An interview with DJ Mix-Stress of Manchester-based events collective RebeccaNeverBecky...
Superbia supports LGBTQ+ artists by promoting events through its events page and social media, funds LGBTQ+ events with Superbia Grants and by curating original events through collaboration with partners, venues, groups, curators, community members, artists and creatives.
Under this week’s Spotlight is RebeccaNeverBecky (RNB), who has taken Manchester nightlife by storm in the last couple of years, popping up everywhere from their colour-themed one-off art-jam parties to working with high profile partners such as Manchester International Festival and of course Manchester Pride.
Superbia was proud to be on board with the early development of the RNB project, awarding a Superbia Grant to support the diverse family of performing artists that accompany these eclectic party nights.
We chatted with our friend DJ Mix-Stress, the brains and heart behind RNB, to talk music, lockdown, and the politics of partying.
I am founder, lead curator and resident DJ of RebeccaNeverBecky (RNB) which is a Manchester-based events collective comprising all resident freelance creatives. The events have a special focus and spotlight on creatives, artists and DJs from LGBT+, QTIBPOC and BAME communities, showcasing and platforming their talents.
I am also a promoter and a DJ. I wear many hats! DJing was a natural step once RebeccaNeverBecky began. I DJ at my events and as a solo DJ for various happenings and residencies in and out of Manchester.
Manchester is and will always be unique. Rich in culture, music, art, good people and acceptance. I have travelled to a lot of places, but Manchester always feels like a place where you can just do you and be you. I am so proud to call it my hometown. Especially for the queer community, it really is something special here. Growing up in such a rich and ethnically diverse place is something I am very appreciative for.
The backbone of RNB events is that they’re fundamentally protests. Taking up space, being seen and heard, celebrating the culture and reflecting representation. Ever since the first event back in 2018 this has been a thread running through the collective. Even the RNB logo is a nod to 90s black culture. Always reppin’!
In this current time, I do not believe in being silent about important issues and radical change. I have a platform, and part of the work I do is elevate and amplify voices of sometimes unrepresented communities. I need to pull up when it is needed. I will always speak up for my people in any way I can, especially in a positive and articulated manner.
So much is coming to the surface at the moment and for a long-time people have not always been so vocal. I feel change is coming and with Black Lives Matter and trans rights, I will be riding all the way.
When I talk and think of DJing it always feels so surreal. I had wanted to DJ for over 14 years due to being so influenced by music, including raving and frequenting the Manchester queer scene. So, when RNB was up and running the plan was to DJ at my events alongside DJs I had booked to play. I embarked on a 4-month course at SEM last year and it was literally the best decision and investment in myself. It really put me where I needed to be and cemented my technique.
Since then, getting myself out there I have DJ’d at many venues across Manchester and other cities. I’ve collaborated with different collectives, been booked on different programming, played at bars and clubs and DIY spaces. I feel with DJing I have found an extension of myself where I just feel so happy when I do it, I have real and true connection to the music I select. People seem to really enjoy what I play which is amazing to witness!
A particular highlight was playing HomoElectric at Hidden in February with the RNB fam, we brought the house down and it was a real moment. I also really enjoy curating my radio shows, especially my monthly show for Reform Radio. Mix-Stress is about acknowledging the music of my culture and influences, exposing it to fresh and seasoned ears and dancefloors alike. I did have an exciting summer of bookings including Brighton Pride but alas Covid-19 changed everyone’s plans this year!
Lots of self-care. I am a big advocate of this. Walking in nature, long baths, eating good and nourishing food, listening to music, sleep/naps, talking to others by phone or FaceTime and just being gentle with yourself.
Some days will be rubbish, others will be better. We are in a time of lots of change and shifts so our mind and bodies need extra care to carry us through. Most importantly it’s crucial we look out for one another too. Check in on your people.
I’m currently working on a few very exciting online projects in the next few months, and while it’s been tough not being able to plan a proper physical Spring or Summer event due to so much uncertainty, I will be working towards something for late 2020 / early 2021 so keep your eyes peeled for that…!
Manchester’s Finest is collaborating with Superbia on this new series, Superbia Spotlights, shining a light on some of the incredible Superbia-supported arts and culture talent across Greater Manchester.
Superbia is inviting artists to submit proposals for three new commissions. Each commission includes a fee of £200, technical support and advice to help produce your work, and a wide audience across our Superbia and Manchester Pride platforms, and will be featured as a Superbia Spotlight right here on Manchester’s Finest.
The commission fees are made possible with generous public funding from Arts Council England. To find out more visit Superbia.