This sexy native Chicagoan has been dropping the beats on NYC for awhile now. And on Sunday, Tumblr extraordinaire Beargazer will be one of the DJs providing the to what promises to be an explosive digital beargasm.
Thotyssey: Hello DJ! So it’s been a very bizarre summer, to say the least. How are you holding up?
DJ Beargazer: It has been a lot of moving parts, but I’m managing the best way I can.
There’s been a lot of dreary downtime, but also lots of chances for the children to carry! Have you seen these fools on Fire Island on the 4th?
I’ve seen pics from Fire Island. I will say that the kids are getting a bit of cabin fever, and they cannot handle the restrictions much longer. I just pray that they all are okay after the partying.
Let’s hope. Have you done a lot of digital DJing thus far this season?
I’ve done quite a bit of digital DJ gigs since Miss Quarantine gave us several seats to take! It’s actually very cool. It’s a great feeling knowing that you can still conduct a vibe and live on totally opposite ends of the earth from your audience! Although physical presence all in one space has no comparison, I still have fun. The DMs and encouraging comments are lovingly welcomed!
On a live dancefloor (under normal circumstances), what is the best thing about DJing?
The spirit of the people. The way the floor vibrates with a good bass line. The part where everyone sings together when you cut the beat out. The live back-to-back sessions with other DJs. I miss those moments.
Where are you from originally, and what was the music that first inspired you while growing up?
I was born and raised in Chicago. I grew up with a lot of juke, house music, and 90’s R&B and hip hop. These genres were heavily inspired by disco, soul and funk— so my obsession with these genres grew as I got older.
But also, I grew up when MTV was Music Television, so I was introduced to so many artists. I remember being nine and watching Bjork’s “Human Behavior” music video. Changed my life and gagged me, hunny!
OMG yes, that teddy bear and that moth! So when did you start DJing?
It was all a bit of falling into it. One friend asked me to just spin music on a simple Sunday night because they were bartending and wanted a vibe, and another friend came to watch me and liked what I was doing. So they asked me to spin at a happy hour. Another friend said “Hey! I have a residency, wanna do it with me?” Of course I said yes, lol! And from that I’ve been DJing for about three years.
How did you name yourself BEARGAZER?
In 2014, I created a Tumblr under the name BEARGAZER™ to celebrate body positivity and the QPOC journey, predominantly focused on thicker men of color. Full transparency: I had began the Tumblr because I didn’t see many images of black / brown bigger men in one place that was curated the way I liked. I wanted to depict melanated big boy joy / sexuality / freedom / creativity through pictures. I just started compiling images from all over the internet, and I said to myself, “I’ve been gazing at bears all day.” Then he name clicked: BEARGAZER! I keep BEARGAZER as my DJ name to promote, and BRGZR™ (beargazer abbreviated) is a brand I am developing (soon to come).
So as a DJ, do you predominantly work the bear scene?
I just consider myself to largely appreciate and admire my fellow unapologetic, beautiful, ample-bodied brothers. I feel that I am a part of this community. So I’d like to add to the conversation.
What’s a “standard” Beargazer set like, for the uninitiated?
That’s difficult to say these days, cuz so much music is in my head! But House Music is my go to! Issa vibe! Particularly the Detroit deep sound, with those sexy bass lines. Makes me think of red lit rooms, brick walls, and mystifying fog.
That was awesome because we both had known some friends there. But someone totally unrelated to Kinfolk had mentioned us to them, and we had a night there! The vibe was right, the people are smiling and singing along. The spirit in the place is joy, fun, and dance. We’ve been kind of relaxing this summer, and really enjoying life as much as we can, in spite of recent events quarantine and beyond. We’re trying to make sure we guard our joy as well. But stay tuned, because summer is not cancelled.
I know you also do lots of events with host / rapper / producer / DJ Will Sheridan like the big boi party HEFT. Have you two ever collaborated musically before?
Yes we have! Yeeeears ago. I used to be an artist on RAR Records under the moniker SAMN! (as in DAMN that SAMN). He was on a remix of one of my tracks. Outside of music, I’ve known Will for years. He’s a great friend!
On Sunday, you’ll be digitally spinning a digital Bears & Briefs on Twitch, a virtual underwear dance party (normally a PTown attraction) for bears of all shapes, sizes and colors! Yay, guys in underwear are always fun!
Yes! This is my first time DJing for this party and I am excited! Beautiful bodies, beautiful boys, and most of all… underwear! Or perhaps lack thereof? I’m excited to spin alongside some awesome DJs [INSYX and Larry Peace] as well! So it will be a great time!
What else is coming up for you? New mixes, maybe?
Not sure what’s next… so if you know some more things I’d be great for, tell them to send me a holler! Lol! I’m building more mixes, as I usually DJ live.
And finally: is there a song, new or old, that you think best serves as the soundtrack to the Summer of 2020?
Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer.” It’s so fitting!
Thank you, Beargazer!