Queer to the center.
By Danni Cassette
A D A I R (she/her, they/them) is a DJ, producer, nightlife organizer, & cultural curator. She is invested in amplifying the voices & visibility of womxn, people of color, & queer communities through the creation of intentional safe spaces for people to experience joy through music. A D A I R is also a founding member & resident DJ of Rose Gold Collective, as well as of Haute Sauce, a Brooklyn-based black womxn creative collective.
Describe yourself in 3 words:
Empowered Queer Entrepreneur
What do you think attracts people to your art the most?
I think my authenticity and just fun loving attitude.
I am a proud black queer woman and a lot of the work that I do works to center the communities that make up my identity. I create spaces for marginalized people and I'm very open about that. People really love that they have the option to get free in queer centered spaces where they don't feel unsafe in the ways that they might in highly heteronormative environments.
I am also always dancing and smiling while I spin and the crowd feels that energy, receives and returns it in a really beautiful way. That energy exchange is my favorite part of DJing and seems to be something that people really appreciate.
What has been your biggest obstacle while in pursuit of your passions?
My biggest obstacle has been myself, honestly. Self doubt caused me to put off DJing and event curation for years before I started. And procrastination has caused me to put things off when I should have been doubling down and going harder. I am my biggest competition, so trying to overcome my own shortcomings and establish healthy and consistent habits has been key to driving my success.
What advice would you give to anyone interested in DJing?
I would tell someone who is interested in DJing to just do it! That's really key. Get out of your own way and just try it. I would also say go and check out other DJ’s listen to them spin and meet them if you can. Skill is super important, but so is your network. So go out and meet people because they may be the same people to give you a shot when you’re ready to take the stage.
What is something else you’re good at that people would be surprised by?
When I’m not curating events or DJing I work a full time as a Manager of Media Planning at an advertising agency. I just got promoted so I guess I'm pretty good at that too :)
With all the things you juggle, what kind of things do you do to reset?
To reset I usually take time away from social media and go to the park and sit by the lake listening to jazz. I’m a Cancer and my connection to the water is VERY REAL. Something about being close to bodies of water just calms me and allows me to free up mental space to reset. Listening to jazz reminds me of all the musical elements that go into creation and helps inspire me to find sounds that I can apply to the production projects that I am working on.
What inspired you start curating you own events?
I started curating my own events because I would always go out on the weekends and leave the clubs and bars wanting more. Whether that meant a more diverse range of music outside of top 40, a more diverse crowd, or lack of creepy dudes invading the personal space of my friends. I wanted to find places where people let go and find freedom on the dance floor vs. standing around trying to look cool.
One night after another lack luster evening my friend and co-creator or Haute Sauce and I decided to stop complaining about it and create the event that checked all of those boxes. That’s when Haute Sauce was born.
What is your favorite thing about living in Brooklyn?
I love the people and the energy of Brooklyn. There is a lack of pretentiousness that I truly love and an appreciation of authentic artistic expression that I haven't found anywhere else. On top of all of that I really found a home in the proud QTPOC community here that I wouldn't trade for anything.
Can you tell us a little bit about your playlist?
For this playlist I tried to capture the energy of the moment. There are so many dope women and queer artists out here with platforms that the culture really needed. Woman and queer people in hip hip and beyond are finding their voices and it’s amazing and an indication of where things are moving. I'm a lover, so had to start off a little slower with some super talented your artists that speak about love and relationships in a way that mirrors modern love. I then bring the tempo up to highlight super dope feminist hip hop pioneers, and close with some international and club bops cause ya boi loves to dance.
What song really gets you going? I mean no matter when it plays you cannot help, but to dance to it.
Be Your Girl (Kaytranada Edit) by Teedra Moses is one of my fav songs and gets me going every time. I’m a romantic so the content gets me but that uptempo dance vibe is some of my favorite music to spin and I can't help but dance and sing along every time I hear it.