The first He.She.They saw London’s iconic Ministry of Sound enjoy what was arguably it’s most interesting and varied event in quite some time. For a club that is no stranger to stellar lineups, He.She.They certainly brought their A-game in terms of talent – from the established icons such as Satoshi Tomiie and Maya Jane Coles, to stars-in-ascendance Wax Wings and Zyon.
As previously explored in Back To Culture, He.She.They. is an entity borne of a sense of inclusivity, a safe space where people can be themselves and where ‘experimentation is encouraged’. And it certainly felt that this was the case – no bad vibes, no moodiness, and a friendly, welcoming familial atmosphere that made the Ministry of Sound feel like an oasis, reminiscent of the way people who were there speak of the Paradise Garage, the club that originally inspired the creation of the Ministry. We spoke once again with Steven Braines, the head of the Weird and the Wonderful team that made He.She.They happen…
Now that the dust has settled from the inaugral He.She.They – how was it from your perspective?
Well, we’re doing more events off the back of it which is always a good sign! You never know what’s going to happen when something finally goes on sale and it was an official London Fashion Week festival event so that was an added pressure – but it was rammed, so around 3am my anxiety subsided and I actually started to properly enjoy everything. I’m such a worrier!
Everyone seemed to be having a great time, and we certainly didn’t encounter any bad vibes – do you think that the inclusive ethos of the night successfully carried over to those present?
The feedback has been so heart warming. From the djs to dancers to staff to our team and of course the crowd, everyone seemed to get what we were wanting to achieve. It was such a nice atmosphere with such a diverse crowd; which evidenced the whole point of the night. Let people be people, let them feel included and they will get along!
Musically, it was brilliantly diverse – are you planning to switch up the music policy each time?
It all depends on each venue, as the more rooms, the more flexibility with the music policy. Ministry has four rooms so it really allowed us to vary the programming. We’ll always have a strong love of electronic music as organizers, but that said we have quite a catholic taste of genres and we want things to feel fresh so the next London event will have some changes. Maya Jane Coles definitely set the bar as a far as a headliner – Ellen and Satoshi were masterful but even newer acts like Zyon and Emerald showed why we booked them; and I think KDA definitely showed why he’s earning a new “Prince of the Underground” title with his set. Four different djs played his song “Hate Me” on the night – so that’s definitely an anthem for us already.
What can you tell us about your plans for the next instalment of He.She.They??
I wish I could tell you more but we’re just finalising some things. I think Wax Wings will be coming with us… We’ve got some European dates in some of our favourite clubs in the world and I think they’ll be announced over the course of the month. If we don’t have a line-up we like we won’t do a show. You have to put the art and ethos first.
Finally, where did you get your ornate headdress from? It looked amazing!
Ahahahahahahaha! The headdress was my favourite part of the night! I shop in some very weird places.
Wax Wings closed the main room at He.She.They with an incendiary set, playing back to back with Warboy. With the past year having seen releases on Skint Records and increasingly high profile dj gigs, it certainly looks like Wax Wings is shaping up to be one of the key artists of 2018…
What’s happening in the world of Wax Wings right now?
Things are busy at the moment. The remix package for my recent EP Gravedance is about to drop featuring cuts from ABSOLUTE., Venice Calypso, D-Code & Psylence and Warboy (who I had the best time B2B with at He.She.They). Gearing up to do shows with Maya Jane Coles in Dublin and Glasgow, gonna be an awesome weekend!!
He.She.They. was an amazing event from where we were on the dancefloor – how was it for you?
It was a really special evening! There were so many amazing things to enjoy visually and musically. I have been to and played at MOS a few times now but the atmosphere was so different this time. The whole ethos of HST had been taken on board and I felt an acceptance and level of respect between everyone attending. Getting to document all of this via a Beatport Instagram takeover was all the more fun too, show the world how to party!
Do you think that HST could be heralding a bit of a change in London clubbing and it’s attitudes?
I hope that HST can set an example that it really isn’t that difficult to be respectful of people no matter their background or presentation, first and foremost. I think having parties with such ideologies specifically in super clubs offers a platform for a wider audience to understand and experience this notion. I was so proud to be a part of this and hope to feel the same at other events, take notes people.
There seemed to be a great effort in terms of sartorial expression at HST, you looked fantastic as always!
The dancers uniformed in the HST fetish outfits were an incredible statement. Fuelling both the party and a reminder to respect those goddamn pronouns! Lewis G Burton in a pink velour tracksuit and satanic lingerie sending the crowd wild, and HST founders Steven Braines and Sophia Kearney had even come leather clad and ready to dance it out. Sometimes you want to make an impact but a subtle one, that catches the crowd off guard in the flash of a strobe light revealing the zombie eye.
We loved your Gravedance EP here at Back To Culture – what can you tell us about your next release?
Thank you. My next release takes you on a different tangent, it’s very true to my WW style pulling you closer to the sound of my future album. ‘Whisper EP’ (via The Weird And The Wonderful X Skint) features deeper house cuts and bass music dipping into reggae feelings at times. I’m excited after rolling into the new year with such great feedback and support, and ready to keep up the momentum!
What’s coming up in 2018 for you?
There’s more EPs, an album in the pipes, international dates and festivals being discussed. It’s early in the year and knowing how I work sporadically and uncontrollably there’s bound to be some strange avenues along the way. Excited nonetheless.
Wax Wings “Gravedance” EP is out now on Skint Records
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