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Callum Parr is a rising DJ in the Manchester club scene. With his infectious energy and a diverse repertoire spanning Queer House, Tech House, Disco, and more, Callum has played in renowned venues in Liverpool, Manchester, London, and LGBTQ+ establishments. At just 19, he secured his first residency at Liverpool's iconic Heaven, setting the stage for an extraordinary journey into the heart of clubland.

Since his move to Manchester in 2020, Callum's career has flourished, cementing his status as a household name in the city's thriving LGBTQIA+ scene. Highlights of his meteoric rise include gracing the main stage at Manchester Pride and joining the esteemed lineup of residents at Cruz 101 nightclub. His influence has extended beyond the North West, with performances at esteemed venues like FIRE, Beyond after-hours, and A:M, captivating audiences with a skillful blend of floor-fillers and hidden gems.

We sat down with Callum to gain insights into his experiences as an LGBTQIA+ DJ, the evolving landscape of the music industry, the importance of inclusivity, and the initiatives making a difference.

GigPig: Can you share your experiences as an LGBTQIA+ DJ in the music industry?

Callum Parr: Yeah, I've had the opportunity to work with drag queens and perform at Canal Street, a cabaret bar. It's been amazing to see the performances, cabaret acts, and drag queens. It's a great break from DJing and it gives people a chance to experience the LBGTQIA+ community and what we bring to it.

GigPig: How has the music industry evolved in terms of accepting and including LGBTQIA+ people?

Callum Parr: We've come a long way from the days of underground discos and queer raves facing raids and discrimination. While there's still work to be done, we've made progress. In our country, we're fortunate to have rules in place that support LBGTQIA+ venues and DJs. It's great to see more acceptance and even non-LGBT individuals enjoying and embracing queer raves. However, there are still challenges, which is why events like pride are important for promoting acceptance.

GigPig: Has discrimination or prejudice been a part of your experience as an LGBTQIA+ DJ?

Callum Parr: Personally, I haven't witnessed any discrimination, but I've seen friends from Canal Street who have experienced physical attacks for expressing themselves. It's unfair that people still feel the need to harm others based on their appearance. In places like Canal Street, there are still parts where people don't feel safe, and that shouldn't be the case.

GigPig: What measures could be taken to address these issues?

Callum Parr: Education is crucial, especially in schools. While progress has been made, more needs to be done to educate young people about the LGBTQIA+ community. Additionally, increasing patrols in gay communities like Canal Street and implementing safety measures would help protect individuals from abuse and violence. It's important to create a safe and accepting environment.

GigPig: How important is it for the music industry to be inclusive?

Callum Parr: Inclusivity is essential. There should be more opportunities for queer DJs and artists. It's not enough to simply include LGBTQIA+ themes in music; artists should actively work with charities and initiatives to educate people and make a real difference in society.

GigPig: What organisations or initiatives are making a difference today?

Callum Parr: The LGBTQIA+ Foundation is doing great work by reaching out to schools and colleges, conducting assemblies, and educating students about the LGBTQIA+ community. While it's not part of the curriculum, these initiatives help break down stereotypes and promote understanding and acceptance.

GigPig: Have you incorporated aspects of your identity into your performances?

Callum Parr: Absolutely. Working at Canal Street, I've collaborated with talented gay and lesbian music producers. They create incredible music with vogue beats and underground styles, bringing their unique experiences and culture to the forefront. It's amazing to see dance groups like House of Black expressing themselves through vogue and queer house music.

GigPig: What advice would you give to aspiring DJs, especially those from the LGBTQIA+ community?

Callum Parr: Stick with it and keep learning. Reach out to local clubs and venues for opportunities to perform and receive feedback. The LGBTQIA+ community has a vibrant scene in places like Canal Street, London, Birmingham, and Edinburgh. It's a great community to be a part of, and you'll meet amazing people along the way.

GigPig: Who are some artists or DJs that have influenced you?

Callum Parr: Purple Disco Machine has been a significant influence on me. I love disco and disco house, and seeing him perform live made me want to become a DJ. His music and performances have always inspired me to mix disco into my sets.

GigPig: How will representation continue to grow within the music industry?

Callum Parr: Pride events play a vital role in providing exposure and platforms for queer artists and DJs. While there's room for improvement, events like pride offer a platform for queer artists and DJs to showcase their talent and gain exposure. It's important to have these opportunities and celebrate diversity in music.

At GigPig we understand that the significance of LGBTQIA+ representation in the music industry cannot be overstated, it is crucial that artists from diverse backgrounds have a platform to share their stories and express themselves authentically. The power of music lies not only in its ability to entertain and inspire, but also in its capacity to foster empathy, understanding, and unity. By embracing LGBTQ+ artists, we create a richer and more vibrant musical landscape that reflects the beautiful diversity of the human experience.