LAST HOUSE ON FETISH STREET
A hedonistic, sex-charged soundtrack from the hardest-working woman in disco.
by Honey Dijon
Reading time 5 Minutes
It was Michael Costiff, the impresario behind 90s London pleasuredome Kinky Gerlinky (see Princess Julia in Chapter One), who introduced me to Honey Dijon. We were in Paris, sweltering backstage at Louis Vuitton, after Kim Jones had just unveiled his season-stealing debut as the brand’s new artistic director for menswear: cue a Spring/Summer 2012 collection of seductive, finely calibrated tailoring punctuated by searing bursts of blue-and-red Masai tribe plaids. Honey, a long-time collaborator of Kim’s, had soundtracked the spectacle.
Done right, the music to a fashion show adds a sonic layer to the designer’s storytelling, helping articulate the feeling behind the clothes, distilling the moment for everyone in the room. Honey’s music that day – a joyous, pounding seven-minute reworking of Talking Heads’ afro-disco track I Zimbra – did all that and more. “Why thank you, child,” she purred softly… and so began my friendship with Miss Dijon.
Music and fashion were always going to be Honey’s destiny. As an 8-year-old, in the early 80s, Honey hung around her uncle’s tailoring shop on the South Side of Chicago, flicking through the pages of Esquire and GQ, fascinated by the glamorous images. She was soon at the local library poring over glossy spreads by master photographers like Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, obsessing over the otherworldly fashions of Gaultier and Alaïa. As for music, it was always there. Fridays were pizza and records night round at the Dijon residence, with the whole family dancing to a mix of rock, soul and disco; according to her mother, a determined three-year-old Honey was already selecting what went on the turntable. Next, she was saving up her pocket money and taking the hour-long bus ride out to JR’s Music record store: her first purchases were Bostitch by Yello and Mesopotamia by The B-52s (she still plays both). She didn’t know it yet but a perfect storm was about to erupt in the Windy City.
Suddenly house music and its anything-goes-energy swept through Chicago nightclubs and Honey found herself in the right place, at the right time – and in the right look: “oversized thrift store blazers, leggings and riding boots.” Barely 13 and armed with fake ID, she was at ground zero for a new cultural revolution, working up a sweat to the freewheeling, all-night sets of local DJ heroes Frankie Knuckles at the Warehouse and Ron Hardy at the Music Box. She couldn’t have had a better schooling in the art of dance music. (Quick aside: that I Zimbra version from the Vuitton show? One of Knuckles’s edits from his Warehouse days.) Jump-cut to today and Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy are sadly both gone, but Honey – with ‘FK’ and ‘RH’ proudly tattooed on her forearms – is behind the controls, playing around the world to crowds of revellers (some in ‘Honey Fucking Dijon’ t-shirts), continuing the legacy of, as she puts it, “preaching to the kids.”
I was thrilled when Honey found a window in her punishing schedule to create an exclusive mix for Maidens of Fetish Street. Fresh from viewing the film, she called from her home in Berlin. “I was so struck by how much shame there was around sex in those puritanical times,” she gasped down the line. “Hedonism is what immediately came to my mind. We need hedonism! I want to select music that feels a bit dark and sleazy but also sexy and playful. After all, the definition of a fetish is an inanimate object worshipped for its supposed magical powers or because it’s considered to be inhabited by a spirit. Just like music.”
FETISH STREET MIX
1. TJE-004 – B2 Untitled
2. TJE-005 – B1 Untitled
3. Iban Montoro & Jazzmanwax – Juernes Day
4. Mike Dunn – Presents 1
5. Shatzi – Edit 2
6. Tangerue – Doin Your Own Thing
7. THE-001 – A2 Untitled
8. Eros 01X – A1 (Give Me Your Love)
9. Heavy Whispers – Yello (Stiff Records Slight Edit)
10. In Flagranti feat. Ayakamay – Kachi Kachi (Unreleased Funky Mix)
11. Studio 58 – Live At Expo ‘58
As a DJ, Honey Dijon’s unique mix of Chicago House, disco, tribal, soul and funk has her circling the globe, from London’s Ministry of Sound and Boiler Room in Santiago to Subsonic Music Festival in Melbourne. As a producer, she has recorded tracks for Nervous, Mile End and Stereo Productions, and, in 2017, she released her debut album The Best of Both Worlds on Classic Music Company. Honey’s soundtracks for Louis Vuitton, Dior and Rick Owens have made her a firm fashion favourite. She is based between Berlin and NYC.