Spread over 4 stages and with an unbeatable line-up, Homobloc will see 10,000 revellers descend to Manchester for a misfit’s paradise, with their mission statement being very clear – Homobloc is a queer party for all. It’s about all of us. Love is the message in a party that unites the clans, for homos, hetros, lesbos, don’t knows and disko asbos. Musically Homoelectric was always about a melting pot of music genres; music they loved, from afrobeat, boogie, disco, garage house, techno, voodoo, outer space bass buggin’ futurism, and outsider pop all thrown into the mix with no pomp or pretension. A heartfelt felt evangelism that is about believing in something. A come as you are celebration that’s not about exclusivity, on the contrary, the more the merrier.
Heading up this twisted disco will be none other than The Black Madonna, a firm fan favourite with festivals across the globe and sure to bring an injection of techno filth to the party animals on the dancefloor. She’ll be joined by the likes of the disco legend Roisin Murphy, pop superstar Robyn (DJ Set), Scandinavian super DJ HAAI and man of the moment Midland. Also performing will be the legendary Jaye Ward, San Francisco troublemakers Honey Soundsystem, Berlin-based house genius Prosumer, pioneer and one of the originators of the Chicago House scene Adonis and none other than Homelectric resident Jamie Bull.
Joining them will be slew of the biggest names in the electronic music scene right now including the likes of Seth Troxler, Hunee, Crazy P, Romy, Honey Dijon, Optimo, Horse Meat Disco, Palms Trax and none other than the legend that is Dan Beaumont.
Homoelectric founder Luke Unabomber says – “It’s with great excitement, after two decades of blood sweat and tears from out first home in a Manchester back street club; we are planning our very own Homoelectric festival. We have finally found our Holy Grail place. This is something very special and as ever this is all about uniting the clans, togetherness, inclusivity and love. Building a place where we can bring together all our people and our heroes and dance til we are free. A queer block party for all.”
Luke, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me this morning. Homoelectric is held in people’s hearts as a diverse and forever accepting safe place to party, please paint me a picture of the very early days back in the mid-90s?
Manchester back then was a very different place to now. We were already running a night called electric chair, which was a reaction to a very dominant mainstream of the late 80’s – early 90’s gangsterism and toxic behaviour, which had entered into Manchester. I guess you could say that electric chair and homo electric were a subconscious reaction to the dominant mainstream. We felt more comfortable and happier in those off piste clubs and parties. The village had become a bit of a victim of its own success, and by the mid-90s, what had become an area of diversity, creativity and effervescence became quite beige. I used to live next to the village for years and got to know a lot of the community, and I loved that area – we all knew of each other and it was a safe space to be. This idea of being ‘beyond the village people’ came through and we found a boozer on the edge of the village called Follies which is a gay bar, run by two very interesting old school lesbians, which were married, and they were given the club as their thing. They had a late licence which was unheard of back then, it was full of drag queens all kinds of people from railway to postal workers, such a weird place which worked so well as a unity. The place smelled of bad fish and chips and had a photo of Martina Navratilova on the wall. We wanted to hold the flag up for things we loved, good music and people. The gay scene had just had its acid house moment and the world seemed exciting, as it did on the straight acid house scene. We wanted to continue this later into the late 90s, with the likes of Kath McDermott- she was the first resident which I played with in front of 150 people dancing in the same venue as the Twisted wheel, the old Northern Soul club – there was definitely magic in the DNA of that place. Its like the queer scene in Manchester now, people are comfortable there- there is no need to look a certain way- they weren’t great looking clubs, sticky carpets, and we had to put our own sound system in but there was a sense of belonging, being yourself and feeling the love. Homoelectric felt like a home to people, whilst the Village assimilated into the mainstream.
Where did you grow up, and did this have an impact in making you want to create your own inclusive spaces and throw parties?
I grew up in Sheffield, and headed to Manchester in 1985 for college. When I was 16 – I was going to the Hallamshire, parties like Jive Turkey- there were lots of small underground clubs, all racially mixed, no more than 150 people. I heard my first house tune in 85 in Sheffield and it was like being born again, it was a revolution. I was 16, high, and this music sounded like the future – nothing sounded like it. People were taking speed and all the black guys were doing footwork to music from jazz and house music, it made me totally fall in love with the people and unity. To me it wasn’t about going out and dancing around your handbag or going out to shag someone, to me, a club is about music. There were very few places in Sheffield that played this special music and it made you feel special, and it was great to feel like you belonged. This was before the ecstasy explosion three years later, with or without drugs there was a togetherness..
These comings together of the disenfranchised became magic to me across the North of England, the electronic music scene was exploding – House music was alive. The Hacienda amongst other parties really felt like home. A queer environment is naturally inclusive, this was a combination of acid house and complete freedom and liberation – I didn’t want to be stood about, with lads on steroids.. I wanted to belong and I was in love with the music, in particular electronic music.
Oh mate, couldn’t agree more as a fellow northerner, I believe that there is something special about the North of England, and I also think because the world is a very turbulent place right now, there is a real sense of need to come together and share love for one another and the music – is this why it felt the right time to journey homoelectric to the inaugural homobloc?
Totally agree with you Frankie, and I believe that for the first time in 30 years, there is a real move and shift just like back then. More than pockets which I have witnessed in the interim. People are gravitating to these parties like ‘meat free’, ‘high hoops’ etc. When the North do it right, we make everyone feel welcome (apart from the knobheads obviously, but that’s just common sense!) Music is the one thing that allows you to escape. It used to be quite tribal, but now there is a change in the mood and there’s all the youth coming through with their togetherness of trans and gays. straight or whatever you may be.
The line up is incredible, how did you decide who you wanted to play and how did you decide on the Depot?
We always wanted to do this, whether it be abroad in Croatia or not.. Then someone called me and said that the Depot had become available and it is the most insane venue. It wont be everyone’s cuppa, it is a half mile long in length and of course some people love the small intimate venues. But this place has lots of similarities; it is a post-industrial derelict space, raw, dirty and still central to the city (under the station).
Writing the line up was easy, the artists I have seen play at our nights, at other parties or wanted to book them previously but couldn’t make it happen- from the likes of Honey Dijon, Roisin Murphy… Each area of the party covers different genres of music from house to disco to italo to clashier and heavier electronic sounds. We are also throwing some satellite parties over the weekend. We tried to give the best balance, it is about dancing, vogueing, flamboyance and performance. It really is our dessert island line up.
What is your favourite festival abroad?
Love International, Croatia.
A record of the moment to get you in the groove? HAKI – MIM SULEIMAN
Favourite hang out in Manchester?
That is a very good question – White Hotel, or YES.
Wilderness (Wolf At The Door) restaurant for food.
If you could do 1 thing different within your music journey – what would it be?
There was a period in my life when I didn’t go out as much but I was still promoting. The realisation was that if you want to be really great at what you do, you have to live and breathe it to believe. People are so honest and open about their experiences partying and you cant promote in an ivory tower, you have to be in the trenches and living it to make it a night to remember. Homoelectric is like Doctor Who, it is ever changing and growing, we don’t live in the past but we definitely celebrate new journeys together. There are so many amazing female artists coming through, making their own music at the moment and that is to be celebrated too.
9 November 2019