Friday, 28 February 2014

DIVOLI S'VERE interview + new mixtape

I have been waiting on this interview a while, but it has been worth it! One of the upcoming major stars of the ballroom sound, and central force of Qween Beat Productions, Divoli is one of my favourite producers out there right now. On the eve of the release of Ckuntonomikz Vol 4 mixtape, I sent Divolisome questions, to find out more about Qween Beat, the mixtapes, and what it means to be CKUNT.

Who is Divoli Svere?

-Divoli S'vere is a artist in many different forms. He a character, that i created to showcase all of my many talents and arts, all while still being true to who I am as a person.

How do you describe what you do?

-Art. I love being creative anyway I can be. So everything I do from music to photos I describe as art because that basically what it is, an art form.

How did you get involved with the whole ballroom scene?

- I never really considered myself "In the scene", but I have always been into the ballroom scene since High School. I would vogue with my friends. I have always been into the music, Dance, Baltimore Club, House, and Ballroom always filled up my iPod, and CD racks. I really became apart of the scene through my music, and becoming a member of Qween Beat.

And what do you think of the ballroom scene now in 2014?

- The scene now has definitely evolved, and become more then what it used to be. If you look back at the documentaries such as "Paris Is Burning" and "How Do I Look" you will see that the scene back then really was underground. It was exclusive to the LGBT community. Now, the Ballroom scene is becoming much more mainstream, and anyone can go and enjoy the culture. Many of Ballrooms Icons and legends are in major music videos and traveling the world spreading the Ballroom culture.

How did you arrive at your own unique, style? Both in terms of production and vocally.

- I've always had a different style. Everyone says its "dark". I arrived at my style because I stick to doing what I love. In my photos and artwork, figures like Grace Jones are my inspiration. In my music, I am constantly inspired by MikeQ, Kevin Aviance, Vjuan Allure, and many other DJs and Producers. Vocally, Kevin Aviance was always a favorite of mine. He has been around for so long and inspires the Ballroom scene consistantly with his legendary track "Cunty". I took what I loved from him and made it my own. In terms of production, I am inspired by almost everything! I'm always thinking of kick patterens for a remix, or something "cunt" for the people to vogue or dance to. I try to get people to like what I like when I'm producing a track.

What is your favorite production you have been involved in?

- Any collaborations I have done with my "Father" MikeQ is my favorite. We work very well together and when its completed we always produce something great! Any collaborations done with anyone has been a favorite of mine because I love the idea of different styles and sounds clashing together, its very inspiring and I always learn from it.

How did you get involved with Qween Beat?

- I honestly wanted to be apart of Qween Beat. I emailed MikeQ and sent him my work I had at the time when I first started producing and remixing. From then til now, Ive been apart of Qween Beat, and I love my Family/Team! Its just a team of extremely talented people.

Can you explain for the readers what "cunt" means in ballroom?

- In Ballroom, "cunt" is not the thing you think it is. We use "Cunt" as an adjective, describing how someone is voguing or how someone or something looks. Like, "Yes! His duck walk is cunt!" or "Girl those shoes are so cunt." I spell it "Ckunt" to take some of the harshness off of the word, and it looks CKUNT!

What's coming up this year for Divoli S'vere?

- This year I plan to get out there more so as an artist, performing, and hosting. I am working in many different genres right now from Hip-Hop/R&B to Dance, even a little bit of Dub-Step. Qween Beat will soon be a label and I do plan to release another album. I also plan to continue my free mix-tape series "Ckuntinomksz". This year is going to be the year of Qween Beat!

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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Forgotten Classics for FACT

FACT asked me to pick an under-appreciated track from the vogue house catalog so I went with Tronco Traxx's Runway As A House, cos it's great, but also cos it used the Ha sample 19 years ago:

“Tronco Traxx, aka producer Robbie Tronco and MC Thomas Biscardi, are already pretty well known within old school house and voguing circles for the tracks ‘Walk 4 Me’ and ‘CUNT (She’s Cunt, She’s Pussy)’, both of which laid a foundation of sorts for modern ballroom, even though they’re from the mid-90s. The raw 909 beats and campy-but-cutting vocal chants, incorporating a lot of gay/black/drag slang and runway instructions, are elements that are still very prevalent in the genre today.

