Eric Shorey is a writer, scholar and hater of most things, but he’s best known as Brooklyn’s own DJ Accident Report. Making up the beat-dropping third of the self-deprecating nightlife collective The Nobodies, you can find him behind queens Ariel Italic & Lady Bearica Andrews on Monday nights at Eastlands, and also at some other venues coming up including an out-of-town gig. He additionally takes his horrorshow out on his own, giving us life and cute mixes all over the city. Join Thotyssey as we read some scary-fun lines from the pages of this fearsome Report!
Thotyssey: Hey Accident! Happy recent birthday. You did the cool thing and had your bash at Strut at ACME, what was that like?
DJ Accident Report: Strut is such an amazing party. Truly one of the most diverse crowds I’ve seen in awhile. I had been once before, but I showed up at, like, 9pm and left by 10pm ‘cause I was in a bad mood. I knew I was going to be that guy who stands in the corner with his arms folded, and no one likes that guy. It was nice to get there at a “normal” nightlife time (1am) and get to see the crowd popping off. [Party producer] Deryck Todd is killing it.
Ariel Italic, your cohort in The Nobodies, likes to joke that you’re grumpy and you don’t like anything. Is that valid?
Pretty much true. The list of things I like is basically: ass-shaking music, drag queens, dogs, and horror movies. That’s about it.
Horror movies–they seem to influence your aesthetic a lot. Do you have any favorites?
Too many! I wrote my MA thesis on “transgressive media,” which is basically academic code for shock art. I tend to like super low-brow horror (Saw, The Purge) or super high-brow (Salo, Funny Games) horror. One of my favorite movies is Bug, which is actually a love story about two psychotics who drive each other to suicide.
And then, of course, there’s the movie Crash (the Cronenberg one, not the racist Oscar-winning one), which I took my DJ name from, but I’ve never actually seen it. (But the book it’s based on is the best book ever written.)
Crash was a bizarre movie, but disturbingly sexy.
The book version of Crash is both not sexy at all, and the sexiest piece of literature ever written. Ballard, the author, doesn’t use a single curse word throughout the whole thing, and describes intercourse as if it were a surgical procedure. It’s pretty terrifying.
Were you a film major?
Not exactly. My MA degree is in “Liberal Studies,” which is precisely as useless as it sounds, and was a huge mistake. I studied philosophy, art, and literature, and am now “overqualified” for “real” jobs and underqualified for academic jobs.
I tried to apply for a PhD, but my project was way too wacky and gay for most institutes. Academia is also a super homophobic (and sexist, and racist) field, so I’m glad I got out.
So, you’re from Great Neck? Describe your early life there to me.
Ohhhhhh, we’re going back are we? Great Neck is Hell; Long Island is a nightmare. I was a total Hot Topic goth teen in a town of uber-rich Jewish preppy kids. Seriously, the parking lot of my high school was a field of BMWs and Hummers.
I used to sneak into the city at night to go to electroclash parties and raves and punk shows and gay bars. I didn’t even do drugs or drink, because I wanted to be different from the rich kids who all bought blow with daddy’s money.
I was in a life-saving alternative education program, so I was sheltered from a lot of the bullying that the other weirdos in my town and the neighboring towns faced. My parents actually trusted me not to get in trouble with the law, bless their hearts, and I actually never did.
That’s quite an accomplishment! How much of that music you loved when you were younger, the goth and the punk and what have you, remains part of your current musical lexicon?
Both a lot and a little. I can remember exactly what I put on my MP3 player when I was, like, 13: Marilyn Manson,
MSI, Missy Elliott, Peaches, and Bjork. My ringtone on my first cell phone at the age of 13 was “Fuck The Pain Away.”
When I started DJing, I was doing more straight-up punk, goth, and electro sets. I was in Boston at the time, and there were very few spaces where that kind of music was played, so I started to learn to mix in pop. Then the electroclash scene kind of morphed into the queer rap (I know, I’m not supposed to call it that) scene, which exposed me to ballroom and club music, which is what I’ve been playing for about 6(-ish?) years now.
