They call them the club kids: Meet the party people doing things differently - Features - Mixmag

They call them the club kids: Meet the party people doing things differently

DJ Josh Caffe introduces a new generation of East London club kids

  • Words: Charlie Case | Editor & photographer: Riya Hollings | Stylist: Lewis Munro
  • 4 April 2017

    Elles wears Blackline roll-neck dress, £45 Fila, DEAD-Camo Reflex jacket, £255, Libertine Libertine; large fishnet tights, £6, ASOS, socks, £10, Pringle, (ASOS), Stan Smith trainers, £69.95, Adidas

    Fabien wears vintage animal print jacket, jeans and hi-tops all Fabien’s own

    Lucy Fizz wears boots, bikini and cowboy hat, all Lucy’s own

    Josh Caffe wears sweatshirt, £89, Albam, leather waistcoat Josh’s own, trousers with white stripe, £POA, Raf Simons, hat with eagle, £30, Theobalds Cap Co

    Fi wears vintage biker jacket and snakeskin boots both Fi’s own, bra, £12, American Apparel, leather skirt, £POA, Gucci

    Jay Jay wears jacket, Jay Jay’s own, net dress and jeans, £POA, Zara

    Josh Caffe

    “It’s a hub for us to come together. It’s almost like a safe haven for us in the gay community,” explains Josh Caffe, 33, as we settle into the photoshoot at East London gay club East Bloc. “It’s where we get to be with our friends, express ourselves in a very comfortable environment and showcase music.” As a DJ and a musician, Josh has been on the scene since the height of electroclash at Nag Nag Nag and The Ghetto. He started DJing seven years ago around East London at the likes of Dalston Superstore, The Joiners Arms and Fabric, and now plays across Europe and America, as well as running monthly London club night Night Sheen. As a key figure of the thriving gay clubbing scene in London, here he introduces Mixmag to five of the hottest club kids today; people who are keeping it thriving with diversity and uniqueness, and regulars of East Bloc’s many parties. “[At places like East Bloc] you get to meet so many people. Everyone’s very loving and accepting of everyone: you can be yourself, and that’s the main thing.”

    Josh Caffe wears T-shirt with print, £POA, Stone Island x Arena Homme +; dogtooth trousers, vintage Christian Dior; silk shirt, Josh’s own


    “On the one hand you’ve got a lot of people saying ‘clubs are dead’ and all the rest of it, and there’s been a lot of places closing, like Dance Tunnel,” explains Elles of the current club climate in London. “But from my experience there seems to be so much going on. You just have to look for it and not be expecting it all to be happening at Fabric.” As a DJ, Elles plays across London and runs the night Suspiciously Delicious at The Yard in Hackney Wick. She reckons it’s an exciting time in the Capital, and notes the continued importance of places for the LGBT community in the city. “If you’re a young, gay person coming from wherever to London and you don’t know anyone, finding a place like [East Bloc] – well, suddenly there are a lot of people who are like you, and that’s important.”

    Elles wears puffer jacket, £POA, ASOS; Originals three-stripe sweat pants, £44.95, Adidas

    Fi McCluskey

    Singer Fi McCluskey has worked with Luke Solomon, performed in drag artist Jonny Woo’s Lou Reed tribute show TRANS(former), and is co-lead vocalist in Nostalgia Of Mothership with Josh Caffe. But the 31-year-old would be nowhere without clubs. “The club scene is the heart. It gives people a chance to feel free, to go out and express themselves – not only through clothing but through dancing. That sense of freedom is really important to express yourself, it basically keeps you sane,” she says. Without it, she would never have met these people to work with and would never have had the inspiration to work free of conformity. “It always starts with going out and then just really finding a home creatively. Feeling creatively fulfilled, and meeting like-minded people that you are then able to create with.”

    Fi wears leather jacket and tiger hockey jersey, both Fi’s own

    Fabien Marini

    French-born DJ Fabien Marini moved here two years ago from Berlin. DJing as Pavliné, he bided his time before making his mark as a promoter. “I came here looking for gigs around Dalston. I went to various parties and talked to promoters, trying to figure out what the scene was like,” explains the 32-year-old. “Before you organise your own party you need to know how things work.” He launched Sweat about a year ago and has taken it to London venues like The Shelter and East Bloc, its pool party vibe and tropical themes inspired by Tom Bianchi’s photos from Fire Island. He’s found London’s club scene gives him the opportunity to find the right crowd for his nights. “People say ‘Berlin’s a great city to party in’, but the scene is quite small,” he says. “You always meet the same kind of people. In London it’s bigger and more diverse. You need to find where you belong, because there are very different music types and party types. You fit in smaller pockets, but you fit better with the people you find.”

    Fabien wears vintage jacket, as before

    Lucy Fizz

    Heading out three or four nights a week, Lucy Fizz parties for a living. It’s her job to get a crowd going. “I met most of my friends through partying,” explains the 32-year-old. “A lot of the parties I go to have people dress up. They’re crazy and wild. I think having that space is important to explore and try different things out and see who you are.” First getting onto the scene during the likes of Boom Box, Anti-Social and Nag Nag Nag in East London, where there were massive amounts of “big queer dress-up parties” taking place, Lucy says the scene had died down in recent years – but now she feels it’s really thriving again. There’s a freedom that it offers for Lucy that can’t be found elsewhere and she’s happy to see them return in full force: “You can go to a nightclub and be transported into a different world, where the outside world doesn’t necessarily matter or exist for those hours that you’re dancing.”

    Lucy Fizz wears leather collar, £POA, Tamzin Lillywhite, Mesh top and fringed skirt, £POA, Tyula White; glitter, prices vary, In Your Dreams

    Jay Jay Revlon

    The aim of the monthly vogue night English Breakfast London is to bring inclusivity to London’s vogue scene, according to the night’s co-founder Jay Jay Revlon, 24. “There are loads of nights where people feel like they have to look a certain type of way,” he explains. “I want people to feel comfortable. I mainly cater for the LGBT community – I’m creating a space for gay people to feel safe.” Jay Jay started sneaking in to clubs when he was 15, but last year, after returning from Paris, he teamed up with Qween Beat label affiliate Byrell The Great to put on his first vogueing function at HUB16. Alongside running monthly nights with English Breakfast London, he also runs Sunday classes in voguing that are open to anyone. “I thought the scene was lacking something in terms of queer culture,” he says. “It’s about putting everyone into one space to have a great time. We aim to make it an inclusive space for everyone.”

    Jay Jay wears net dress, Zara, £POA

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