DG: Your sets at HomoElectric, Baby Homo and Love International blend disco classics and old-school rave tunes from the Hacienda days with a more contemporary, dirty, minimalist beat. Does DJ-ing for polysexual scenes allow for more freedom in what you can play?
To a certain extent, it does. HomoElectric, for me, is a place I am totally free to push boundaries and play whatever will fit in that moment. Being a resident for HomoElectric has pushed me to try new styles, throw in some classics but also take the journey a little bit darker. I have a real passion for deep/dark tracks that push more towards techno. The crowd at Homo are always up for the journey with you, whether that’s hands in the air or heads-down stompers. My favourite place to push this sound is in the Den at Hidden. I’ve been able to play music there that has never really fit before. The last two hours are a sweet spot for me, at this point, the crowd are completely with you, they are immersed in your set and it’s such a good feeling.
DG: What disco tune would you play to someone into, say, psy-trance, to get them shaking their juice loose?
This is a tough one but I think I’ll go with: Leftside Wobble – Grapevine Boogie
I think the rolling baseline & familiar vocal would definitely get juices flowing. Not too camp, and a perfect intro to the world of D-I-S-C-O.
Disco is traditionally playful, silly and voluptuous. With its harmonies, strings and golden basslines, does it feel like a feminine form, to you? What ‘hard’, ‘masculine’ disco tunes do you like?
Disco can be a feminine form, but I also see people of all ages, sexualities in unison through music. I’ve known some of the most masculine people to be huge disco fans. This is why I enjoy DJing and producing music so much. The people you meet along the way & connection made with people on the dancefloor. That’s what it’s all about for me. So a couple of tracks here. First, ‘God Made Me Phunky’, by MD X-Press. This is a little more housey, which is more my style. A definite classic.
I don’t know how ‘masculine’ this track is but I love anything Crazy – P! Their ‘Open For Service’ track is one I play quite a bit. I also really like their remix of Hardground, by Yesking. The groove is funky and the piano riff makes me happy!
Is disco ‘queer’? There’s obviously a political history of disco and gay rights but I sometimes wonder if disco confirms queer stereotypes? Or should we not care about that?
I don’t think we should label disco as queer. There has been a big shift in more straight nights loving disco more recently. As you mention, the political aspect & history ,of course, slots in perfectly with queer culture. The safe spaces and dingy discos are part of our heritage & they keep then scene fresh. Events like HomoElectric & Love Muscle in Leeds are places where you can let go & be whoever you want to be.
The next Homo Electric is on August Bank Holiday. The clubbers I hung with at your last Baby Homo dressed however they liked; a massive Viking bloke in a dress cuddling butch women in black shoulder-pads; anything goes. Being relaxed about everyone’s self-expression and sexuality, including straights, creates a wonderfully love-filled vibe. But how do you feel about more and more straight/bi folk in the gay clubbing scene in Manchester? Does it ever feel like cultural appropriation, like it’s fashionable now to be ‘a bit’ gay? And has it changed what DJs play, from the days of more cruisy gay clubs?
I think HomoElectric has always had a pretty mixed crowd, similar to SpeedQueen, where I started back in 2008. A mixture of all sexualities breeds this love-filled room that, as DJs, we dream of. If there are more straight people at Homo, we are not there to judge. If the attitude is right and they are here for the right reasons, party on! Because our events are mainly on the outskirts of the city now: Hidden, The White Hotel etc, you are only coming to HomoElectric if you really want to be there. There’s no stumbling across us on that backstreet near Strangeways. This cuts out an accidental footfall of people who may not be there for the freedom, safe space and music.
The music is 100% different from cruisy gay clubs, you won’t find any generic gay pumping house remixes or commercial pop. We cater for a crowd looking for a taste of the underground. As a team we all play across the board, there’s something for everyone.
Gina Breeze was in conversation with Soma Ghosh.