CC:DISCO! wants people to express themselves more on the dancefloor, whether that means crying alone, hugging strangers or removing items of clothing. “I think we’ve got lost in trying to look cool and hold it together,” says CC, short for Courtney Clarke. “Music isn’t about that!”
Having brightened clubs and festival stages around the world with her exuberant, unashamedly joyous house, disco and funk selections since starting to DJ in her mid twenties, CC has a packed schedule for summer 2019 – and she wants people to really lose their shit.
“There’s been a few times where I’ve seen people cry on the dancefloor and that has made me realise what this job is and how it can really affect people who are having a tough time,” she says. “Music is such an outlet for people: I saw a guy cry to a gospel song on his own, so I walked up to him, gave him a big hug and made everyone around hug him too. That was one of the best moments that I’ve ever had DJing.”
Becoming a DJ was an unlikely career choice, though, as there wasn’t much of a scene when Courtney was growing up in Melbourne. “DJs where I’m from would play DJ Aligator Project’s ‘Blow My Whistle Bitch’ into Bon Jovi ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ and then there’d be a fight... that was the ‘club’,” she laughs. Having been in rock covers bands as a teenager, it wasn’t until university that she discovered dance music. “It took me a long time,” she says; her first foray into rave came aged 17, watching Aussie pioneers Itchy & Scratchy. “Everyone let go and it was more of an experience than the rock shows that I had been going to. It seemed like everyone was loving and that’s what drew me into dance music: the loving, caring vibe.”
It’s this kind of inclusive energy that’s stayed with Courtney, and it translates into her own party series, Club Coco, which aims to support local talent while bringing people together. “Anyone is welcome,” she says; “I don’t want anyone to ever feel like they are excluded from an event of mine, whether because of their age, gender, sexuality or anything else. I loved the last one because when I looked around at five in the morning there was a couple in their 70s and then there were 18-year-olds, too – it was heartwarming, the way raving should be: without barriers or limits.”
Now based in Lisbon and with a Rinse FM residency to her name as well as her own label Coco Editions, she’s gearing up for a busy summer of festivals including Love International in Croatia, Kala in Albania and Glastonbury. “What I’m doing right now is exactly what I’ve always wanted,” she says. Don’t miss her this summer. Clothes – and tears – are optional.
Ben Jolley is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to Mixmag, follow him on Twitter
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