So, you got the DJ handle “Accident Report” from Crash. When did you start calling yourself that?
I think it was one of the first names I came up with when I started DJing about 10 years ago. I wanted to name myself something oddly formal and weirdly banal, yet sinister.
Accident Report was a kind of character I created. He’s competing in a tournament for the title of Filthiest Person Alive (a la Divine), and he has a collection of nefarious fetish nurse assassins at his service. Don’t cross them.
When I started, I would show up to my sets with four or five girls dressed in bloody fetish nurse outfits. I named them “The Warm Leatherettes” after the song by The Normal (also inspired by Crash).
I guess I didn’t realize how clumsy of a name it would end up being, and now I’m kind of stuck with it.
It’s certainly memorable, though!
Is it actually memorable? I feel like it sounds so goofy now! And no one ever remembers me!
I bet they do!
What was your very first DJing gig like, do you remember?
Oh god. It was my maybe my 18th birthday, and it was in the basement of some Boston baseball frat house. A friend of a friend had hired me to play after some local punk and hardcore bands; no one was interested in a thing I was doing. I think eventually three people danced to a mashup of MSI and Katy Perry I had worked very hard on at the time.
Was Boston where you were going to school?
I went to Emerson College in Boston for undergrad, and New School for Social Research in New York for grad school. After partying in NYC from the age of 12-18, Boston seemed like a joke. The bars all close at 12:30, and at the time there was no real queer scene whatsoever. The city is repressively segregated, and despite Emerson College’s reputation for being super pro-LGBT, I still felt like the biggest weirdo at the school because of how I dressed. Emerson–at least at the time–was a haven for theater gays, and I’m just not about that life.
So it’s understandable why you were drawn to the Brooklyn scene here.
Yes, totally! I mean, I moved to Brooklyn like every other loser who thought they could live some magical art lifestyle, and realized that you actually just have to work 24/7 to be able to afford anything here. I feel like in the past 7-ish years since I’ve moved back to NY, the Manhattan / Brooklyn divide has gotten even wider–especially in nightlife. I barely play in Manhattan anymore.
When you’re off duty, where’s your favorite places to hang?
Mostly my bed, watching horror movies.
No, just kidding. Kind of.
My favorite parties in Brooklyn right now are Ghe20G0th1k, Thotlandia, and Shock Value. Anything Loveless Records does is amazing too. They’re run by my DJ mama Gooddroid, and she’s got the most talented artists in the club world working with her. (Shout-out to my other DJ mama, DJ Dayglow, who is throwing some of the best queer parties in Boston right now.)
Those aren’t specifically gay venues. I guess it’s not as divisive between the gay & straight scenes in Brooklyn, right?
Hmmm.. maybe those aren’t explicitly or specifically gay venues, but most of the DJs and promoters of those parties are some kind of queer. Going to queer parties and supporting queer artists is super important to me. I actually try to go to as few straight parties as possible, although playing at straight parties and weirding out the normies is always a fun (if not challenging) time.
But are you mostly drawn to a venue by its music?
Yeah, I think music at a venue is the most important thing for me.
Do you bring pre-organized playlists to the club when you DJ, or do you mix on site?
I actually use DJ software, I’m not just a playlist DJ.
What do you think about playlist DJs?
Do they actually count as “DJs” or are they something else?
[Laughs] Look, DJing is definitely an art form for sure, but ultimately it’s just about switching between songs by other people. It’s not that serious. I use hacked Traktor software and a hacked iPad as a midi-controller. I do live mixing and live mashups. It’s not necessarily about what technology or media format you use, and any DJ knows that smart track selection is about 90% of the game.
That being said, it’s a little disheartening to see people who use Spotify and YouTube or pre-made playlists get endless gigs because they know the right people, or because they have a six-pack and they “DJ” without their shirt on. There are amazingly talented DJs in the LGBT world, and we don’t get enough credit or coverage because the music industry is fucked up and homophobic.
