Where Brooklyn at? Can you tell us a little about where you at/from.
I live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. I'm English but moved to the US permanently last winter. I started going to NYC in 1999 so it's changed a lot since then. Like London the nucleus has moved and also some of the flavour... But all good cities have periods and growth and stagnation.
The spotlight in the UK has moved beyond Paris Is Burning and onto the current ballroom scene a bit in recent years. What's your experience of this in New York? Is it still a small underground movement or is it gaining momentum?
I always tell people to go watch the documentary 'How Do I Look?', which is basically 'Paris Part II', as that VHS got worn out a long time ago. But that film (Paris Is Burning) I think everyone could watch a thousand times over and never tire. I went to my first proper ball this year in Queens, and it was actually pretty scary, and then again to MikeQ's night Vogue Knights which is a bit more friendly. But that culture translated here in my experience in the last 10 years has never been more than a tranny doing a triangle with her hands down the Kingsland Road, which you know can be just as fabulous. It's only very recently with people championing that world and music, such as Diplo, Kingdom, DJ Rizzla, Queenbeat, Nightslugs and Fade To Mind Record labels, and of course MikeQ, that the music has truly found a second wind and a new global audience.
When and why did you move to London and what's your impression of the East End as it compares to Brooklyn? Is it possible to pick a favourite or are they too diverse?
I first moved to London in 1999 when I was 16 and have lived on and off in the East End since then, so I have a lot of history invested there, but the decision to move to Brooklyn was to find some space to breathe and grow, something I found increasingly more difficult to do in London. So it's less about the place and more about the place that I'm at in mind. They are both incredible parts of the planet which I owe a lot to so it's impossible to choose.
How long have you had the DJ moniker A Village Raid? Are we right in thinking its a reference to the Stonewall riots?
No, but what would be an amazing reference nevertheless! The name came around a few years ago when I moved to Brazil for a year and needed a DJ/project name, but the story comes from where I grew up. I grew up on a farm, which by the early '90s became derelict, and one night became squatted by a huge rave. People still talk about that night even now back down where I'm from, which is quite funny. They syphoned off the electricity from the farm house and it went on for two days until eventually it got raided. I just remember watching all the chaos from my bedroom window singing and dancing along to all the happy hardcore. It was definitely one of favourite memories from childhood and my obsession with rave culture probably started from that very moment.
Your recent series of Vague mixes draw together everything from dancehall to booty techno. What are your musical inspiration, either DJs or artists, or night spots here or in New York?
I like to create images and stories when I make mixes. Image and sound is always so strongly connected for me so in any one mix I might be thinking about periods of time, places, people I know, people I don't. The Vague mixes are a nod to that culture but are more about taking the sounds and energy and creating something different... An old boyfriend of mine is the only person who I know who can vogue properly in London as he grew up in one of the vogueing houses in New York, so often in my mind I have the image of how he would be dancing to what I am selecting and mixing. It is very difficult for that sound to truly translate on a foreign dancefloor as it is a functional form of music, but the interesting thing about now is how culture or one idea can now be global.
What are your classic vogue tracks?
George Morel - Officer Where's Your Brother? Get Her! (12" Version)
Tylon - Feel The Rhythm Of House (Underground Vogue Mix)
Banji Boys - Love Thang
What are your current vogue tracks?
KW Griff feat. Porkchop - Bring In The Katz (Bmore Original)
DDM feat. Rye Rye - Click Pow (B. Ames Remix)
Danny Taylor (A Village Raid) plays Banjee Boy Realness this Friday 28th September 2012 from 9pm - 3am with Joe Robots (SOS) and Josh Caffe (Batty Bass).