Meet the three friends behind Sydney’s inclusive new club night, Swytch
Searching for a club night featuring stellar local acts playing boundary pushing beats to an inclusive crowd? Look no further than Swytch, a brand new club night bringing diverse beats with a femme flavour to Sydney’s Hudson Ballroom.
The three women behind the night, known as Non Chalant (aka Flower Boy), Chris Blanc and Kilimi, all linked up through a DJ competition where they felt like they didn’t fit with the genres or sexist and racist undertones of the mainstream industry. Their love of underground club sounds set them apart from the rest, all boasting USBs packed with left-of-centre house, afrobeats, club, jersey and bass music.
Their club night is set to be a platform for women and non binary artists and DJs that is essentially genreless, for an audience that is willing to go where the DJ takes them. Along with being passionate about increasing visibility of underrepresented groups and sounds in the industry, the Swytch collective is hoping to re-energise Sydney club goers disillusioned by lockout laws.
Swytch is set to launch on the 24th of November with Sydney artists Chanel and Jikuroux on the lineup alongside Swytch DJs, all set to play forward-thinking club, vogue and jersey into the night. We got to ask the three friends behind the night a little about their goals going into the project, their inspirations and what drives them.
Why do you think it’s important to be actively carving a space for women and non binary artists in music at the moment?
Kilimi: Going out in Sydney at the moment is like, “Let’s like count the woman on the lineup,” or, “Take a photo of the token POC/non binary artist on the lineup.” At some point I feel like, with this kind of stuff, you have to make yourself accountable, like, I can’t look to someone else to make a safe space for a demographic that they’re not a part of. With bookings, it goes hand in hand. If you make a safe space for these people, you really should be promoting and encouraging artists of those groups too.
Non Chalant: It’s really one of those ‘be the change you want to see’ moments. Growing up, my belief was always that if I wanted to do music, I would have to be a singer of some sort, because they were the only women in music that I could see. Even now, I struggle to explain to older generations what it is that I do, because they don’t believe that it’s “appropriate.” It sounds sappy, but if we can create a space that encourages even just one more woman/NB artist to pursue their dreams, particularly one of colour, I think that this would be worth it.
Chris Blanc: There’s a demand but no supply, particularly after the lock out laws, where spaces for women, non binary, queer partygoers have either dwindled or been taken over by a heteronormative patriarchal crowd because that’s what’s safe, and sells tickets. This is us trying to reclaim and create a space for those who need it.
What made you want to band together to start Swytch?
Chris Blanc: We’re from different parts of Sydney and met through the Your Shot DJ competition where we realised we’d have to carve out our own space rather than try and insinuate ourselves into what already exists/the mainstream scene.
Non Chalant: We all had the common desire to form that space, and I think we also realised that it wasn’t beyond our reach, so naturally we just came together and Swytch was born.
Kilimi: I think the whole lockouts have been like a huge fuck you to the Sydney music scene and now people are looking to leave Sydney for a more enriched nightlife experience. So, I guess more than anything we kinda wanted to bring people together within Sydney and give us a place to call home.
From coming together thought Your Shot, what do you think are the biggest differences between mainstream and counter-club culture?
Non Chalant: I think the danger with counter-club culture is that often a sense of exclusivity forms around the groups and then people get left behind. That’s something that we’ve discussed and while we’re not 100% sure on how we’re going to try keep our events as open as possible, I’m hoping that we come across that way. I think, like the glory days of Goodgod, that’s what makes the best club nights – having people from all kinds of social groups and circles happily enjoying the same music together.
Chris Blanc: I think the two major differences between mainstream and counter-club culture is the music and the people, though the two are not mutually exclusive. From personal experience, mainstream clubs tend to attract a heteronormative/patriarchal crowd – the dude bros and those
who appreciate them – and with that you find often replicated genres of trap/dubstep. Whereas with counter-club culture, the crowd is a lot more varied, the levels of acceptance are higher and the variety of person reflects the variety in music – so literally anything can be played and can be accepted.
Who are some artists you’re loving at the moment? Local and international?
Chris Blanc: Personally, I love Alison Wonderland, Nina Las Vegas, Anna Lunoe – all local [women] who are gaining/have gained international traction. Established international producers include DJ Zinc, Format B and Hudson Mohawke.
Kilimi: Call me weird but I straight only listen to afrobeat/afrowave, anything afro – Kojo Funds, Yxng, Bane, Eugy, Mr Eazi. Maybe it’s that it connects to my Islander side but a nice afro beat goes a long way with me. Locally, Phil Fresh is a g – solid vibes plus he’s Tongan too so I had to put on. There’s these boys in Campbelltown that make rap which I guilty pleasure bump – Enzo & Pistol Pete and Hooligan Hef$. If you guys have a geeze you’ll hear them straight put on American accents – hence the guilty pleasure listen.
Non Chalant: I’m constantly blown away by the music that comes out of Sydney… Pink Noise Radio is great because they play so many amazing female/NB local artists that their show is such a good way to get a taste of what there is out there. Lovely Head and Pendant released a really beautiful EP, Pink, over a year ago and I still revisit it often. Truthfully though the past couple weeks I’ve only been listening to Lana Del Rey. I can’t imagine my life without Lana Del Rey.
The three of you all have pretty different tastes in music, and with Chanel and Jikuroux on the line up too, this party is set to have quite a diverse genre palette. What is the element that’s going to tie everyone together?
Non Chalant: Our tastes in music are diverse enough that we enjoy playing all kinds of music, so our own sets will be tailored toward the styles of our guests for each different event. With Chanel and Jikuroux on board for our launch, we’re predicting this event to have a more vogue/alternative club sound. At the end of the day, DJing is just a form of aural curation, and I guess even if there’s no set “theme” for each event, we are conscious of the overall sound.
What can people expect at “the birthing” of Swytch?
Chris Blanc: We just want to embrace what’s considered left-of-centre – that’s what we are and that’s what we want to nurture.
Non Chalant: Anytime someone asks what my ideal club night is like, I think back to the glory days of Goodgod. I’m not really sure those are ever truly replicable but you bet I’m gonna try.
Kilimi: Think about the most heinous house party where you can wear, act and be whoever you want to be with no judgements and no dickheads. This will be better than that.
Swytch 001: The Birthing
~ FEATURING ~
$10 online / $15 tickets on the door
PHOTO BY JESSE MULLINS
WORDS BY HOLLY O’NEILL