PARTY RADAR The greater Midwest is central to the story of electronic music in the United States, but it gets short shrift these days: Sure, Detroit and Chicago are still shining stars in the underground firmament, but what about cities where people are really kicking against the conservative pricks, like Cleveland?
Welp, Cleveland has its own exciting, coalescing underground scene worth investigating, and it’s queer as fuck, huzzah. You won’t even have to spring for a ticket to Ohio, as the Mixed Forms party is offering a Cleveland queer underground sampler platter, Sat/21. That’s when representatives of two of Cleveland’s vibrant underground parties, In Training and Heaven Is In You, come to the Stud. (Full disclosure: I am part of the Stud Collective, and have partied with In Training in the Appalachian forest). There’s definitely some good ol’ DIY community aesthetic going on. I had a wee email exchange with DJs Kiernan Laveaux and Father of Two from In Training and ADAB from Heaven is in You, as they traveled across the country to visit San Francisco for the first time.
48H When I checked i with In Training last year, it felt like a queer underground scene was finally taking root in Cleveland. How you have seen the Cleveland scene change through your parties?
FATHER OF TWO I participate very little in the wider Cleveland ‘scene’ outside of the three parties my friends and I organize together, so it’s hard for me to answer. Our events continue to be rewarding and expanding, and the wider queer music community seems to be responding well to what we do here.
ADAB It’s always been a place with a queer and creative presence, but I feel like our parties have bolstered spaces for those energies to congregate and mesh with one another.
KIERNAN LAVEAUX Having been an attendee at shows in Cleveland for the last five years of my life, I would definitely say there’s been a slight increase of peoples’ awareness in their words and actions towards queer people in the timeframe that our events have been around. While it’s nowhere near perfect, I believe it has to do in tandem with an increase of general social awareness and maybe people being more exposed to what we do. ADAB nailed it in that the queers and energy has always been there, but needed a space to meet and interact with one another and share ideas.
48H You all come at the scene from different directions. How did you get started throwing parties and DJng?
FATHER OF TWO I started throwing parties and DJing with In Training, which was conceived the night Mx Silkman (the third member of In Training) and I first met almost four years ago. I’ve been learning it all on the job!
ADAB I started DJing around 2010, in college, after my best friend/sibling sent me a Numark Traktor LE while on tour with the USMC in Afghanistan. Developing out of that came a genuine desire to learn more about the gift I was given. As far as party organizing, aside from random house parties, I hadn’t considered doing any type of official party until me and my Heaven Is In You cofounder Eric met Kiernan, Father of Two, and Mx Silkman as a result of the small pool of the Cleveland electronic underground.
KIERNAN LAVEAUX I started DJing about three years ago as a result of Father of Two and Mx Silkman starting In Training and me wanting to get on board and help out with it. It seemed like the best way possible for me to meet other transgender people, because at the time I had very few trans friends and was going through a lot of isolation and confusion. Seeing ADAB play one of our early parties was also the first time I saw one of my friends and peers really command a room and make people dance, and it struck a chord in me to want to take this as far as I could with people I was forming close bonds with. I joined on as an official member of In Training about four months into it’s existence.
48H How would you characterize the music you play, and can you give me a couple of tracks you love right now?
FATHER OF TWO There is so much interesting music coming out at the moment that I have a blast showcasing and attempting to put into a more queer context. I particularly enjoy lots of music coming out of the UK that takes influence from soundsystem culture and IDM; labels like Timedance, Livity Sound, Version, Tobago Tracks, Conga Burn, Central Processing Unit, Le Chatroom, Circular Jaw, and many more have all been releasing tons of heat that I’ve enjoyed messing around with, just to name a few. I also have a rather large soft spot for UK Garage and think it’s a sound that is inexplicably rather underrepresented in the US queer underground. Three tracks I love right now are “Yak” by Zephyr (Le Chatroom), “PEEV” by Delia (Intramuros Records), and “Love Delicious (Sully Remix)” by Girls Of The Internet [Ramp Recordings]
ADAB I try my hardest most times to shift between techno, house, breaks, electro, minimal, and their various combinations. The common thread of the sound I try to carry through them is intentionally centered around dense percussion elements. Three tracks I love right now are: Underground Resistance’s “Radioactive Rhythms,” Fred P’s “6am” and Ubik’s “1991”
KIERNAN LAVEAUX I also take a lot of influence from “broken” rhythms associated with the sounds of the UK as well as dense percussion and a variety of styles put through a blender in my mind. I like to have a huge tidal wave of sounds coming at people, but also play a lot with space and dynamics. I’m inspired by my interpretation of the spirit of Midwestern electronic music, the strange and experimental nature of the music that came out of its heyday, and all music that has been influenced by it since. Percussion is the universal language of humanity and the driving force behind almost all tracks I love to play, as well as anything that sounds strange and alien, yet beautiful and enticing. Three tracks I love right now are: Ken Ishii’s “Twist of Space,” Anthony Shakir’s “Systemic Advancing,” and Seefeel’s “Charlotte’s Mouth”
MORE PARTIES OF NOTE
THU 19-SUN/21 DISCRETE FIGURES: RHIZOMATIKS X ELEVENPLAY This eye-popping technology-dance hybrid comes to Gray Area for its 10th Anniversary. “Inspired by Alan Turing, their newest performance marries choreography for five dancers with machine learning technology and a stage designed for interactivity between performers, drones, virtual dancers and other objects.” More info here.
