When DJ’ing for the House of Gunt, I see myself as a facilitator providing the sonic backdrops for the performers. My role in the group is somewhat passive. However, that notion dissolves the moment the last Gunt has left the stage and Mama Flu has said her last words. At that point I must activate the room, kick it into gear, and make bodies move.
I consider being a part of the House of Gunt as one of the greatest learning experiences of my career as a DJ. The House of Gunt doesn’t always throw dance parties, but when we do I become a facilitator for that cause, creating a mix that is as eclectic and uninhibited as the performers encourage the crowd to be. The music assists by playing a role just as crucial as the set or performance in taking ownership of the space and creating an inclusive environment for the audience.
Working with the HoG has also been the greatest unlearning experience. Being around people who do not adhere to heteronormativity is healing for someone socialized as a white cis male. The parties, pre-party planning sessions, Sakura Buffet marathons, and casual hang outs have allowed me to identify the ways in which I was adhering to rigid binary standards and then enabled me to breakdown those behaviors. I mean, sometimes I feel totally not worthy and like an idiot on stage and it is healthy for my ego!
My own history as a DJ generally revolved around “underground” events that were somewhat specialized. At these types of parties the DJ often functions less as a facilitator and more as primary performer leading an informed and often niche audience. At one point I sort of got tired with what I saw as a lack of surprise in my routine since I was mainly getting booked to play these genre-specific events.
Prior to joining forces with The House of Gunt, I was working as a wedding DJ to make ends meet. While that was by no means a dream gig, I was weirdly excited by the concept of not having to wow audiences already intimately acquainted with the craft or the music I make. Even though Djing for weddings could be soul draining at times, it somehow prepared me for working with the HoG. It taught me how to adapt in a chaotic environment: like how to know when to cover my gear and dodge flying liquids or foods, how to accommodate others with different tastes than myself, how to deal with building playlists around other’s needs, how to work timing for performers, how to collect tracks from multiple performers each with demanding schedules, and how to be ok with playing from the back of the venue (my new favorite place, to be honest).
My involvement with the HoG has shaped my personal vision for dance music, and has manifested itself in projects like MOM Radio: a collaborative effort with the inimitable CH Rom that strives to present a diverse range of performers outside of the generic and basic channels producing sponsored content. In fact, MOM will be hosting a House of Gunt megamix in the near future.
I can’t stress the fact that the best audiences I’ve played for have been the ones here in Savannah at House of Gunt shows and at my Cape Fear events which became extensions of the Gunt shows with fewer drag performances and way less overhead lighting. I would like to dedicate a mix to all the fine people who come for the Gunt and stay for the dance. This mix is less a typical House of Gunt party simulation and more a “Get to know the DJ” mix filled with lots of original productions and edits as well as some HoG favorites. Please enjoy.