In A Barbie World: Behind Disco Shrine’s Barbie Raves

emilytreadgold #1

If you haven't been to Disco Shrine's Barbie Raves you are missing out. The Dj and musician has curated an event that highlights that feeling the the Barbie Movie gave so many of us. It feels like a safe space for your girliest feelings and a celebration of girlhood. We talked to her about how she started the event and the important mission behind it.

Tell me about how the idea started and the mission behind it.

Disco Shrine: I used to do this party called Candy Pop. That was like the party that I always did for years and years, even before the pandemic. And then, and it was like this, except it was less ravey and remixing and just like the truest pop kind of party. I like doing more remixes and producing more and doing things like that. I think I lean a little bit more towards dance house kind of vibes. And then when all of Barbie stuff was happening, we were like, "You know what? Candy Pop needs a revamp." And it's always had the truest pop cut of form, but instead of doing just the original songs, like basically finding as many cold remixes as possible and making it just a fun party that's inclusive. Candy pop has always been a Barbie Rave. We just revamped the theme of it.

How important is it to have a space for girls and girls' feelings and the music that girls love?

Disco Shrine: It's really important for me. The whole reason why it made sense in the first place was because I'm Persian Barbie, and I DJ, and pop has always been my thing. And it just all kind of came together at the right time and made sense. The whole reason why even the Persian Barbie thing happened was because I went through a horrible breakup. And I was like, "I'm bleaching my hair," as one does when they go through a horrible breakup. And then after that, I was like, "You know what? I feel like I can be myself." I feel like the freest version of myself, like what was on the inside is finally coming out on the outside. I really felt like there were no limits. And I feel like that's how I want people to feel when they listen to my music, or when they come to my shows, or if they buy my merch or anything like that. That's how I want people to feel. And I always say like, "Everything I do is for the girls and the gays." Those are my people. Those are the vibes. Those are the people I want to be empowered through anything I do.

I feel like we're finally getting to a point where we can be very pro-girly; pro-girl feelings matter. With the Barbie movie coming out and the Taylor Swift tour, it's like, finally, we're having a space for girl feelings. And it's nice to be able to go to something where you can feel safe enough to express those feelings.

Disco Shrine: That is so true. It's crazy that it took the entire Taylor Swift and Barbie movie to happen. You're right, though. I feel like it's okay to sit in your femininity. I mean, that's being celebrated.

I feel like everyone's talking about Barbie right now. But how does it feel to always have had that?

Disco Shrine: I'm a trendsetter! It's actually really nice. It is kind of like-- I think it took me a second, too, because-- it's really hard to claim things sometimes, or it's hard to be like, "Yeah, you know what? I did own that. That is my thing." And I think for a while, I did feel a lot of sort of identity crisis or like impostor syndrome in some ways. But watching the Barbie movie and just all of the resurgence coming back, and you're right. I'm such a Swiftie, like a die-hard Swiftie. And all of this, I think, subconsciously has kind of just given me my voice back in a lot of ways. I did deal with a lot of self-doubt during the pandemic, not going to lie, and I'm sure everyone did. But it does feel like this is who I am. These are my roots. There's a reason why Persian Barbie was an important part of my evolution because it was me reclaiming my power after that bad breakup. And I want to keep that going. I want to be strong forever.

I feel like I went through such a phase of trying to lean out of being girly because I was trying to seem cool, and it's always that internalized misogyny being like, I'm not like other girls. And it feels so much better now to be like, oh, I am super girly. I like super girly music.

Disco Shrine: I know because, for a long time, it just wasn't cool. I mean, you weren't cool unless you were edgy or you didn't care. And you know what? The girlies that care, the spotlight is being shone on us. The ones that care too much.

And obviously, you saw the movie, right? I just feel like I cried the whole time because it's so beautiful to see all those girly feelings, kind of put in a way that feels special. I don't know. It just made me feel so good watching it and sad. I felt good and sad.

Disco Shrine: I was crying, ugly crying. Silently ugly crying because, you know what? We go through this life, and it's so subtle. It's so subtle, certain things that you feel, certain things that are said to you. And you don't even realize it anymore because you're just so used to blocking them out or trying to swerve them. And I feel like that movie did such a good job of explaining all the things you have to go through as a woman. It just makes you realize, like, damn, you're right. I do have to do that every day. And it sucks, but it's nice to be acknowledged.

I feel like it's nice that it's like we're all watching this movie and realizing that we're all kind of going through this together in a weird sense, like, oh, this is a thing that we're all dealing with. And it's like kind of a beautiful moment.

Disco Shrine: We're all getting together, and we're all Barbie. That's something I say a lot at the Barbie Raves. I always say, "We're all Barbie tonight."

I think that's something that the movie also presented really well is that we are all our own Barbies, and so we're all kind of the main characters in our little Barbie world, which is kind of nice to realize but in kind of a group way. And I feel like that must be really nice at your Barbie raves, too, is that sense of togetherness and that feeling that we're all kind of there in the same space.

Disco Shrine: I think so, too. I think the Barbie rave thing is really cool. It's the first party I've done that feels really carefree. Everyone there feels really supportive; everyone there is really just cute and sweet and there to have a fun time and wearing friendship bracelets and cute outfits. And it feels really fun, whereas I feel like a lot of the DJ parties I've done before, it is sort of cool. You know what I mean? It's cool vibes and cool people, and they're not as carefree. I think that there is a cultural phenomenon happening right now, and it's cool to kind of see it happen even within the crowds. It's been fun to play around with the audience, and I'll go in, and I'll dance with them and stuff like during certain songs because I don't like just being behind a booth. I have to dance.

I love that because I've never been cool. I've always cared too much.

Disco Shrine: Me too. I feel that way too. I feel like I cannot ever be someone who is just chill. I'm just not a chill person, and I feel like I've spent so long trying to pretend I'm a chill person, and I just don't think that's for me. I can't do it.

There were no chill Barbies, now that I think of it.

Disco Shrine: Being a Barbie is not being chill. It's being unchill and loving it.

Keep up with Disco Shrine on Instagram and TikTok and catch her on tour!

Emily Treadgold

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