“From DJs to drag queens and other artists, you’ll see everything. It’s the queer experience, unfiltered,” says Club Quarantine’s co-founder Brad Allen. Hailing from Toronto, spreading love to the world, quarantine’s hottest virtual party has been offering the perfect dose of dance to the queer community around the world with the simple touch of a button during the heaviest months of lockdown. 
As the world slowly loosens up the confinement ropes, and movements like Black Lives Matter continue the fight for freedom and justice, the Club Q community continues to spread love and light outside of their virtual space. “Art in itself is a form of protest, and our community existing is a form of protest. But, there are times where particular actions need to be taken and it can’t always be as simple as dancing to our existence.” While the future seems uncertain, Club Quarantine takes a pause from their regular scheduled club nights in light of current events and highlights their stance in these trying times, the platform’s humble beginnings, and a peek into the world of Club Quarantine behind-the-scenes.
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How did the launch of Club Quarantine come about? 
The launch of Club Q came very organically. We were a small group of close friends who decided to have a dance video chat on Instagram one night. As we found it pretty fun to do since we were all stuck at home, we decided to keep joining video chats together using Zoom. Shortly after the first 24 hours, we started having more friends join in from Toronto and New York, which quickly evolved to a bigger audience, and eventually travelled across the North East. Just for fun, a friend of ours got a hold of the ‘Club Quarantine’ Instagram handle as a joke, which shortly grew very much in popularity and became our main platform to communicate the nights we’d host.
How did you manage to appeal to such a large audience in such a short period of time?
The majority of it was word-of-mouth; through friends, and friends of friends, and onwards. We really didn’t expect it to gain so much attention, especially in such a short period of time.
What does your team look like? How do you manage to split the work amongst all members?
Our team consists now of us four co-founders, Mingus New, Casey MQ, Andrés Sierra, community members Myst Milano, Akosua Adasi, Allie Graham and our sound techs Pascale Mendes and Nadia Chopra. We all come from different backgrounds, and can all bring different perspectives to the table, so it's a real group effort, with that being said we also have specific roles tailored to our skills, whether that be social media, digital design, bookings, finances, etc. We are a small but dynamic team.
“We are here to create connections amongst people. We are the audience that we’re targeting; we do this for the community and for ourselves.”
Given some of the topics surfacing online today like the Black Lives Matter Movement, how are you maintaining a voice for the company in regards to these events?
At the end of the day, this is something that we continue to ask ourselves as weeks go by and something we’ve always discussed even before these events came to rise. I think now more than ever, we’ve established that we are more than just a virtual club; we really are a community and queer space. We are lucky because we have such a large platform where we have the ability to use all our voices to reach this community. You know, art in itself is a form of protest, and our community existing is a form of protest. But, there are some times where particular actions need to be taken and it can’t always be as simple as dancing to our existence.
So, during this movement, our team chose to take a break from our online parties in order to make space for the appropriate content to be pushed across our platform and others. This is an important time for work to be done regarding the information surrounding this movement. We know that social media has a very short attention span, and more than ever, the work really needs to be done now. Every protest is a trending topic, but that doesn’t mean that once it falls out, everything should go back to normal. As a team that takes part in this community, we continue to have conversations regularly in order to ensure that we are using our platform as best as we can.
We’ve done some amazing fundraising through Club Q, where we’ve been able to raise a good amount of money just in one night. We know that our strengths lie within the fact that we are able to continue to create a safe space where people can celebrate who they are. We’re constantly questioning how we want to continue this through our social media and our virtual party nights. We will always use our privilege and platform to up our voices, and this will never stop. We have our ears on the ground at all times and are constantly engaging on the wants and needs of our community.
Do you feel like remote DJing is a break from the normal, or will this become the new normal?
To be honest, it’s not going anywhere. Whether clubs and technology begin to work side by side, they are definitely separate things. You know, the quarantine triggered these virtual spaces to become a thing, but I do think that it opened the conversation around accessibility in general. A lot of people that come to our virtual club nights might’ve already been out of a physical club space for various reasons. Whether it’s because of social anxiety, age, a disability, or just not feeling welcome, this virtual space definitely opened up a conversation that’s larger than the quarantine.
