Honey Dijon Essentials

Honey Dijon Essentials

“Ain’t no substitute! It has to be the real deal,” says Brooklyn’s Cor.Ece on Honey Dijon’s “Work,” a home run of a house track released in early 2022. Honey, for her part, is exactly that—the real deal. The DJ and producer grew up in the 1970s, on the South Side of Chicago, and she fell in love with dance music at an early age—first her parents’ record collection, then, in her early teens, sneaking into Chicago nightclubs, where she discovered not only the early growth and rise of house music, but the queer Black community she would quickly realize was her own. She began DJing after moving to New York City in the ’90s, spinning in gay bars and for the city’s fashion crowd, in turn establishing both her professional DJ status and a lifelong affinity for the fashion world. In the years since, her career has often brought the two together—Honey has created runway soundtracks for fashion houses like Louis Vuitton and Dior for well over a decade, and she released her first fashion line in 2019. For Honey, who started producing her own music in the early 2000s, her lived experience as a Black transgender woman informs so much of her music and artistic output. She recognizes the often-silenced cultural origins of house music, and considers herself a musical torchbearer who carries the traditions of those who cannot—particularly the generation of Black queer people she grew up around, and who lost their lives to HIV/AIDS. Now living in Berlin, where she frequently headlines Berghain’s Panorama Bar, the artist embodies both that history and the future of house music: Her productions are rooted in the bump and swing of ’90s classics, full of boom-ticking 808s, crashing 909s, and wriggling 303s, but mixed with her own playful, disco-fied funk (“Stars,” “Catch the Beat”). Her most striking tracks—like “La Femme Fantastique,” a sparkly sermon of flirty incarnations and winking whispers—manage to capture electronic dance music’s spirit of togetherness (“Come on over/Don’t be shy,” Josh Caffe coos) while also taking care to honour the genre’s queer Black roots. “See the woman/Look at her,” he murmurs over spring-boarded synths. “Honey, I like what I see.”

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