Punk’s feminist House Party

Co-founder of Dubai's cult indie-night Jane Aldersley talks bad mixing, blow up animals and promoting female DJs in punk's 40th anniversary year

It’s fitting that in punk's 40th anniversary year, Dubai’s very own indie-punk night Bad House Party has become a city-wide institution.  

Formed two and a half years ago, the monthly night has quickly become a bastion of underground cool, an effortless, loose-limbed party that’s brought together cool kids, musical misfits, oddballs and blow up animals (more on them later).  

But more importantly, it’s stayed true to its punk and indie roots. Any money made from the night is ploughed back into live music. To date, they’ve brought out three acts from Norway, America and the UK to play for their devoted crowd.

"Yeah I suppose it is a punk thing to do, since punk music has always had a strong DIY/community aspect," says co-founder Jane.

"We certainly have a major DIY ethic, and there’s a community of like-minded music nerds that have come together at BHP. We started Bad House Party so we could play the music we love, and making money was never the motivation, since we all have day jobs that we don’t intend to give up. When the night started to generate a bit of revenue, we decided almost immediately that the money would be better put to use by bringing bands to play at BHP."

We’re proud of the strong feminist vein that runs through indie and punk music

Jane Aldersley, Co-owner, Bad House Party

Bad House Party's most recent band was Black Honey, a rising four piece playing dreamy shoe-gaze girl-pop. One of the most blogged-about bands last year, it’s an impressive signing from a collective who have little DJ and promoter experience.

Like all the best nights, Bad House Party grew from a genuine niche in the market: if you want to hear Sonic Youth mixed into St Vincent, then Bad House Party is your place. Although when we say mixed…

"We’re still technically quite rubbish – I always tell people that we play good records badly," laughs Jane.

"For us the focus is on tune selection rather than DJing skills – which is why we refer to ourselves as selectas rather than DJs – and I think that our audience understands that. I think that the lack of focus on technical skill has become an asset for us now, as it allows us to recruit guest selectas (typically friends or BHP regulars) based on their taste in music rather than DJ ability."

Black Honey
Bad House Party's most recent band, Black Honey

To further that DIY/punk attitude, the night is free (apart from live gigs that cost Dhs100 on a first come first served basis). Factor in the relaxed door policy, animal masks and inflatable animals on the night (that even have their own Facebook account) and you have a party-starting recipe.

In keeping with punk ethics, there’s a strong feminist feel to the night, with a balance of female and male DJs and a strong emphasis on female bands.

"Maybe a point of difference for us is that we have an even mix of guys and girls on the decks, and we play a lot of music featuring female musicians. We’re proud of the strong feminist vein that runs through indie and punk music, and we try to represent that on the night," says Jane.

Bad House Party, Casa Latina, Ibis Al Barsha. Open the first Thursday of every month from 8.45pm.