There isn’t a genre of dance music that hasn’t been embraced or revolutionized by the United Kingdom. Fatboy Slim created big beat house on the beaches of Kent; Orbital pioneered techno across underground clubs and warehouses before raves ever existed; Above & Beyond brought us progressive trance from their dorms at the University of Wesminster.
And now a member of their quiet, yet thriving, drum and bass community is spearheading a new event that takes the genre to a whole new level. Nathan X, the self-proclaimed DnB drag queen, is the mastermind behind a new event series called Unorthodox, first established in 2019 as a Facebook campaign.
DnB has always had an image of dark and dingy clubs, hidden-away warehouse events, and a crowd donned in black t-shirts and jeans. In her younger years, Nathan X felt she had to prescribe to that particular style in order to fit in with the crowd. But being gay and attending DnB shows were not copacetic for Nathan X, who never felt they fully fit in despite their love and passion for the genre.
This sparked an idea: Why not create their own events, but instead of the usual dark clubs and standoffish crowd-goers, create a DnB night that would be accepting towards the LGBTQ+ community? Where they could come and enjoy world-class DnB and be 100% themselves. If they want to show up in complete drag, great. If they want to dress a certain way or act a certain way, all will be accepted at Unorthodox.
While the United Kingdom has been progressive in their music varietals, it has not always been as progressive in their acceptance of certain subgroups within nightlife communities. Nathan X started their Facebook campaign to understand how the LGBTQ+ community has experienced this impact. They wanted to gauge if there was interest in a complete DnB event, strictly for the LGBTQ+ community and their allies.
The campaign went on to become the most active post in the DNB Talk Facebook group, with more than 1,000 votes and thousands of comments from people expressing their own experiences at DnB events. One member of the group wrote, “I went to an Andy C concert, wore a bit of eyeliner and I got loads of abuse hurled at me.”
Now, more than ever, people are standing up for themselves and their ability to be exactly who they are without judgement and fear. That is the exact goal of Unorthodox, to create that safe place in DnB and pioneer the mindset that we are all here for the music. Who we are isn’t a detriment, but and asset.
Could an event like this could be translated and put into concept within our own scene? We have great venues like Kremwerk and Neighbors that have been championing LGBTQ+ events for years,. While having dedicated places for these events are great, there aren’t widespread events of the same vein across all our venues. That doesn’t have to mean strictly within the DnB community either, which is a small subset of the events hosted in the Northwest, but across all our nights at all our venues.
Peace, love, unity, and respect. That is the mantra that has time and again stood as our community values. Whether you listen to trance, bass, happy hardcore, or attend events in full drag, as your favorite cosplay, or simply as yourself, it does not matter. We are supposed to accept one another exactly how we are and it’s time to start upholding the values we espouse daily.
Events like Unorthodox are a great place to start and can signal a great turning point for our whole community across the world.
Sound off in the comments below and let us know if you would like to see events like Unorthodox here in the Pacific Northwest!
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