Honey Dijon’s DJ/producer career has taken off globally the last few years at the nexus of NYC, techno and house, art, fashion, gender and sex liberation. Born and raised in Chicago, Dijon (nee Redmond) has made New York City her home for decades. It remains her rock though she spends the majority of her time with a full rotating schedule of DJ sets at top venues on three continents mixed with a few longer-stay residencies at famous clubs in Berlin, Ibiza and elsewhere.
“I knew i just wanted to make a living somehow connected to music,” she told us, explaining her drive. And why does she keep NYC as home base? It’s the inspiration, “the best of the best are still here.” That analysis could also describe the powerful entities hiring her for on-brand DJ work at shows and presentations, including fashion houses — Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Balenciaga, Givenchy — and one of the most blue-chip art brands MOMA, which hired her to play the opening party for their new building.
On the surface it seems obvious and easy for Honey Dijon to follow and work in the same migration House music did, from Chicago to mature in New York and then explode globally. But that’s not so easy. Somewhat ironically the unprecedented, exponential growth of electronic and dance music — perhaps too quickly — shoved it right into mainstream culture with an unhealthy majority of industry executives, “top DJ” rankings, and, lucrative contracts being filled with mostly white, straight, male DJs. No one is saying these guys don’t belong. Just that they came late in the game to a set of sounds and parties established under significant black and queer influence for significantly black and gay audiences.
We caught up with Honey literally hours after she got off a plane from Berlin, in the hours before she was booked for a set at a Brooklyn club. We met at her studio/apartment in Chelsea and talked about her musical influences and mentors; how being a DJ is not just about the music, but also “a great way to bring people from different cultures, backgrounds, sexual orientations to celebrate music in one place;” and about how she’s a bit bored with “the trans issue…and having to ask someone’s permission just to be here or to make them comfortable about the type of body that I have or who I choose to love.”
You can catch Honey spinning in the coming days and months if you live in San Francisco (tonight), Manhattan (Sunday), Dresden, Germany, Denver, Brooklyn, London, and Sydney, Australia. You can also check out out some of her sounds and sets through the Soundcloud widget below and can hear samples of and purchase tracks she’s produced and remixed through beatport.
This is the last of the four New York Stories, part of Towleroad’s AskTell Act series, with sponsorship by Lexus. And we’re really proud of this seasons participants, Illustrator Richard Haines, Peter Davis, a long-time chronicler of New York scenes, Julius Poole, a force in fashion casting and production, and now DJ/Producer Honey Dijon. And if you missed or loved the last season in Provincetown, have a look at the couple behind The Canteen (which has continued to rack up awards, and recently had the honor of cooking up a Cape Cod feast at the offices of Bon Appetit). Josh Patner is still presiding over the stage-right wing of the stage that is Commercial Street, the merchandise and windows a topic of loud conversation by tourists day and night. Rick Murray’s Crown and Anchor is still the axis of everything in town–whether that’s Lobster Mac and Cheese, the Independence Day week of DJ parties or Alan Cumming, Linda Eder, and other Broadway stars. And our own Andy Towle continues to draw inspiration from the town, the sunsets, and the seagulls.
A big thanks to Lexus for sponsoring the AskTell Act Series for two years now. We’re looking forward to the next city and highlighting another round of makers and creators in their natural habitat.