In response to a lack of diversity in Vancouver’s electronic music scene, Betty Mulat and Samira Warsame (also known as Zam Zam) decided to take matters into their own hands. So, in 2017, the friends created NuZi Collective to ensure their community was both seen and heard.
“Things were pretty unwelcoming a few years back and isolating, if you were a queer person of colour going out to these events,” Warsame says. It was especially infuriating considering the Black history of house music — the genre was pioneered by late Chicago DJ, Frankie Knuckles. “I was like, ‘I need to do something with this’ because I was super frustrated by how I was being treated in the scene,” adds Mulat. “I was thinking about representation and the fact that I hadn’t seen very many Black techno and house producers in Vancouver, so I figured, yeah, we have to change that.”
Spinning acid, techno, and hip-hop, NuZi’s parties represent inclusivity and, more broadly, provide Vancouver’s Black community with an individual platform. “Every Black person who walks through the door knows that this space is for them,” Mulat explains. “What we do is that, first and foremost. We’re looking at NuZi like a tool that could engage the wider, larger Black community and help in various levels of change.”
“I was thinking about representation and the fact that I hadn’t seen very many Black techno and house producers in Vancouver, so I figured, yeah, we have to change that.”
It’s working. Warsame has felt a significant shift in change in terms of representation. “It’s not as segregated. A lot of the scenes intersect. I feel like it was due to a lot of communities coming up at the same time, pushing for experimental sound and all having the same ethos revolving around inclusivity and merging the gaps between scenes — not just music, but also with people attending events.”
Sacred Sound Club also saw a hole that needed to be filled in Vancouver’s music scene. The artist collective formed in early 2015 when a group of friends from post-punk backgrounds were attending electronic events but feeling unfulfilled with their experience.
“We wanted to hear industrial music,” says Morgan Trista Young. “We wanted to hear much harder sounds. There really wasn’t a lot of that happening in Vancouver. The only way to get what you want in that situation is to take the initiative yourself. That’s what we did.”
The group, which includes Young, Josh Rose (also known as Derivatives), Ashlee Lúk, Lida Pawliuk, Spencer Davis, and Meagan Auger, began organizing and curating events that champion darker noise and experimental electronic sounds. Also releasing compilation tapes as a label, they’ve gained a large underground following for how they blur the lines between dance parties and punk shows.
New Forms Festival Highlights
By Lauren Goshinski, CCL and JS Aurelius
Purple Tape Pedigree (PTP)
Thursday, Sept. 26 at Deep Blue
The NYC-based label and weaponized media imprint deploys artists Dis Fig, Dreamcrusher, King Vision Ultra, Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste, Lana Del Rabies, Via APP, and YATTA for a showcase, panel, and site-specific installation that asks: How does noise work as a healer? How do you destroy White space?
Friday, Sept. 27 at Japanese Hall Main
Across a table of machines and pedals, abused guitar and liberal vocal manipulation, Bristol’s Giant Swan ignite a cross-breed of hypnotic bass and frenzied improvisation. No two performances are alike, as the duo re-build and destroy their twisted vision of techno-not-techno with each performance.
Friday, Sept. 27 at Japanese Hall Main
The Egyptian-Iranian artist and devotional pop polymath crafted her latest release, Ancestor Boy, between Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, London and Paris, with the aid of fellow travellers Nick Weiss, Aaron David Ross, and L-Vis 1990, with guest appearances by GAIKA, Kelsey Lu, Bonnie Banane, and Julie Byrne.
Saturday, Sept 28 at Japanese Hall Main
DJ Marcelle has been collecting music longer than most of us have been alive and has gained legendary status as The Netherlands’ sweetheart. Well known for her three-turntable setup, her mischievous, rule-bending approach to DJing, producing and radio hosting is inventive, euphoric, and above all powerful.
Saturday, Sept. 28 at Japanese Hall Main
One of East Africa’s most exciting young DJs, Kampire is a core member of the Nyege Nyege collective and founding member behind Boutique Electronique in Kampala, Uganda. Her bass-heavy sets are inspired by her upbringing in a mining town along Zambia’s copper belt, where she listened to Congolese music and African pop.
+ PLUS +
Canadian All-Star After Parties (presented by Red Bull Canada)
Friday, Sept. 27 (12 am to 5 am) at Open Studios // D. Tiffany, Ginger Breaker, Ziibiwan, Overland, Minimal Violence
Saturday, Sept. 28 (12 am to 5 am) at Open Studios // s.M.i.L.e & friends with Debby Friday, x/o, Venetta, Jade Statues, Rude Nala and Special Guest