So, it’s always a little hard to go into a bar and see a playlist DJ when there’s so much actual innovation and talent in our scene. No shade to the girls getting their paper – we all gotta get gigs however we can. I’d just like to see local spots showcasing more talent and supporting each other.
How did you meet Ariel Italic?
Ariel was a friend of a friend of a friend of friend situation. I know her through Tom Blunt (who is a writer, and used to be a performer/host in NYC) who I know through a friend named Emily (who actually competed as Humidity Ramrod in the Mx. Nobodies Competition) who I know through Katie Rose Leon (who is a wonderful feminist stand-up comedian who will probably be making an appearance at an upcoming Nobodies show in the future), who I know from wandering the streets of Long Island dressed in shitty mall goth clothes.
So, you were roped into the Nobodies by Ariel and her friend Lady Bearica Andrews to be their DJ. And you all started with RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing parties?
I joined up with them when we moved over to Don Pedro [for the viewing party], which is a wonderful little punk spot that was really great to us. (Check out their queer latin punk party, Riot Chica, if you’ve never been!)
Was that your first exposure to Drag Race, or were you already a fan?
No way! I’ve been a big Drag Race fan since season one. I actually worked as a writer at NewNowNext for a few years, so I was deep in it.
Oh sweet, we should talk about your writing. Who else else have you written for?
Right now I mostly write for Oxygen.com, which is kind of a dream come true. They found me because I used to do recaps of Bad Girls Club for NewNowNext. I’ve also written for Pitchfork, Vice, MySpace, and the now-defunct MTV Iggy. I mostly do music and pop culture writing, with an emphasis on LGBT artists and issues.
That’s a great bibliography right there! Any ambitions for a Big Serious Writing Project?
Definitely not. No time! That being said, if someone wants to hand me an advance, I’ll crank out a pretty decently written product right quick – I don’t even care what the topic is. I’m here for the coin.
So, I had the honor of judging the finale of the first annual Mx. Nobody pageant that the Nobodies hosted at Eastlands this year, and it was intense! It was also a great showcase for weird, unique talent and creativity. Any standout moments for you from that?
That competition was fucking everything to me. I try and be a stone-cold bitch most of the time, but the final [lip sync] battle between Kandy Muse and Elle McQueen literally brought me to tears. The finale was shortly after Orlando, and for days after the finale I would think of those two beautiful ladies and actually tear up. That moment really represented the resiliency of our community to me in a special way.
That’s beautiful! Yeah, Orlando definitely dictated that night in some way.
Well, now, the Nobodies host “Nobodies’ Talking Shit” on Monday nights there at Eastlands. You get such a great mix there for the shows, and an eclectic group of guests, and panel discussion topics and games that the girls lead there. How are you liking the show so far?
The show is such a good time. but the Brooklyn Monday night drag show competition is super fierce, and we’re certainly the least talented people throwing parties that night.
The best thing about our Talking Shit shows is that it really allows us to be as unapologetically strange and Lynchian as imaginable. For example, we recently did an entire 30 minute critique of the outfits of various sex dolls we found on Google image search.
Does your audience “get it?”
Yeah, definitely. In fact, we’ve discovered that the more surreal we get, the more our audience is willing to “go there” with us. All T All Shade: I think the grossoids and filthmongers of Brooklyn are a little sick of the Disney / Broadway / Disney / Broadway drag thing, and are ready for some nasty, dirty, and truly fucked up drag shows. We’re here for them!
Ariel’s gonna be mad that I said that, ‘cause she gets annoyed when I complain about Disney… but fuck her. I wanted to make a rule that if anyone performed a Disney or Broadway number at Mx. Nobody, they’d instantly get chopped–but I got vetoed on that.
Oh man, DragDisneyBroadway is exhausting everywhere!
And now you guys will be making new weird fans on the road when you hit the Cape Ann Cinema & Stage in Gloucester, MA on August 19th!
How’d this gig come about, and what’s gonna go down?
