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Celebrating Female DJs who Pump Up the Dance Floor: Jules Juke

National Women’s History Month, 2019

By Sebastian Fortino


As part of ProudTimes’ coverage of Women’s History Month, we are speaking to DJ’s who are serving up hot beats on the dance floor. They are all fierce queer women, who are changing the tracks through empowerment, and progressive change. Today, we bring you Portland resident, Jules Juke.

Jules Juke DJing at ClubFlock – Local Lounge, Portland, Oregon

ProudTimes: How long have you been DJing? When did you decide you were going to get out there and spin?

Jules Juke: I’ve been obsessed with underground music since middle school, but spent many years promoting it from behind the scenes as a writer/album reviewer on webzines, long before I decided to put myself in front of the decks as a DJ at my college radio station, KUPS, in 2009. Back then I wasn’t Jules Juke – the radio show was just called “The Mixdown” and I hosted with my real name! Jules Juke didn’t come about until 2012 when I played my first club gig.

PT: Was this something you wanted to do, or have experimented with doing, from an early age?

JJ: As an introvert, DJing never really crossed my mind until I was much older. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was essentially a crate diver long before I knew the term existed. I loved finding and exposing new music, but had little personal desire to play in front of an audience. I had been on a steady diet of trance since 2006, but never felt a great urge to mix trance despite listening to it all the time. In 2008, I fell headfirst into the retro-yet-futuristic sound of synthwave and 80s electro. It was then, that I finally felt I found a genre I wanted to play with more than consume. That to me is what separates a typical music lover from someone who becomes a DJ or producer–that extra push to create something that didn’t exist before.

PT: Do you think the industry is difficult for women to break into? Is it something of a “boys club?”

JJ: It’s definitely somewhat of a boys club and that can be intimidating for women to want to break into, especially if you don’t see any role models like yourself in the community. Just look at the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs! There are only six women in the Top 100, up from four in 2017! Often electronic music festival lineups mirror this underwhelming percentage with female representation in the single digits. Not to mention female musicians are overly sexualized and subjected more often than their male counterparts to unfounded criticism of mixing technique or using ghost producers. That said, I feel like the techno space actually has better female representation than the EDM space and there are slowly more female DJs being profiled in media and festivals signing on to the Keychange initiative to bring gender and diversity balances to lineups. Organizations like She Said So and PWR by Kittens are also doing remarkable grassroots level work to change the industry landscape.

PT: What kind of music do you spin–how would you describe your DJ style?

JJ: My sound is best described as playing in the space between genres with an underlining attention toward melody. I tend to mix with an ear toward a cohesive story and the emotions I want to evoke. Aside from House and Techno I enjoy playing Disco/Funk, Tropical Bass, 80s/90s and my personally curated styles called RnBass (R&B influenced Bass music) and Future Club (a mix of Ghetto House, Trap, Jersey Club, and Bass music).

I also have a soft spot for pop music so I curate a Spotify playlist called Cruise Control dedicated to sharing music that’s “too alt for the radio and too pop for the underground.”

PT: Are there any venues, events, audiences, types of shows which you really prefer to make music at over others?

JJ: Nothing makes me happier than seeing someone lost in the moment, eyes closed, brain off, body vibrating to a song they can’t identify in a room full of strangers doing the same. I don’t really have a favorite venue, but my favorite audiences are the ones with an open mind who aren’t there to listen to any particular artist or genre, but just want to let the DJ to take them on a sweaty, danceable journey.

PT: I know there are less and less venues specifically catering to queer women. When you get the opportunity to perform for a primarily lesbian or female audience, does that add any excitement to your approach?

JJ: Of course! I love queer female audiences because I feel safer around them! Even when I’m on the dancefloor enjoying the music, I don’t have to worry about some random guy touching me uninvitedly. I think creating a safe space in a club setting is a very complicated and nuanced issue. Jen Roberton does an amazing job with LesbiOut/Flock to create that vibe for her events!

PT: Do you have any influences, whether from DJs or musicians, that inspire your sound or attitude when you’re playing?

JJ: My favorite female DJs are La Fleur, Peggy Gou, and J. Philip because they are all amazing selectors and the thought of being able to spend a day picking their brains on music makes me weep. I also love Brenmar, Stanton Warriors, and Russ Chimes because they inspire the type of stylized sound I want in my mixes with lots of remixes/re-edited tracks to make their sets sound unique. Aside from DJs I really love producers who sit outside of a particular genre box and execute on thematic bodies of work like Henry Saiz, Imogen Heap, Max Cooper, and Club Cheval.

PT: How do you best promote yourself, your events, or parties while still keeping your identity intact? Meaning: to get noticed, some artists scale back in the hopes of attracting more fans. Do you find yourself trying to appease any standards?

JJ: Not to sound like a broken record, but this is an interesting question to me because I’m such a student of genre that I never really feel like I scale back or change what I play to appease. My collection of music is so wide and diverse, that I happily step into mixing new genres as a personal challenge. My goal is always to pick out the best bits and elements I like out of a style and mold that into my own thing. For example, I started DJing yoga events in 2017, but had no chill out music to play. I reached out to my DJ friends and asked them to send me some of their favorite ambient tracks. Through that experience I discovered some amazing artists I’m really drawn to, but never would have found otherwise. Doing this countless times has only deepened my appreciation for different styles of DJing.  

PT: What are you working on right now–in terms of events, gigs, collaborations etc.?

