Moods on: the Underground

Published on 2018-07-20

Yer monthly's Mood Mixer, Picture Lock (Jordan Stanton -- not actually pictured lol), is highlighting NYC's underground techno scene - how it functions, why it's there, and how to navigate it (especially if you're someone with a privileged background).

"One of the less talked about parts of the 'underground' clubbing experience that goes down in New York City is the 5AM subway ride home. You're waiting in some musty train station strung out or hungover after a night of dancing feeling thoroughly happy with yourself. Then you hop on the train and get face to face with the real NYC - people twice your age commuting to labor intensive jobs and families of five sleeping on the seats till day break - needless to say, all typically POC. With that said, if you want to partake in NYC “underground” culture, you’re going to need a few things:

• A work schedule that enables you to be out till ungodly hours of the night so you can actually see the headliner you came out for (3AM seems to be the going standard)

• An iPhone, computer, or connection to the internet - if you think you can purchase tickets and get out to an 'underground' party without some form of expensive technology that we all take for granted, then you’re on one.

• You gotta be in the know or have friends who are - I can’t even count the number of times I’ve begged Bronx homies to pull up last minute to a Brooklyn function only to find that early bird tix sold out and $40 tier-3 tix are what’s left at the door (that’s 8 halal cart portions). It makes me sad to say that at a lot of these functions, it's less about the music than it is about the clothes you wear and the people you know.

• Comfort with a 1-2 hour+ commute and spotty MTA service given you don’t live in the incredibly expensive and gentrified areas that these parties actually go down in.

If you, like me, are privileged enough to have all of those things, then, congratulations - you are the New York City underground. There’s a decent chance that you aren’t even from NYC, though (no shade at nyc transplants <3). Growing up in the Bronx, a lot of my best friends were from Bedford Park. It’s a part of the borough that lies within the 16th congressional district, an area of NYC that has consistently reported the highest poverty rate in the entire nation. If you grew up in Bedford Park, odds are you won’t find yourself rolling at the next $30 all-Euro line up Bushwick warehouse rave.

However, there are promoters and venues (Bossa Nova, Discwomen events, Mood Ring, Alkhemy) within this community that actively fight to make it more accessible to everyone... something I talk about in the previous post."

-Picture Lock

SO: know that the underground isn't everyone, and it isn't for everyone, and if you're privileged, think about how drunk/loud you are, how much you're spending, and how much "space" you take up (in line, dancing right in front), and make sure there's enough room for everyone -- not just you.