So you saw Paris Is Burning, went to Esco’s one Sunday night in 2011, and listen to Madona, and now you think you know the Ballroom scene? Not quite, says Vjuan Allure, a DJ deeply embedded in the scene. Like most good queens, he wears many hats (dancer, performer, DJ) and he has spent years honing his musical aesthetic with high-energy live performances. His tracks are immediately recognizable as dance music, it makes us all want to vogue no matter the time or place, but his sound still manages to be fresh, new, full of energy and youth. His music is a dance waiting to happen, a invitation to twitch and writhe. But don’t worry, he says, it doesn’t really matter if we listen: the Ballroom scene was around before anyone cared, and the children will still be the children long after we stop paying attention. In the meantime: listen, twitch, and writhe. You gagging yet?
How do you describe your sound?
The word for my sound is BEATZ – it is the term I came up with while making these high-energy dance epics. It is a syncopated spasm looking for a body to happen.
Tell us about how you came to make music your life.
I have been around music all my life, my mother was into music, and I gained all my music and love of it through her. I would take her records, steal them in my room, they would never make it back to her collection. It got so bad that when she brought music she brought it in two’s – one for me, one for her.
How do you as a DJ in the vogue world get inspired by the performance? Do you mix live and respond to the performers and their actions or the vibe of the room? How does that push you as a DJ?
I am first and foremost a dancer, and I have participated, and still do sometimes. When I DJ, I am playing to the performers, I am catching the energy that they are displaying and converting it to what is being heard out the speakers. The performers give the room life, which gives me energy, which equals pandemonium! A performer that is PERFORMING – not doing choreography – thinking on the fly, interpreting, and getting lost inside the music is what moves me – don’t just do it – FEEL IT!
The Ballroom scene seems to be at least partially about creating a small circle of celebrity, giving people access to power and fame that are traditionally excluded. Is it important, then, to have recognition from mainstream artists and musicians, or does it remain about the Ball, the performance, the houses?
What people need to know is that the Ballroom existed without mainstream attention and thrived. It survived the first surge of attention with Madonna, went back underground, and has resurfaced again through the music and videos available to the public – BUT when all this attention goes away, Ballroom will STILL remain and operate as it always has. What Ballroom people have been doing along the years is embracing their talents and using them outside the Ballroom as producers, artists, clothiers, models, make-up artists, and the list goes on. Mainstream comes to OUR world – they have always come to see the spectacle, energy, and creativity, we welcome them, but it’s a lot for one to take in if you’re not used to it. So many people see Ballroom and think it is only voguing but it is much more….vogue is only ONE part of Ballroom. People think they take a competition to their city or country, have a Ball and think they have a Ballroom scene, but this is simply not true.
What’s got you excited about music right now?
Music today? I am liking the ability to create something totally different and something that defies all genres of what is already available and having it be accepted and loved for what it is world-wide while not adhering to a particular category.
What’s up next for you? Any projects we should be looking out for?
I have a few EP’s coming out – Knight Werk, Night Slug and more, lots of remixes! My Tour in November start in Paris and then hits much more of Europe – there’s so much on the horizon!