JD Samson: Queer Working Class Hero
JD Samson is best known for being one third of the electro-feminist band Le Tigre, but she's an artistic dynamo who could never be put into just one box. Her current band, JD Samson & MEN, as well as her DJ sets, are sonic experiences that go way beyond the usual dance haze.
JD is heading to San Francisco to DJ at our Big Gay Birthday party on Friday, June 27 at Mezzanine, and sat down with us to talk about Pride prep, her favorite SF spots, and sweat.
You’ve become a bit of a champion for working artists, between your eloquent Huffington Post article on the financial realities of being a queer woman artist, and the JD Samson & MEN anthem "Making Art." Do you have any current words of wisdom for the working artist?
Don't get stressed out about what everyone else is doing. Just do what you feel. And make sure it's what is deep deep deep inside. You'll hit 'em hard. I promise.
You are known for your energetic, damn-near-ecstatic DJ sets. What experience do you want to give dancers in the club when you're spinning?
The whole reason I DJ is because I want to create a space. I want to bring people happiness and joy, and I want to let them fall into the music. I want them to feel safe, and I want them to feel like music is the answer to all of our problems.
What are your favorite spots to hit up when you come to San Francisco?
Ah San Francisco, I'm going to sound like a broken record, I'm sure. But I love the classics. The Lexington, Dolores Park, SFMOMA, the Castro, and Fisherman's Wharf. But in reality, I just love being around people I love and seeing my friends. And being around so much queer history/herstory isn't so bad either!
Comparisons between San Francisco and New York abound, at times reaching contentious levels. How would you compare the queer scene here in SF to the LGBTQ community in Brooklyn?
I can't really compare because I don't spend so much time in San Francisco, and I have lived in Brooklyn since 2000. But I can say that I think there's a deeper queerness in SF, if that's not jerky to Brooklyn! There's just such a history that there are so many different kinds of queers that are visible walking down the street. This kind of energy is really imperative to why I enjoy going to SF on Pride and enjoy the tangibility of our collective visibility.
We’re so stoked for you to DJ at our Big Gay Birthday event. Do you have any plans to promote some parties in San Francisco yourself? Can we get a PAT party?
Oh! I'd love to have a PAT party in SF! We have had so much success playing music that might not be what queers are used to. The DJs absolutely love the crowd because people are ecstatic and smiling and dancing and sweating. Really proud of that party and so thrilled to be able to make parties at all.
Do you have any PRIDE weekend rituals that you are looking forward to this year?
This year I'm going to be stretching, meditating, dressing, and breathing. Because I'm so excited to have sooooo many Pride events to run off to! In general I just try to stay positive and make sure I'm healthy!
Catch JD Samson at our Big Gay Birthday party on Friday, June 27. Get all the info and tickets here.