Berlin's Yo! Sissy returns next week, a symposium of queer arts that is international in scope.
The bill is typically enticing, packed with artists who sit at the threshold between what's been done and what is possible.
Yo! Sissy have lined up performances from Planningtorock, reclusive French producer Vitalic, Karin Dreijer’s Karim & Karam, German duo Gurr and Texan-bred producer Lotic, among others.
Chicks On Speed will be returning to Yo! Sissy, with the ever-creative electro duo set to conduct a never-before-seen activist style, free-pop-experimental performance.
Ahead of this, Clash invited Chicks On Speed - Melissa Logan and Alex Murray-Leslie - to pick out a few inspiration artists who are exploding notions of gender.
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Hi-Fashion - ‘AMAZING’
Alex: A favourite band of mine I’ve been playing in my DJ sets and radio shows for the last two years, their spirited and lively fash-pop-electro beats and rhythms are informed by electro-clash.
DIY beats without having to learn an instrument, they look cutting edge onstage and their recycled lyrics depicting modern life are ironic and refreshing. There’s nothing this group won’t make fun of in a really over the top attitude, performative (and glamorous) way! YESSSSSSSSSS!
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Eric D. Clark - ‘Why Did You Do It?’
Melissa: Amazing style, the way he combines rhythm and melody make me feel like I am on a dancefloor no matter where I am listening to his music.
Chanel were lucky to have him contributing music to their ’15 campaign and VooCha were blessed enough to receive a beautiful mix of 'Robot Love' called 'Bottom Bot' which starts with an Arabic calling all Bots.
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Planningtorock - ‘Misogyny Drop Dead’
Alex: Planningtorock was on our Chicks On Speed Records for a couple of early releases and since then her music has grown and grown in extraordinary ways as I knew it would. I choose this song as it brings serious attention to gender imbalances many of us experience in our work and daily lives. This is something many female acts aren’t eager to speak about openly as it could effect their careers in the music industry which is very sad.
Janine takes that important and courageous step with this song opening up the flood gates for the next generation to address the situation of misogyny from a strong base and giving future generations the strength to talk about it.
'Misogyny Drop Dead' is an anthem of hope. We can actively make change by speaking up and I can’t wait to see Janine’s performance this year at Yo! Sissy.
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Zebra Katz - ‘Ima Reed’
OMG! Zebra Katz. I so can’t wait to see him perform one day, I had thought I’d see him for the first time at Yo Sissy! but as he’s just confirmed a massive, career defining world tour with Gorillaz Zebra won’t be playing Yo! Sissy this year (maybe next!) It’s time we celebrate this strong black queer man who reinvented the meaning of BITCH, in his own political sloganeering pop style.
Reclaiming the word 'Bitch' from the misogynist worlds of hip-hop… numbing it and making people think differently, twisting and empowering its very meaning for those minority groups its usually directed at.
In 'Ima Reed' (featuring Njena Reddd Foxxx) Katz expresses every word like a mantra, which is simultaneously driven directly to our stomachs through sonically deep driving beats.
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The Real Housewives Of Neukölln
Alex: A bit filthy, quite a bit trashy and maybe entertaining, I love their de-making of the Wiemar Republic and Drag Queen style, in order to create a new liberated kind of Neukölln reinvented Drag style of dress, music, parties and fan base. I love their revolutionary call to action.
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Mary Ocher & Your Government - 'New Language’
Melissa: This is a really good video with great fluoro make-up. Nice rolling percussion taps into angst, and somehow cures it. I am looking forward to seeing the live performance and really hope she plays this song.
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Islamic Grrrls - ‘You Don’t Love Me’
Alex: For me Islamic Grrrls belong to the Taqwacore movement which is a sub-genre of artists and musicians dealing with Islam, it's culture, and interpretation. The genre of music is much more specific to topics of self-labeling, political frameworks, and ideology, rejecting traditionalist interpretations of Islam through their style of ephermeral pop-electronica.
I especially appreciate their use of sampling to build layers of narrative, its quite filmic, with references to Islamic culture and yet from a total planetary perspective.
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Yo! Sissy runs between July 28th - 29th in Berlin - ticket LINK.