Twenty-five-year scene stalwart DJ Mark Alsop and DJ upstart Ensel this weekend launch a new monthly night, Faction, at the Oxford Hotel’s Underground Bar. The pair aim to cater for what they see as a gap in the gay scene.
“I felt Oxford St needed some pizazz,” Alsop told Sydney Star Observer. “I thought the street was sorely missing a different type of music.”
Alsop’s issue is with the monotony of music in many gay clubs — the same shiny, happy pop hits wherever you go.
“I find a lot of clubs and promoters are pushing the commerciality wagon, possibly because that’s what younger clubbers seem to like. You know, your Britney, Whitney, Kylie, Gaga and Madonna. And while there’s a place for them, I don’t believe every place should be catering to that.
“I do know there are many younger people who aren’t into the commercial scene who feel left out.”
It’s why he turned to Ensel as a partner for Faction.
“He’s untainted by the Oxford St scene. He’s got a freshness to him and his music, and I’ve given him direction to capture the style we want for Faction.”
With all talk of rejecting the mainstream, one might assume Alsop is a music snob. Not so, he said.
“The music we play does form the basis of a lot of today’s house and commercial music, but it’s not from the commercial sector. On the other hand, I’ve had people asking if it’s going to be really hard-hitting leather music, but it’s not going to dive into those depths,” Alsop said.
“If you hear a great vocal house song, it’s not going to be a commercial hit, it’ll be some great house track from an underground label with a diva doing her thing over the top.” Ultimately, he and Ensel are committed to playing great music, wherever they find it.
“I hope the music does the talking — it’ll be more instrumental than vocal, but above all it’ll just be great music.”
That inclusive attitude extends to the crowd, with Alsop putting the word out far and wide about the monthly night.
“Male or female, gay or straight — well, gay or trendy. Gay guys who perhaps don’t often go to clubs on Oxford St — that’s the kind of demographic we’re for. If you want to dress up, you can. We’re looking for a fresh, mixed audience.”
And for Alsop and Ensel, Faction is a labour of love. They’re keeping the price low (only $10 entry) to encourage punters and they don’t expect to turn a profit.
“We’re doing it for the community, to give people somewhere new to go out that has a nice fresh sound. We want to give people something that’s outside the norm.”
info: Faction, Oxford Underground, 10pm Saturday October 16. $10 entry, memberships available on the night. Visit www.markalsop.com or search for ‘Faction’ on Facebook.