A conversation with Hunter Hunt-Hendrix on her philosophy system for Sprout.
Sizzling with fierce erotic energy, His Dark Elements craft events that are both intoxicating and enriching. The collective takes a multidisciplinary approach to the dance floor, incorporating installation, drag, poetry and video art. Joining them during their takeover of the Bovenkamer will be Tel Aviv’s PAG, a queer organisation who are equally dedicated to pushing the boundaries of underground clubbing. Ahead of the mayhem, we sat down with co-founder Calliope Mettas for a lowdown on what to expect this Saturday night.
Hey, how’s everything going?
All good! Quite busy, but good. The last few days before the event are always the craziest ones.
“Be prepared to experience something on a whole different level”
So maybe we should wind things back a little bit. Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves? Who are His Dark Elements?
His Dark Elements are an independent international collective consisting of Calliope Mettas (Founder/Creative Director), Pablo Diskko (Founder programmer/ DJ), George Rallis (Art Director/performer). The rest of the crew is Broken Wave, Nathan Lake, and ILLEGAL/ De Directeur (resident DJ’s) Kelsey Nutland who is one of my closest friends and general strategic advisor; and UVGLOV our designer. Not to forget our precious performers and co-collaborators, Kevin Pieterse and Styliana Apostolou.
Are you guys excited for Saturday?
Yes, very much excited! We‘ve been planning this event for quite some time now, and we are thrilled that we are able to bring PAG for the first time in Amsterdam. It is a really special project.
“… obscene gender-fluid debauchery; an element of irony and humour, art, an abstraction of identity and interaction with the crowd”
Can you give us a lowdown of what will be happening? We’ve heard some magic things on the grapevine…
We are curating the Bovenkamer (the upstairs room of RADION) with music, visual interventions, and performances. Our resident DJs Pablo Diskko, De Directeur and affiliate Sector Y, will play along with PAG’s Tal Maman, E-bony and Rapha from Chateau Royal. There’ll also be a series of performative pieces captured on camera, re-worked and edited exclusively by the multi-talented Danilo Colonna aka LVM. It’s all about envisioning the dance-floor as a cinematic experience; a theatrical setting where imagination reigns and liberates the body. Our HDE performers Styliana Apostolou, Kevin Pieterse and (the curator) George Rallis will deliver an improvised self-reflection on club culture. And of course, PAG will be serving their obscene gender-fluid debauchery; an element of irony and humour, art, an abstraction of identity and interaction with the crowd. Finally, the main room and basement hosts Kraft Und Licht with CJ Bolland a.o and many more surprises!
“We want to provide opportunities for both worlds –gay and straight and everywhere in between — to connect on a deeper level and encounter kaleidoscopic forms of artistic expression”
What is HDE all about? What’s your aim, vision?
His Dark Elements is a conceptual project. We curate the music very carefully, including artists from different disciplines with a focus on complete audiovisual and physical immersion. We are an inclusive collective; we want to make HDE an educational platform for the party go-er. Not only musically and artistically, but also politically. Our mission is to provide a space where all sexualities, genders, and racial identities can dance, connect and most importantly learn from each other in a safe way. I personally grew up partying and bonding with the gay and trans community during the ’90s, in Athens, and have been a strong ally since then. We want to provide opportunities for both worlds –gay and straight and everywhere in between — to connect on a deeper level and encounter kaleidoscopic forms of artistic expression.
Speaking of ally-ship, can you tell us a little bit more about your collaborators, PAG?
PAG, established 16 years ago, is the oldest running night and best-known party in Tel Aviv! It delivers eccentric art performances, dripping with sexual nuances – often leaving the audience gasping for more. PAG is more than “just” a party. It’s a whole culture, with an edgy and avant-garde music scene, art, vision, and by far the most celebrated and accomplished night the city has to offer. They hold a residency at the infamous Alphabet Club. They have never played in Amsterdam before, and we are super excited to be the ones to have brought them here. Be prepared to experience something on a whole different level.
“An intimate atmosphere heavy with dirty bass and sensual encounters”
You’ve said before that it’s really hard to put the genre of the music you play into one category, but could you give it a try?
I would say that HDE’s musical identity resembles a mosaic. We flow between genres merging everything from electro, breaks, mutant techno, acid, left-field experimental, obscure house, and rare disco, creating in that sense our own sound that is elegant, foreboding and hedonistic at the same time. We never book according to what genre is trendy at that given time, or social media popularity, but rather look for that specific characteristic that corresponds with our philosophy. It’s a dark element (literally!) that is sexy and melancholic but also very dance-y and energetic, all driven by deep, gritty bass and obscure melodies.
So to summarise what we can expect tomorrow in just one sentence…
An intimate atmosphere heavy with dirty bass and sensual encounters.
Kraft und Licht w/CJ Bolland x HIS DARK Elements w/PAG TLV takes place on 7 September at RADION, Amsterdam. Free for Subbacultcha members.