On club scenes: weird vibes, superficiality, and other things I’ve observed as a dj in NYC.

by fxwrk

My homie KALA (Jaryd, a member of my crew #KUNQ) wrote this Facebook status a few days ago:

“Every month I lose interest in what the club scene has become. More and more of superficial vibes, throwing shade, and being rude & fake AF. But then I hear “Stop Oppression and POC need to unite” when individuals keep dividing themselves up.
It isnt everybody and the music still bumps.”

83 people liked it, a great deal of them people I know or know of, who are part of said club scenes, which I found fascinating. If so many people feel the exact same way, then who is engaging in this behavior? My idea is that it’s not a majority, but a handful of people who rise to positions of power/relevance/visibility, creating this negative vibration with their insecurities, egos, and need for interpersonal dominance and control, which then spill over into the space, like a well dressed, shady squid spewing ink into the water around them. Some of these people hide it from their friends/squad, so that only people outside of the group experience said behavior, and there is no inbuilt mechanism to check or challenge it. I wrote the following comment below, but then deleted it, because I am a pariah in scenes and I often feel like my observations are almost…too real. Socially dangerous for me to expose them freely although, to be fair, I’m already an outcast and the majority of these people don’t give two fucks what I do or say, anyway :D…. So here it is:

Over years its started to seem like lotsa club scenes in major cities in general are outgrowths of capitalism, based around consumption and a profit motive, largely made possible by white men who own venues, breeding grounds for pathological escapism/superficial meaningfulness, rife with social gatekeeping and stratification especially among already marginalized/displaced people using it for a sense of identity/personal relevance instead of allowing a stable, internal sense of self to create a positive/healing external reality at the club….some scenes often seem to me, to be attempts to fill voids that genuine community should fill, unless, of course, you are in the clique/in-group that runs it. (And even within those…there is infighting.) The vibration be off af sometimes. I can tell when someone else is feeling it too because I can sense the same anxiety in them, through a chat or a brief glance across the room.We’ve probably had one or a few of those moments IRL, lol. Plus, since more underground scenes are not bolstered by the big corporate engines that back, say, EDM, this forces the need for competition so that you can rise in relevance over the next person and get booked more/payed more…the rent in NYC is high as hell. Things become about turnout, about having people with mad social media followers and the right look/aesthetic on the lineup, about selling tickets and overpriced mixed drinks, about getting all the *right* press acknowledgement, about being trendy and cool and exclusive. At so many parties I have noticed people standing around, clearly judging people they are not there with, refusing to interact with anyone outside of their group,  talking shit while smoking cigarettes in corners, making sure they take perfect selfies for the gram with the right people. I sense what is going on in a space, to an extreme degree. This is why, in my younger days, I had to get wasted to even be comfortable in these spaces, otherwise my awareness would manifest as severe, painful anxiety in my body, which was trying to scream NO to all the posturing and hiding, NO to the not love and not community and not friendliness it was encountering, often under the guise of being an empowering/non normative space….(see why I didn’t post my comment on his status? Lol. I’m too much.)

Also, in our postmodern western society on the brink of transformation/collapse, i’m not sure anymore if my efforts in nightlife have really been useful/healing/revolutionary in any meaningful way. I have way, wayyy too many stories, its sad, and you know i’m a genuinely kindhearted person since we met, and i know that about you as well….(def more closed off now but safer that way)…..I have had panic attacks due to shade so cold, unexpected and unwarranted all i could do in that moment was sit by myself on the bench at trans pecos wondering why Im even there at all, thinking of all the energy i probably wasted wearing my heart on my sleeve in these environments…..that said, i find it so interesting, this disappointing shared experience/perspective we both have, which many other commenters and likers seem to have resonated with, despite the intense absence of this dialogue on social media.. overall im not judging, these are just observations. its totally NOT everyone and there are good and bad sides to all things. but thank u again for speaking up, not everyone can or will. grateful to have been given a space to reflect/express about this.

I will speak more on this soon, and maybe even tell a few stories.