Gay-friendly clubs have a bit of a reputation for rating highly on the cheese factor in terms of musical content, and it's only in recent times that reputable dance has started to become an equal part of the focus i.e. Menergy, Club for Heroes, Horse Meat Disco and so on. What moved you to become involved with Menergy and introduce electronic stylin' to the crowds?
“It was started by Kid Zipper and Lady Munter -I went to the first few, played a guest slot they really enjoyed, and when the original resident Gerard dropped out they offered me a residency. I jumped at it, because the music policy is so perfect for me (disco / Hi-NRG / Italo / acid house) and having a drag/performance element involved takes it beyond being just a normal club night. I also think it's something that Glasgow really needs right now.
"The last 20 years or so has seen gay life become hugely homogenised and corporatised."“Kid Zipper said (and I agree completely) that he wanted Menergy to become Glasgow's equivalent to London's Horse Meat Disco, which is my favourite club in the world. They are hugely responsible for rehabilitating gay clubbing culture - Andy Blake of Dissident said it best when he said they play "roots music for the gay community". So we're taking our cue from them really. But also, because Glasgow was a big Hi-NRG town in the 80's - we have our own gay history to represent, which is different to theirs. On top of that there's a few other nights like Lock Up Your Daughters and Hot Mess (in Edinburgh) that all strive to make gay clubbing exciting again, so maybe we're about to see a renaissance.”
How do you feel about how the club has progressed?
“Really, really well! We had our first "vogue ball" (where drag queens compete on a catwalk to be crowned best looking / dressed) called the Fierce Ruling Divas Ball with Che Camille a few weeks ago, and it was immense. It went better than I could have hoped, and we managed to attract quite a lot of drag queens. It's funny, because one or two cross-dressers at a normal club can freak some guys out, but when they are there en masse it becomes less threatening somehow. It's just another sub-set of the club's audience. We're now planning a vogue ball in Manchester, called Vogue Brawl, and that is gonna be FIERCE because this town has got so much untapped drag potential. Also, from next February, Menergy will start our monthly residency at the Glasgow School of Art's Vic Bar, which is VERY exciting!”
Are you looking to break barriers down between the stereotypical ideas of a gay and 'heterosexual' club?
“I don't know, probably both a yes and no on that one. I think we are simultaneously tapping into an older current (the mid-80s Hi-NRG boom at clubs like Bennets in Glasgow and Fire Island in Edinburgh) and also bringing in something that has been building in London for the last few years.
“Gay clubbing hasn't always been bad, it just seems like the last 20 years or so has seen gay life become hugely homogenised and corporatised. So you get these random non-stars paying for appearances at gay venues, and suddenly their press agent claims that they are a ‘gay icon’, which is nonsense. But it's the same for almost all cultures though, we are living in the age of the lowest common denominator. The huge mega-corps that rule the world can only operate on those levels, which is understandable, and that leaves loads of room for ‘niche’ markets. What depresses me though is when the mega-corps try and convince you that their way is the only way, and worse, when niche marketers and audiences believe them and feel they need to ape them to survive.”
"Remixing is a great process for getting to grips with a new programme, but now that I have gotten the hang of it I can dedicate it to my own dark twisted fantasies. Like getting off with badly painted amputees on a sofa.”On an end of year note, if you were to recommend three of your own releases from 2010, which would you pick, and why?
“Wow! Um... have there been more than three? I'm really happy with the Metatron stuff I have been doing for Black Lantern, so I would recommend some of that stuff; either of the tracks ‘So Subliminal’ or ‘Trains’. But for real Niallist shiz it would have to be ‘I Came’, possibly the Brassica remix as he did a really good job turning it into Italo / electro. Also, ‘A.C./I.D.’ by House Machine, as it shows yet another side of what I do, and I feel that my music will be going more in this direction in the future. That is, once I have shown all these electro-pop fakers how it should really be done.”
“I just found out this morning that Peter Christopherson from Throbbing Gristle/Coil has died [interview conducted 25th November 2010], and maybe it's just me, but it feels like there's a huge wave of death sweeping through music and pop culture. So many great people have died this year, and so many institutions are either changing or closing, that 2010 feels to me like a serious period of transition for music. And culture in general - a changing of the guards in a way. It is very sad, especially when you lose friends, but culturally it is kind of exciting. What is the new re-birth that is lurking around the corner? And can I help that birth along in some way? So, low points would be the deaths of friends.
“High points would probably be the Fierce Ruling Divas Ball, closely followed by the All About Evil premiere here in Manchester in October that I was involved in. In terms of my own personal schedule, I have been doing more production and writing of my own material this year, and a lot less remixing. It's the result of having to spend 2009 learning how to use Ableton. Remixing is a great process for getting to grips with a new programme, but now that I have gotten the hang of it I can dedicate it to my own dark twisted fantasies. Like getting off with badly painted amputees on a sofa.”
Lastly, we're now nearing the ill-fated year of 2012 - when doomsayers predict the world's end - what are you going to do with your time and your talents in the period leading up to it?
“Good question! I hope to have by then brought out an album I have been writing for the past few years, about a love affair that is facilitated and expressed through dance music, from the first meeting to falling in love to the break up and back to recovery. I always aim high, and I really want this album to be a stone cold classic. It's most of the way there as I have been keeping very strong songs back for it, now I just need to get some producers involved and get the ball rolling in time.
“Apart from that I want to arrange a series of parties leading up to Christmas 2012, connected to the numerology of those dates. It's a significant period for me also, as my birthday is on the winter solstice, and in 2012 I will turn a significant age. 2012 is an interesting concept, there's a lot of distortion around it in the mainstream (and fringe) media - the Mayan calendar coming to an end in 2012 does not mean time itself comes to an end, rather that the last of their great ages comes to an end. So the world won't necessarily blow up or get hit with an asteroid or Nibiru or something. I like how Daniel Pinchbeck deals with it the best. He basically says, ‘OK, maybe the world is not going to blow up, but we are on the brink of serious disaster if we don't change as a species, so why not aim to make those changes in 2012?’”
Niallist Blog: http://www.niallism.com
Menergy Gay Dance Party: http://www.menergy.tv