JJ: I’m headed back to Hawaii next month and will be DJing a non-profit yoga event called Namastyay on 4/7. I also recently guest interviewed on Missing Mei’s Indie Rant Radio podcast, which should be coming out soon! For the Portland folks, I’ll be playing at the Local Lounge in May as part of Club Flock. It’s very exciting to be part of an all female DJ collective after so many years of doing it alone! We have amazing plans in the works so follow Club Flock on social to stay informed!

PT: Female DJs are getting more and more prominent in our cultural landscape—especially in the LGBTQ community–what would you tell younger DJs out there, especially young women, who are interested in getting into the industry?

JJ: I feel like this advice is true for any entrepreneurial pursuit or stretch goal, but know your why. There will always be people who will criticize, reject, and distract you, but your why has to be stronger than all of that or you will give up. My more practical advice is to try make each day nonzero, meaning do one thing everyday toward that goal, whether it be contacting a promoter, learning a new DJ skill, or working on your mixes. Nonzero days are compounding interest on yourself! Most importantly, practice self-compassion because we are usually our own worst critics.

PT: We are celebrating Women’s History Month. What does this mean to you? What are you fighting for in 2019 and beyond?

JJ: Women’s History Month means celebrating all the tremendous work of the women who have paved the way for the rights and equality we have today. I’m extremely lucky to live in the country and time-period that I do. That doesn’t mean there’s no gap to close, it just means I could have been born in a totally different social/political climate where talking about being a queer female DJ would be absolutely ludicrous. I’m humbled and grateful that is not my reality. In terms of 2019 and beyond, #metoo is a movement I feel drawn to and I hope to see more shifting mentality and legislative wins from!

PT: Anything else you’d care to add?

JJ: Thanks to editor Sebastian Fortino, DJ Jen Roberton, and ProudTimes for the interview! Keep up to date with me on instagram @julesjuke or www.julesjuke.com!

If you know any DJs, musicians, or artists who you think ProudTimes should celebrate email proudtimesmag@gmail.com and we’ll see what we can do!

Celebrating Female DJs who Pump Up the Dance Floor: Missing Mei

Celebrating Women’s History Month 2019

By Sebastian Fortino

As part of ProudTimes’ coverage of Women’s History Month, we are speaking to DJ’s who are serving up hot beats on the dance floor. They are all fierce, fabulous, queer women, who are changing the tracks through empowerment and progression. Today, we bring you Denver-based DJ Missing Mei

Photo credit: Rachel Puma
Missing Mei DJing at ClubFlock – Local Lounge, Portland, Oregon

ProudTimes: How long have you been DJing? When did you decide you were going to get out there and spin?

Missing Mei: I dabbled here and there between 2003-2006 doing underground shows from lounges and private events. 2006 is when I decided to focus on the craft and debut at Premier Nightclub in Sacramento, CA. At the time, Asylum was the longest running Goth-Industrial EDM Night on the West Coast. I remember being so nervous, but being hooked after that.

PT: Was this something you wanted to do, or have experimented with doing, from an early age?

MM: No, it didn’t start that way. Although, I was always a go-to when someone wanted to know what good music was out. My friends would ask for mix tapes and I would happily oblige. My first experimental DJ gig was for a fashion show in college. I remember how it was fun matching up tracks according to the designer models for the show. It was the first rush experience of an audience loving what I spun.

PT: Do you think the industry is difficult for women to break into? Is it something of a “boys club?”

MM: I think on the surface it does look like the boys club and on some level there will always be an undertone that it is. It’s what the industry started from. I recall reading an article from thumpvice.com in 2014 that the average percentage female to male DJ ratio spinning at festivals was like three percent to nine percent at the time. Prior to that, I spun with an all-female DJ crew called ‘Stiletto’ in Cali. The night prided itself as the ‘Only All Female DJ Night’ in the city, which said a lot about the lack of gender diversity. It was a great experience, but it didn’t last long due to draw. But, with that being said, I feel that there has been an increased presence of female DJ’s since then. I think part of that shift is credited to social media and the Internet. There was so much talent that was not being exposed and now that everyone has access to these platforms it helps level out the playing field. It’s optimistic to see more female DJ’s getting their music out there, tracks topping charts, and being headliners for their own shows. But, there is still a lot more progress that needs to happen and that takes time.

 

PT: What kind of music do you spin–how would you describe your DJ style?

MM: Currently, I am really into Tech House. I love the minimalism and heavy beats in the composition. But, I have a range from Goth-Industrial, EDM, Dark Wave, Nu-Disco, Electro, Top 40, to Classic remixes from the 80’s and 90’s. I even spin in Trap at times when I am playing with my band. House is my true love, but Trance music is what got me started into all of it.

 

PT: Are there any venues, events, audiences, types of shows which you really prefer to make music at over others?

MM: I recently embraced the festival scene. It really has evolved from what was the Rave scene in the early 90’s to 2000’s. I love the blends of different genres and DJ’s that make up a festival. It creates a sense of community that welcomes all. One of my favorite gigs was at The Supper Club in San Francisco. The event filled up three rooms that catered to every genre of electronic music. Every room had a different DJ, different electronic music being spun. So, you can imagine the diversity of crowd that it drew! It was fabulous.

 

PT: I know there are less and less venues specifically catering to queer women. When you get the opportunity to perform for a primarily lesbian or female audience, does that add any excitement to your approach?

MM: I’ve been noticing that as well. It has become less, but the parties have become BIGGER which I think compensates for some of that. When I have the opportunity, it is totally empowering and exciting! Those environments tend to be less abrasive and exudes a commonality that does not need to be mentioned. It’s a vibe, a feeling and an unspoken understanding. Short answer: ‘Excitement scale from one to 10?’ Definitely a 10.

