Cape Town-based DJ, ambassador and amusing media bohemian River Moon (who goes by they/them pronouns) has taken on a audible aesthetic mission during the pandemic: to advance joy in the anatomy of ball and laughter. “We absolutely charge both in these times,” Moon said over a buzz interview—which was, indeed, abounding with affluence of cackling.
Their aboriginal two releases of the year, “The Rave Princess,” to be appear this Valentine’s Day, and “Sick Bitches,” a accord with adolescent Black and anomalous techno avant-garde LSDXOXO, to be appear afterwards this Spring, strives to adulterous a affected cackle and accompanying hip amplitude in listeners. It’s adamantine not to smile aback singing forth to the adventurous lyrics of “The Rave Princess,” which proclaims Moon’s administration over nightlife with unapologetic confidence. The dark, adult clue is an ode to memories of alluring entrances into clubnights past, and Moon’s way of alms admirers a sliver of that accurate animation and assurance that queer, underground spaces already provided.
After spending their adolescence and boyish years in New York, Moon alternate home to South Africa—where they were built-in and area their continued ancestors still resides—four years ago. “When I got here, I wasn’t alone,” Moon says. “I anon acquainted community.” The ambitious DJ and self-proclaimed “rave princess” abutting a countless of LGBTQ musicians, like FAKA, Angel-Ho, Queezy, Dope St. Jude, K.Dollahz, Umlilo, MX Blouse, and Lelo Whatsgood, who accept become some of the best pertinent cultural ambassadors of a post-apartheid country Archbishop Desmond Tutu already appropriately dubbed the “Rainbow Nation.” “But that association is asleep now!” Moon says, abandoned bisected joking.
Just as in best added countries, COVID-19 has beggared Cape Town—and South Africa at large—of basic anomalous spaces and aesthetic platforms. Moon’s accent confused to one of aching aback discussing the abiding abandoning of their admired queer-friendly affair in the city, PRIME. As a gender adverse artist, Moon declared how acknowledging the ritual of accessory was. “When you’re out in the world, bodies attending at you awe-inspiring or bodies ask questions, but if you’re in that blazon of environment, area anybody abroad is additionally cogent themselves freely, you feel at home. And you feel welcome,” they mused. Moon black their memories by annual the amusing apparel they donned for the event, which included a hot pink, two allotment Helmut Lang clothing with a analogous cowboy hat (which they call acquiescently as “like Woody from Toy Story, but gay!”) and amethyst hair. For Moon, PRIME was a belvedere for bare expression, sartorially and sonically. “It was the abandoned affair area I acquainted absolutely safe and area bodies absolutely enjoyed new sounds,” Moon says, afore ruefully adding, “The blow of the burghal is actual homogenized.”
Although anomalous South African creatives are authoritative after-effects on the all-around date and altering the world’s perceptions of the country, Moon was acquisitive to analyze that the caliginosity of ageism still counterbalance heavily on Cape Town’s nightlife scene, explaining, “It’s still actual abundant a boys club. [Bookers] don’t abutment bodies who go adjoin the grain, or the absolute innovators who advance the envelope.” Racism, homophobia, and transphobia are still animate and able-bodied afterwards the dissolution of the white abolitionist Boer administration that plundered the country for bristles decades. Afterwards such a allegiant history of anomalous and Black erasure, it’s unsurprising that so abounding adolescent LGBTQ musicians of the “Born Free” bearing are so absolute in their expression. “[LGBTQ and BIPOC artists] don’t get appointed in the aforementioned way that straight, white men do. Even beeline women attempt to get assignment here,” Moon says. “And the abandoned time we are booked, it’s as tokens during Pride ages or all-around protests. Aback those contest are over, we go aback to not accepting jobs.” Even afore COVID-19, Moon said it was and still is about absurd for anomalous musicians to sustain themselves on art abandoned on their home turf. “People’s livelihoods are at stake,” they state.
But like so abounding anomalous antecedents afore them, Moon has consistently managed to affected the analytical and amplified barriers to success that anomalous Black artists face, not aloof in South Africa but about the globe. Remarkably, the adverse year of 2020 accepted to be their best exposive one, career-wise, to date. Afore the communicable hit, Moon was already physically anchored and in charge of an emergency hip replacement. “I anticipation I was activity to appear out of the hospital, recover, and afresh be aback dancing in the streets. But there was boilerplate to go aback I could assuredly airing again,” they recall. While recovering, Moon created their aboriginal EP, Martyr, which was appear in the summer of 2020—a accumulating of Afrofuturist abstraction advance that accord to a brand Moon describes as “spiral music.” Using assorted unorthodox, DIY samples (the clue “She” incorporates iPhone recordings of Moon throwing forks and knives about their kitchen), Moon engineers a sonic cosmos that reflects their adventure of healing and recovery. “I apprehend music in a lot of things that are visual,” they say. “When I add those sounds to my songs it adds a assertive arrangement that can’t be replicated with assertive plugins.”
As apparent by Martyr, Moon delights in adorable audiences appear the bleeding edge, appear a new, conceivably afflictive terrain. This convenance extends to their access to online comedy, which has been an appropriately almighty exercise in the art of confrontation. Afore Moon started advancing music professionally, they were a acclaimed banana and analyzer in the Twitter sphere, whose adventurous attacks on hegemonic systems and apparent bluntness got them banned from the platform—a absolute of 11 times. Afterwards adverse again censorship on Twitter, Moon began absorption on addition agenda activity that’s additionally aggregated cogent drive this year: the Instagram annual @Patiasfantasyworld. Moon is one of three admins who accord memes to the amusement page, which is a anniversary of the absolutely (and exclusively) Black experience. “Harvesting” memes, Moon says, is a affection on par with music, “It’s avant-garde art, and it’s comedy. We charge memes in the MoMa!” The artist additionally appear they use a burner Facebook annual to acquisition their funniest content, which usually comes from ancestors associates and added association of earlier generations. “Aunties,” Moon reports, accept accurate to be the best reliable resource.
After the annihilation of George Floyd, however, Moon and the added @Patiasfantasyworld admins absitively to about-face their absorption against acceptable a reliable resource, but with the far added austere aim of dismantling systemic racism. “You can’t beam at our jokes but avoid our issues. Yes, we’re funny online, but in our absolute lives we’re fatigued and depressed because they’re killing Black people—and not aloof in America. Black auto women are murdered at genocidal ante everywhere,” Moon said. The leash created an all-encompassing anti-racism database and educational belvedere to advance the Black Lives Amount movement, which has back broadcast abundantly about the internet. “We formed adamantine to accomplish it attainable for everyone,” Moon said.
When talking about their role as a co-curator on the account, Moon declared themself as a “loveable abettor of chaos,” but the appellation applies to all of their aesthetic outlets. Be it in their communicable advance for abandoned raves, gender abusive club kid outfits, or absolutely abandoned posts online, one affair is clear: Moon has a adroitness for axis moments of black and affliction into humor, creativity, and light. And while the approaching of South Africa’s anomalous underground—and nightlife ability in general—remains in an broad limbo, Moon will accumulate us dancing and giggling, no amount how acute things get.
Cassidy George is a Berlin based cultural writer. You can acquisition her on Instagram.
Photos by Luke Bell Doman and Jaimi Robyn.
Published January 21, 2021. Words by Cassidy George.
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