Electroclash has been described as a hybrid of 1980s electro music and modern techno with old-school, new-wave rock attitude. The man who coined the term electroclash and created the genre, New York-based DJ Larry Tee, simply describes it as dance music with a rock’n’roll attitude.

Tee came up with this new style to counter the boring and unimaginative Hi-NRG house music playing in nightclubs around the world during the 1990s.

It was definitely my remedy, Tee told Sydney Star Observer. All people wanted to hear was variety. A little rock’n’roll and a little funk and a little techno, all filtered through the language of today.

There need to be new influences coming into dance music to keep it healthy. But it changes all the time. What I found exciting about electro in 2001 is totally not the formula I’m using now to reinvent dance music. But a lot of that spirit of putting star-power and personality into the nightlife, that’s still very much what drives my sounds.

Tee knows a lot about colourful nightlife. When he first arrived in New York in the late 1980s he quickly found himself caught up in the Club Kid movement. Along with the notorious Michael Alig, who inspired the film Party Monster, he started the now famous Disco 2000.

It was absurd, Tee said of the period. You couldn’t walk anywhere in the club without someone asking what drug you wanted to buy. All these people made themselves stars by putting on feathers, glitter and demanding drinks and drugs. It was really absurd, but fascinating.

Tee became a drug addict and spent the next seven years being a garbage head -“ taking whatever drugs in whatever combination. But having now been clean and sober for seven years, he said he’s glad he went through it because it turned him off drugs for life. And a lot of the really great things that have happened in my life have come out of being clean. One of those great things was meeting his boyfriend of four years, photographer Conrad Ventur.

Tee got his first real taste of success after writing the song Supermodel (You Better Work) for his good friend RuPaul in the early 90s. He went on to work with bands such as Dee-Lite (Tee was the first person to play their hit Groove Is In The Heart in a nightclub), Fischerspooner, Peaches and Chicks On Speed. Today it’s new groups like Mail Room, Avenue D and Scissor Sisters whom Tee finds inspiring and who are bringing something new, something memorable to the scene.

Every Thursday in New York Tee hosts a night called Disgraceland, where he tries to mix up everything that’s not middle-of-the-road. While a lot of locals consider it a queer night, Tee is aiming at a mixed crowd and said he wants to see the end of segregated disco.

He’s currently working on a new album which includes songs about metrosexuals, murdered gay teenager Matthew Shepard, and electro sluts (the colourful crowd into electro music).

Tee is playing at Sydney’s Arq nightclub this Friday night as the headline act of Killer, which also features Detroit Grand Pumbas, Sveta and Mark Murphy.

Giveaway
Sydney Star Observer is giving away five double passes to Killer featuring Larry Tee at Arq this Friday 22 October. For your chance to win tell us in 25 words or less why you want to see Larry Tee -“ email your entry to comps@ssonet.com.au. Tickets are also available through
Spank Records and cost $30 (plus booking fee).

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