 

PT: Do you have any influences, whether from DJs or musicians, that inspire your sound or attitude when you’re playing?

MM: When I first got started, influences would come from the latest artist I was in to or a style that I was drawn to. That is ever changing. But, over the years I have adjusted to playing with feeling and being conscious with connecting to the audience I am spinning for. I feel that there is an advantage to having spun different genres. Because of that, it influences the texture of my set.

 

PT: How do you best promote yourself, your events or parties while still keeping your identity intact? Meaning: to get noticed, some artists scale back in the hopes of attracting more fans. Do you find yourself trying to appease any standards?

MM: I found so far that what works best is to be myself. When I first started, there was an image of what I thought a DJ should be, but really didn’t have a lot of female DJ’s to model. I had one back in the day, DJ Irene, who seemed as close to a personality I could relate to. I really couldn’t always relate to the guys off decks and only with music. I have been fortunate that the genres I spin usually embrace a type of vision where enthusiasm, best intention, optimism and unity holds a higher standard versus what I am interpreting the question is asking, ‘selling out’. It guided me to a DJ residency in the Bay Area for as long as I wanted and the opportunity to meet talented and like minded people that encourage the same integrity. Today, I can say it still remains true.

PT: What are you working on right now–in terms of events, gigs, collaborations etc.?

MM: Currently, I’ve been adjusting to a new city and scene because of a recent move and traveling for gigs in regards to collaboration for brilliant music community movements. It’s has been mainly with ClubFlock and all female queer DJ lineup. There is exciting momentum happening with this crew that we will be announcing soon! I’m also engaged in a DJ and Drum duo project with talented drummer, Joel Swift, called She DJ’s and He Drums based out of Portland. This week, my podcast Indie Rant Radio, had its first interview for season two. It’s the first of a series of interviews with all female DJ’s based out of Denver and Portland.

PT: Female DJs are getting more and more prominent in our cultural landscape–especially in the LGBTQ community–what would you tell younger DJs out there, especially young women, who are interested in getting into the industry?

MM: I think the best advice I could give is to stay true to the music. It can be easy to get caught up in what you think you should be or sound like. In some instance, even with who you should know. There is a difference between networking versus building connection. Connection supports your authenticity and will be more fulfilling in the long run. Stay connected with yourself. Stay connected to your music and surround yourself with people who will lift you up. Once you start understanding your success, it’s good to give back into the music. Whether it’s to another young woman trying to get into DJing or a music cause who can use your support. Stay in true love with what you do.

PT: We are celebrating Women’s History Month. What does this mean to you? What are you fighting for in 2019 and beyond?

MM: Celebrating Women’s History Month is a very exciting moment. It means so much in terms of gratitude and strife. It has taken a lot of women before us to make this happen and it is our responsibility to continue to carry the torch for future female generations to inherit and do the same. One can learn by example that the future can only grow and flourish from not fighting but uniting together.

Missing Mei is also part of Flock, their mission is: To create a magical experience with a unique flock of female DJs by spreading love and connecting the community through underground music. ProudTimes will bring you more about Flock in the coming moths. Currently, you can find their events through LesbiOut on Facebook.

Missing Mei‘s passion for music has always been present in her life and strong in her gene pool, from waking up to her mom singing Italian opera to her dad gigging in his band. For Missing Mei, it made sense to become a DJ before leaving her roots in Hawaii. Missing Mei has channeled DJing as a journey of expression and has found it through tech and electro house. She also fills in her time podcasting for ‘Indie Rant Radio’ highlighting artists and DJ’s on the West Coast.

If you know any DJs, musicians, or artists who you think ProudTimes should celebrate email sebastian@proudtimes.com and we’ll see what we can do! 

Pride on the Mountain: Central Oregon Hosts Second Annual Winter PrideFest

“This event is a reminder of the strength and diversity of our mountain community and that the mountains truly are for everyone to enjoy.” — Drew Jackson, Mt. Bachelor’s Director of Marketing and Communications

By Jen Roberton

LGBTQ Pride is thriving year round–in festivals and events that don’t only happen in June! This is especially apparent in the Oregon resort town of Bend and at Mt. Bachelor. For the second year in a row, folks in the LGBTQ community packed up their snow gear–and most extravagant wigs–to come out to Winter PrideFest, hosted by Out Central Oregon (OCO) and the Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort. In a statement from Mt. Bachelor’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Drew Jackson said,

“Mt. Bachelor is thrilled to partner with Out Central Oregon and provide one of the many venues to celebrate Winter PrideFest.”

DJ Jen Roberton – Photo Credit: Rachel Puma


The producer of the event was also pleased with the success of the fest, “Turnout for all events throughout Winter PrideFest weekend was well-beyond our expectations.” reported Jamie Nesbitt of
OCO. “We are so appreciative of the enthusiasm expressed by the participants and our local business partners that together made the events fun and memorable for everyone.

There were several events sure to inspire memories at PrideFest. Events were planned over the course of four days beginning with the Welcoming Snocial, which was an early evening meet and greet at Box Factory in Downtown Bend. Wigs–literally–an Ice Breaker, where attendees ice skated on an outdoor rink at the Inn at Seventh Mountain. That Saturday was the Apres Ski main celebration at Mt. Bachelor, sponsored by 10 Barrell, with a live DJ all day at the lodge. Including myself, DJ Jen Roberton! A highlight of the day was Drag Tubing, where queens and kings donned their finest snow drag outfits. That event, hosted by D’Auntie Carol, attracted local media coverage.