“I love both of those tunes but ‘Runway (As A House)’ is Tronco’s forgotten classic in my eyes. It uses the elements I’ve described above, but adds a bit more sheen, and most importantly of all, it uses the infamous “HA” sound that has become synonymous with ballroom, vogue femme dance styles and the signature “dip” move. The “HA” sound was originally used by Masters At Work in 1991′s seminal ‘The Ha Dance’, and can still be heard all over ballroom nearly 25 years later, most notably on MikeQ’s ‘The Ha Dub Rewerk’d’ on Fade To Mind, and Kingdom’s ‘Stalker Ha’. In fact, you can go on SoundCloud now and search “HA” and get practically any track ever remixed with a Ha in it. It’s almost reaching Bmore levels.

‘Runway As A House’ was originally released in 1996 [note: the art above is from the 1997 reissue], making the use of that particular re-sample very forward thinking. I can’t be sure, but I would hazard a guess and say that ‘Runway…’ was actually the first track to re-sample ‘The Ha Dance’. It still bangs to this very day, fitting in very neatly with modern ballroom and house tracks, and you’ll pretty much always hear it in my sets, along with ‘Walk 4 Me’ and ‘CUNT’.”

Monday, 24 February 2014


RuPaul's Drag Race is back hunties - I think we might actually see some voguing this year. Here's Gia Gunn on Untucked:

Sunday, 23 February 2014

RIP Portia LaBeija

 via Phyllis Swan (backdated for publishing on CVNTY) 

It's been one week today...spent a lot of this day...reflecting on how death impacts others lives...I.have always made a conscience effort to encourage... Inspire... and uplift the people I care about... Portia was someone that has embodied what friendship is about... she was loyal to the end... a sincere thanks to everyone that reached.out...especially touched by those that took the time to offer the family a prayer...a kind act...a donation ...they were overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and admiration her friends had for her...we all grieve in our own way... delighted the family wants to have a memorial and celebration of her life for her born day... in July...the circle was complete for me to night... I was able to converse with her youngest sister...the only one I hadn't expressed my take away.... she had a life before we met her ... It so contributed to the Portia we knew... I love this VILLAGE VOICE was the start of something big... just as her spirit loomed large in life ... so shall it in death.. I'm staying tuned...

Friday, 21 February 2014


WOW I am loving the work of producer Yarinka Collucci right now - ticks a lot of the deep house/twisted/post-tribal boxes I love but with a very fresh take. Thanks to Traxx Romay for tiping me off, hope to get an interview up on CVNTY some time soon.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

BEYONCE live Glasgow Feb 20th 2014

WE WERE FUCKING THERE - one of the best big arena shows I have ever seen (obvs).

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

RIP Wayne Smith

Creator of one of my favourite pieces of music ever, dancehall/Casio/electronic music classic "Under Mi Sleng Teng", RIP Wayne Smith!

Monday, 17 February 2014

BEN AQUA Virtual Anticipation LP (#FEELINGS)

#FEELINGS' Ben Aqua has dropped his debut album and it's killer! Here's a freebie and more info:

#FEELINGS is proud to unleash its 9th digital release, label boss Ben Aqua’s debut album “Virtual Anticipation”. Over 3 years in the making, this full-length album presents 12 high energy, melody-driven cyber-synth sonic jewels spanning a myriad of musical influences, ranging from Frédéric Chopin to Wendy Carlos to Yellow Magic Orchestra to Sega Genesis to Timbaland to RP Boo. “Virtual Anticipation” culminates Ben Aqua’s conceptual celebration and psychological investigation into the future of IRL vs URL identity, HD biometrics, wearable technology and the virtual utopian landscape. Where do we go from here? #VirtualAnticipation

