Ivan Dutton is an all-star stylist, but on Brooklyn dance floors is better known as DJ Ivenchy. Here we discuss the origin story, the crazy Covid year, and of course all things Pride!
Thotyssey: Greetings, Ivenchy, How’s your Pride month treating you after this whole first week, lol?
DJ Ivenchy: It’s been so crazy already, but incredibly fun. There’s such a powerful energy in the air you can’t escape.
That’s definitely true… especially after this past year and a half. What was your overall lockdown experience like?
Things moved so fast. I happened to be in Europe for work right before Trump shut down entry into the country to non-US citizens. Most of my friends had already been quarantining when I returned, and on a whim I took a lover’s invitation to go down to Virginia where we spent almost three wonderful months together. When we returned to the city, I could barely recognize it. It was a ghost town, and no one was outside. Eventually people began protesting police brutality and marching with Black Lives Matter, which joined last year’s Pride… and it was such an iconic moment.
You mayhave witnessed a lot of the “cancelling” that happened, with nightlifers getting caught partying outside of protocol and taking tons of public shaming for it. Was that all a bit too much, or was it justified?
I think that people are always going to do what they want–Americans especially. I have no problem with someone living their life and being responsible for their own health. I do, however, think certain people shamelessly posted and / or promoted their aversion to protocol. You don’t have to post everything in your life, and it just opens up a shitstorm for people to come after you.
But I don’t think cancel culture is helpful to anyone. When we cancel people, it means we’ve given up trying to change their mind, or ours–and that’s just plain ignorant. If we can’t communicate with each other and express our opinions or values effectively, then we’ve actually failed ourselves.
Well said! Okay, before we move forward we should go backwards for a minute: where are you from originally, and was music always a part of your life?
I’m from Orange County, California originally. I grew up in listening to a lot of Spanish music and disco… lots of Shakira. Eventually I really got into pop music and alt rock, and now my music style is a mix of all of those.
You’re also a stylist. What was the origin of that?
My mom would drop me off at Barnes & Noble on the weekends growing up, and I always gravitated towards the fashion books and magazines. I would also draw a lot in church to pass the time. In the end, I got accepted to Parsons and moved to New York. My first job out of school was working as an in-house stylist. The rest is herstory!
Many DJs, especially in NYC, also work in fashion… or are at least very fashion forward themselves. Do you think that’s a coincidence, or does that connection make sense?
I think a lot of us are just natural curators, whether it be clothing or music. In New York especially, there is a sense of underlying style to everything we do and experience.
How did you begin as a DJ?
I’m a control freak! I always had a knack for reading the room and understanding the vibe. I would end up playing music for friends, or sending people playlists, etc. In time, my friends pushed me to play at bars and events they were throwing. My first ever official gig was at Sugarland, and since then I’ve slowly been spinning at all the local queer venues.
You’re best known as a Brooklyn DJ today, most notably at The Rosemont. Is that like a second home to you at this point?
I call it my second living room. I’ve gotten to know all the regulars and staff like family. I get a lot of shit for going out all the time, but I see it as building community and fostering safe spaces for our queer brothers and sisters. My goal is to keep these places thriving with people, business and dancing.
One of the parties you’ve regularly DJed there, alongside fellow DJ Bogdamn, is “Princess Crush.” That returns to The Rosemont for a Pride Weekend edition on Saturday, June 26! What can you tell us about that ki, and what this month’s edition in particular has in store for us?
We are both so thrilled to be back at our home base. In the “before” times, we had lines wrapped around the block of people eager to dance their asses off and make out with sexy strangers. We put our heart and soul into this party and deck it out with tons of costume jewelry, glitter and tiaras.
This time around will be even more epic! We are so excited to feature the hilarious Missleidy and up and coming beauty Mel Incarnate, who will both be doing two sets of shows on the main stage. In addition, we’ve booked a photographer to capture the best moments of the night, and all the incredible looks people will be wearing. DJ Haus Kat is also set to open the night, and get everyone fired up on the dancefloor. You’re practically homophobic to miss it!
You also have a really interesting gig prior to that one. On Saturday, June 19, you’re joining queens Robyn Banks, Robin Fierce, Lola Michele-Kiki and Hibiscus for a “Mobile Drag Performance Unit,” i.e. three outdoor mini-shows around Brooklyn, sponsored by FagSigns! What can you tell us about that?
This is a brand new experience for me, and a chance to meet new talent–not to mention, showcase drag to various neighborhoods in the area. From my experience dancing on Pride floats in years past, this is a powerful way to truly see our community’s many faces, and those of our allies. I just hope I don’t get emotional. I feel so lucky to be able to live in such a progressive city, and it is our Pride that serves as a beacon to so many in the world that aren’t as lucky to have that freedom, and it shows our strength and beauty in a culture that once shunned and oppressed us.
Is there anything else we should know?
Sunday, June 27th: following “Princess Crush,” my friend and fellow DJ Mikey Hefez will be spinning at Exley bar for a day-to-evening set (5-10). They are the masters of cocktails there, and always cater to the hottest clientele. If your hangover permits it, come check it out. Although I’ve been booked on a lot one-off events, I’m hoping to get more regular nights going at our local watering holes soon.
Exciting all around! In closing: what is the song that you are living for right this moment?
[Sends the Benny Benassi remix of “Hypnotic” by Azealia Banks and Paul Oakenfold.]
Love it! Thank you, Ivenchy!