D’Auntie Carol – Photo credit: Rachel Puma

For those snowsports fans, there were organized nordic and alpine ski outings. To make it more festive, the music from the lodge was playing on the slopes. After that, the pride weekend continued with a cocktail hour at Dogwood and an evening Apres Ski queer party filled with house music, spun by DJs Chelly Bean and Jason Godfrey. Then, like any pride weekend should, the event closed with a Sunday brunch buffet at Hola.

PrideFest was a community effort. Jackson gave special thanks to the Bend Cultural Tourism Fund, who awarded a grant to OCO to support Winter PrideFest 2019. And looks forward to welcoming past and new participants in 2020. In addition he said, “This event is a reminder of the strength and diversity of our mountain community and that the mountains truly are for everyone to enjoy. Participation more than doubled this year, and we look forward to working with the local LGBTQ+ community to grow this event and welcome everyone to Winter PrideFest in the coming years.”

ProudTimes thanks our colleague Jen Roberton, aka DJ Jen Roberton for taking part in this event. We are looking forward to next year to celebrate Pride in our Pacific Wonderland. You can reach Jen at jen.roberton@proudtimes.com with any stories or events you may have.

Clean Bandit –Watch the live performance of “Baby’ ft. Marina + “Baby” remixes

Watch the live performance of “Baby’ ft. Marina

at Capital’s Jingle Bell Ball

 

Check out the “Baby” (feat. Marina & Luis Fonsi) Remixes

Baby (feat. Marina & Luis Fonsi) [Martin Jensen Remix]

Baby (feat. Marina & Luis Fonsi) [Sammy Porter Remix]

Baby (feat. Marina & Luis Fonsi) [Luca Schreiner Remix]

 

FROM NEW ALBUM WHAT IS LOVE? OUT NOW

Download/Stream What Is Love? HERE

 

ALBUM RIAA CERTIFIED GOLD IN THE US UPON RELEASE

FEATURING AN ALL-STAR CAST OF GUEST VOCALISTS INCLUDING
ELLIE GOULDING, MARINAANNE-MARIERITA ORA, STEFFLON DONBIG BOI + MORE

 

Global hitmakers Clean Bandit release their RIAA certified Gold album ‘What Is Love? out now  via Big Beat Records in the US. Download/Stream HERE A band that thrives on collaborative endeavours, the GRAMMY award winning British trio commanded another brilliantly extensive list of blockbuster vocalists: Zara Larsson, Marina, Luis Fonsi,Demi Lovato, Sean Paul, Anne-MarieEllie Goulding, KYLE, Big Boi, Tove Styrke, Stefflon DonCraig David, Kirsten Joy, Rita OraJulia Michaels and ALMA. The deluxe edition will feature Yasmin Green, Charli XCX, Bhad BhabieDaVido, Love Ssega and Louisa Johnson.

The new LP is underpinned by hit singles “Rockabye ft. Anne-Marie and Sean PaulSymphony” feat. Zara Larsson, “I Miss You ft. Julia Michaels, and Solo feat. Demi Lovato; which was recorded across the globe and has been produced by the trio’s long-standing producer, Mark Ralph (Years & Years), alongside Clean Bandit’s very own, 2 x Ivor Novello-winning, Jack Patterson, and Grace Chatto. ‘What Is Love? is the fruit of the past three years’ work and an exciting new chapter for Clean Bandit. The follow-up to the band’s two million-selling and UK Top 3 debut, ‘New Eyes’, released in 2014, ‘What Is Love?’ is a home to Clean Bandit’s inventive, eclectic multi-genre catalog – a collection of gigantic upbeat megabops married with emotive lyricism.

The band’s cellist, Grace, commented – “The album looks at many different kinds and stages of love. We’ve been making it over three years, during which time we’ve all experiences love in our lives in different ways and, some of us, heartbreak too. Somehow this is all expressed in the music: brotherly love; family love; romantic love; crazy all-consuming love; the pain of love turning into something different or dishonest; and, of course, in ‘Rockabye’, unconditional motherly love. It explores the sacrifices we all go through for love and for each other, even when it is difficult. It’s been such an honor to write and record with all of the amazing singers and musicians involved in the record. We made the songs all over the world, mainly in North London and LA – some lines were even recorded in a bathroom in Uganda! We really hope that everyone will find tracks on this album to identify with and we can’t wait to share it with you.”

Breaking through to the mainstream in 2014 with their mammoth 12 million-selling and GRAMMY-award winning single Rather Be, the pioneering 6 x BRIT-nominated trio have paved the way in the global pop scene with their matchless blend of classical, electronica, pop, dancehall and R&B, proving themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the charts across the globe. One of the most successful and in-demand collectives of the century, Clean Bandit have sold over 40 million singles worldwide and accumulated over 10 billion streams and 3.5 billion YouTube views to date! Not to mention their cutting-edge self-directed official music videos that have further propelled the band as an unparalleled creative force. In their native UK, Solo” feat. Demi Lovato not only marked Clean Bandit’s fourth UK No.1, but their ninth UK Top 5 and seventh consecutive UK Top 5that saw them land the most consecutive Top 5 records, from any artist, since Girls Aloud in 2005 and the same amount of UK No.1’s as Justin Timberlake, One Direction and Lady Gaga. The trio’s 2016 UK Christmas No.1 “Rockabye continues to hold the record as the longest-running UK No.1 in 24 years for a UK band, surpassing Wet Wet Wet’s “Love Is All Around”.

Clean Bandit’s forthcoming live set from Kyoto builds on their love affair with Japan, which started with the official video for their global breakout hit “Rather Be” being shot in Tokyo and continues through to the present day after an array of visits and performances in the country.

