Glamcult Selects is coming and Diora is “on a march to destroy the patriarchy”
Diora did not come to fuck around. Self-describing her sound as ‘transsexual warrior hymns’, Diora channels her feminine power into everything she does, and it is sexy, bass-heavy, and uptempo. As blood-pumping beats are in a dance with sultry vocals, Diora has the ability to transform the dancefloor into a parade, where everyone is encouraged to celebrate their identity and throw middle fingers at anything or anyone who tries to contain them. With her sets rooted in research, Diora continues the legacy of electronic music with authenticity, forward-thinking vision and some impressive mixing skills. To get in the mood for Diora’s set on Thursday for Glamcult Selects #3, we caught up with the artist to learn more about her sound, community and process. Don’t miss out on the event of the year and put your name down by emailing us at email@example.com <3
Hey Diora! Lovely to speak with you today, how are you?
I’m doing well. Just organising my life (which is always a bit stressful). But yeah, I’m feeling positive, and I’m excited for the new year.
Jumping right into it, how would you describe your DJing style?
Definitely sexy vocal techno. Transsexual warrior hymns. Music that I feel speaks directly to the trans community and makes you feel like a warrior on a march – we’re on a march to destroy the patriarchy. Rhythmic, heavy bass, and a lot of sexy vocals.
That’s quite a title! How would you say you’ve built up this sound? Or has it always been a natural style?
When I used to go – I mean, haha, when I go – clubbing, I always resonate with LYZZA. I feel like her sets have always inspired me because they have this upbeat, up-tempo warrior-type music, that when I dance to it, I feel like I’m marching. Music that has this feeling has always inspired me. When I danced to some specific sets that had this energy, I always saw myself as this warrior marching into a brighter future. So, whenever I play, I envision this feeling I used to get when I was a person in the crowd.
Apart from being driven by this feeling, what are some of your other sources of inspiration?
Outside of music, young South African artists — which is where I’m from — inspire me. They’re so passionate about the history, culture and meaning of work, and growing up around that has always been incredibly inspiring. For example, there is this one artist Jody Brand, she’s a photographer I have always loved. In terms of music, a lot of the dolls in music right now, like Jasmine Infiniti, Ariel Zetina, Mama Yha Yha – all of these amazing trans women are incredible. They take up so much space when they play, which is how I want to see my DJ persona. Also generally, our community is inspiring in itself. Our life story and all of our different narratives.
I also love your photography work! How would you say all of these art forms, and creative personas come together?
As an artist, I really like to focus on trans existence and the complexity within that, as well as empowering the communities and individuals around me. My DJ persona is a more empowered version of myself – a person that is elevated. I become the person I would have wanted to see. Imagery, fashion and music all come together as one. My visual and photographic work is just an extension of me as a person, as well as the music that I play. If my visuals could be music, they would be my sets.
If there was anything you could change anything in the industry, what would it be?
I think the industry is just very white, and we need to see more people acknowledge where techno and electronic music comes from, which is Black artists. People need to recognise their history – they often either don’t know it or don’t care to focus on it. It’s important to recognise the origins of the music that you play. Also, to see women be more respected in the industry, especially trans women. Our lives are so involved with nightlife. Aside from sex work, Queer nightlife is one of the few places that we have really completely existed in. I think we deserve our flowers, in the sense that we deserve to be respected and given spaces to play. We are nightlife, the nightlife is us, and we’ve been a part of this for so long. I think it’s only right that we are given more spaces to express ourselves, and also to be seen and acknowledged for our contribution to the culture that we all live in.
Creative progress so often comes from marginalised communities and is then appropriated into the mainstream. A lot of people don’t see through that.
Exactly! Underground music is the purest and most special music – it has the most character. Whatever industry you’re in, it’s important to know the origins and pay respect to the founders. To the people who came before us to allow us to create today. It’s super important to study your history.
What would make someone stand out to you in the crowd?
It’s two things for me – people who are really into acting and dancing to music, and also people dancing with each other. It’s about people coming together as a unit – really feeling the music and dancing with each other. It really stands out to me when I can see someone’s body follow every beat. It’s almost like doing choreography on the dancefloor. I love seeing people in this hypnotic state – as I mentioned before… it’s a state of marching, in a way!
Do you have a dream lineup?
Slim Soledad, a good sister of mine from Brazil, Arakaza based in Amsterdam, False Witness and Engalanan from Barcelona. It’s a perfect combination of electro, baile funk, hard trance, industrial techno, sexy techno, and club mix. They all play different things and together are such powerhouses. This would be an iconic lineup for sure.
What are the three songs to get in the mood for your set?
This one song I’m obsessed with at the moment – Sanjin by Pouch Envy, it’s very vocal and sexy, very glam. Fast techno with these vocals is definitely a track people need to listen to before coming to my set. I would say Heathens Call by LYZZA Is also a really good because I always envision myself driving fast with my girls in the back, and we’re going through a tunnel. It has a lot of bad bitch elements. Ariel Zetina from her new album, called have you ever?. The BPM is not super fast, it’s a really nice vocal techno track. It’s a great opening track, and it has a storyline. It’s very sexy and cunty for sure.
You mentioned you’re looking forward to 2023. What are you manifesting?
Happiness, true happiness. I’m manifesting new artistry, extending my artistic practice and combining all my passions. I’m also manifesting peace, contentment and protection for myself, my friends and my family. I want the next year to be the year where push myself to the limits but also be protected along with my loved ones.
Any specific projects we can be excited about?👀
I haven’t fully realised it yet, but I have this project in which I want to combine audio, visuals and performance together. That’s all I’ll say for now. All of the elements of my artistry coming together and creating an immersive experience of trans existence and The Birth of She. Like The Birth of Venus but The Birth of She – the birth of Trans Woman.