I join Jen K. aka Party Martyr at Random Order Coffeehouse. Jen joins me after a long morning in a Chinook trailer van parked at the Portsmouth Pizza parkinglot. It’s a balmy afternoon on Alberta street right before the bustling last thursday event begins. Over the squealing of espresso machines and roar of hungry pie goers we sat at the bar and I got to ask Jen K. a couple of questions.
HOW ARE YA?
SO I GUESS THE MAJOR REASON I WANTED TO INTERVIEW YOU WAS TO BRANCH OUT TO EVERY FACET OF THE PORTLAND QUEER SOCIAL SCENE. THE DJ’S I’VE INTERVIEWED HAVE BEEN PRONE TO PLAY MORE ISLAND, DUB AND HIP HOP AT DANCE NIGHTS AND I WANTED TO SPOTLIGHT AN ELECTRO FRIENDLY DJ.WHAT WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOUR MUSICAL FORTE IS/ WHAT DO YOU JUST LOVE TO PLAY?
Electronic, specifically swedish electro pop.
AWESOME. THAT’S ALSO INTERESTING BECAUSE MY FRIEND AND I WERE JUST DISCUSSING HOW A LOT OF SWEDE BASED-DANCE MUSIC HAS A CARIBBEAN FLAIR TO IT.
WHEN DID YOU MOVE HERE
Almost 2 years ago. 2 years ago in July.
WHERE DO YOU HAIL FROM JEN K
From the Northern nether regions.
AND WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO PORTLAND?
A change of scenery.
CHANGES IN ATTITUDES, CHANGES IN LATITUDES IF YOU WILL
WHAT SPECIFICALLY ABOUT PORTLAND BROUGHT YOU HERE.
One of my best friends lives here, and that was a big reason. I also was interested in seeing different queer art and music scenes. I was heavily involved in the one I moved here from and was curious to see if there were any differences.
AND WERE THERE?
Yes, I feel like because PDX is much smaller than the town that I’m from people are more friendly and really open and very supportive and inviting of new projects into their community. I also feel as though there’s a sense of people wanting to put energy into projects even if they’re temporary and even if there’s not a specific, long term goal. It seems people are more chill and again very supportive.
It’s also cheaper, there’s more venues and it’s more accessible to make these things happen.
WE DO LIVE IN A VERY WELCOMING, INVITING COMMUNITY
Unlike New York, or other bigger cities it actually costs money to be in a band. Here I feel like there’s not a lot of costs to be in a music project especially when it comes to renting a space. Also with playing music in other cities, if you live in a house with other people you can’t really practice or you need a rehearsal space unless you make it on your laptop.
I FEEL LIKE EVERY HOUSE THAT A FRIEND OF MINE LIVES IN IS A MUSIC HOUSE OR AT LEAST ONE MUSICIAN LIVES THERE
Ya, and tons of venues! The potential to showcase artists and musicians is endless.
Jen K looking euphorbic
JEN I NOTICE YOU HAVE A TATTOO OF THE WORD GAYLORD ON YOUR ARM
I totally got roofied and woke up with this (Jen and I share a laugh)
Gaylord was a few things. It was definitely a derogatory name that kids called me in elementary school that I reclaimed.
IN HIGH SCHOOL?
No I think people just called me Dyke.
WHAT ELSE DOES IT MEAN TO YOU
It’s also a festival that my friends and I organized. It was a queer arts festival that involved visual arts, film and video, workshops, bands and a craft fair. It was an annual event that spanned from 2001.
AWESOME, AND WHERE WAS THAT AT
DO YOU HAVE ANY HOPES AND DREAMS OF RECREATING GAYLORD MAGIC IN PORTLAND?
Hmmmm, I feel that PDX in itself is one giant Gaylord festival, I feel like the whole town is already a huge queer fest.
OK I WANTED TO ASK YOU ABOUT AN EVENT YOU PUT ON AT ONE OF MY FAVORITE BARS, SLOANS, WHATS THE NAME?
It’s called Tweed
AND WHATS THE DEAL?
Its a night of kinda emo, indi pop, slow jams. Its a night were you never have to feel pressured to dance. In fact dancing is discouraged. We invite people to play cards and dice, also i’ve seen people play this game called spoons. I’ve observed some spoon playing.
SO SPOON PLAY IS ENCOURAGED
Spoon play is very encouraged at Sloans tavern.
SOUNDS SLOANSTASTIC. AND IS THAT TONIGHT?
Yes it is, it’s tonight at 9PM I do the night with Buddy Wiser aka Erin Wiser.
WHAT OTHER NIGHTS DO YOU DO?
I do a night called Fame/Gay Pizza, I named it after a David Bowie songs.
WHERES THAT AT?
It’s at the Portsmouth Pizza Pub every Wednesday with a monthly country line dance tribute. And were doing a special pride edition with Lovers June 16th!
NOW I KNOW WHY YOU SLEPT IN THEIR PARKING LOT LAST NIGHT!
WHATS YOUR FAVORITE DRINK JEN K?
I really enjoy a nice cold Hefeweizen.
AHHH DELICIOUS. SPEAKING OF COLD BEERS, WHAT OTHER ASPECTS OF SUMMER ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT?
The sun, the heat, the oily glistening bodies,
YOU’LL FIND ALOT OF THOSE ON ALBERTA STREET!
YOU MENTIONED BEFORE THAT PORTLAND IS REALLY OPEN TO NEW MUSIC PROJECTS, DO YOU HAVE SOME PLANNED FOR THE FUTRE?
Why yes I do! I’m organizing an electronic music series called Kling Klang.
SOUNDS VERY SWEDISH
It’s the name of Kraftwerks’s private recording studio in the 80′s
WHAT THE DOES THE EVENT ENTAIL?
It showcases electronic based music projects and Dj’s that play electronic music.
WUNDERBAR! WHEN IS THAT GOIN DOWN?
The first is Wednesday, July 7th
I WILL TRY AND MAKE IT. WHERE IS IT?
It’s at the Portsmouth
LOVELY. LAST QUESTION, WHY THE NAME, PARTY MARTYR?
Party Martyr was kinda a nickname given to me by friends when I was organizing parties. Sacrificing myself so others may party. I just started DJing when I moved here. Before that I had just organized and promoted parties.
WELL I’M GLAD YOU ARE PART OF THE PORTLAND QUEER DJ COMMUNITY.
Tonight at Sloans Tavern (36 N Russell) is Tweed, non-dance queer night.
Every Wednesday at Portsmouth Pub is Fame/Gay Pizza (5262 N Lombard and Portsmouth)