In the past year, Austin-based multidisciplinary artist Ben Aqua pumped out official remixes for YACHT, STRFKR and Feathers, as well as a successful, viral mashup of Aaliyah and Ciara entitled “Are You That Somebody’s Body Party”, which VICE Thump featured in their list of top 10 Ciara “Body Party” remixes. Ben’s music was also recently featured in Interview Magazine, Mishka and Lil Texas' Diplo & Friends mix for BBC Radio 1. He shared a SXSW 2013 Music Festival stage with The Crystal Method, as well as club bills with DJ Rashad, NGUZUNGUZU, Bok Bok, Kingdom, Sepalcure, Jubilee and Pictureplane.

Follow Ben Aqua:

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Saturday, 15 February 2014

BBC NEWS - the world of underground gay house balls

Nice, brief, clip on NY's ball scene via BBC News, here, to promote Gerard H Haskin's book "Legendary", covering balls on the US East Coast over the last 20 or so years. I hope to interview Gerard myself at some point soon...

For gay and transgender black and Hispanic people often marginalised by their families or communities, the late-night pageants known as House Balls can be a liberating experience.
The underground parties feature men and women dressing up and dancing in competitions judged on attitude, style and glamour.
Gerard H Gaskin, a photographer who grew up in Trinidad, has spent two decades documenting a scene which combines extravagance and an exploration of gender identity.
He talked to the BBC about his book Legendary: Inside The House Ballroom Scene - and we went along to an event in New York.

Monday, 10 February 2014

NIALLIST interviewed for Great Googla Moogla

That's me, btw. You can read the full thing here.

Great Googala Moogala: Niall, 2013 sounded a very busy year,  you wanna tell us what have you been up to?

Niall O’Conghaile: 'Ha ha, well I tend to be busy every year. it's just that last year my focus has changed. Some old projects are being dropped and my more successful work being concentrated on. Being honed and refined, if you will.' 

Great Googala Moogala: Is this your work as The Niallist?

Niall O’Conghaile: 'Well musically, The Niallist was actually on a bit of a hiatus. I had been feeling a bit burnt out on music after my last album, so needed a break, or a shake-up or something. That kind of coincided with with a big burst of interest in my Cunt Traxxx/CVNT side project, so I decided to put Niallist to the side for the time being and concentrate on CVNT. And so far it's gone very well. 

'CVNT is straight up club music, designed for dance floors, so it's refreshing not to have to think too deeply about what I am saying or what purpose the music serves.'

Great Googala Moogala:  What about the shows you put on last year? 

Niall O’Conghaile : 'Our collective Tranarchy found a new home at Salford's Islington Mill, just 10 minutes outside of Manchester city centre. It's the perfect fit for us, as it's a creative space where anything goes, and they have been very receptive to our ideas. 

'Last year we put on two gigs in association with Off With Their Heads called Bummer Camp, and hosted our annual Vogue Brawl there. Then we did the return of Zombie Pride

'Bummer Camp was amazing because the Mill helped us put on two American acts we'd been trying to book for years - electro-pop guru SSION from NYC and the incredible drag performer Christeene from Texas. Both gigs were incredible, so we're very grateful to the Mill and our own loyal crowd.'

Great Googala Moogala: Is it difficult to balance all the things you do--the writing, the producing, the making music and curating shows?

Niall O’Conghaile: 'Yes, it can be. Things seem to come in waves, so I concentrate on one aspect for a while, then have to take a break from that, so work on another facet for a bit. It's usually easier when there is a project or a finished work that needs to be focussed on, like an album or a specific article. 

'And then of course bills need to be paid, so commercial work always has to be done, which for me right now is a mix of published writing and some commercial DJing gigs. Having said that I am constantly tinkering around with music, even if it's just for fun or relaxation.'

Great Googala Moogala: What's the response been to Cunt Traxxx/CVNT?

Niall O’Conghaile: 'Well, the response to Cunt Traxxx/CVNT has been really good, which is why I am focussing on it now. 

