Ahead of Daddy: Queer Variety Show, we got to ask Archie Bongiovanni (Daddy MPLS co-founder), Nick Jordan, and Symone Smash It a few questions. Read what they had to say below, and don’t miss them at First Avenue on Saturday, February 10.
Liz Legatt: Daddy has sold out 4 nights (5 nights?) at Icehouse since its beginnings. How has it evolved and where to do you see it going?
Archie Bongiovanni: Daddy has sold out 5 nights which is amazing! It’s evolved in that Brent and I are much better at being organized and knowing what to expect during each show. We’ve gotten better at all the behind the scenes planning and each event is a little tighter and more polished, but still raw in a lot of ways. I’m hoping that in the future Daddy can host even more fun, wild, weird, and experimental performers!
LL: What does the recruitment process look like for Daddy performers? Are there specific traits or genres you search for?
AB: There isn’t much of a process, folks can email us (email@example.com) and we will take a look at what folks are creating. We want to have the stage be a place where folks can be vulnerable, weird, or sexy–or some amazing combination of all of it! We enjoy having a mix of experienced performers and folks who are new to the stage, that’s really important to us. We also want to make sure there’s a representation of many bodies/genders/sexualities on the stage each night as well. There aren’t any specific genres we search for, although we do ask performers to be authentic and not appropriative with their work. In the future we would LOVE to have a queer magician, someone performing live ASAM, dance troupes, more fashion shows, and anything new and fresh!
LL: In what ways do you feel Daddy has affected the queer community?
AB: The queer community in Minneapolis has always been super active and vibrant. I feel lucky to live in a city where throughout the week there’s a mix of things to do from theater to live music to dance nights to book clubs to all the wonderful things that happen underground. Our hope with Daddy is that it can be a connector between various queer groups and communities in the cities, we want everyone mingling and dancing and sweating together. We want Daddy to be a place to be loud and visible, whether that be totally dressed up or arriving in a flannel while celebrating the incredible varied queer talent the Twin Cities has to offer.
Liz Legatt: You’ve been awarded City Pages’ Best R&B Artist in 2016, Star Tribune “Are You Local?” Winner in 2017, and have performed at venues all across Minneapolis. What sort of planning goes into your impressive live performances that have earned you these titles?
Nick Jordan: I think it’s all about playing off of the beautiful energy exchange that occurs between the artist and the listener. It’s my responsibility as the artist to make sure I’m providing that energy to begin with! You need to give people something to believe in. You need to make it worth their while; time is sacred. It’s also important to be well-rehearsed, but not over-rehearsed. I just prepare and put in the work that makes it possible to reach my higher self on stage. I have this intense passion inside of me that’s hard to explain. It literally makes me blackout during my live shows.
LL: What are you most looking forward to about performing at Daddy this Saturday?
NJ: I’m looking forward to playing some new, unreleased music in addition to cuts off of my Dividends EP. My outfit is cute, too. I might overheat in it, but it’s a risk I gotta take. I love playing on stages large enough to accommodate my dancers, so I’m bringing 4 with me. Last February was my first time playing in the Mainroom. I feel really proud that I’m here now — a year later — with a completely different setlist and a better grip on my artistry.
Liz Legatt: What is the inspiration behind your signature ‘smashbotic’ fashion and musical style?
Symone Smash It: My fashion inspiration comes from all things sci-fi and futuristic but I pull inspiration from specific individuals as well– David Bowie, Sailor Moon, and Lady Gaga. The inspiration for my music comes from a variety of electronic artists including Kerli, Purity Ring, and Zedd.
LL: This is not your first Daddy performance; how did you become initially involved and what excites you the most about returning?
SS: Prior to performing at Daddy, I had never been but I had heard it wasn’t something to miss. I did my research and I wanted to be a part of it immediately. I reached out to the Facebook page, and luckily Brent and Archie were already considering bringing me into the next event!
What excites me most is getting to be a part of an environment that I know accepts me and my team for what we do and who we are. I feel completely supported when I’m at Daddy and that’s not something you find often as an artist.
Blog by Liz Legatt (Marketing Intern)