The Dance Label Championing LA's Female and Non-Binary Community Through Music
When you first think of the underground music scene in Los Angeles, not many put the contemporaneous sounds from its LGBTQ+ independent artists at the forefront – which says a lot. In an attempt to change that mindset and reintroduce the feeling of being a free spirit in a safe space that passes the vibe check on the dancefloor, SOS Music are making it their mission to heighten LA’s club culture by spreading the sounds of queerness and equality. With the world of entertainment running through the veins of LA, SOS Music are proud to be a part of the night club scene that has helped shape the careers of many minorities.
Founded in 2020, the independent dance label, which stands for ‘Sisters of Sound’, has catered to the female and non-binary community for almost two years. From hosting a monthly residency on Worldwide FM highlighting their own music, to touring around the US, the collective is on a mission to highlight night dance culture globally. Their latest project, SOS MUSIC VOL 2, is a ‘cutting edge experience that champions female and non-binary producers worldwide’, the seven-track compilation offers an exhilarating experience for anyone looking to escape the normality of dance music.
Upon curating SOS MUSIC VOL 2, its co-founder Tottie and VP for A&R Maddy Maia used their lives as a reflective positive shield to mirror and uplift the ‘sweaty summer dance floors, whilst retaining the edge that permeated the label’s debut release’. Speaking with them both about the nightlife scene for women and non binary talent in Los Angeles, they each shared their thoughts on current change with diversity on the scene.
“As the events and special projects director working for DUBLAB over the last four years, I’ve worked hard to ensure all our line-ups are inclusive towards more female and non binary talent” Tottie explains. “Coming from Europe, it took us a little while to adjust to the LA nightlife scene as it’s very different. Generally everything is on the earlier side - and unless you’re headed Downtown to a specific after hours night, bars and clubs stop serving before 2am”.
“But what’s great is the daytime parties, which really take advantage of the ever clement weather - nothing beats dancing in the sun with a margarita. We’ve DJ’ed more daytime sets here than the whole time we were in Europe”. Having overseen some truly epic and inspiring nights in the electronic music scene, Maddy Maia explains how LA is finally becoming a more relaxed space for the queer community and as well as its acceptance for dance music.
“It’s been exciting to see LA give more of a platform to these artists in recent years. Club nights like Club Called Rhonda and Bears in Space have done a lot of work for the LGBTQ community, especially, its artists and the gender minorities. Because of them we are starting to see more diversity spread across the clubs and venues of all sizes” she explains. “We run a monthly label night at Club Tee Gee booking local female and non binary artists and give spaces to DJs who aren’t always getting booked by the bigger promoters”.
From overseeing the collaboration between DUBLAB + Surround (Heidi Lawden, Masha Mar and Jeniluv) to Honey Dijon playing outside City Hall at Grand Park, SOS Music have been a highlighted voice behind some of the best nights on the LGBTQ+ night scene adding:
“The first time I played at The Party by Ostbahnhof was in December 2019 and hands down it is one of my favorite gigs to date. did a b2b set with C Love and everything felt so natural and organized because they take harm reduction extremely seriously. There is always a theme of which all of the queer community take extremely seriously and these are the places that really care not only about great music but also about one another.” - Lottie
With LA being such a widespread city and its clubbing nightlife having its own reputation, Tottie offers advice on being ready when exploring LA. “Because it's still very much a city of mystery and secrecy, it’s good to be prepared and know where you’re headed to avoid driving hours across town searching for the party. We love going to Highland Park - Goldline Bar, The Lodge Room, Chinatown is also a lot of fun.”
“Every time we DJ at Club Tee Gees we have the best time. The room is intimate but with the most amazing atmosphere and 1970s style lighting, with the biggest disco ball imaginable. The crowd is always so fun, and the staff are like family - plus they make a mean margarita”.
With Los Angeles being the perfect place for variety venues, especially ones that cater to the LGBTQ+ community, there are places that may not necessarily fit the economy as certain factors that can prohibit the nightlife from being a supportive safe space for women and non binary acts as well as the economy.
“Having amazing weather does lend itself to some pretty solid day time parties, the nightlife scene in LA is extremely complex and we don’t have a solid brick and mortar club scene like NYC, London, Berlin or Amsterdam. Sadly The City of Los Angeles doesn’t see nightlife as a valid economy and therefore doesn’t listen to what we as promoters and creators actually need,” Tottie explains.
“For example, it's incredibly difficult and expensive to pull special permits for spaces that aren’t legal or are on county or city grounds. The clubs that do exist - particularly ones in Hollywood - don't look at developing artists or supporting the underground music community, and tend to lean on the ‘safe’ side with bookings. Hence why lots of our community don’t play in these clubs and do their own thing underground which has its own risks. The 2am law is a massive issue and whilst many community organizations like LANA have rallied to push through the 4am law, the city has refused it. Add to that there is a skeleton public transport system, and this city is breathtakingly huge - it's hard one to navigate but we all continue to fight these obstacles, so we can bring quality music and safe spaces.”