House of Mince parties take place in the much-fabled liminal zone. These queer parties, run by Mince honcho Peter Shopovski, occupy a fluid space between gender, sonic and sexual boundaries. At their events you’ll find an inclusive atmosphere and a disregard for the typical identities and social divisions of Sydney’s night economy. The result of this mix is a genuine sense of energy, which is all the more impressive in a city whose nightlife is under siege from oppressive legislation.
House of Mince have hosted big name internationals, including Tama Sumo, Honey Dijon, and Efdemin, but the best way to become acquainted with this house is probably by going to Pavlova Bar, a party they host every Sunday night at 77 on William Street. Aside from the name, Pavlova Bar pays homage to Berghain’s house music club-within-a-club in its long sets – every Sunday, a single DJ plays for 7 hours – and intimate, inclusive atmosphere. There’s also the warm sense of debauchery when the weekend pushes into Monday morning.
House of Mince described their Mardi Gras party, which featured Tama Sumo and Lakuti, as ‘alterna-queer.’ What does ‘alterna-queer’ mean to you?
Alterna-queer is what Mardi Gras was at the beginning. A fringe culture within our community that’s more experimental in all aspects of life. It’s in line with where Mardi Gras originally stemmed from – protesting against normalization.
Much has been made about the lockout laws, but what has the specific effect been on the queer community in Sydney?
We’ve been punished even though as a community we are not really the problem. We value mutual respect, we are anti-violence and we self regulate. Yet we get locked out and our drinks cut off so the venues want to close while our parties are still pumping. No day club to kick on to. This affects our culture. But we’ve also been unified in our opposition to corrupt laws and I feel it has made our existing community stronger. Protest is something that activates us. Whether it’s a rally or dance party, the community continues to come together and supports one another at Reclaim the Streets (the precursor to Keep Sydney Open) and regular parties like Kooky.
Berghain and its label Ostgut Ton seem to be a big influence on the vision of House of Mince. What do you like so much about them?
It’s open minded, hedonistic, dirty, punk and raw. Consisting of all of my favourite dj’s, forever evolving without ever losing its core, the Berghain experience is something that cannot be experienced anywhere else in the world.
Speaking of Berghain, although it’s a gay club, many people think of it first as a techno club. What can you say about the relationship between LGBT spaces and the broader electronic music world?
There is something particularly real and magnetic when queer individuals come together under a groove on a dance floor. People are there to be creatively activated by the music, free to lose their inhibitions and dance with whoever they want. Other types of clubbers see this and find it liberating and challenging. The vibe provides an exciting space for a DJ/producer/artist to experiment and be inspired. I think this is one of the reasons why LGBT culture has always pioneered the club experience.
Throwing parties is hard, especially in Sydney, and especially right now. What would you like to see change in Sydney?
The NSW government’s attitude toward nightlife needs to change. Electronic dance music is an art form, clubbing a culture and it’s audience are adults. We’re here to live, not retire. The lockout laws need to be relaxed by more than half an hour (are you fucking serious, Mike?).
More sex on premises.