We chat to DJ Bekefi, resident DJ for East London’s newest queer club night, Queer East. Hear all about her coming out story, how she got into DJ’ing and where you can see her next set.
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Tell us a bit about your background, how did you get into DJ’ing?
I was super into music from a young age. My grandma’s brother was a DJ and my great-grandpa was a violinist. My parents had to decide whether to send me to sports or music specialist school and they chose sport so my DJing career only started after I quit playing professional basketball. When I was 24, living in Denmark, my friend asked me what job I would do if I could do anything. I said I’d love to be a DJ. She had a gig that weekend, she let me behind the decks and that was my mind made up.
For any of our readers who would like to get into DJ’ing, what advice would you give them?
I’d say practise as much as you can and stay positive. Not everything will go to plan but when you genuinely love what you do, people will feel your energy. Enjoy every moment of it.
I’d also recommend DJing sober. You’ll be sharper, you’ll get more enjoyment and you’ll wake up energised and inspired to work on music, meet people, and go out again to listen to other artists.
You’re currently the resident DJ at Queer East. How did that come about and what style of music do you tend to play?
One of my closest friends, EJ (@ej_nutbrown), was considering doing something for the queer community. We’ve long wanted to fill a gap in London’s ever-shrinking queer nightlife offering; a balance between a rave and a bar. We were sitting on a bench, throwing ideas back and forth. I’d been offered a gig at Two More Years in Hackney Wick and we jumped on the opportunity to turn it into something special and safe. We’re so thrilled with how it’s turned out. We couldn’t ask for a better crowd.
My sets are long so I normally ease the audience in with some bouncy house and disco. Then I elevate the mood with acid house, breaks, indie dance, and techno. And of course, the finisher song, which is always a sing-along track where we can shout from the top of our lungs and hug each other.
With regards to music, who would you say your style is most like and have you been checking out any other genres of music lately?
Who? Oh tough question. Everyone is unique so I can’t pinpoint a single DJ but I can mention some DJs and producers whose style I truly admire: HAAI, Or: La, Octo Octa, Avalon Emmerson, Hannah Holland, Michelle Manetti, Leftfield, Pablo Bozzi, Hannah Holland, Kendal, Anunaku and Aphex Twin.
Who are your role models and why?
My amazing friends and family who dare to be themselves!
How do you plan your sets and where do you tend to research your music?
I listen to music all day every day so I am under a musical influence pretty much nonstop. I do love to go to record shops, listen to mixes, and go on Bandcamp to search for music. The best inspiration is still going out dancing where you don’t just hear the music but feel the energy on the dance floor.
Other than DJ’ing what do you get up to?
Aside from making music, I box, play basketball, run, and longboard, and I’m super into film photography as well. Always on the move.
If you could use a magic telephone to call yourself at 15 years old what would you say?
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Eat the frog: do the thing you want to do the least, first.
What do you think of the Lesbian Scene in London, where do you go out (other than Queer East of course)?
Of course, in the past, Soho, particularly areas like Old Compton Street, was a hub for LGBTQ+ nightlife in London but gentrification / increasing rents have pushed us out. We’ve lost classics like Candy Bar and lesbian-only places have become less common. Instead, we have some amazing pop-ups and clubs nights for lesbians to mingle and party like Femme Fraiche, Big Dyke Energy, Adonis, and, of course, Queer East. I’d love to see more of this!
What is your coming-out story? Sorry, but everyone loves a coming-out story..
Wish it was a happy one, but it’s not. Hopefully, this can help someone else who feels hopeless or isolated.
I was born in a small town in Hungary. For context, Hungary’s views on homosexuality have been characterised by conservative policies and legal restrictions on LGBTQ+ rights. It was, and still is, a difficult place to be queer.
When I came out at 19 my parents didn’t know any queer people and they didn’t take it well at all. It was a sad time, I lost my bond with my parents for a while. I had to have some difficult conversations explaining I was still me and nothing had changed, in fact, I was more myself and happier. It was a hard journey but it was all worth it. I have very accepting and supportive parents who will fight for the community now!
Who’s your celebrity crush and why?
It has to be Villanelle because dare I say otherwise?
Thanks for chatting to us!
If you’d like to check out more from DJ Bekefi check her out via Instagram: @dj_bekefi & @qe_london
We’ll see you at the next Queer East,
Team Nonchalant x
Last Updated on 3rd October 2023 by Nonchalant Magazine