Prior to most of the world locking down in spring 2020, Brooklyn’s Goth Jafar had never touched a pair of decks in front of an audience before. She was asked by PC Music affiliate Namasenda to play Club Quarantine, lockdown’s buzzing queer Zoom dance party. Soon after, she was DJing to pandemic-weary partygoers worldwide alongside A. G. Cook, a producer she’d admired for years. As the world started to open back up again, Goth Jafar now had a glittering career in front of her, a host of New York City clubs to help open back up and a legion of fans hanging on to her every tweet.
Real name Suffy Baala, Goth Jafar is one of those perennially-online presences. A self-confessed shitposter on Twitter, she’s been collating rare gems and edits over on SoundCloud for a while, putting together playlists with names like “Bratz coke lounge”, “club cry” and “workout jams”. Her bag is blistering hardcore techno, euphoric trance, pop and hip hop – a fusion that appeals to ravers, club kids and girlies alike. Since New York’s big reopening, she’s performed at the ultra-exclusive club Anonymous, plus parties like LA’s Heav3n, while playing regularly with DJs from the Club Carry collective, which organises nights that centre trans and BIPOC people. Her identity as a trans woman informs the music she selects and the narrative she weaves around it – her Discwoman mix opens with a monologue from Euphoria, as Jules discusses her anxieties around transitioning.
Goth Jafar’s FACE mix, she tweets, was made by “staying up all night off an addy [adderall],” posting a pic of Spongebob character Squidward with bloodshot eyes, then an image of her immaculately decorated nails holding a giant spliff in front of the Windowlicker artwork. The result? A chaotic Batman and Catwoman-themed ride, which opens with Michael Giacchino’s sweeping score for the just-released instalment of the series. It includes moments of head-splitting techno, as well as pure pitched-up pop from TikToker-turned-musician Addison Rae, who recently tweeted “Lol ily” at Goth Jafar playing an edit of Obsessed in the club. That is the beauty of her sets: she knows how to bang it out really, really hard but combine it with bubblegum pop at its sweetest. Into both False Witness and Cassie? This mix has it all.
As your first gig was a virtual one, what’s it been like playing out IRL for the first time?
It was a feeling like no other. I feel like we took for granted how important and sacred nightlife is – music is the greatest way to connect with others, especially on a dancefloor, so being able to contribute my art to a rave scene that helped raise me and to play my first live set on my birthday with some of my best friends is a memory I’ll hold onto for the rest of my life. It was also my “doll debut”: I was about seven months on hormones and that was the first night I really saw myself.
What inspires you outside of music?
My friends inspire me. I’m friends with literal stars who believe in me and I believe in them. We watch our dreams come to fruition despite the bad [things] we go through; it’s inspiring just to watch us build the life we’ve imagined for years. But besides music, I’m a visual person. Beauty inspires me, it’s such a driving factor in this world. I equate beauty with power and the more beautiful I am the more powerful I get. I attract more good from the universe because I feel good and that inspires me, but the dolls and fashion are my main inspirations besides music.
If you could bring back any closed-down venue from the dead, which would it be?
Limelight. It was this iconic ’90s club in a church that would be open for days on end. It was giving rave in Berghain for two days straight vibes. I wish I could time-travel to experience a techno set there, and the drugs were from Europe… it was pure happiness on those dance floors. When I was a barista my manager would tell me stories about it. If it was properly run I wouldn’t mind it reopening – we need more cool techno spaces in NYC.
What makes you feel good when you’re playing out?
The screams of a crowd never get old – I’m like: “Damn, you’re really living for me that I make you feral enough to scream!” My favourite compliment someone gave me was that my sets are like amusement parks. I take you on journeys and stories – it’s a rollercoaster and you never know what’s going to happen. The screams of an excited crowd are the same as the screams on a ’coaster. As a ’coaster nerd, that makes me extremely happy.
What’s the vibe/direction of your FACE mix?
It’s Batman and Catwoman themed. I’m not a fan of superhero franchises but Batman is my holy grail – I was a comic book nerd, but only for the Gotham universe. Growing up, I was mainly drawn to the villains. I had a huge Catwoman obsession. I can correlate being drawn to those villains as an early escape into figuring out my gender identity: there’s just something about having a Catwoman obsession and transitioning going hand-in-hand. The amount of dolls I know who share this feline universal experience… There’s something about Catwoman being so effortlessly cunt yet so powerful, putting a billionaire in his place [and] robbing jewellery for the looks but also giving back to those in need – how could I not be drawn to that? She represents everything I wanted to be and still aspire to be in my everyday life.
This mix is an homage to that character who gives me confidence. With the release of the new Batman, it has never been a more perfect time to make this mix. It’s my favourite Batman movie solely for the fact that the Penguin owns a techno nightclub with a strip club in the basement. Gotham City is New York and that’s my home, so I’m taking you through the Iceberg Lounge. Think dark, pulsating techno, guns flashing like strobe lights, red lighting, sleek latex, bodies intertwining. The music flows effortlessly with subtle and graceful turns yet attacks like a feisty cat. Each lyric in this mix is intentional – it’s about Catwoman and Batman’s love and I’m taking you through that journey until they ride separately on their motorcycles: “He could’ve had a bad girl by his side”. This mix is dedicated to my dear friend Harvey Parker, who passed away a few months ago, my London angel.
Michael Giacchino – Hoarding School
Michael Giacchino – Moving in for the Gil
Ayesha Erotica – V4T (Demon Version)
Virgen Maria – Gata o Perra?
Smerz – Max (Martinos Corrias Remix)
Alignment – Red Alarm
Batman Beyond Theme
Vladimir Dubyshkin – Driving The Bus
BFRND – Storm
False Witness – Let Your X Go
Miss Parker – Melodic Memories
Arca – Whip
Weyón – Clot
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Baauer – Hot 44
Talismann – Xilverback
Franz Jäger – FK133
Jacobworld – The Process
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DJ Headwound – We Kill The Universe Every Time
Addison Rae – I Got It Bad
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Max Watts – In Media Res
New Frames – Givv Fukk
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Buzzi – Long Wave (Xiorro Edit)
crsswrrds – Me N U
crsswrrds – Papi Bones 4x4
Abr. – Banger
Boy Fantasy – i h3art you
Goldraver – Fuck Da System
Abr. – Exodus
Rosalía – Candy (crsswrrds Edit)
Blanka – The Fall
crsswrrds – The Kill
New Frames – Final Fantasy
Miss Parker – Celestial Dancer
Foggy – Come Into My Dream Madmix
Dvnots – Constant X‑Ray