For this year’s round of Pride, specifically Berlin’s annual Christopher Street Day, we asked a handful of local LGBTQ+ DJs and musicians to share with us their thoughts on the topic, where to head to celebrate, and most importantly, the tracks that get them in the mood for the occasion. 

Who are you, how old are you, what do you do and why do you do it?
I’m a 21-year-old singer, songwriter and performer from Berlin Germany. I love writing songs because I get to grow personally and have the chance to reflect on different aspects of life, ultimately making me more understanding and compassionate than before. On a lighter note: I also just love to wiggle my butt to some nice tunes.

Grinderteeth: My name is Veslemoy Rustad Holseter aka. Ves or Grinderteeth, 30 years old. I’m a sound artist, DJ, sound & light technician and part of No Shade. I do what I do because I want to live a full life, believe in investing your energy in and fighting for what you care for and that there are many ways to create the changes we want to see materialise in the world.


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AUCO: My name is AUCO, I’m a DJ and member of the No Shade collective. I DJ for my own self expression and to show people a good time.

Folly Ghost: I’m a Brazilian DJ and producer based in Berlin and also part of the No Shade collective. When I was 13 I started going to clubs, which is where I found the freedom and acceptance to be who I am. It’s easy to dress and present yourself however you want in Berlin, but the same isn’t true in many other places. That taught me that feeling comfortable in your own skin is something that shouldn’t be taken for granted, so as someone who makes music, I’m inspired by the power to make people feel completely ecstatic, feel like they can move however they want and access a place that is normally numb in their day-to-day lives, even if it’s just for a few hours.

Marshall Vincent: I’m Marshall Vincent. I’m 27 years old. I am an Artist, musician… I do it because there is nothing else I’d rather do more than make emotions physical.

What does CSD, and Pride in general, mean to you?
Alessandro: Pride means unapologetically being yourself. It’s an inclusive and uniting time where so many different people come together to celebrate the very thing that makes us human: Respect.

Grinderteeth: Pride has two very significant meanings to me as a gay/queer person. 
One is being grateful for and a celebration of being gay/queer, as it has expanded, enriched and improved my life so much, provided me with a community as someone who does not wish to live a normative life or (most likely) doesn’t want to have a child, and has given me so many beautiful experiences in life and relationships that I would not have any other way or ever want to be without. Having a realisation and appreciation of this. The second is a recognition of the history of Stonewall and Pride. So, to me, Pride is still a riot, assertion of and a statement on our right to live freely and unapologetically without facing violence, shame or condemnation for a gender presentation or sexuality that lies outside of the hetero-norm of the mainstream. Lastly, I think a lot of the LGBTQ+ scene are, at this moment, discussing that our community has its internal conflicts and currently a lot of divides, so to me Pride is also a possibility for unity, to reflect on and unite around our common struggles and celebrations instead of placing focus on what differentiates us.


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AUCO: For me, this will be my first time celebrating Pride. It took me a long time to be honest with myself about my identity. It can be difficult in a society that invokes shame on marginalised groups and encourages us to adapt to heteronormative standards of living. In the true meaning of the word, Pride rejects this dogma and gives us a chance to: celebrate, accept and love ourselves for who we are. However, it can also feel frustrating when you see companies – many of whom support conflictingly homophobic/right-wing policies – commodify Pride, as it homogenises the queer community and alienates those whose intersections aren’t represented by mainstream media. I think that although there are contradictions in what Pride is and what it has become, it still gives us the opportunity to acknowledge our achievements and to commemorate heroic activism from past events such as Stonewall. They hold as reminders of how far we have come and how much work still needs to be done.

Folly Ghost: Celebrating Pride is fundamental for a variety of reasons. The far right is advancing at alarming rates all across the globe while bringing intolerance and discrimination to the mainstream. The pride serves as a symbolic reminder that we will not abide to this agenda. It shows we are not willing to hide or be ashamed of who we are regardless of any kind of institution or individual, no matter how powerful they are. Among other reasons, we should also consider the LGBTQ+ folks who live in areas strongly dominated by conservatism. When one is surrounded by people who don’t recognize or accept them, it leaves them no place to express their identity or sexuality. The celebration of Pride then serves as a space of gathering for people alike. Some places are so intoxicated with prejudice, that the Pride represents one of the very few chances for LGBTQ+ people to have a romantic or sexual encounter. Sadly, as beneficial as it is to celebrate pride, a lot of events are tending to revolve more around brand promotion than otherwise. It’s not uncommon that brands co-opt political struggles to monetize on them. It’s evident that a lot of sponsors of Pride are the same companies that are simultaneously funding discriminatory policies and that ultimately subverts the whole meaning of it. The event producers must start realizing that we do not depend on that money to organise an event big enough to mobilise and reach a wide demographic.

