The Atlanta-based underground collective No Lite is bringing dance music back to its rebellious roots by throwing wild parties in abandoned buildings.
Rebels Wanna Rebel
”Let’s Go Dancin’” blares throughout a burnt-out building on the south side of Atlanta, GA. The city’s vast highways are eclipsed by throbbing energy; freaks, queers, and earthlings of all stripes squeezing themselves together on the red-lit dance floor of the new, recurring underground party No Lite.
To get to the squatted venue, people make their way over a guardrail and down an asphalt pathway overgrown with weeds. They come in crews or alone, wearing heels, combat boots, designer jackets or hoodies; they come with face paint and unnatural eye colors. Once inside, they move intensely, freely, with a kind of feral catharsis, giving themselves to each other and to the music without restraint.
No Lite is a collective of roughly a dozen people who throw parties together in Atlanta, GA. The collective practices involve a relative amount of anonymity due to the illegal nature of some aspects of the project, such as squatting. As a result, interviewees decided to refrain from using their full names in the interview below. The interview was conducted to bring to light some of the novel characteristics of the group as well the emerging dance movement that accompanies it.
What is No Lite? What are your intentions with the party?
X: In short, No Lite is a collection of creatures who throw parties together.
O: No lite as a collective emerged to fill both the material needs of friends in the face of widespread political repression and the affective needs of a city confronted with the commodification of night culture. ”Nightlife” has become the commodification of the cultural and social creativity of those who go out. Venue owners and developers, by virtue of owning spaces, can profit off of our cultural work and artistic interventions. The night becomes a space of consumption, where attendees pay admission, keep to themselves, and then go home at a reasonable hour without pushing the limits of their imagination.
Some of us had thrown parties in the past, typically as fundraisers for legal defense funds, and found that we could raise a lot of money in one night while also creating an open space where people could be wild without feeling like a spectacle and instead be active participants in creating the night.
Several of us came from the DIY punk scene, in which as teenagers we tried to work together, find spaces, put on shows, and so on. No Lite is this same practice. Our events are only possible because of the large amount of support we get from people who give their time, resources, and energy into throwing the parties.