Octavia St. Laurent.

After its release, How Do I Look won best documentary and a Humanitarian Award from the Diaspora Film Festival in Berlin, Germany. It was screened worldwide.

Your approach to documentary filmmaking is about providing a spotlight for particular cultural communities. What inspired you to want to tell these stories?

My background was in entertainment. While I was growing up in Germany I worked as a DJ and a sound engineer touring mostly in Germany and Austria. The band Crypton I was working for had a black singer, Michelle from Boston, and I became the negotiator for her, because of my English-speaking background. I always had an attraction to the outrageous entertainers going back when I was as a booking agent at the Limelight in the 1980s. I moved to New York in my twenties and was very much attracted to the diversity of music that the city had to offer and the existence of its subcultures and underground movements. I was many times the only white boy in black and hispanic clubs. I wanted to know what makes a trend-setting community like the ballroom community or the leather community. 

During my time as a club promoter, booking agent and TV producer, I learned about the entertainment industry in New York City and learned about the disrespect and exploitation towards the artists, which was the opposite of what my experience was in Germany. I couldn’t get over the fact that the entertainment industry is so horrible towards artists, so I decided to kiss the corporate entertainment industry goodbye. I got involved in the Gay Lesbian American Music Awards (GLAMA), OutMusic, the Arts Project and Community Center on Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove and The Imperial Court of NY. I wanted to build an infrastructure and fight for justice and empowerment while promoting natural artistic progression. 

Ross Infiniti

I know that you have definitely strong feelings about Paris is Burning. Plenty of people in the new ballroom scene have referenced the movie as something that they like, as something that introduced them to that world.

Right, there’s a motivation to do that because if they associate themselves with this film, which is internationally known, that’s how they then get gigs. I had conversations with these DJs and they will not quote the negativity from that, they will only talk about the positive side, they completely ignore what really leaves the scars behind. It’s unfortunate when you deal with a disenfranchised community, if you really understand what disenfranchised means, is that for a dollar they sell out their mother. And when you really understand the black community, with the history, with the slavery, so once you understand that whole part, then you then also understand that more educated people who support Paris Is Burning and support The Latex Ball and support the AIDS agencies, these are all people that are really only doing it to benefit financially and personally. It’s really unfortunate, and it’s so widespread now but only amongst the people who either benefit or the people that are like really on drugs and they really don’t care. 

Then of course what also happened with the AIDS agencies, and if you look at How Do I Look, people speak very critically of the AIDS agencies. And because I included that in the film, it was rejected by GMHC and the local AIDS agencies because, you know, they looked at that as some kind of attack towards their agency because people were telling the truth. So part of the reason why How Do I Look was never successful commercially is because it was blacklisted by these AIDS agencies. It makes sense. So, you know, you can see how they use their social status, these agencies, to boycott or blacklist or interfere with the arts or the truth and manipulation and all that comes into play. And that’s really really unfortunate. 

MYKE design, 2014

So in New York right now, who is throwing balls and who in the scene do you feel is really embodying the more sincere spirit for voguing?

There’s this disconnect between the old school and new school kids. The old school doesn’t respect the young kids, the young kids don’t respect the old school. So there has been this divide for the longest time, and when I produced the Ballroom Convention focusing on the history, which means more of the old school, it somewhat woke up lots of the old school people wanting to come out again. And then the convention was followed by the Omni Ball, focusing a lot on old school categories, bringing out some of the old school children again and some of the new school kids. That seemed to, somewhat revolutionary and a huge change, bringing back more of the old school categories and traditions. Because the new school kids don’t really have much respect for the old school. 

Who in New York do you think is doing good work to help with education without trying to turn taking care of things into a money-making business? Who is the non-profit that you support? Which organizations doing outreach in NY do you think are doing good work and doing work that’s based on helping the community? Who is making a real difference?

They all do good work, it’s not that they aren’t doing good work. They all do good work to an extent, but the question has become ‘at what cost?’ GMHC has food programs and provides condoms, that’s a great service. But on the other hand, they are cutting into the ballroom economics, they created their own subculture so they can continue to get the grants, so that is really the question. They are providing services, but the problem is at what cost. And that, at the end of the day, is the real question here. They are taking advantage of this community. The executive director makes $250,000, the COO makes $200,000, and then she goes to the media and complains because ‘we have to cut food programs for our clients because there were budget cuts.’ But they have $100,000 to produce the Latex Ball and give $5,000 on prize money. They have money for that. I’ve contacted so many people, like C Virginia Fields, she was the Manhattan borough president. The big leaders that we respect, the doctors, all these leaders, they all sell us out because they want to keep their 100,000 or 200,000 jobs and they give each other awards and rewards and parties so they can write about what a fabulous job they’re doing. And it’s nothing but a bunch of crap because they just keep hanging on to these jobs and exploiting communities and completely take advantage of it. And this is what it really comes down to. These respected people are the biggest sell-outs of the community.  

Aviance Milan

Do you think that underground communities like the ballroom scene will still be flourishing there in 15 years, or have things actually started to gentrify and change so much that working class artists/dancers/musicians/etc will be squeezed out?

