Discover more from Nono Gigsta's newsletter
"... an absolutely intuitive critique of the hyper-capitalistic nature of ..."
On busy basements, empty floor and seeding communities
Hello friends of Fictions,
I guess I'm back in your inbox ... Mostly to remind you that Angus and I are hosting a party at Sameheads in Berlin this Saturday with special guests Beneath and abibi.
But first of all: how are you? And do you really need to hear about yet another event? Have you also found yourself in that conversation about the bizarre post-pandemic landscape? Especially the bits about "empty floors", "too many parties", "where are all the punters" or "kids don't go to clubs these days"?
It's a complex one and I won't dive into the whole thing today. In short: some experiences of lower attendance have made me reflect on sustainability in renewed ways. In general, I do enjoy having extra space to dance and I have often had more fun on less busy floors. However, some particular situations led to conflicting feelings. Over the summer, I visited a Berlin club to hear a UK-based cis and white DJ who'd been flown in to play at a publicly funded event. The room was large and empty. And that's ok!! But it did make me wonder who we're flying DJs in for? With whose money? And if we should continue nurturing gratitude at all costs?
I'm not completely excluding the gratitude-first attitude. Frankly, I've never particularly cared about popularity or big numbers. Yet, we may still need to consider cutting down the excesses of club culture. This would need to happen on different levels. In other words, the shifting landscapes of partying are making it ever more urgent to combine sobrieties.
Then again, maybe the fly-in model feels wrong even when the room’s busy, or felt wrong even before the latest instances of inflation, saturation and gentrification? In a special episode of their Love is The Message podcast, Jeremy Gilbert and Tim Lawrence asked « David Mancuso and Louis Vuitton: Can They “Fall in Love”? »
Gilbert describes the DJ as: “becoming this sort of ideal model of the postmodern, post Fordist, neoliberal worker. They’re hypermobile, completely individualized, don’t have a community or a set of colleagues. They just literally travel from one place to another, alone, doing their thing. And then leave. David was the opposite of that. He had an intuitive and profound critique of that. He had a year of trying to do that when he literally couldn’t pay his rent. He took some gigs of that nature but he hated them. He stopped doing it as soon as he possibly could. What he wanted to do was seed these communities in different places where he could be part of that community on a regular basis and the other people who were living there could do it sustainably. He had an absolutely intuitive critique of the hyper-capitalistic nature of contemporary hypermobility which is embodied by the image of the contemporary club DJ. He absolutely wanted to substitute that with communitarian alternatives. He could have been making 5 grand a gig doing festival stages. No question he could have been doing that. He didn’t want to.”
Beneath might be to me, what David Mancuso is to Jeremy and Tim’s Lucky Cloud Sound System. A humble, unique and community-oriented producer, Ben hosted the legendary No Symbols parties in London. These were some of the best nights I ever played at, largely because of a sense of intimacy and no-nonsense attitude on every level. In an interview I conducted with him, Ben explained why he put the parties on hold. He is also stepping back from music in general, so it took some convincing to get him to travel all the way here from the English West Midlands and go b2b2b2b with us all night long. I simply owe him so much, Fictions owes him too much. We just weren’t going to let it go. And now we’re excited.
Speaking of quitting! I've been stubbornly insisting to whoever had the patience for my rant that I would officially retire from "playing" next year. As someone who not only plays at but also hosts parties, I often feel self-conscious about adding to a saturation of events. Cheap entry and other great qualities mean Sameheads rarely ends up empty. But in this case, it isn't so much the balanced use of resources + energies that I'm concerned about, but rather a pressing desire to offer more possibilities for sleep. Sleep, that precious, delicious and ever rarer good! That state I wish I could wrap up as a present and treat all my friends to every night (and every day!!). That space where dreaming happens and new possibilities are born. Or maybe this is only a concern in the hyper accelerated capital that is Berlin?
Upon hearing yet another version of my anxieties ("It's time to leave space for the younger ones" or "I don't know if I want to be complicit with an extractivist industry", blah blah blah), an old friend of mine and dedicated music lover burst into laughter: "Haha! Do you really think it works like that? You don't just give up on music. This isn't just a job."
I was further humbled by listening to our second guest this Saturday, Abibi. In the interview I did with her, she recalled the first moments of Un:seen: "Looking back three years later, I have nothing but fondness for that moment. It wasn’t easy - but watching a community grow around us, and seeing all the people we know grow and give back to the scene in their own unique way - that’s what makes it wholesome." She added: "People in our community aren’t just musicians - many people like to express themselves through illustrations, photography, drawing and words. And so many of us are deeply political."
In Abeera’s words, music doesn't sound like a business one retires from but rather like part of a wider exploration, maybe even the water for seeding communities. If that exploration is just and genuine, who cares how packed the event is? It's good to be reminded of that once in a while.
If you want to read these interviews, we turned them into a little zine which we'll distribute at the beginning of the party. It's an A2 poster that can be folded. It’s free but we only have 50! Thanks to Aaron, Abibi, Angus, Ben and Eleonora for their help with this.
10 til late... DON'T HESITATE :)))
You’ll be welcome at Fictions, please just be mindful of the energy you bring into the dance.
ps: I'm working on a vegan gf alternative to the jazz brownie, so we can all be vibin on psilocybin without a dry mouth (haha, yes, my recipe needs improvement!)
Thanks for reading gigsta’s newsletter!
Abstract from the 8 hours live recording with the shadowy utensil gang over Spring:
Warm up for Saturday with abibi:
Highly recommended: Beneath took over Fictions on Cashmere Radio last week!
22.10.22: Fictions in Sameheads. Maybe ironic to write this here but Sameheads does tend to get full so come down early if you can. Angus and I don’t get signal in the basement so can’t help friends of Fictions getting in. Sources say too good to be true!!
08.12.22: Fictions at Cashmere Radio! We’re doing a potluck special with Bakläxa. Feel free to send food related tunes, your favorite recipes or even come down in the studio with home-cooked goodness. 7.30 til 9 pm. Gerichtstrasse 53, Wedding!
31.12.22: Fictions On The Road: I’ve postponed the 3rd part of this series. I already have received some very cute recordings of flight-free travels and still want to hear yours.
IF YOU'RE NEW HERE:
April 2022 “… a process of atmospheric colonisation.” A newsletter with numbers, narratives and graphs related to the aviation industry.
November 2021 “In another life, dear sister, I too…” A newsletter on abundance through the lens of Autumn colours.
July 2021 “I guess there was no space left in my mind to use memory” A newsletter about opening less promo emails and finding it pretty ok.