Clean Bandit is: Jack Patterson, Grace Chatto and Luke Patterson.

Connect with

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ROBYN RELEASES THE BEHIND-THE-SCENES VIDEO FOR “HONEY” + WATCH LIVE PERFORMANCE OF ‘HONEY” (BBC RADIO 1 LIVE LOUNGE)

RELEASES THE BEHIND-THE-SCENES VIDEO FOR “HONEY”

Robyn released the behind-the-scenes look for the new video, “Honey.”  The video takes you through the various setups for the Max Vitali directed “Honey” video.  In case you missed it, watch the original video for “Honey” HERE.

WATCH LIVE PERFORMANCE OF ‘HONEY”

(BBC RADIO 1 LIVE LOUNGE)

Following the release of “HONEY,” one of 2018’s most-beloved albums (and her first in eight years), Robyn is releasing the video for the album’s title track. The video was directed by Max Vitali who has previously helmed many iconic visuals for Robyn, including the video for ”Call Your Girlfriend.”

Robyn wanted the process of making the video to also embody her mantra of bringing people together and communicating in person. She issued an open casting call, posted to Twitter, where she asked for modern and liberated supporters to send in videos of themselves dancing. The music video was filmed in London and stars Robyn and these fans, coming to Clapton/London from the UK, the US, Sweden, France, Norway and Denmark. It is a testament to love, sensuality and the loose feeling during the after-hours of a great party, encapsulating the themes of Robyn’s universally acclaimed sixth album.

Says director Vitali: “As with any video, or anything in life at all in fact, it’s all about having great people around. We had amazing, beautiful people that brought amazing, beautiful energy, both in front of and behind the camera, and I hope that comes across.”

Robyn continues: “I was amazed by the warmth and open spirit of the cast. It was lovely to dance with them during the shoot, the energy was so cool. Max and I both wanted this video to feel loose and free and I was just so impressed of how everyone who came to be a part of the shoot just got it and gave it their all.”

Robyn and Max Vitali worked with longtime collaborators Maria Wahlberg aka Decida and Jefta Van Dinther and Thiago Granato for the choreography for the video. It is produced by Academy Films and shot by DOP Mathieu Plainfosse.

As previously announced, Robyn will be embarking on a full North American and European tour in support of Honey, her first full tour since 2013.  Red Bull Music Festival Los Angeles announced its line-up including two Robyn shows on February 22nd and 23rd at the Palladium. You can listen to Robyn’s 2018 Red Bull Music Festival lecture here.

Across five studio albums and a career spanning twenty-three years, Robyn has accumulated four UK top ten singles, five Grammy nominations, hundreds of millions of streams, and created some of the most memorable songs of the past two decades, including “Dancing On My Own,” “Call Your Girlfriend,” “Hang With Me” and “With Every Heartbeat.”

 

Jake Shears Brings His Self-Titled Solo Album to the Wonder Ballroom

By Sebastian Fortino

The electric front-man of the Scissor Sisters, which has been on hiatus since 2012, has not been idle. In February of 2018 he released his memoir Boys Keep Swinging, which I was lucky enough to review. On Monday, November 12th he takes his latest show to the Wonder Ballroom In Portland. He was raised partially in Washington State, and went to the Northwest School in Seattle. He tries to come back to the Pacific Northwest at least once a year, he told ProudTimes.

As a writer, especially as an interviewer, the first rule when approaching a subject is not to gush. For my recent interview with Jake Shears I have no shame in admitting I broke that rule. Repeatedly, I was total in fanboy mode.

That’s because there was a generation of young gay men who came of age in Manhattan. They frequented the once-gloriously queer Lower East Side. They went to hole-in-the-wall bars and danced, despite a ridiculous ban based on some ancient cabaret law. I came of age then, and so did Jake Spears.

Proud Times: So, first and foremost. How have the crowds been? Do you think they’re coming for the Scissor Sisters or are they coming to see Jake Shears?

Jake Shears: I think they’re coming to see me. They enjoy the Scissor Sister songs yeah, but the crowds have been amazing. These have been very special shows. People have, I don’t know how to put it into words, seems they missed this kind of music and performance. There’s an almost reverential feel at the concerts but it’s been loose and fun. I’ve worked hard on this show to give it an arc. It’s sort of like a piece unto itself. Storytelling, where the story goes, it’s really has a flow to it. The crowds have been so lovely, getting face to face with everyone again. Lots of gay men lot of women in the audience, and I’m very proud to be playing to be playing rock and roll to a lot of gay people. I don’t think queer people get rock and rool in that context.

PT:Your music is–well, so much sound, just so lush. How do you keep up with it when you’re doing your music live?

JS: I do have just absolutely killer musicians on this show, mostly from Louisville my sax player is such a great guy, he is the icing on the cake for this show. The strings are underneath but the show’s definitely got a full sound. I just have some great players with me. There’s so much horn on the record and the sax rounded the whole thing out. Always my dream to have a full time sax player.

PT: You said you didn’t want to turn your back on what you had written before. Did you think you had to veer away from your style to something newer to make it personal?

JS: I think there’s that tendency for me to “Oh what am i gonna do next, what is this gonna be.” I wanted to make music but what form it was gonna be? For instance this album, and the Scissor Sisters aesthetic is what I’m good at writing. You know emotionally semi-absurd theatrical rock and roll. When I realized I didn’t need to reinvent I wanted to continue that body of work. To me I look at all this music and it feels a little bit different, but it still feels like one body of work.

PT: So, was the album like a second coming of age, or even coming out again?

