As part of UNITI’s PLUR (Peace Love UNITI Rave) event series, this spring equinox party will feature live sets from Vancouver’s x/o, Mun Sing (aka Giant Swan’s Harry Wright), UNITI founder Englesia, as well as DJ sets from Eastern Margins Allstars and DJ Pussiephuss. The event is a pairing of two forward-thinking London club initiatives: Eastern Margins, who provide space for East and South-East Asian club musicians, along with UNITI, a platform that foregrounds LGBTQ+, womxn as well as non-binary DJs and producers.
Eastern Margins have compiled a Spotify playlist of some their favourite tracks by the artists performing at the event. Listen to a 2018 track from x/o called ‘Orchid Dream’ below.**
Providing a space where women and LGBTQ people can “have fun and be themselves” is at the heart of what London-based collective Uniti say they are trying to achieve through their music and events. All DJs and producers themselves, they hold a monthly spot on Radar Radio, and have also been featured on NTS and Super Kitchen. The trio includes Terribilis (Molly O’Reilly) who is currently working on her first EP ‘Interlude Music’, Ganx (Alice Bettinger) who focuses on experimental electronics and bass and Englesia who is also a vocalist.
With community at the forefront of their desires, the producers hope to expand further in the future, and ultimately create a ‘movement’ that is far-reaching and all inclusive. “We would like what we do to have an effect on people outside of our circle – whether it’s donating profits to charity (like we did with our party in August, to Solace Women’s Aid) or offering even bigger platforms for women and LGBTQ+ folk to be offered, so more people like us can be inspired to follow their dreams and also be provided a safe community space that supports them,” explain the trio via email.
AQNB discussed what brought Uniti together, the wave of new queer and feminist party scenes that’s running through London and the importance of having a strict ‘safer space’ policy.
** How did Uniti come about, how do you all know each other?
Terribilis:I met Englesia at a club in 2015 — we immediately hit it off and she invited me ’round for pre-drinks before Trance Party the next week, where I met Alice (Ganx).It was so great to meet other femmes who were into making music. Early last year I decided I wanted to start a party that gave a platform to marginalised artists, but I knew I couldn’t do that on my own, so it just felt right to ask Englesia and Alicem, and of course they were so down for it.
** What sort of state is the London club scene in right now do you think, do you feel positive or worried about where it’s headed?
T: Ithink we’re very lucky to live in London because its one of the best cities to party in, as I’m constantly told by people who have travelled a lot. But with a lot of clubs being closed down, I think the scene here definitely has declined in that sense. In the same breath, though, we’re seeing a rise in marginalised artists recently and that’s the start of something really exciting to happen to our scene. I’m really glad Uniti is a part of that. An issue I do have with the London music scene though is egos. There is a lot of a clique mentality and, for me, that just ruins the hedonistic vibe that the London club scene had once upon a time.
GANX:I think it’s definitely improved since I first started going to clubs. I’m not sure if that’s because I’ve just become more committed to seeking out intersectional and diverse lineups, or that more and more are popping up. Regardless, we’re so lucky to be surrounded by people that have similar goals and interests, and support them as much as possible. However, as Molly said, some nights can create intimidating environments.
Englesia: I think that we have definitely been part of a new movement in the past year or so in London, where a larger number of politically-focussed club nights have come about, whether to raise money or just generally offer a specified space for queer women or queer POC (for example, Magic Clit / BBZ). Also, seeing these nights happen not just at one venue, but spread out across Dalston & Peckham! And venues taking notice of safe spaces and becoming more complicit, for example The Alibi has a sick new programmer (shout-out Giulia of Girlfriends) who has been putting a focus on women-run nights / queer nights, as well as improving the space and vibe overall. It’s been kind of amazing being a part of this wave and having an opportunity to take a stand against the bullshit misogyny and harassment that’s been omnipresent in club scenes throughout history.
** How do you monitor and create a safer environment for your attendees, do you run into any problems in trying to curate that atmosphere?
T: Ultimately, you just have to make your party known as a safer space by establishing this online, putting up posters, and reminding people that if they have an issue while they are at one of your parties, that they should feel comfortable to come and tell you. You have to be unapologetic with people that are making others feel uncomfortable, and you have to create a space that accommodates a whole range of people.
G:We always post our policy on the event page, and also put posters up. It’s something that’s been very important to us, and our venue (The Yard) has collaborated with us to make it happen; the security staff and bar staff are all aware of our policy and its terms. We’ve been very lucky in that respect.
** Do you collaborate with other collectives?
T:We have a quarterly residency coming up at the Alibi this year, which starts on May 5, and we plan to collaborate with some other femme-inclusive collectives for a couple of them.That’s really the best way to create a sense of community.
** Who are some of your current inspirations and favourite artists/producers?
T:My all time favourite would be the queen of techno, Paula Temple and my current favourite would be Detroit rapper Asian Doll. I wish we had the funds to fly her over. Maybe one day!
G:I am currently really inspired by all of Ziúr’s work, as well as the new Pharmakon LP Contact, which is blowing my mind.
E: I recently wrote about this on my social medias — every venue and every promoter that throws an event must take responsibility for the space they put people in. You are 100 per cent complicit if there are people at your party who are predators and you’ve been made aware of this. It doesn’t matter if your friends are cool with them, or you are cool with them, or you didn’t see the harassment happen yourself. You’re literally a ‘POS’ if you don’t care for the people in your space.
For those who experience/ have experienced harassment at parties and most specifically similar events (or even at the same party) — do you think a person really wants to return to a space where they have been violated and the promoters don’t seem to care that there are predators in this space? Music in our scene (‘alternative’ dance music lol) is created for freaks by freaks, and by this you would assume the promoters in our scene would aim to be all-inclusive, or at least for those who have been excluded or mistreated in normal spaces and are finding a way to let out their frustrations with the way they are treated outside of these spaces. It doesn’t matter how good the music is if the trade-off is a feeling of being unsafe and on edge, or if it’s violation.**
The Stockholm-based producer — who’s worked with the likes of other Gravity Boys-affiliated artists and emcees Bladee and Thaiboy Digital, as well as producers White Armor and Yung Sherman — will appear at the Hackney space and venue with support from Manchester-based producer Croww.