10 Questions With Grace Sands As She Gears Up To Play At The Cause’s Sixth Birthday Party

Grace Sands is a true, blue underground legend. A resident DJ at Adonis (London’s monthly queer party) and Glastonbury’s Block 9, as well as the co-founder of Nottingham’s DiY Soundsystem (a free party collective born in Nottingham in 1989), the globally-known DJ has spent decades behind the decks. Having secured regular gigs and residencies from the UK to Europe and beyond, she’s also a producer and runs her own label, TruVanity Music between floor-filling sets at some of the best venues around. 

Sands saw her start as one part of the duo, Digs & Woosh, alongside the late Pete Birch, where she established herself as someone who made space for everyone, welcoming marginalised people of all backgrounds and identities to her joyous raves. Now an icon of queer dance music, deep house and Sound Systems, she hosts her own party, Sands of Time, which made its triumphant return to the dancefloor just yesterday. 

Tonight, she’s playing at Berghain as part of its Laundrette party, so if you’re in Berlin, we suggest you try your luck in the club’s daunting queues because her set, scheduled for 2am local time Saturday morning, is certain to be a get sucked in or go home kind of situation. At a Grace Sands set, being a wallflower is a far-off fantasy. 

The following weekend, Sands is taking to The Cause (where Adonis takes place) for an energetic evening celebrating the London nightclub’s sixth birthday party. Kicking off Saturday May 11, the all-day and all-night party will expand into six indoor spaces as well as the venue’s now iconic open-air courtyard for the show, where its close friends and family, as well as buzzy performers, will create a night to remember. Alongside Sands, expect sets from Young Marco, Danny Tenaglia, Secretsundaze, Courtesy, Gop Tun DJ’s and many more. Secure your tickets here. 

We spoke to Sands about her upcoming set at The Cause, the wildest things she’s seen in the crowd whilst in the booth and all-things Adonis. 

1. For anyone who’s never seen you play before, how would you describe your sets? 

“Groovy deep house, a touch of acid, ’91 tripped out rollers – with some ballroom and kween anthems thrown in the mix.”

2. What can we expect from your set at The Cause for their birthday weekend?

“As above, although you can be sure I’ll be giving Danny Tenaglia a run for his money! Hahaha.”

3. You’ve been an Adonis resident since the very beginning, what do you think gives the party its spark?

“Great mixed crowd of gays, thems, flintas, trans, lesbians currently managing their recent ‘renaissance!’ & allies – and the music is ‘quality not commercial’ and at the same time is super queer.”

4. What has been your favourite Adonis to play? 

“At the original Cause, at one point the parties moved to Cannon Street across the road as the room was much bigger. It was a day party and the building the party vibe together as the room filled was something special – I played ‘The Path’ off the Another Side LP (Fingers, Inc) and hons that bassline landed in that room. Darkwah and their crew were queuing up for drinks and I swear I saw their bum cheeks shaking!”

5. If you were going to curate your own festival, which 3 DJs would you have headlining?

“Well, if I was curating? Me (shameless!), Marron Bitch (former House of Trash resident), and Kim Lana.”

6. What is the wildest thing you’ve seen in the crowd whilst in the booth?

“I’ve played at Panorama Bar two or three times now, I played too at Snax FC the sex party, which is men only although I was allowed to play and made welcome afterwards.

“It’s nice to play there as it has a fun atmosphere – most of the action is around the dancefloor, however I did see a couple of lads enter coitus during the breakdown of ‘Get Your Hands off My Man (Fire Island Remix)’!!”

7. What’s your favourite city to play in and why?

“My recent favourites have been Tblisi and Athens. Tblisi has a very underground but very strong queer scene with lots of lovely trans, thems, queers, and Athens the city itself I found very accepting.

8. What three essentials are in your festival bum bag?

“Suncream, foundation, ‘treats’.”

9. If you weren’t a DJ, what would you be?

“This year is 35 years of DIY sound system which makes me a DJ of 35 and a bit years… before I transitioned I DJ’ed as Digs in the partnership Digs & Woosh I did teach for a few years in the middle. I miss that actually and run creative community projects still, so would most likely be doing that.”

10. What can we expect from you for the rest of 2024?

“My party Sands of Time is back, now at Night Tales loft, starting on Thursday May 2, with a companion record label Grains of Sand. Check out house releases on there, also on Lovechild and ADONIS recordings. My wigged out and mind blowing mixtape Taste the Grains will be released unto this world too!”

Photography by Jean Francois-Carly. 


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