In a city largely defined by its club culture and techno scene, Berlin has no shortage of options yet in the current climate it seems many clubs are fighting not to get shut down.
With that being the case, is there space for a small, underground rave to survive? Step forward Mala Junta. The name itself sets the tone; Spanish for ‘bad influence’ or ‘bad behaviour’….how can it not draw your attention? However, Mala Junta is way more than just a party – it’s a community…a state of mind.
Established in Berlin in 2018 by Ana Laura Rincon (Hyperaktivist), Joachim Palsby (DJ Tool) and later joined by D.dan, as the new resident, it was born out of a desire to revive old school hard and fast techno in small, intimate spaces. Mala Junta’s focus is to take things back to the beginning and reconnect its queer community with the foundation of rave culture that had previously been lost. Whilst sharing the same vision as the rave scene of the 90’s by uniting people through dance, the Mala Junta family strive to take this into the future by spreading a message of love, respecting one another and providing a safe space for self-expression.
As the party gains popularity, so too does the demand for a bigger location but the small, intimate venues chosen by the team are part of what maintains the character and charm that make Mala Junta so unique.
How would I describe my experience of Mala Junta? Intimate, hot, sweaty, intense….amazing. The sometimes long wait to get in is completely justified because you know on the other side is going to be one of the best nights of your life. The party celebrates diversity; seeking to push the boundaries and write its own rules yet all the while maintaining a safe space within a community it has worked hard to cultivate.
The first time I went to the party I had no idea what to expect but had been told by a friend that this was one of the best nights in the city. With such a bold claim, my curiosity was officially heightened and I wanted to experience it for myself. I went alone that night as I simply wanted to lose myself in the music and for that I didn’t need anyone else. Yet as I walked towards the small, unassuming venue and joined the line outside, I felt something different. I got talking to some of the people alongside me in the line and the vibe was so instantly positive and inclusive…I felt accepted. I had no idea whether the people beside me had met before or knew each other but it didn’t matter, we were all there for the same reason and it left me wanting more.
I would define my experiences at Mala Junta as addictive. Their parties give me a feeling of absolute freedom in a space without judgement that I haven’t felt anywhere else. Sometimes I want to forget who I am, lose myself in the music and dance until my body tells me to stop; here I feel empowered to do exactly that yet still remaining very much connected to the people around me and a part of their family.
The team strives to nurture it’s community by supporting and bringing together collectives in each city whilst maintaining its intimacy (despite its increasing popularity) by keeping marketing to a minimum, with most discovering the party through a friend or word of mouth.
With this in mind it seems only right that Kyiv plays a host to Mala Junta’s next party at its own intimate techno space, Crest, this month. It’s first time in Ukraine, the party is bringing its residents Hyperaktivist, D. Dan, and DJ Tool as well as Kyiv based DJ’s Nastya Muravyova and Daria Kolosova.
It’s now time for Kyiv to experience the best and most authentic queer rave that Berlin has to offer – come be a part of the Mala Junta movement.