Community comes first: In conversation with Big Dyke Energy and Daytimers

 
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Music

Earlier this month Daytimers and Big Dyke Energy joined forces to release Celebrating Pride: For the Community, by the Community: a charity compilation championing queer artists.

Individually these two collectives have done so much for their communities. Since their inception in 2020, Daytimers have provided a platform for South Asian artistry through events, releases and, more recently, the first all South Asian Boiler Room and Dialled In, the first all South Asian music festival. Similarly through their record label and party, South London’s Big Dyke Energy have established a space that prioritises queer women, trans+ and non-binary communities, on and off the dancefloor.

 

This shared passion for community is what first brought the collectives together. After marching at Trans Pride, BDE co-founder Elliott and Riva, a core member of the Daytimers crew, wanted to encapsulate this collective queer energy in a way that spotlighted the community, whilst raising money for two very important causes: Mermaids and the Human Dignity Trust.

Bringing on board Daytimers’ Art & Design Director Amad, who is behind most of the visual elements of Daytimers and their projects, the crews set about rallying together artists who upheld the same values and outlook. The release amasses original work from eight producers – including India Jordan, Sherelle and Darama, as well as tracks from Elliott (under their FAFF alias) and a debut production from Riva – and two poets who explore trans liberation and pride and queerness in the diaspora.

Here we dig deeper into their shared vision, the process behind the release and what they admire about one another’s work.

 

Congratulations on the compilation, how did the idea come about?

Elliott: Riva and I were marching together at Trans Pride this year and after lockdown it felt so special to be around our fellow queers. We really wanted to capture that feeling and do something proactive for the community. Riva brought Amad on board who had the same vision as us. We decided on a compilation so we could showcase queer talent whilst raising money for two great charities.

What brought you together as collectives? Did you feel there was a synergy between you in terms of your mission and your values?

Elliott: I’ve followed Daytimers pretty much since the collective was established. Their mission and values are very aligned with us in that they want to create safe spaces that celebrate marginalised identities and nurture new talent. I really admire what Daytimers has done in the South Asian community and the wider music scene – they’ve completely changed the game. Bringing together the queer subsect of Daytimers with BDE has been a dream collab because it just works really well between us. I’ve learned a lot from Amad and Riva and I really value them as pals, as well as respect what they bring to the table musically and creatively.

 

What are the biggest benefits of pooling your resources and working together?

Amad: I think they are so many benefits of pooling our resources and working together. The first being making something like this project possible. We wanted to make a project that showcased the queer community in such a way that it created something fresh and new. Daytimers and Big Dyke Energy have been doing their own work respectively with in their communities to uplift and amplify but this gave us a chance to come together and show people that these artists and producers have every right to be in this space. I think for us also working together was very easy and never felt like we had different ideas on how to do things. Me, Elliot. And Riva felt like a family right from the start and we were able to show that through the work we put into this. Also, from each side of the spectrum we have artists like Darama, Manuka Honey. Enayet , No Nation sharing the same space as India Jordan, Sherelle and our very own FAFF and Riva.

How was the release process? Talk us through the artists involved and their contributions…

Riva: The Compilation includes contributions from eight producers and two poets. We tried to include artists from various intersections so that the Compilation captures as much of the community as possible. Each track has such a unique energy, message and experience. In addition, we included two beautiful poems by Tee and Nivetha. One touches on trans pride and the other on queerness from a POC perspective.

 

What’s the reaction to the release been like so far?

Amad: The reaction has been really powerful and touching. This compilation has found its way to so many people and we never really expected it. It was an intense labor of love which  honestly we haven’t had time to celebrate let alone process. All the artists we work with have been so proud to be a part of it and have told us they felt so honored because they saw the truth and the message we wanted to bring into the world. We already almost sold out of the vinyls before we even had a proper time to promote them which is just inspiring itself. Also, the charities we worked with Human Dignity Trust and Mermaids have been so helpful letting us create something we wanted and raise the funds to help the queer community with the amazing work they have done.

 
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What does Pride mean to you as individuals and as collectives?

Amad: This is a tough one, as someone who never really felt that pride that most queer people felt its taken me some time to feel that with this compilation I really have a chance not just to say that but also to have other people who may not have felt the same way feel this way now. Pride and Community are all one and the same to me, Pride is about our collective experiences – our wins our losses, just wanted to see each other do well and celebrate our lives and who we are. This is what I learned from this compilation.

Looking at each other’s approach and objectives, what is it you admire about one another as collectives?

Riva: To me, BDE has been an instrumental player in building queer nightlife in London. Their space and parties are incredible, a place where you feel free and accepted. I am so inspired by Elliott, as a friend, producer, promoter and DJ. They show you how it is done, how to do it properly and that we should embrace growth. It has been such an honour to collab with them.

Elliott: From taking over room 2 in Fabric, organising Dialled In Festival for the South Asian community, to smashing Boiler Room (I was lucky enough to be there… it slapped), Daytimers are doing the absolute most. I honestly don’t know how they’ve passed all those milestones in a relatively short period of time – it’s actually mad. I think because there’s a real family atmosphere amongst the Daytimers crew and they just feed off of each other’s passion. I’m just grateful they wanted to collab with us.

 
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Any future plans to work together?

Elliot: Since Daytimers and Big Dyke Energy work so well together, I am sure we will be working together on something real soon. Being constantly inspired by each other really helps as well as we will always find ways to help our community.

Individually what have you got coming up that you’d like to shout about?

Amad: Hopefully a bit of rest and reflection, I really want to celebrate this compilation and share it with everyone I know. Daytimers have a great event we’re a part of called the Samosa Sisterhood at Jikoni to help women and children who are victims of domestic violence with no recourse to public funds.

As the year dies down, I will be working less on Daytimers stuff and focusing on projects for my own creative studio. Amad.studio in London. I pride myself in starting this studio and creating work that goes against the grain, creating work that stands out as well as with a message of community.

Elliott: I’m one half of FAFF and we released our debut EP ‘The Last Piglette’ a few months ago.

And Melo (BDE’s founder) and I are gearing up for our next party at Venue M.O.T. on December 10th. It’s gonna be a banger so get your tickets whilst you can.

Riva: Working on a number of Daytimers projects as the year comes to an end, including the Jikoni event Amad has mentioned as well as other community based ones for the New Year. It is an exciting time because I feel we can really impact change in a lot of ways.

Buy Celebrating Pride: For the Community, by the Community.