'It's got great responses from <em>Soundcloud</em> followers and dance floors, and it's also gotten props from people within this specific music scene (Ballroom or Vogue House) and that has been very gratifying for me.'

Thursday, 6 February 2014

"Year In Vogue" mix for FACT Magazine

It's up! The hour-long mix of my favourite ballroom (with a smattering of club and house) from the last 12 months (roughly). Full tracklist below.

DESHAUN TIMOTHY & SUGUR SHANE - Ima Read (Divoli 2013 Mix)
VJUAN ALLURE - Kid Conga (Rebounced) ft Danial Haaksman
MYRRYRS - Memphis
KEVIN JZ PRODIGY - Nasty Poetry (Schwarz Remix)
MIA - Y.A.L.A. (MikeQ Remix)
LULU EBONY & GREGG EVISU - Bangee Cunt (DJ Delish Remix)
HYPEHEADS - Tom Landry (Ynfynyt Scrol Godless Bisexual ReQynt)
SHARAYA J - Banji (CVNT Bitch Edit)
BEEK - Like This (Like That)
TONY PLAYBOI - Space Walk Runway
AIR DJ - Britney Puta
BRITNEY SPEARS - Werk Bitch (Divoli S'Vere Gaginator Mix)
BRITNEY SPEARS - Werk Bitch (Divoli S'Vere Gaginating Ha)
VJUAN ALLURE - Natives R Restless
DJ SEGA - Django (Demo)
SCHWARZ - My Pussy Tastes Like…
SUGUR SHANE - Outta Sight Cunt Juice
B AMES - Sniffles (The Bump Dub)
ANGEL X - Electro Runway Pump
MATRIXXMAN & MYKKI BLANCO - God Created The Beat (JD Twitch Remix)
BODYJACK - The Widowmaker
CVNT aka CVNT TR4XXX - Midnight Function

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

DJ Delish WALKS!

DJ Delish, (above, with MikeQ and Icon DJ Carlton) walked for the first time ever at the Dorian Corey Awards Ball in Philidelphia recently. Ballroom Throwbacks captured this moment for eternity, and there's no way I'm not sharing it :D


Monday, 3 February 2014

THUMP article on Voga by Lauren Martin

I posted on voga before, the hybrid of voguing and yoga happeneing in East London - here is an interesting article by's Lauren McNally, who went to an actual class (also featuring MikeQ's thoughts on voga) and wasn't impressed. [Note: I didn't write this, Lauren Martin did.]

It was a strange display; not so much energetic as frantic, as Murrell shouted out the sequence over the music at young women being put through a series of jilted movements that were somewhere between aerobics, yoga and a smattering of half-hearted classic Vogue arm poses. One of the girls turns to me and mouths “What the fuck?” in my direction, as the class lie down on bended knee, resting their upper body weight on their elbows and chins on their hands. It's more Babysitters Club Aerobics than Vogue-infused yoga. As Murrell shouts “Find that inner pose!”, I get the distinct sense that some are at best bemused, and at worst uncomfortable. The sexuality, power and fantasy of the balls is pointedly absent throughout. 
The class finishes to the strains of Bill Withers - 'Lovely Day' and the group huddle onstage for a photo, striking twee power poses and grinning. The camaraderie feels forced, and I ask the girl who mouthed at me earlier what she made of the session: “Being clumsy and with the arse of an ironing board, I probably wasn’t the best contender to convincingly Voga. I don’t think I’ve ever felt less poised or attractive. I would have been chased out of Harlem with a shoe. Vogueing is all about the kind of classy restraint that’s difficult to pull off if you’re worrying about farting on the girl behind you.”
Mike Q is right. Murrell is a harmless human being. She seems a perfectly pleasant and sociable woman, who likes and wants to teach yoga. Voga is a stupid idea poorly executed, and accusations of cultural appropriation on her part are as likely to be shot down as sanctimonious posturing by cynics. Who cares, right? It's yoga.