JS: Definitely finding myself & figuring myself out again. I just lost track of what I was supposed to be doing. At least for me every five or six years there is a sort of reassessment shedding of the skin.

PT: Ha, but don’t most gay men do that?

JS: I think so. Especially when your identity is so attached to what you do, what you create. If I don’t pay attention to it, I kinda feel like I am gonna undergo a small change soon. It’s been a massive year for me. I’ve gotten a lot done but at the moment I need to reassess who I am, what I wanna do next, and the best way to get there. Not just float along.

PT: In your memoir, Boys Keep Swinging, you wrote a stunning love letter to the late-90s to early 2000s in New York. You talked about being a gogo boy at I. C Guys, The Cock, and Wonderbar. It was pretty definitive for lots of people. Is there anything you especially miss about that New York?

JS: OH MY GOD! I miss everything about it. The only reason I spend time in NY now is friends, and you know, chosen family, and the theatre world. The stuff that happens downtown, club cumming, off-broadway. That’s why I go there. I hope young people found something similar to what we found. At the millenium it was downtown, that was the place to be. I don’t know where it is but I am sure some kids in NY are still doing it. But I miss the freedom of being that time & that age. You know just to hustle & the possibilities. I think very fondly of that time.

PT: Speaking of the memoir, how long did it take you to write?

JS: It was a two-year process but it was hand-in-hand with the album. They were good to work on together. I’d be in the studio for two weeks then writing for two weeks. I like to have a lot of projects going on at once. I think that keeps things exciting.

PT: What’s it like to be considered a gay icon? And–Big Bushy Mustache–is that talking about your celebrity?

JS: Icon has so many different connotations. I hope I’d made some kind of dent or change in the world with the stuff that I make and write. I’d like to think my creativity has made some kind of a difference for people. If that’s being an icon, that’s cool with me. I was in New Orleans when I wrote it.The core of it is: fags have more fun. That song to me about straight guys sort of standing on the other side of the road and looking at us and wishing they had as good of a time as we do.

PT: Yeah, I just read something that said most straight men settle down after having only 26 partners.

JS: Yeah, and so many of us say thank God I was born gay. There’s a reason for that.

PT: On that note: You said to Seth Myers, “Wow, I’ve slept with a lot of people.”We were pretty much the first generation to come of age when HIV was no longer a death sentence, and today we have Truvada, etc. Do you think it’s your celebrity or your generation that’s allowed you be a so-called whore? But we still have slut shamers. What do you think of that?

JS: It’s not my celebrity, and I’m making a wisecrack, I was having a lot of fun. I think gay guys have always been doing it. Sex was something very different than it is today. I think PrEP is amazing, I use it, I think all sexually active queer people should have access to PrEP. It’s a different world now. I am happy that I lived in a time without cell phones, no internet and I’m happy I came from that time. I feel like a got a good glimpse of what gay men went through to get where we are now.

PT: Continuing in that vein: When I hear a gay musician singing about sex or love or heartbreak I feel pretty empowered. Would you say you’re conscious of this, that it’s going to have intrinsic value to your gay fans when writing?

JS: I don’t think about it too much when I am writing. I do my best and hopefully, inherently, that gay and queer people coming from that perspective appreciate it. But I really try to make universal music. I want my music to have a universal feeling, to have anyone be able to listen to it, and access certain feelings, even coming from a certain perspective, or sexuality. I try to make it for everybody. I think about my mom when I make this music, I think about my mom’s friends. It’s just my personality. I think, for me it’s important that my music have a strong point of view yet be accessible.

PT: I guess a lot of people turn to your music because it’s always makes you feel pretty swell. Yet, Play a Sad Song Backwards is about turning your troubles inside out. Is it therapeutic? Or does it come naturally to craft songs that pretty much get you singing and smiling?

JS: I think the therapeutic part of it, for me, is when I’m on stage performing. When it’s good, bringing it to a stage. That’s why I make this music, to go into this part of my head. That’s where you know, it cleans the cobwebs out of my brain. I like that even the sad stuff has a life-affirming feel to it. I think that’s kind of a good word. Even the sad songs, they do have this life-affirmation. Not taking life for granted, not having a sinking feeling even when it gets to be the worst.

PT: Last and loaded: what’s happening next?

JS: I don’t really take breaks. When I am writing stuff–songs or making a book–I tend to need open space, like blank days. I am doing a book outline, and starting to write more songs again, I am constantly still working. My hustle is still on, trying to create and accomplish new fun things. I have to buckle down and start again. I am really excited to start a new musical. You plant your seeds, you tend your garden, and see how it grows. That’s how I do it.

When asked about a reunion, or project with the Scissor Sisters, Jake said he’d never rule it out. “But, he added, “I’m really enjoying this though. I’m really enjoying the freedom that I’ve got at the moment. For the moment I want to keep going like this. I am sure we’re gonna make another record. It has to be about something. It has to be inspired.

The album is called Jake Shears, and it’s the best thing about 2018. Check out tickets for the show at the Wonder Ballroom on Monday, Nov. 12th. He has upcoming shows at the Fillmore in San Francisco, and the El Rey in LA.

Look at Interview in November 2018 Proud Times:

 

Kenyth Mogan is Changing things up with his new song “Holy Water”

Proud Times has followed Kenyth Mogan’s musical career for the last few years and has with his new Song  Holy Water stopped us in our tacks.  This was a direction never expected by and artist who has mainly sang love songs. We dropped everything and set up this quick interview to find out where this song came from.

Holy Water is very different from your past songs, Why the change?

