Interview with Venus X
Playing at warehouses in Bushwick and fashions shows at New York Fashion Week, DJ Venus X has transcended the many facets of the New York music scene. Her eclectic sets have drawn the admiration of both fashion designers, scenesters and the art world. We had the opportunity to sit down with her right before her show in Toronto tonight at the Hoxton.
What is GHE20GOTHIK?
It’s a party, and it’s a sound and started out as a bar night in 2009 by myself, and then it kept growing from one bar to another bar, to a club and eventually a warehouse. Along the journey it picked up members, like Shayne – my main partner. It’s a way of life – it kind of encompasses New York and the youth culture there. It was a response to the mainstream culture that was happening – punk parties were punk parties, house parties were house parties, indie parties were indie parties, no one was mixing sounds or crowds – Ghe20Gothik brought together all the different promoters and DJ’s and it just blew up.
How would you describe your own personal style?
My style is always changing – I want to be comfortable, but I also want to be myself. I don’t want to be dressing the same way everyone else is dressing. I really like to wear all white and I also love photo wrap, like clothing that has a photo image over a whole shirt. Like clouds or tabloid images. Really weird shit – I mean I have a shirt that has Audrina from The Hills on it.
There are very few female dj’s, why do you think it’s such a boys club?
That’s a crazy question because it’s the same reason why there aren’t a lot of female rappers . I think it has a lot to do with gender roles – women spend too much time making sure they look perfect, and don’t sweat or look bad in pictures. I’ve had to give all that up to throw parties and run a club – it sucks because it fucked with my self esteem. I didn’t look perfect in every picture – I was sweaty and wearing flats, but that’s what you have to do to get the job done. Men don’t have all these aesthetic restrictions on them. They can be fat, ugly and poorly dressed and make tonnes of money and be great DJ’s and rappers. Until girls experience an aesthetic liberation they won’t be able to function. Girls are going to get better at doing things once they stop caring what people think and what they look like.
What are some of your biggest female musical influences?
Some of my favourite female musical influences are, Fatma Al Qadiri – a close friend of mine, she’s a Kuwaiti electronic producer. Asma Maroof, half of Nguzunguzu, a DJ duo that DJ’s Ghe20Gothic a lot. I really like jazz vocalists like Billie Holiday. There’s this woman in Lebanon, Haifa Webeh – she’s my favourite person right now. She’s like if JLo now and Janet Jackson 15 years ago had a baby – that’s her. She’s a 40 year old pop star who makes really weird videos and she’s an anomaly and I love her.
Who would you like to collaborate with?
She’s not a musician at all, she’s a writer and her name is Octavia Butler. I’d love to write a soundtrack to one of her books. She was a black sci-fi writer, and wrote about time travel and vampires – but mixed it with racial and social issues. It wasn’t heavy, but it was. Her storytelling is phenomenal.
What’s on the horizon for you? Any new projects in the works?
I’m going to take the next couple months to work on some mix-tapes and create a new set, a new sound – something more evolved than what I’ve been doing. I want to graduate to the next level and incorporate my own voice, with drops and loops and samples. I want to lock myself in a room and see what happens. I think by the end of the year I’ll have a good amount of stuff, but I want to put it out little by little.