A longtime NYC nightlifer who’s assumed many roles in the scene over the years, blonde bombshell Brik Olson is currently crushing it in the DJ booths of venues across the city!
Thotyssey: Hello Brik, thanks for chatting with us today! So how was your Halloween?
Brik Olson: My Halloween was phenomenal–many fun DJ gigs, and a really fun performance at 3 Dollar Bill with Boy Radio’s crew doing a Rocky Horror shadowcast, which is always my favorite thing. I love Halloween and doing fun and crazy parties with my nightlife family!
Who did you play in the shadowcast?
I played Brad. He’s a character I identify with in many ways, and have been typecast many times. I’m often seen as a bit square by some nightlife folks, while being seen as weird by some of my non-nightlife friends.
So you do a lot of things in this biz: you DJ, you host events… actually, in your own words, how would you describe your role in nightlife today?
I think I best described it one night when I walked into Happyfun Hideaway in Bushwick (a place I DJ’ed at a lot before the pandemic) and Macy Rodman introduced me to some of the new bartenders. I said “I’m not a regular, but I’m a veteran!” I’ve really done everything from doorperson, host, promoter, bar manager, bartender, singer, performer, DJ, nightlife photographer, and more… I guess I could say my role is NYC nightlife savant.
What bar did you manage?
This crazy two story dive in the LES called Leftfield. It started as a rock bar, but we quickly pivoted to an “Everybody Everybody” spot (to quote my bestie Jermaine Jagger) as I began booking drag queens, trans performers and hosts… many of whom I continued to book at other shows, like my now defunct (RIP) cabaret / salon Cabinet27.
Where are you from originally, and how did you begin as a creative person?
I spent the early years of my life in the Bay Area living in a wealthy suburb. Then my single mom decided she didn’t like the values of the corporate / advertising world, so we moved to Oregon to live with my grandparents on their horse ranch. I was a weird little kid in rural Oregon and a bit snobby, but ranches have a way of bringing you down to earth very quickly. My grandmother was very artistic, as is my mom, so I’d like to think I got it from them. I also got a great singing voice from my father, so I got put in voice and theater lessons early on.
Did you ever act in productions, or write and record music?
I toured with a children’s theater company for a year after college, and have been in many small shows in the East Village (I once had to get fully naked on stage for a Lanford Wilson one act) and have had the pleasure of performing on stage and on camera with friends like Macy Rodman, Paul Iacono, Sophia Lamar, Michael Cavadias, Chelsea Piers and more. I’ve also sung backup on jazz albums, but have never done a solo project… though that may change soon!
Have you had an overall favorite experience in nightlife over the years?
This is a tough one! It would have to be either my longtime friend and nightlife genius Ladyfag throwing that Shibuya themed fashion week party for Alexander Wang in the South Street Seaport mall where Nicki Minaj performed and gave us a shout out as her “pretty boy crew” (lol)–or–the Halloween party at the giant mansion and abandoned school outside the city that was produced by my husband Derek’s brilliant creative agency Matte Projects along with Club Called Rhonda. There were something like 30 rooms, all individually designed to be a different party vibe.
But also maybe just the nights going out with my hilarious and weirdo friends, just seeing where the night takes us.
What are your general thoughts about the state of nightlife today? Is it still exciting, diverse, promising, creative, etc.? What’s good and what’s bad?
Nightlife in NYC is currently so much fun. My DJ partner and BFF Dinah Fire and I have been talking about this a lot lately. It feels like a healthy and diverse ecosystem, even within each neighborhood. I’ve been working in HK a lot lately, and seeing how much things have changed excites me. We aren’t told to play only pop music, and audiences are looking to go on more of a journey with you. You used to only find that in specific spots in Brooklyn for the adventurous, but now it seems everyone is wanting the artistry! As for what is bad? Maybe just GHB.
Tell us about DJing with Dinah! You’ve had monthly nights at the Rosemont, among other gigs. What’s your collective sound like, and where can we see you next?
Dinah and I met at Mood Ring in 2021 on their first night opening back up post-pandemic. Musclecars was playing that night. I complimented her on her Betty Davis (the funk musician) tattoo, and we started talking about music. We became fast friends and a later started The Rage as a DJ duo where we fuse my love of disco and 90s house with her love of punk and 2000s rock, all with a twist of pop on top. We have so much fun, and embrace the chaos of these times where many audiences aren’t satisfied with just one genre. That said, we lean in one direction more than the other depending on the vibe! It’s an experience!
The Rage are the resident DJs every Friday at Industry Bar in HK and monthly Sundays at The Rosemont in Brooklyn. Our first mixtape will be dropping this fall, and we’ll be putting out some remixes of our friends’ music soon… so be sure to follow us!
Can you give us a rundown of all the shows and parties you DJ… and if you have any live performances on the horizon?
Yeah! I do lots of solo DJ gigs for some phenomenal drag artists and performers: Playhouse on Sundays with Castrata and Essence and Tuesdays with Ruby Roo, The Q on Thursdays with Andrew Barrett Cox’s “Apocalypse Noir,” and Hardware on Fridays with Catrina Lovelace. As for performance, Boy Radio and I are talking about some new shows on the horizon. And lastly, some collabs w my bestie Macy Rodman coming up!
Very exciting! Okay lastly… whatcha want for Christmas, lol?
Weird, I was just thinking about that before you asked. A money clip for all these tips I’ve been getting at the gigs, lol!