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DJ Bodegaparty Wants You to Feel Like You’re in ‘Skins’

Originally from East New York, Csyan Russell is part of a group of young DJs in Brooklyn this columnist looks out for when planning his weekends.

Csyan Russell, a young Black woman wearing a pink bikini top and butterfly wings, DJs at a party.

(Courtesty of Csyan Russell)

I was about ready to leave Mood Ring on Saturday night when Csyan Russell got on the decks at BOUNCEFLOORIA, a party thrown by the collective. Russell, who DJs under the name Bodegaparty, mixed a soulful house a cappella into an insane Jersey Club beat, and managed to get me to stay an extra hour and an extra drink or two. 

Originally from East New York, Russell is part of a group of young DJs in Brooklyn I look out for when planning my weekends. On Tuesday, though, I caught her between her Pilates and hot yoga classes. She told me she started DJing at 19. "I was a barista at the time when I started thinking about it," she said, explaining that her supervisor taught her how to use CDJs. "My homegirl Alex, she goes by Exandria, she was my supervisor at Starbucks."

Since then, Russell has developed into a DJ that plays a thrilling and unpredictable mix of high-tempo Black dance music genres. "The music that I play is very open format, a lot of electronic mixed with Jersey Club, bounce music, footwork stuff," she told me. "And I'll play the weird shit, the experimental dark techno shit when it calls for it." She often shares the billing with previous Leave Your Apartment interviewee Purp. "Whenever I first saw Purp play, I was like, 'Yo, she literally DJs just like me,'" Russell said. "She would pull songs from left field and then flip it with a whole other vibe, and it just becomes this big-ass blend. I also enjoy how Purp is unapologetic and extremely experimental with her stuff. I really fuck with that." 

That Friday, she told me she played a party in Manhattan called Futch. "I knew that I kinda had to play sing-along stuff, so I was playing flips. I would play Y2K music like Busta Rhymes, but I'd flip it into another genre on the fly. I was pushing it but still keeping it appropriate. Someone came up and told me, 'You're making me like music I never usually like.'"

Russell said she got her wide-ranging pop tastes from home. "My dad was the one who was into pop music, I remember he would play a lot of freestyle music around me, and a lot of house," she said. "I was always confused, I was like, I don't even know what I'm really listening to, for real. And when I started to listen to music on my own, I was getting into dubstep and more electronic music because I started watching 'Skins.'" 

I asked which generation of "Skins" was her favorite. "Effy's group, gen two. It was way cooler than Tony and them," she replied.

I'm still alone in my generation three standom, but Russell let Hell Gate know what parties to look out for, if you want to find the the best dance floors in the coming weeks.

Saturday, May 20: Rosa Perreo with Dada Cozmic at The Brooklyn Monarch, 23 Meadows Street, Brooklyn ($22.85 to $45.70)

"I'm trying to see Dada. She's a dope-ass DJ, and she's gonna play Rosa Perreo. She just pulls up, and you just know it's gonna be these Latin bops, but straight-up ass shaking. The entire set is high-energy, it's so lit. I'm always trying to Shazam shit I can't find. I'm truly obsessed with her."

Wednesday, May 24: You Know the Vibes at Rebecca's Bar, 610 Bushwick Avenue, Brooklyn (Free)

"It's where I plug in a bunch of DJs. It's free, pull up. Show up and show love. I've gotten to know a lot of the workers [at Rebecca's] and I've gotten to meet a lot of cool DJs there. It's such a welcoming bar, and it's mad cute. It'll be turnt up on Mondays, on the most random days. I love their little sit-down booths, because sometimes a bitch is not really trying to stand so much. I'm just trying to chill, for real."

Thursday, May 25: Unfriendly Black Hotties at The Bush, 333 Troutman Street, #4, Brooklyn (Free)

"I'm gonna be doing an open decks, and we're going to be prioritizing Black femmes and trans women. You just come through and sign up around 9 p.m., and we're gonna give you slots and everyone's able to play."

Saturday, June 3: Real Nigga Rave at The Lot Radio, 17 Nassau Avenue, Brooklyn (Free)

"Stay tuned. I'm really excited. But if you can't say the name, you should probably stay home…" 

Always: Something active and chill, staying hygienic (Usually free)

"It is okay to go out and see the sun, and it's okay to just drink water all day, or pet a dog. It's fine to not just go out at night. Do some stretching, watch a movie, take a bath. We should all be taking showers. Being in the club stinky is not cool."

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