A Safer Space for Queer and Eastern Techno

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This yearbook brings together twenty creatives and community organisers from all walks of life: musicians, visual artists, dancers, art collectives, and everything in between. From personal to political, their contributions reflect diverse forms of community-building through care. How do they inspire each other? Who do they care for? How do they care? 💘

  • Name: Deep Down East
  • Artist Collective / Event Promoter, founded 6 years ago
  • Location: Brussels 
  • Instagram: @deepdowneast

What do you care most about, and how is it relevant to your art/practice?

Deep Down East was created in reaction to the lack of representation of Eastern European artists in the Occident. Therefore, inclusivity in the music industry has always been pivotal in our artistic practices. We do our best to make our parties as inclusive as possible. For instance, different price ranges are available, and our lineups and the people we collaborate with are mostly queer, FLINTA people and Eastern Europeans. We also try to support small producers from the local Brussels scene as much as we can.

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Three words that come to mind when you hear the term ‘care’?

Safety, self-love, respect.

What inspires you to care more for others, or to use your art/practice as a platform to do so?

Caring for others is inherently tied to the queer and feminist identity. It’s one of our main values that developed naturally through our personal experiences as individuals and as a collective.

How do you hope to inspire others?

By transmitting our energy and our values through music, with all of our emotions and hopes. We want people to feel safe and free to discover and express themselves in our environment/events; it’s a safe space for those who want to be their true selves.

What type of change do you want to inspire in your community/environment? 

More diversity in the line-ups, intersectionality in party organisations, and more accessible raves where drugs and alcohol consumption are not necessary to have a great time. 

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How much influence do you think (y)our backgrounds have on (y)our art and practices? 

We all have different backgrounds, what gathers us is the passion for music and raving. It is interesting to see how every one of us can cohesively incorporate personal tastes and opinions. Also, we all have had bad experiences while raving in the past and we don’t want these kinds of situations to happen at our parties. It is our duty and will to do as much as we can to prevent them from happening. We try to do this by creating a safe(r) space. 

It’s a safe space for those who want to be their true selves

What are some challenges that you face while doing what you are passionate about?

As event planners, we face a lack of financial support from local institutions because they struggle to understand the importance of inclusive, queer, and safer spaces in the nightlife. As artists independently, we struggle to survive financially through our practices and therefore most of us end up working in the catering industry which takes a toll on our mental health.

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How do you define ‘community’? 

For us, a community is an instance of shared identities, interests, origins, passions… A group of people with different backgrounds who are able and willing to understand and accept each other, without discrimination. 

What is a ‘safe space’ for you?

Safe spaces don’t exist because you can never ensure 100% safety and zero risk. Therefore, we prefer using the term ‘safer space’ which we define as a space where you can be yourself without fear, and where people respect and care for each other. We endorsed safer spaces in our parties by having introduced a code of conduct that we ask every one of our attendees to respect and follow. 

We believe that a safer space is created together between the organisers and the crowd. We set up safety crews and protocols for each of our events to provide help to our guests but we also expect our crowds’ behaviour to reflect our values.  

Is receiving care a privilege, a right? 

Yes, it is a privilege but it should be a right. Everyone deserves to be cared about, no one should be left behind.

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Do you think this generation is redefining care and community building? And how? 

We are not inventing anything new but clearly, we can feel that after 2 years of isolation during the pandemic, people don’t want to work on their own anymore. Today, we feel that there’s a stronger sense of community and a will to collaborate, which is also what we try to do, by interacting actively with other collectives of the Brussels scene. 

What small acts of care do you hope to see more of? 

Pure gestures of altruism and love towards others. During a night out, there are plenty of opportunities to show care and altruism to others, these are small gestures that can change your whole perception of the night. Sometimes when people have been nice to you all night long and you realize it, when you go home you feel better and more hopeful. 

We believe that a safer space is created together between the organisers and the crowd

How do you balance taking care of others and taking care of yourself? Do you make that distinction in the first place?

We think that when you take care of yourself, you inevitably take care of others. The respect and care we have for our soul and body become universal and radiate to other souls and bodies.

What do you want to be remembered for? 

What drives us is the idea that when people think about Deep Down East, they think of the beautiful moments they had at our events, of the great artists and music they got to know. Of the nice people they were surrounded by and they could connect with. Overall, just how fun the experience was and the fact that they want to experience it again!

Do you care about being cared about? 

Definitely. Even just among ourselves, we expect everyone to treat others with kindness and attention. In this way, it all feels very spontaneous and it creates a perfect environment for creativity and event organisation. 

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<div class="editorial-banner"> <div class=“editorial-credits”> Photos shot by @les_nouilles@320_log and Félix de Breucker </div></div>

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