Happy Pride, ravers! Pride Month is celebrated every June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots in June of 1969. These riots eventually lead to the movement toward equal rights for the gay community. If it wasn't for the events that occurred that summer, we wouldn't be able to express all of the colors of our own rainbows... or hear the music we make. Electronic Dance Music (House/Disco) was very much a part of this movement. EDM was born in gay clubs all over the world, and without the queer artists of that time we wouldn't have rave culture and dance music as we know it today.
To honor pride month, this article will be dedicated to several queer artists who are currently slaying in the industry. The following Dj/s & Producers are members of the LGBTQ+ community and they are definitely worth putting on your must-see list for your next festival. And don't forget, 10% of anything you purchase from the iHeartRaves Pride Month collection will go toward Outright Action International, a nonprofit dedicated to helping members of the LGBTQ+ community around the world.
REZZ is a Canadian Producer who has made waves all around the world. Since releasing her first EP in 2015 on OWSLA’s sub label, Nest HQ she was an instant hit. Her most recent album, Certain Kind of Magic catapulted her fame even more, and today she's collaborating with industry leaders like Grimes. REZZ has grown to be a name every raver should know, and her hypnotic, down-tempo beats will surely make you feel…relaxed.
Coming right out of Michigan, you have our favorite funk producer: GRiZ! Griz is known for playing his saxophone on stage while he melts the crowd’s minds. He has made bangers with Grammatik and Subtronics, but also can get super vibey. Griz has embodied his phrase: “Show Love, Spread Love” with his team of Liberators. Liberators will help you out at shows and they also participate and lead community service projects.
Ducky started their music career at the early age of 13. They were in middle school when a track took off on Myspace, and they hit the clubs shortly after. They found their unique sound of a hypnotic warehouse / experimental vibes, but then turn around and give you softcore that goes right intro hardcore. Recently, Ducky came out with a Pride merch shop: Play Nice. This shop provides sizes XS-4XL and it is all gender-neutral and nonbinary.
Brandon Wisniski, aka Wreckno, is a queer badass musician from Michigan. He produces and raps his own music—and his flow is sick—not only in music, but in dance as well. I started following Wreckno when he was the only male hula-hoop flow artist I could find on Instagram. He was truly an inspiration and really inspired me to start flowing myself, and he didn't stop there. Soon, Wreckno picked up a set of CDJ’s and then blossomed into a very talented experimental bass DJ who raps without skipping a beat. He has really made a name for himself, working with artists like GRiZ, he continues to be a great representative of a queer man who isn't afraid to be who he wants to be. He truly radiates positivity and self-love and it shows.
Last, but not least, we have Kendoll. Kendoll is originally from Seattle, WA, but is now a LA-based. She started getting people dancing when she was 16 and has not stopped since. She has released tracks on labels such as Night Bass, Insomniac Records, Bite This! and more. I can only describe her music as a bassline house mixed with a UK sound. Her newest track, “Acid Party" drops this week so be sure to stream it.
I got a chance to ask Kendoll if she had any advice for someone who was trying to figure out who they were, and she happily responded:
‘Always keep your heart and mind open. This day in age there are so many support systems for young people trying to figure out their sexuality and to not be afraid is the key, never be afraid of who you are. My pent up sexuality led to lots of insecurities and depression, you will never truly be happy unless you are open about who you are. Lastly, I would say throughout my lifetime exploring my sexuality, there is not a rush to put a label on how you identify. It can be confusing to try and slap a label on how you define love and there is never a time limit on your discovery of yourself throughout your life. No matter what, you are loved, and feeling like you can't be yourself can be harmful to your future relationships, just know there are so many people who will be there for you. Always do this on your own time of course, and when you feel comfortable to do so. But never ever be afraid to be who you are.”