If Internet Friends set out to prove one thing in 2019, it was that a queer, femme party could draw crowds to Miami's established music venues. The collective had spent all of 2018 in DIY spaces such as the 229 Warehouse (AKA Little Späti) and Villain Theater, but in April it made the jump to the Ground at Club Space.
"It's been a new experience, and I've learned [a lot] about doing events," Miami-based DJ and Internet Friends cofounder Gami says of her time curating parties at the Ground. "I would love to continue doing more DIY stuff, but it's not as sustainable as it could be. The Ground has been such a blessing, and David [Sinopoli] and Natalie [Jamal] have been so great. I hope to continue doing stuff in 2020."
From last month's Techno Rodeo — which included a mechanical bull — to the BDSM session–meets–dance party with New York City's Bound collective in July, Internet Friends has been putting on events that are truly one-of-a-kind for Miami. The parties tend to hark back to '90s South Beach, when misfits, bohemians, and A-listers mingled together freely and Miami nightlife was more about taking risks than selling bottle service. Beyond providing a space for the queer community to come together and revel, Internet Friends strives to up the ante and remind everyone it's the people who make the party.
The collective's parties at the Ground have wrapped up for the year, but Internet Friends will return to its DIY roots when it and headliner LSDXOXO take over Superchief Gallery in Wynwood during Miami Art Week.
"[LSDXOXO] was going to come to Miami with Space Tapes like two years ago, but there was a hurricane and they couldn't get a flight," Gami says. "They currently have their own party in Berlin called Floorgasm. It's really an honor for me to have them, because when I first started DJ'ing, their music and production style was some of the tracks that I admired the most."
In addition to capping off the year with its Miami Art Week party, Internet Friends is also seeing 2019 off with the release of its first compilation. Dubbed Greatest Hits, the mixtape includes tracks from Miami-affiliated artists such as Biba, Coffintexts, and Get Face, as well as out-of-town acts like Erica Mar, Bored Lord, and Fkoff1963. The compilation also marks the debut of Gami's new project, Ultrathem.
"I feel like I'm evolving into something else," Gami says of the new moniker. "I feel like the name applies to me for now."
A tongue-in-cheek tribute to the series Now That's What I Call Music, from the cover art to the title, Greatest Hits takes inspiration from '90s rave and pop culture. Musically, the record blends and encompasses dance-floor-friendly genres including gabber, industrial, and pop. Tracks such as Biba's "Boom Boom Pow" and Sand Pact's "Genie in a Bottle" are reworks of familiar pop tunes that distort and stretch them to such extremes they wind up bearing little resemblance to their original releases.
Grinder6's "Venom," one of the compilation's standouts, begs to be played in a cavernous warehouse — it's both unnerving and highly danceable. Then there's Get Face's "One! Two!": Clocking in at less than three minutes, it doesn't overstay its welcome and gets boots stomping to the beat.
However, if there's one track Gami is happy to have secured, it's Fkoff1963's "Sentimental Dreams."
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"Most people [on the compilation] I've booked for shows before," Gami says. "But honestly, Fkoff1963, I was like, I don't know if they are going to fuck with this. They are all the way in Brazil, and they don't know me like that. We follow each other online, but we hadn't chatted until this."
Ultimately, Gami says the reason she assembled Greatest Hits was to show that the dance music coming out of Miami goes beyond the tech-house and more traditional electronic offerings that are prevalent at local nightclubs. Though she admires those styles of music, Gami believes Miami's taste in dance music can sometimes skew a bit too slow. With the high bpm of the Internet Friends release, she hopes to provide an alternative to those styles.
"I'm really about filling in those gaps in the culture here," Gami says.
LSDXOXO and Internet Friends. With Grinder6, Virgo, Zei, Get Face, Ultrathem, and others. 10 p.m. Friday, December 6, at C&L Trading, 537 NW 24th St., Miami. Tickets cost $10 via eventbrite.com.