THU/19 CHIC Nobody works harder than Nile Rodgers to make a party happen — that’s why his outfit Chic still remains relevant and incredible. Dance to the classics with a crowd of all types. 7pm, $55. Fox Theatre, Oakland. More info here.
FRI/20 HIGHER AND HIGHER: A ROOFTOP 4/20 PARTY Head up to Oasis’s roof and celebrate 4/20! With DJs Brown Amy and Sindri, entertainers Dulche de Leche and LOL McFiercen, and more. There will be munchies. 8pm-12am, $7. Oasis, SF. More info here.
FRI/20 JOE CLAUSELL, PEGGY GOU, AXEL BOMAN, NONCOMPLIANT The As You Like It party (with co-promoter Technoclam) pulls off its usual wonderful stunt of gathering together some of the best DJs in the world, of wildly different styles. It’s an unmissable smorgasbord! 9:30-4:30, $20. Public Works, SF. More info here.
FRI/20 DERRICK CARTER The Chicago boogaloo house master returns to slay SF, and we adore him. 9:30pm-3am, $10-$20. Monarch, SF. More info here.
FRI/20 CREATURE XV: ALLOY Craziness always ensues at this ultimate gender fluid party, this time celebrating all the metals of the universe with DJs Juanita More, Jordee, Scorpion Warrior, and more. 10pm-4am, $10. the Stud, SF. More info here.
SAT/21 MAGIC TOUCH The Los Angeleno touches down with his gossamer house style at the ever-splendid Push the Feeling party. 9pm-2am, $7. Underground SF. More info here.
SAT/21 NON STOP BHANGRA Our favorite bhangra party ever brings in the UK’s PBN to light the dancefloor on fire. 9pm-2am, $15. Public Works, SF. More info here.
SAT/21 BEATPIG: METAWHOREPHOSIS! Walter Gomez and Juanita More host this porky tribute to the power of “transwhoremation.” With DJ Stanley Frank. 10-2pm, $5. Powerhouse, SF. More info here.
SAT/21 FRINGE Indie dance bliss with DJs Blondie K & subOctave + special guests Mario Muse. Too cute. 9pm-2am, $5. Madrone, SF. More info here.
SAT/21 D.A.D. The Dudes And Disco party is too cute for words, but they’re getting serious about sweat with guests Gay Marvine and Bus Station John. Disco for all, hon. 9pm-2am, $7-$10. Driftwood, SF. More info here.
SAT/21 DÂM FUNK + PEANUT BUTTER WOLF Two great, funky tastes from LA that sound great together. DÂM always wows with his Prince-feel sets, while Wolf (the founder of Stones Throw Records) is a classic in the turntablist mode. 9pm, $22. Midway, SF. More info here.
SAT/21 SATURDAY NIGHT SOUL PARTY DJ Guillermo of the classic Sweater Funk crew makes your backbone slip (with 45s!) at the Elbo Room. 10pm-2am, $8. Elbo Room, SF. More info here.
SUN/22 SUNSET + HONEY SOUNDSYSTEM BOAT PARTY The Honey boys have hopped on this party traditions, as the Sunset Crew continues sailing into the summer. Special Guest Antenes from L.I.E.S. Records. All aboardy! 5pm-11pm, $60. More info here.