Marshall Vincent: I believe that it is the best time to reflect, understand, and pay homage to the battles won and the fight still ahead within the community. I think it is also a time where we always have more of an opportunity to learn new things about that history – open up or points of contact to bridge new connections and absorb different perspectives on our struggle and acceptance of one another, ourselves. A great party isn’t bad either.


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What will you be doing before, after and during the parade?
Alessandro: Before the parade, I’ll be spending way too much time dressing up and putting on makeup, which I will sweat off in the very first hour of the parade. During the parade, you can find me dancing with friends and strangers behind all the different trucks. After the parade I’ll check out the closing ceremony at Brandenburger Tor with the final announcements, talks and performances; don’t forget that this is a very political event after all! If it’s your first time in Berlin you should go to at least one of the many queer parties this weekend, starting Friday all the way to Monday morning.

Grinderteeth: I have full-on program running Friday eve ‘til Monday morning and I recommend all of these: Will be at Dyke March on Friday, followed by working and celebrating at the Reclaim CSD Room 4 Resistance, Lecken & Mina party at Polygon club, then working at the CSD Parade to support my queer community, and then going to the CSD club night at Berghain. The biggest love of my life is sound and I am really excited to see Eris Drew, Avalon Emerson, Kim Ann Foxman and more, aiming to stay there from opening to closing. I’m not gonna sleep and have basically told my family I’m gonna be unreachable all weekend and they can expect to get in contact with me from next week [laughs].

AUCO: There’s so many great events this weekend: on the 26th I will go to Room for Resistance; on the 27th I will be working at the parade and after I will be DJ-ing and hosting a Pride edition of my party series Infinite Quest at Kake; and on the 28th I’m playing at The High Society boat party. I can’t wait!

Folly Ghost: Friday evening I’m going to Queer Gazino at Ziegrastrasse 1. Gazino refers to the seated nightclubs in Turkey where people from different socio-economic backgrounds gather to enjoy music. They are known for being spaces in which trans and gay artists could perform to an audience alike. The lineup features House of Living Colors amidst other great performers. Sunday I’ll be at Schwules Museum to check out the opening of the exhibition “From Riot do Respectability – Summer Special” by the artist group Summer Collective. The work looks back on the past 50 years since the Stonewall riots.

Marshall Vincent: I’m a busy bee when it comes to my music, so I’ll be working all weekend on projects related to that – but will for sure slip out to the random party my friends invite me to… I’m terrible at planning a day when it comes to social activities.


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Who will you be celebrating with?
Alessandro: To me, CSD was always a celebration of diversity with friends and loved ones. No matter what sexuality or identity everyone comes together, community and allies, to celebrate life in all of its colours and facets.

Grinderteeth: I am happy about, grateful and very excited to be celebrating Pride with my gay/queer friends/community + my girlfriend, whose work, art and politics all embody what Pride means to me.

AUCO: My chosen family.

Folly Ghost: I’ll be partying with my tranny gang.

Marshall Vincent: I’ll be celebrating with a wide assortment of friends… in the physical realm and in spirit!

What would you say should NOT be missed at the event?
Alessandro: Don’t be afraid to interact with other protesters and embrace the positivity and power of this huge parade. Make new friends and learn about other people’s perspectives. In the end, it’s all about building a genuine connection between people.


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Grinderteeth: Personally, I have conflicting feelings about the mainstream parade for CSD. The commercialisation of pride has really amped up the last years, and though it in one way can be seen as a positive that “queer/gay” now also is seen as a desirable identity that the mainstream culture also wants to take part in and celebrate, there has to be a line at some point where it doesn’t become so commercialised that the original meaning of what Pride is and what it stands for is forgotten or lost. Reading about gay and queer people experiencing harassment at Pride for being gay at the hands of people wearing rainbow garlands who see it as a street fest with no political meaning is problematic to me. That makes me feel both hurt and rage. First and foremost Pride is still about remembering our history, the ones who came and fought before us (largely femmes and trans-people of colour), and the right to be who you are and live freely. This should not be forgotten and it should center and be by and for the LGBTQ+ community first and foremost, so I would say don’t miss out on Pride’s original meaning and history.

AUCO: I’m biased but I would say Infinite Quest.

Marshall Vincent: Creamcake is always a good time, and the event this weekend will be no different.

Folly Ghost: No matter where you go, it’s important to celebrate pride however you choose to do it. But going out is just half of the job. Wherever you are, always be critical and conscious of what the date represents. Let’s not fall into commercial traps so we can keep on existing and resisting.



Head Image: Still from Technotronic – Pump Up The Jam (Official Video)

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