Nia Archives uplifts non-male DJs with 'Bad Gyalz' rave: “Sisterhood in dance spaces is so important”

Earlier this month, Nia Archives organised a day rave with a line-up of feminine and non-binary DJs, selling inclusivity within the rave scene. The award-winning DJ and producer spoke to NME concerning the occasion alongside a number of the acts on the invoice.

The Unhealthy Gyalz rave happened in East London on August 6 and featured a set from Nia Archives, in addition to her mentor and UK dance legend DJ Flight, Pxssy Palace (Nadine Door and Mya Mehmi), Sim0ne, Izzy Bossy and Saint Lude.

“I’ve always wanted to do a Bad Gyalz rave,” Nia advised NME after taking up a delivery dock with a few of London’s immense DJ expertise. “I’ve been running ‘Up Ya Archives’ events for nearly a year and surprisingly those parties are full of young women under the age of 25. So I really wanted to do a party for all the baddies.”

Recognized for championing the LGBTQIA+ neighborhood within the clubbing house, Pxssy Palace’s Door and Mehmi stated it was “normal” for them to be on a solely feminine and queer line-up. They added that they “love to be in that bubble” of consolation such environments create for them.

Nia Archives’ Unhealthy Gyalz rave CREDIT: Talia Beale

Noor defined that the very fact they “pretty much DJ with other women, trans and non-binary people”, or at occasions to honour initiatives like South Asian Heritage Month, typically making them really feel like “tokens” on different, much less inclusive line-ups. “[Just because they DJ on predominantly LGBTQIA+ line-ups] doesn’t mean boys shouldn’t book us,” they stated. “We don’t just play for the girlies. We’re serious DJs.”

Their musical accomplice Mehmi added that it’s “hard to really gauge how much things have changed” as a result of she principally seems on line-ups that champion inclusivity. “I’ll be like, ‘Oh my God! this is amazing,” she defined, “The music scene is amazing. Progression.’ And then I’ll get booked for something where there are more men on the line-up or men-ran and I’m like, ‘Oh.’”

“I was excited to be asked,” stated Scottish DJ Sim0ne, who’s now primarily based in London. “Especially when I found out that the lineup was, like, predominantly female and just a safe space.” Coming to music from the modelling and content-creating worlds, she defined she anticipated “a lot of misogyny when [she] made this shift into a more male-dominated space”, however had been shocked by what she discovered.

“We’re not there yet,” she stated of progress made in equality for ladies within the DJ scene. “But I do think there’s a lot of good people making a lot of good moves. There’s a slow shift, but as long as everyone’s sort of looking towards the same direction, we should hopefully get there.”

Uplifting different feminine and non-binary DJs was a part of the intention behind the Unhealthy Gyalz rave – a theme that may be felt in Nia’s newest single ‘Bad Gyalz’, which was launched on August 3. “Big love to all mi rude gyal / Let me see you come through gyal,” the lo-fi jungle observe goes, uplifting girls and non-binary folks and exhibiting that there’s sisterhood within the digital and dance music areas.

“I think sisterhood in dance spaces is so important,” Nia advised NME. “It makes people feel more welcome in those spaces.”

“It’s the reason I’m still in it,” Mehmi agreed. “The world treats us with a lack of care and a lack of thought and, within our circle, we’ve created an environment where we not only appreciate each other’s talent but also take care of each other’s mental health and each other’s general capacity and hold a lot of space for each other in that regard.”

“Our DJ-musician community and the people around us, they’re so unbelievably amazing and supportive and as we are to them,” Noor added. “But then again, on the flip side of that, we are just passing the same 20 pounds to each other.”

Talking concerning the assist she’s acquired from different girls, Sim0ne stated: “There’s definitely enough space for all the men, that’s proven. So there’s enough space for women. So we should all be lifting each other up and going to the top together.” The DJ added that, as a result of quite a lot of digital and dance music has been created by queer folks of color, “it’s really important to include” these artists on line-ups and “highlight and shine upon” them.

In her NME cowl story final yr, Nia spoke about her experiences as a DJ, together with the viral “horrible” second when a safety guard stopped her headline Boiler Room set by reaching over the decks and shutting off the music. “People can see that intimidation still happens, and when people complain about the issues within the dance community, it’s not just them moaning,” she defined. “Dance music has had kind of a problem with creating a safe space for women.”

On the Unhealthy Gyalz rave, although, Nia and the line-up she curated proved that didn’t must be the case. “We had a sick line-up full of baddies who absolutely killed it covering a range of genres and music,” she advised NME. “It was overall such a fun event and brought in a cool crowd.”

Nia Archives on the cover of NME

Nia Archives on the quilt of NME

Final March, Nia dropped her third EP ‘Sunrise Bang Ur Head Against Tha Wall’. In a four-star assessment, NME wrote, “… It’s her songwriting that basically takes the highlight on this EP. Much less reliant on beats to get you shifting, its toned-down really feel makes you sit with Nia’s tales and see the particular person behind the tunes she spins.

“Being able to show so much humanity and versatility so early in her career is highly respectable and if this is a glimpse of the future, Nia Archives looks set to become an unstoppable generational talent.”

In June, the NME Award winner launched ‘Off Wiv Ya Headz’, a flip of A-Trak’s legendary rendition of Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ ‘Heads Will Roll’. In the meantime, she DJed at Glastonbury and Coachella this yr.

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