That being said, I think these spaces will always be there for these reasons, and what it comes down to is DJs are able to work from home and don’t have to pack all their gear for a few hours in another space. When we’re talking about performers and drag queens, it’s very interesting to see these individuals utilizing technology and creating spaces from their own home. It’s amazing to see them create a stage just from their living room. I hope this doesn’t go back to just clubs. I mean, there’s magic in a physical club space, of course, and I’ll be the first one to say how much I miss the dance floor, but at the same time, these spaces are needed and this is just another evolution. Who knows, maybe this will just be a fad in ten years from now, but I do think this is interesting because virtual spaces can offer a club-like experience without the club.
What are the pros and cons of creating this online dance community?
There are so many pros. I mean, the ability to meet different people and establish new connections around the world might’ve never happened IRL. Also, having the opportunity to dive into different communities and cities, and learning their dynamics has been incredible. There is so much to see and learn out there. 
In terms of challenges, Club Quarantine became such a full-time job and it took over our own personal lives. Up until this point right now, we haven’t made a dime as we are donation-based – the money that is raised is to pay our artists and the equipment needed. You know, it’s more the logistic things that are a little challenging, but we definitely keep the ball rolling. Another challenge is how our platform is constantly growing in such a short period of time, which creates a lot of expectations and a lot of assumptions that are often not true.
A lot of people who don’t know our team might’ve thought at some point that Club Q was just a company that came in to take advantage of the quarantine, but we’re queer artists who also lost work because of the pandemic and haven’t gained any income from this project. Regardless, as a team, we move forward from any criticism as don’t want the hard work of our team members and community to get overshadowed. However, we do acknowledge the privilege we have and know that once you reach a certain level of awareness or notoriety, someone will always have something to say about anything you do.
As a team, we definitely acknowledge every comment as everyone has the right to speak their minds, but we definitely know that we are here to create connections amongst people. We are the audience that we’re targeting; we do this for the community and for ourselves. Since the beginning, this has been and always will be our number one priority.
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Have you managed to enjoy this virtual club experience although it has become more of a job for your team?
Yes, 100%. At the end of the day, we love what we do. I don’t for a second take this opportunity for granted and feel unbelievably blessed to have helped create this community. I mean, sometimes it is stressful when it’s my turn to take over the mood during a club night, but at the end of the day, I’ve never left a Zoom party not feeling so fulfilled and happy. There’s something so special that happens in that room; I can have the worst day, but when I enter these virtual parties and see everyone’s faces, everything naturally gets better. Whether there are eighty or one thousand attendees, it’s so fucking special.
What is your take on the future of club culture and socializing in its entirety?
After the past months, I don’t think the world will ever be the same. In the sense that, what we’ve seen and experienced crumble in terms of capitalism. I mean, seeing the world just shut down so suddenly is an experience I don’t think we can come back from. I think it’ll take a long time for the world to recover, whether it’d be for the big things like the economy starting back up, or the little things like shaking someone’s hand. I don’t have an exact answer for the world’s post-pandemic future, but I do believe that there will be a lot of fundamental changes.
How do you see the evolution of Club Quarantine post-pandemic? Will there ever be a time where this URL platform can go IRL?
Eventually, we would like to have a Club Q night perhaps in a physical space, or do some sort of tour where we visit major cities and find a way to fuse our online presence in real life. There aren’t any concrete plans or timelines, but our team definitely has huge ideas for the future of Club Quarantine.
How would you describe Club Quarantine to someone who hasn’t experienced your platform?
Club Quarantine is a virtual online queer space hosted on Zoom. It’s a community where DJs, performers and many different artists come in. It really is the queer experience, unfiltered. If you aren’t part of the community, we welcome you, but just expect you to respect the space; and if you are part of the community, then do everything you’d do at a club and more. It’s just as simple as that.
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