A short walk from the Grand L-train stop in Brooklyn, nestled between non-descript warehouses is a dark and dirty basement lair that has recently served as the pseudo-permanent home for the artist duo VenusX and $hayne Olivier, whose collaborative music project called GHE20 G0TH1K (pronounced ghetto gothic), and party of the same name, has been a definitive fixture of the underground party and music scene in New York for several years. The insane party that used to thump on far into the morning was virtually a weekly event in their Brooklyn space, after having bumped around temporary venues throughout the city.
VenusX and $hayne are the mainstays of the GHE20 G0TH1K stage, but are known for the amazing guest artists who come to dj for the night (ARAABMUZIK, DJ TOTAL FREEDOM, and SFV ACID for example), who are consciously chosen to highlight often marginalized populations within the electronic music world, namely women and people of colour -- rare in a genre that traditionally has the appearance of being dominated by white men. The crowd too is far more diverse – often labeled as a straight-friendly gay warehouse party, which attracts a distinctively queer crowd of a broad racial spectrum – something hard to find at the staples of New York’s nightlife, which tend to be far more homogenous.
What really keeps the crowd coming though, is GHE20 G0TH1K’s sound, which is like nothing else that can be found in New York. Often based in Latin-inspired beats, VenusX and $hayne blend together samples and sounds from a ridiculously huge array of artists and genres, manipulating and adding their own beats in order to make dark, fast and intensely electronic music that infects your body with the desire to move.
Everything they do is live and off the cuff, showcasing both of their acute djing skills and commitment to experimenting with and extending the boundaries of electronic music. Unlike many other artists who reside within the club/party scene, GHE20 G0TH1K is not interested necessarily in pleasing crowds in a calculated manner, but is instead focused on fully exploring the medium.
VenusX and $hayne Olivier in the Lower East Side. Photo by Brayden Olson and Zachary Ching, courtesy of Opening Ceremony.
At this point, GHE20 G0TH1K has moved far beyond a weekly New York warehouse party, and now falls under $hayne and VenusX’s umbrella project called Clear, Inc. In addition to the music and the parties, Clear, Inc. is also responsible for $hayne’s newly founded fashion label called Hood by Air, which previewed its Spring/Summer 2012 line during New York’s Fall Fashion Week. At the intersections of music and fashion, $hayne and VenusX are trying build a lifestyle where the creative energies from both projects are working together to create a new scene within the electronic music world and the party scene that it is associated with.
The GHE20 G0TH1K aesthetic is craved by people outside of New York City, with $hayne and VenusX on a national tour right now as proof of that. They have also been known to pop up in high-profile places, like their show with Odd Future at the South by Southwest festival, or the multiple appearances they made at some of Miami’s biggest parties during the 2011 art fairs. Their reach beyond New York is difficult to gauge, but they are known for selling out parties around the country; this all from two artists who have yet to release an EP or CD in over two years of collaboration.
GHE20 G0TH1K djing at an after party during Miami Art Week 2011. Photo by Collin Munn.
In the coming months, expect to see this change, with $hayne and VenusX working on a soon-to-be released EP that will feature work entirely by female artists, and will be the first time that their music has been formally recorded and released. Watch out too for Hood by Air’s appearance on the racks of clothing stores around New York and the country, with an expected launch at Opening Ceremony in the coming months.
What is so amazing about $hayne and VenusX’s various projects, even if you do not like the music or the clothes, is the way in which they built their own scene within the electronic music world from the ground up, and always according to their own rules. While maybe their defiant attitudes and often difficult sound made their rise slower than it potentially could have been, they have now clearly established that there is a national population out there waiting in anticipation for GHE20 G0TH1K’s intervention into their party.
Top image: $hayne djing the launch party for Hood by Air. Photo by Quentin Belt, courtesy of http://glob.anewyorkthing.com