As a person and an artist I’m always growing. I feel like a lot of my songs followed this colorful and cartoonish path. I was called everything from “The geek pop-star,” to the “Wholesome Homo” and while those are parts of my personality, they are not who I am as a whole. As my wants and desires change, so should my music. The last thing I want to be is someone not authentic to myself.

So… who is the authentic Kenyth?

That’s a loaded question. I’m confident in who I am as a person, but as an artist, I’m still trying to figure it out.  Right after I released “Real Me” in 2017 I lost someone very important to me. So, I took a step back to relax, regroup, and re-figure who I wanted to be. As I mentioned, there’s a lot of different facets to my personality, I’m very exited to explore this one.

What kind of sound can listeners expect?


More mature for sure. There is still a huge pop influence, but a sense of alternativeness, adult contemporary, world, and even a touch of spook pop. Very different than what I’ve done before.

So, are you ashamed of the music you’ve released in the past?

Absolutely not! I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve done. Ever! I’ve just spent a lot of time, especially in the beginning of my career, listening to what other people thought the sound of the music I should recorded be, the style of the clothes I should wear, and the type of videos I should produce. I do love “Unlock Your Heart,” and the sound of Fall Apart as a whole, and for a minute, I think that’s honestly who I was. That’s one of the main reasons why he  Love EP was such a drastic change. I was told by someone that I couldn’t be anything more than someone who sang gay dance songs. I could never do the singer-songwriter thing. So I did. I co-wrote every song but one on that EP – then I put it out and said “Okay world, here ya go! Later!” I did absolutely nothing to promote it until I released the music video for “It Was Love” a year later. But, even with that, I was in such a hurry to show someone what I could do, on my own, that I didn’t ask anyone for help. It’s not horrible, but honestly, it could’ve been a lot better.

Did you collaborate with Tiffany Darwish and Tim Feehan on the writing of the song?

I did not. They wore it and I, as a fan of Tiffany’s discovered it. I don’t remember how or when I heard the song, but I know it was just a part of the chorus from Tiffany’s demo. I remember connecting to it immediately because I related to the lyrics. I grew up around people with addictive tendencies. I had a cousin struggling with an addiction to alcohol and cocaine and a boyfriend who struggled with a meth addiction until he ended up in prison and here I was, feeling helpless, because there was nothing I could but watch, and pray that their struggles didn’t lead them into an early grave. Holy Water is the type of song I think a lot of people can relate too – especially in the LGBT community.

In press release it say this: The song is a step in a more mature musical direction for Kenyth, which is something he’s ready for after years of being referred to as the cute gay geek. “I wouldn’t change what I’ve done, but the time for rainbow kisses and unicorn stickers have passed,” he says. “I’m excited to introduce people my new sound.”

This kind of goes with the first question. I’m always trying to grow as an artist and as a person. Unlock Your Heart was a beautifully produced video because of all the incredibly talented people involved. It was cute, and comical and cartoonish – and I loved it. It Was Love was super mushy, as was “Perfect Love,” and even the lyric video for “Real Me.” Again, I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve done, it’s just time for a change. It’s a good thing.

“Let No Holy Water Fall on you” is the key phrase and the main meaning of the song.  Tells how you feel when singing this part of the song.  

I thought about my cousin and my ex and how I would try to be the barrier that stood between them and their addictions. Sometimes it worked, sometimes they tore me down on the way to their fix. I tapped into that.

 

 Connect with Kenyth

YOUTUBE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | SOUNDCLOUD

SINGER-SONGWRITER KENYTH RELEASES NEW ACOUSTIC TRACK CO-WRITTEN BY TIM FEEHAN AND INTERNATIONAL POP ICON TIFFANY

Singer-songwriter Kenyth releases a personal and thought-provoking acoustic song, Holy Water (Basement Acoustic Recording), which is written by Canadian singer/songwriter Tim Feehan and international chart-topping pop icon Tiffany.

Released today, Holy Water (Basement Acoustic Recording) continues on from the success of Kenyth’s 2015 LGBT Wizard of Oz themed music video Unlock Your Heart and Real Me, the 2017 single featured in the soundtrack of the Del Shores directed feature, A Very Sordid Wedding.

Known for her  No. 1 mega-hit single I Think We’re Alone Now and international albums spanning four decades, Tiffany penned this raw and personal track with fellow singer-songwriter Tim Freehan. Performed by Kenyth, the track explores a more mature sound for his next release.

Kenyth said: “The song is about a loved one struggling with addiction. It’s something I feel a lot of people can relate to, especially those connected to the LGBT community, be it from their own personal experience or by witnessing a loved one who might be going through a dark time.

Tim and Tiffany’s song has allowed me to build on my own personal sound and hone my musical direction, something I am ready for after years of being referred to as the ‘cute gay geek’. In the current political climate, the time for rainbow kisses and unicorn stickers has passed and I’m really excited to introduce people to my new sound.”

With the music video in pre-production for an early 2019 release, this special acoustic release of Holy Water (Basement Acoustic Mix) is written by Tim Feehan and Tiffany, performed by Kenyth and features fellow LGBT artist Zee Machine on the track.

Holy Water (Basement Acoustic Mix) is available from November 30th 2018 on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and all online retailers.

 

CONNECT:
YOUTUBE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | SOUNDCLOUD

BETTY WHO RELEASES MUSIC VIDEO FOR “BETWEEN YOU & ME”

WATCH NOW!

Following the release of her forthcoming third album’s first single, “Between You & Me,” pop singer/songwriter BETTY WHO returns with a music video for the acoustic-powered track.

