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?)
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?
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!