Spotlight on: Joe Delon
Spotlight on: Joe Delon
"I think a truly queer party and dancefloor will run with anything you throw at them. Part of my own creative process is trying to find the zone where that freedom to go in any direction intersects with technical rigour, musicality and my mood on the day"
Saturday 16th September sees Pumping Velvet return to Superstore with a special residents party, with three of their fabulous resident DJs taking the controls in the lazerpit all night long, including Joe Delon playing back to back with Sofie K for the first time ever!
As well as a PV resident Joe is a label owner, radio host and writer based in Lisbon. Joe’s sets represent everything we hold dear about dancing music at PV. Joe draws on the fundamentals of dance music’s past – the snap of a disco break, the sleaze of a Chicago bassline, the funk of electro and the bittersweet touch of Italo – and connects them to its vivid present, combining the old with the new and creating moments of pure pop catharsis along the way.
Alongside his PV residency Joe is regular at some of the worlds most respected clubs and underground queer parties, including Panorama Bar (Berlin), Adonis (London), Honcho (Pittsburgh), Por Detroit (LA), Snug (Hanoi), Los Ninos (Brussels) and Kiss Me Again (Manchester). You can check out his recent HOR set for taste of what Joe does in the club.
Welt Discos, Joe’s label, is a platform for music that’s playfully serious and seriously playful and he has a dedicated following for his substack, home to thoughtful musings on DJing, clubs and dance music, alongside tasty morsels of gossip to keep the girls thirsty.
Ahead of Saturday’s party we sat down to ask Joe a few questions…
Joe, you’ve both played and danced at Pumping Velvet many times over the years. Do you have any particular favorite memories from either the dancefloor or the booth?
So many good memories from the dancefloor, but top of the list: Nick Kagame warming up in November 2022. It was only 11pm and the Dalston Superstore basement was already full of people throwing shapes and getting down. I was on next and I remember getting much more nervous than usual because he was so good. From the booth…pre-covid, the time I came on after the other Joe (43) at Grow Tottenham back in December 2019. That set was recorded and it’s the sound of me having the time of my life behind the decks.
You’ve written extensively on your thought process in preparation for gigs on your substack. Is there a difference in how you approach playing for a queer dance floor?
I think a truly queer party and dancefloor will run with anything you throw at them. Part of my own creative process is trying to find the zone where that freedom to go in any direction intersects with technical rigour, musicality and my mood on the day — not chaos for chaos’s sake, but unexpected shifts and combinations, inventive lateral thinking, patience and the art of surprise. When I’m preparing for a queer party I feel I have a lot of space to indulge these ideas. But there’s also an element of unlearning all of these (perceived) limits in any context, queer or not. Everyone loves a well-aimed curveball after all.
Are there any queer parties that have been particularly meaningful for you in developing your approach to DJing?
Horse Meat Disco: directly, through the experience of going there on Sundays, and resident James Hillard‘s sets in particular; and indirectly, through the recordings of Mark Seven playing there (the ‘Salute To The Men Of Vauxhall‘ mixes), which have been a constant source of inspiration in terms of technique and themes ever since I first heard them.
Despite your fresh(ish) face, it’s probably fair to call you a scene veteran at this stage. From your extensive dancing experience what are your top raving tips?
Thanks, I think? My top tip is food! When you least feel like eating, is when you should most make the effort to eat. Bananas, nuts, energy bars…it’s a marathon not a sprint. My second top tip is no long conversations on the dancefloor or, at Superstore, in the basement. Hold on to your latest thesis about the state of dance music in 2023 until your next trip upstairs for a drink or, even better, the toilet queue.
Finally, can you tell us some of your own personal queer anthems and what they mean to you?
The queer experience is so multifaceted, vibrant, complex. And it’s full of struggle and resilience and growth. There’s one song that definitely pinned all of that down for me as a teenager and opened my eyes to the way music can communicate both the theory and the emotional affect of queerness, the personal and the political, and be a vehicle for societal change: “Boys, sometimes a girl just needs one…”
Spotlight on: Joe Delon