In the video, Betty plays both characters who find themselves navigating a powerful attraction. Of the filming experience, Betty says: “The video was a trip to film because, while playing against myself, I basically have to film the video twice. I never know how it’s going to turn out because as we’re filming it seems so high-concept but when I saw the final product I was so shocked. I can’t believe how bad I wanted me to end up with myself!”

Since the song’s release earlier this month, it has been streamed more than 400,000 times on Spotify and garnered praise from numerous press outlets such as Rolling Stone, NYLON, Idolator, DuJour and L’Officiel USA.

WATCH “BETWEEN YOU & ME” HERE

STREAM/DOWNLOAD “BETWEEN YOU & ME” HERE

ABOUT BETTY WHO

Casting a striking presence as a performer, emanating confidence as a writer, and inspiring as an independent force, Australia-born and Los Angeles-based pop star Betty Who has quietly elevated herself to a worldwide phenomenon on her own terms. Acclaimed by Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, Rolling Stone, Buzzfeed, Elle Magazine, and more, Betty’s sophomore album, The Valley, yielded a string of international hits, including “I Love You Always Forever” certified double-platinum in Australia and “Human Touch.” Total Spotify streams exceed 150 million as she regularly averages over 3.3 million monthly listeners on the platform. Beyond countless sold out headline tours, she’s delivered knockout television appearances on The Today Show, Late Night With Seth Meyers, The View, and many more aside. Betty’s commitment to charity, health, and wellness matches her passion for music. She has given performances to benefit UNICEF, ACLU, Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, Human Rights Campaign, and many more. Betty will release her third studio album Betty on February 15, 2019. The album’s first single “Between You & Me” is available everywhere now. Betty will mark the first independently released record of the singer’s career.

For more information, please visit http://www.bettywhomusic.com/.

UPSAHL PREMIERES MUSIC VIDEO FOR NEW SINGLE “THE OTHER TEAM”

WATCH “THE OTHER TEAM” MUSIC VIDEO HERE
LISTEN TO “THE OTHER TEAM” HERE

SET TO SUPPORT MAX FROST ON
2019 TOUR & APPEAR AT SXSW

“A vibrant debut…an instantly catchy chorus — the vocals sound refined enough to be taken for an industry mainstay.” – Billboard
“A bubbling swaying number…the 19-year-old artist displays a mature grasp and sense of self-awareness when it comes to relationships and her own emotions” – Consequence of Sound
Today, UPSAHL debuts the music video for her single “The Other Team” on Refinery29. Directed by Ally Pankiw [Janelle Monáe, Ariana Grande], the cinematic video sees the 19-year-old songstress return to high school. Humming the song’s unshakable melody, UPSAHL sits down for “Picture Day” in front of a sky blue backdrop as she relays a cheeky story of unrequited love brought to life by vivid colors, energetic dance routines, and other vignettes of wistful freshmen nostalgia.
Watch the video here:

“‘The Other Team’ is about unrequited feelings and crushing on people that don’t like you back, so we figured that a high school setting was the perfect place to showcase the feeling that we all know too well. Everyone is always going to be swinging for somebody else’s ‘other team,’ so you’ll be seeing a bunch of missed connections between characters throughout the video, while we all dance and run around a high school. It definitely has some ‘Breakfast Club’ vibes, so it really takes you back to high school and the whirlwind of emotions that go with it; even though I was just in high school, it still felt like a little throwback.” – UPSAHL
Within a month since its release, “The Other Team” has generated 200,000 streams in addition to garnering acclaim from Billboard, Consequence of Sound, Alternative Press, Idolator, Ones To Watch, and more.
Revealing her touring plans for early 2019, UPSAHL will join Max Frost on half of his Gold Rush Tour in March/April, ending at The Troubadour in Los Angeles on April 10. March will also see UPSAHL make her SXSW debut. Check out the full confirmed itinerary below.
Setting the stage for big things in the year to come, “The Other Team” paves the way for the 2019 release of her upcoming debut EP.
Before even graduating high school, UPSAHL wrote and released a self-titled EP, which gained much-deserved recognition throughout the Phoenix music scene. A graduate of the Arizona School for the Arts, a performing arts middle/high school, UPSAHL continued to hone her craft, while being classically trained on piano, guitar and choir every day.
UPSAHL went on to ignite a groundswell of fan adoration and tastemaker praise by way of numerous indie pop gems. “Can You Hear Me Now” achieved palpable viral buzz followed by “Kiss Me Now” and “Rough.” Her enigmatic, endearing, and entrancing style garnered widespread critical acclaim from Nylon, Consequence of Sound, Indie Shuffle, Live Nation’s Ones To Watch, The Line of Best Fit, and more. Signing to Arista, her rise to pop ubiquity (on her own terms) has only just begun.
2019 TOUR DATES
3/13-3/16        Austin, TX                              SXSW+
3/18                Ann Arbor, MI                        Blind Pig*
3/19                Cleveland, OH                       Grog Shop*
3/20                Toronto, ON                           Baby G’s*
3/22                Boston, MA                            Great Scott*
3/25                New York, NY                         Bowery Ballroom*
3/26                Washington, D.C.                   DC9*
3/28                Carrboro, NC                         Cat’s Cradle*
3/29                Atlanta, GA                             Aisle 5*
3/30                Nashville, TN                          High Watt*
3/31                Dallas, TX                               Dada*
4/2                  Houston, TX                           House of Blues – Bronze Peacock*
4/4                  Austin, TX                               Scoot Inn*
4/6                  Phoenix, AZ                            Valley Bar*
4/8                  San Diego, CA                       House of Blues – Voodoo Room*
4/10                Los Angeles, CA                    Troubadour*
*/supporting Max Frost
+Festival
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