About a year ago I did a show at DJ Dayglow’s Pink Noise party in Boston with gay pop villain Ricky Diamond (who also competed in the Mx. Nobody pageant), and he hooked us up with a whole crew of nasties in Gloucester. It’s The Nobodies’ first show outside of NYC together, and we’re planning some true strangeness for it. We’ve been trying to plan a midwest tour and a West Coast trip for a while now, too. Nobodies going on tour!
Then back here in NYC, you guys are gonna have a second weekly gig in Brooklyn soon, as Drag Race Viewing Party Season is upon us again (prematurely) with All-Stars 2! The Nobodies will be hosting the viewing party at Terra Firma on Thursday nights starting on August 25th.
Terra Firma is a cute little spot with a crazy good sound system. It’s owned by the dudes who threw a notoriously amazing after-hours space in Boston that I had actually never been to. Our Mx. Congeniality, Suburbia, helped us land the gig, and she’ll be sharing hosting duties with us. She’s also been throwing her own party, Bananas, there for the past few weeks. She puts together a pretty amazing, diverse lineup of girls, and everyone is super friendly and positive.
For our Drag Race viewing parties there, we’re bringing back our patented (not actually patented) Drag Race bingo with prizes from House of La Rue and Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. Bearica and Ariel will be providing delightful non-sequitor commentary throughout, and I’ll be playing cunty beats all night.
Who should win on the show this season?
Well, I read a lot of spoilers on Reddit (I’m a nerd, leave me alone, you don’t know my journey), so my expectations have been tempered. I’m rooting for Alaska and Katya, the weirdos of the competition, obviously. But I wouldn’t be mad if Alyssa took the crown, considering she probably out-weirds the weirdos.
You also have your own gig on Saturday at Leftfield in Soho! The party’s called Massive. Is this your first time spinning at the venue?
Yeah it is! I’ve been to the party once or twice before. I actually went to college with F. Virtue, one of the organizers of the party and a very talented rapper, but we were never friends back then. We’ve been talking about playing at each other’s gigs for a while, and now we’re finally making it happen. I think he might be a bit too much of a Somebody for a Nobodies show, though.
Massive is like that perfect intersection of club kids and straight dudes and drag queens and hip hop heads. Apparently, FKA Twigs was there last week!
Are you still spinning for that Spiral party, or is that not a regular thing?
It’s a semi-regular thing. We’re not sure of the future of it, although DJ Gooddroid will be throwing one on Saturday without me. It’s at Trophy Bar, which is an adorable little spot that has a pretty enthusiastic crowd. We brought in Kandy Muse (Mx. Nobody Finalist!) to help us queer up the space. It’s not a queer bar at all, though, and that comes with it’s own set of challenges. Luckily the audience has been pretty enthusiastic, but there’s always a handful of very confused straights in the corner not understanding WTF we are doing.
Cool. What else is coming up?
It’s kind of perfect timing and kind of bad timing, ‘cause we’re meeting with a new bar for a Friday night party tomorrow evening, but its not even close to confirmed yet.
Okay, keep us posted! Last question… what would your drag name be if you were a queen, and what kind of queen would you be?
My drag name would be Tara Toma (get it? Like teratoma, which is a tumor with hair and teeth inside of it), and I’d only do disgusting gross-out numbers to Missy Elliott while covered in fake blood.
Gag, please do that one night! Thanks Accident!
DJ Accident Report will spin for the Massive party at Leftfield in SoHo on Saturday, August 13th. As a member of the Nobodies, he’s a show DJ for Nobodies’ Talking Shit at Eastlands in Brooklyn on Monday nights (9pm), and will begin DJng for their RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing party at Terra Firma in Brooklyn on August 25th. The Nobodies are also performing at the Cape Ann Cinema & Stage in Gloucester, MA on August 19th. Accident Report can be followed on Facebook (also on a fan page), Twitter & Tumblr. Hear his mixes on Mixcloud (t-shirts coming soon).