By Whitney Weiss
Debbie Upper (civilian name: Jared Abbott) was born in Michigan and scampered away to New York, where he leapt into nightlife and never looked backed. A former Razzmatazz resident, he traded Barcelona for Berlin and now delights dancers at an impressively diverse array of parties and throws ICKY, a delightfully sleazy Sunday party at Ficken3000. Ahead of his Dalston Superstore debut at Les Poppeurs, we chatted about Berlin nightlife, being inappropriate around famous people, and preferred brands of poppers.
Oh hello! Please introduce yourself/tell the world who DEBBIE UPPER is.
Hi! Debbie is one of Berlin’s more versatile DJs and can be spotted out playing all kinds of cute shit. Her speciality is more on the lost funk and disco and '80s maxi-cunt vibe, but she definitely keeps up on the all latest rap/r&b and house and techno records. She also hosts the show Single Black Female on Berlin Community Radio.
You throw ICKY, a Sunday night party at the Berlin sexclub Ficken3000. What is the most scandalous thing you’ve witnessed from your not-particularly-secluded perch at the DJ booth?
I’ll never tell! What happens at Ficken, stays at Ficken.
What is the story behind your rather clever DJ name?
It’s really just a joke that went too far. When I worked for the late, great, and dearly missed Brian Tennessee Claflin at PORK, we’d make up jokey new DJ names all the time. That one just kind of stuck around.
Please take us out for a glorious night of debauchery in Berlin. Where are we having dinner and drinks? What clubs/parties will we visit? What time will we eventually stagger home?
Dinner would most likely be a shitty curry for 5 euros. I’d definitely take you to my friend Mauro’s sexy ass party BeiTola. And I also love Members, Cocktail D’Amore and Panty Splatters. I’m an old lady, so I am usually home by 7am. I can’t really do the “three days with no sleep” thing anymore.
You did a super-cute show of music you grew up listening to for Hot Pony and many of the songs were from '80s and '90s movie soundtracks. So our very important question: what is your favorite erotic thriller?
Poison Ivy with Drew Barrymore and Sara Gilbert. So much atmosphere! And Love Crimes with Sean Young. It has some fucked up sexual politics, but I love it. Oooh, and Color of Night with Bruce Willis, but that’s really more of a comedy.
I was surprised to learn that you are pro Gwyneth Paltrow. Please explain your stance on this very pressing matter.
She’s just trying to impart some wealthy white woman wisdom and we should all be open to it. And her mother is Blythe fucking Danner. Show some respect.
You also sometimes throw a karaoke party called Sisters With Voices. In your expert opinion, who is the most underrated female songstress of all time and why?
Now that it is spring, what are the warm-weather jams you cannot stop listening to?
I’ve been listening to Monie Love a lot lately. And Janet’s first album, the one before Control. And Millie Jackson’s Caught Up. Also, a lot of Patrice Rushen, but that’s not really a seasonal thing.
As you are a wonderfully eclectic DJ, what can the dance floor at the next Les Poppeurs expect? Do you have surprises in store? Will you divulge one?
Aw, thanks. I’ll give you a hint: it’s in the Sylvester Stallone movie Cobra.
Also, what is your preferred brand of poppers?
I’m a BlueBoy 4ever <3
Since you were in NY for a fruitful era for clubbing, you must have many excellent stories. Please share a particularly juicy one.
I caught the tail-end of Roxy, Tunnel, Limelight, etc, but they were all pretty tame by 1999. I’d have to say Madonna “DJing” my friend’s tiny 100-person party was the most memorable evening. A few of my fun stories involve being inappropriate around famous people, like drunkenly telling Susan Sarandon that White Palace is her best movie.
And now, the classic Superstore question: if you had a time machine to travel to any dance floor ever, past present or future, which would you choose and why?
It’d have to make a few stops. I guess something like CLUB USA or Limelight in like 1994, then the clubs in Basic Instinct/Scarface for a little while, then some sort of Paradise Garage situation, and then ending it all with a shady quaaluudey morning music moment at The Saint.
Join Debbie Upper this Friday 24th April for Les Poppeurs at Dalston Superstore from 9m - 4am.
Photo credit: Gerard Estadella