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?)
- Catch the Light- (Man without a clue remix)- Soul Divide
- Can't Get enough- (Vocal Club Mix)- Soulsearcher
- 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!