Parisian DJ and party promoter, Babybear is a serious force to be reckoned with. Having recently welcomed house music royalty in the form of Robert Owens, Marshall Jefferson and Andy Butler to play at his party Menergy, he is fast becoming one of the front running tastemakers of the gay Paris party scene. Ahead of his appearance at the Homodrop First Anniversary bash, he caught up with us to chat Paris, parties and programming legendary club nights!
Hi Babybear! Can you introduce yourself to us in a few sentences?
My name is Yannick Barbe, I'm 45. Actually, I'm a journalist (until recently I was the editor in chief of Têtu, the gay magazine) but I seriously started as a DJ around 2005-06. Ever since my teenage years, house music has been my passion. I was resident DJ of Yes Sir, I Can Boogie, the electro-hairy party at Les Bains (Paris). I also played in parties and venues like Beardrop, Flash Cocotte, Wanderlust, Social Club and YOYO (Palais de Tokyo). One year ago, with my friend Oscar (Wonderbear), we launched MENERGY, a gay party with one goal: to reconcile gay shirtless club goers with house music. And it's a success.
If you could trace your love of house techno and disco down to one track, what would it be?
Donna Summer - I Feel Love (Patrick Cowley Remix). Definitely!
Your party MENERGY has welcomed major DJs such as Robert Owens, Marshall Jefferson and Andy Butler. What has been the highlight for you?
Obviously, Robert Owens because it was the premiere! Can you imagine talking to your friends about your project when having a drink, and few months later, a house music legend is in your club singing I'll Be Your Friend?! What a blast!
How does the Paris gay party scene differ from other major cities?
Diversity is the key word – a lot of parties every week with a variety of music styles and different crowds. But we are missing one world-renowned big gay club. Venues are a major issue in Paris. We need space and freedom!
You’re taking us on a date in Paris - where are we going to eat, drink and dance?
You can start the night by having a drink at A La Folie Paris, the newly opened restaurant by Remy Baiget - also a party promoter - in the middle of la Villette park. For a delicious dinner, don’t miss the tasty grill room of Loup, a trendy restaurant with good music. Finally, check the line up of Gibus Club, newly revamped club with brand new parties: Possession, Black Out and… MENERGY of course ;-)
This is Homodrop’s First Birthday – what is your favourite celebration track?
Whitney Houston - Greatest Love Of All (Club 69 Mix). So cheesy. How can one be gloomy when listening to Whitney?
What is one guilty pleasure record that people would be surprised to discover you love?
My unconditional love for French singer Véronique Sanson. The best sad songs ever.
What is one fool-proof track that always lifts the energy of the club?
KiNK vs. Marc Romboy - Over & Out. Italo-house crazy piano, infectious rhythm, sample of First Choice's Let No Man Put Asunder, and this incredible breakbeat sequence in the middle of the track.
Describe your perfect queer party utopia.
Less misogyny in the male gay scene.
If you had a time machine and could visit any dance floor anywhere/anywhen, where would you want to go dancing?
San Francisco. Circa 1978. Sylvester is singing on stage. And I am having fun with Al Parker, the gay porn icon. The boys in the back room laughin' it up/Shootin' off energy/The guys in the street talk checkin' you out/Talkin' 'bout Menergy.
Catch Babybear at the Homodrop First Anniversary on Saturday 3 October from 9pm-4am.