A veteran nightlifer and co-creator of one of NYC’s most popular “consenting adult” branded events, Senobyte is now busier than he’s ever been spinning for several top shows in major venues.
Thotyssey: Hello Senobyte, thanks for chatting with us today! How is your September so far?
Senobyte: Hey, thanks for having me! My September has been very busy, starting DJ’ing at Playhouse, Pieces and The Q, as well as my own events. So, things have been a non-stop rollercoaster of fun and sleep deprivation, lol!
We love the nightlife! As far as the biz goes in general, we’re not quite back to the “glory days” of 2019 yet… but still, are you surprised how quickly things have developed since lockdown ended?
Not really. Nightlife and queer people in general have always been resilient, especially here in New York; we know how to bounce back, and we know how to get it done. We just want to bring some normalcy and joy back as quick as possible, after year and a half of dread.
Speaking of dread, and in light of the nearing spooky season… the Cenobites! Those are the iconic Hellraiser fetish demons that Pinhead leads, and the source of your namesake. Do you have a favorite Cenobite?
My favorite is from Hellraiser 3, the one from the nightclub with the CDs in his head (naturally).
So, where are you from originally… and were music and fabulousness always a part of your upbringing?
I’m a born and raised New Yorker, hailing from Queens and still here. I’ve always been a musical person; my father and mother were always playing different types in the house, from Madonna and Janet on my mom’s side to blues and rock from my dad. I taught myself drums when I was 12, went to school for audio engineering, and taught myself to DJ 13 years ago. I feel music in all its forms is my purpose in life.
How did you begin in the scene?
I was first and foremost a nightlife “personality” and promoter, back in the day of what I call the “new era” of 2008-2009. I started going out, and met all these amazing people. I got snatched up by Lee Chappell and started working events with them.
My DJing didn’t really take off until recently…maybe it was my own insecurities or my fear that kept me from going for it sooner. But thankfully, the right people have noticed and helped me start doing what I love. And here we are, better late than never.
If you had full control over the sound of an evening you were DJing, what would that sound be like?
I am first and foremost a house and techno DJ; I love that dark warehouse feel, which kind of trickles over into the soundtrack of my events. That’s my ideal set–make them feel all the filthy emotions. But I do love playing pop and seeing people bounce up and down and singing… I grew up in gay clubs like Rush and Splash (RIP), so that’s in my DNA as well.
Prior to this newer focus on DJing, you created an umbrella series of events called “Scum” with John Marto, where consenting adults could meet and… play!
We started Scum three years ago, in March 2018 in Brooklyn. It basically started out of my annoyance with not getting booked; I said, “you know what? If they won’t book me, I’ll build my own [nights].” And it was an uphill battle to get where we are today. We branched into Manhattan in 2019 doing a weekly Monday, and then we branched to every Saturday as well. Today, “Scum”is Brooklyn monthly, “Thrust” is weekly Saturday (Manhattan), and “Gush” is our weekly Monday (Manhattan). We have been going strong again since May, and have been doing really well. We actually return to Brooklyn this Friday.
You’re BF Roy is a drag queen on the rise, Chicky Gorgina! Nightlife relationships can be a challenge… especially when you factor in all that storage space that drag absorbs, lol! What is a secret to a happy relationship in this crazy community?
We’ve been going three years strong now. When we first met she wasn’t a drag queen, but it interested her… and I told her to go for it. And now look where she is… stunning! We got lucky and were able to snatch a two-bedroom apartment in the house I was already living when we moved in together. She has her own drag room, so that helps a lot… haha! We have a good flow together: she makes sure I eat, I make sure she gets to the gigs on time. And I taught her about the business: the good, the bad, the ugly. Understanding, space, and making a little time for each other are important.
Many of your current gigs have you DJing drag shows. Why don’t you run us through where we can usually find you throughout the week, and how you overall enjoy the Drag DJ experience?
Currently I am at Playhouse on Saturdays with Izzy Uncut, brunch Sundays at Ñaño Ecuadorian Restaurant with Chicky Gorgina, [then later] Pieces on Sundays with Lexington Banks and Peachez, back at Playhouse on Mondays with Lagoona Bloo and Elektra Lite, and Wednesdays at The Q with Castrata.
Every show is different, so it really keeps me on my toes; I love a good mini-stress test, lol! Working with them all is great, though. We all just want to put on the best shows possible for the people that come to escape from reality.
Just what the doctor ordered! So lastly: what is the more interesting thing to do today: scrolling through pics of Met Gala looks, or watching performance clips from the VMAs?
Neither… I’m shopping and having a spa day. It’s my day off, finally! (Except that Lil Nas X performance has been on repeat, hehe).
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Senobyte’s upcoming appearances, and follow him on Facebook and Instagram. Follow SCUM NYC on Instagram and a newsletter.