The ballroom community with all the challenges it is facing right now with the AIDS agencies will continue to survive, because of its infrastructure it has created. Because of the discrimination and class divide in this country, they have to stick together and help each other, because they have all odds against them. 

In regards of making a dollar on their art? Now more people have the opportunity to travel and teach voguing. Is this enough, of course not, but when I look into the future and after the AIDS agencies will be no longer be able to divide the community and will no longer cut into the ballroom economy, the ballroom community will have a new beginning and hopefully with the right leadership, it will find its representation and support on the highest cultural and educational levels. I am so grateful that I am playing a part in this change now.

How Do I Look screens this Sunday 9th November at the Rose Lipman Building as part of Fringe Film Festival. 

All images courtesy of Wolfgang Busch

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.

Den Haan

By Whitney Weiss

Glasgow duo Den Haan are direct descendants of the Giorgio Moroder/Amanda Lear/Bobby O/Patrick Cowley school of sexy sleazy disco. Their record Gods From Outer Space is packed with tried-and-true dancefloor fillers, and they accidentally named themselves “The Cock” after flipping through a Dutch phone book. So naturally, they’re perfect to DJ for the first birthday of BENDER. Ahead of their Dalston Superstore debut, we asked them about their favorite records, hometown, and what an ideal Den Haan party would look like. 

You make some truly magical poppers-and-smoke-machine macho disco/NRG. However did you discover this type of music, and what made you decide it was a sound you wanted to expand upon? 

We both met while playing records at a friend’s party and bonded over a love for music created in the ’70s and ’80s, when producers and artists were breaking ground in new forms of disco. At the same time, we were both equally disillusioned with the majority of contemporary dance music. So we decided to put our money where our mouths were and create something that captured a similar energy and character as all those fabulous old recordings.

What does the name “Den Haan” mean? Is it really Dutch for “The Cock?” 

Yes, it means “The Cock” – however we didn’t realise this when choosing, we just liked the sound of it. We both thought Den Haan had a certain attitude and liked the foreign flavour of it as a surname (we were using a Dutch phone book at the time). It was only when trying to communicate with someone over the internet and having to try to translate everything, when the person asked if we were actually Dutch. After coming clean, we were then made aware of its true meaning. As you can imagine, there was much hilarity as the name scaled new heights of appreciation.

Is the sort of music you’re playing during your DJ sets also very four-on-the-floor heavy disco and NRG (like your originals) or should we be expecting some surprises/different genres at Bender?

Anything goes really, but there’s usually a build to some fairly heavy disco so yes, you should expect some surprises and different genres as well. 

If you could choose anyone to remix a song from “Gods of Outer Space,” who would it be (and which song would you want them to do?) 

I like the idea of Paul Sabu doing Universal Energy or Amanda Lear/Anthony Monn doing Russian Boat Commander – both (circa 1979 of course).

In your opinion, what’s the ideal moment for a DJ to throw on Release the Beast or Night Shift for maximum results?

When there’s only one loonball on the dance floor and you need special powers to draw the masses to their feet.

How would you describe the party scene in Glasgow? Any particular spots/parties you recommend for an unforgettable evening? 

Bloated would be an adjective that springs to mind – a walk down West Princes Street (known for years and years as “Party Street” but more latterly referred to as “Little Bosnia”) any time of the day or night will usually provide you with a variety of before and after-hour nonsense: simply walk in the direction of the music. Distill in our West End (formally The Ivy but forced to change its name by the London establishment) host a most enjoyable evening thanks to the wonderful staff and crème de la crème of Glasgow record players. I’m enjoying the newly restored Vic up at the Art School – Not as dark and seedy as before the face lift, but the sound system upstairs is amazing! Unforgettable evenings are a plenty in Glasgow—the best ones are usually spontaneous—though not all of them are entirely enjoyable……

What’s one record you’re always sure to pack when you’re DJing? 

Tryouts For The Human Race 12″ (long version) has served us well over the years.

(Whitney’s note: THAT IS THE BEST SONG)

Are you working on any new music, and if yes, when can we expect to hear it? 

We began work on our next album, Luftfunkspunktion, but are currently taking a hiatus. We will return when things outside of Den Haan settle down.

What would an ideal Den Haan party look like? What kind of people would be there, what activities would prevail, what would the music be like?

Dry ice, fluorescent tubes (orange, red, turquoise, lime green), the interior of a Giger spacehip meets Space 1999, a dance floor like the spiky one Brian Blessed uses as a fight-pit in Flash Gordon, giant cardboard cut-outs of lieutenant Wilma Dearing in full spandex glory, ultra-buffé, quantum-lager, corner to corner filled with galactic lowlifes, burnt out party-droids, interstellar space queens and jungle ladies, laser limbo universal championship final will be held, music to be performed by Andromeda, records: Casco-bot.

If you had a time machine and could visit any dancefloor past, present or future, where would you be going?

25th century, any event promoted by Mangros to be held on the space station Musicworld.

Join Den Haan at Bender’s 1st Birthday on Saturday 26th July at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 4am.

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.