Go behind the scenes of this LGBTQ-inclusive progressive house series in Cardiff, UK.
Welsh DJ and producer Aubrey Fry is set to transform Cardiff’s District nightclub into a progressive house haven this Spring with the launch of CONNECTEDwith.
The day party series will kick off on March 2nd, 2024, featuring internationally renowned headliners Guy J and Jody Wisternoff.
Wisternoff, who made waves in the 90s rave scene as one half of electronic duo Way out West, continues to contribute to the genre with ongoing releases on the esteemed house label Anjunadeep. Tel Aviv’s Guy J, known for headlining global gigs and releasing music on Bedrock, will share the stage as a double headliner. Guy J also champions seasoned artists like Funk D’Void and Kevin Yost on his own label, Lost & Found.
CONNECTEDwith will transform District’s three floors from 3 pm to 10:30 pm, featuring an inclusive lineup that reflects the diversity of the LGBTQ community and the electronic music scene. DJs ACiDTRAX, Brian Gravel, Jody Barr, Mia Aurora, and Super Progressive, along with Fry and Cardiff stalwart Jimpy, complete the lineup.
Fry emphasizes the LGBTQ-inclusive nature of CONNECTEDwith, stating, “CONNECTEDwith is an inclusive events collective based in Wales. We aim to bring the best artists in electronic music to our events. We want CONNECTEDwith events to embrace the diverse raver body and artist body that the UK has. Everyone is welcome; we want CONNECTEDwith events to be a safe space for all to be who they want to be, a collective experience allowing everyone involved to express themselves and feel Connected.”
Tickets priced at £20 are available online at Skiddle.com, where attendees can also join a rep program and earn £2 for every ticket sold.
We caught up with Aubrey Fry to find out more about his vision for CONNECTEDwith, and why it appeals to the over-40 crowd!
Queer Forty: Aubrey, with CONNECTEDwith, you aim to revive the underground vibe in Cardiff’s music scene. How do you plan to connect with the older demographic, recognizing their affinity for this sound, and create an exciting opportunity for them to re-engage with the music scene?
Aubrey: Well firstly, I will be booking some really legendary artists from back in their day. Artists that are still absolutely rocking 30 years on. People who used to go out back in the day now generally have life commitments these days, be that kids or caring for their parents or others. We recognize that they need a break, they need that same escapism that they went out to find all those years ago. So it is important to make sure that we are as. Inclusive of all these people as possible. One way is by putting on day parties rather than all-nighters. It is far easier to get cover. If you are a carer for the daytime, plus, you don’t want a hangover after an all nighter and then have to care for kids or old people after staying up all night. Another key is to bring all of the old local favorites back to support the big names. For example we have local legend Jimpy playing for us, he will be our resident in Cardiff, he is a true legend from back in the day.
Your musical journey began almost thirty years ago in Cardiff. How do you perceive the significance of progressive house music for the older demographic, and what role do you think it plays in their lives today?
Well this is where it all began for me. Progressive house was the first style of electronic music that I was exposed to which actually sounded high quality. The use of sounds and production was by far ahead of the hardcore scene, so quality is what shines through for me. I would suggest that progressive house is for the discerning raver, like a fine wine it gets better as it gets older.
In the press release, you mentioned that CONNECTEDwith is an inclusive events collective, emphasizing the importance of diversity in both the raver and artist community. How do you plan to make the LGBTQ community feel welcome and included in your day parties?
Other than welcoming everyone who comes through the door with a huge bear hug and the love and respect that everyone deserves, in the future I would like to put on parties during pride. I studied in Brighton and then carried on living there for many many years, pride in Brighton was always the best time that I have ever had there. The street parties on St James St during Pride showed me how much the love and respect that LGBTQ+ have for all creeds cultures and well everyone. It embedded a true belief in me that this is how the whole world should actually be towards one another. I feel that pride should be a bastion for how the world moves into the future. Fuck war, only love matters. So to answer your question, I would like to put on some Cardiff street parties for pride, we will also be booking some amazing artists who champion LGBTQ+ rights. Artists like Derrick Carter and Honey Dijon. Watch this space!
Given your roots in Cardiff’s music scene, particularly with the Hippo Club, how does it feel to bring CONNECTEDwith back to where your passion for electronica first ignited? What emotions or memories does this return evoke for you?
It is a huge honor, my love of Cardiff is huge. My whole life in this music would never have been unless it wasn’t for catapult records and the Hippo Club. Both places evoke memories of pure excitement. I would go into Cardiff on a Saturday to hit the shops and would spend all my time in record shops listening to and buying music. While all of my friends were hitting top shop. The hippo club solidified my position, this is what I wanted to do in life. Nothing else mattered, seeing DJ Sasha play there, life suddenly made sense. I spent the next thirty years traveling around the world raving.
CONNECTEDwith is not just about catering to an older demographic but also creating an inclusive space. How do you plan to attract a younger crowd to the progressive house scene, ensuring that CONNECTEDwith resonates with a broad spectrum of ages and tastes?
Quality always shines through. There are people out there that are already getting into it at a young age. When you are dealing with actual music, with high production value, then you can’t not connect with it. We have a street team of young ravers who do the old skool way of promoting events with flyers and good chat. They concentrate on the student body in Cardiff. We are also on the hunt for new talent always. As a record producer I am always listening to demos and also working with new talent. So we aim to bring new exciting artists to our events. We have an amazing new singer called her majesti who is doing a live pa with me on our march 2nd event. She is a classically trained opera singer, super young, super talented. Her majesti has quite an androgynous tone and she is going to set the place alight, https://open.spotify.com/artist/2d86sY6MjXjfTTEY3ZmyWg
Your return to music during the pandemic has been a remarkable journey, culminating in recognition from industry stalwarts like John Digweed. Can you share more about the role music played in your life during the lockdowns and how it became a source of inspiration and connection?
John has always been a huge inspiration to me. From my mum buying me his CD for Christmas from catapult in Cardiff when I was 15, to playing alongside him and releasing on his label 25 years later. He is a god, IMO. During lockdown he was doing bunker sessions, a live stream to keep his ear in, they were hugely popular and also inspirational to me. Because of these I set about writing music again and sent him the music I made. He signed all of my music from lockdown, so I guess if it wasn’t for lockdown, John Digweed and a life of fandom, I would not be talking to you today. I owe him a huge amount and plan on bringing him to Cardiff very soon.
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