Lunchbox Candy (LbC) are celebrating their first birthday this weekend at ÆVE. LbC events are diversifying the Berlin rave scene by incorporating a host of artistic endeavours into the parties: from décor to impromptu performances, LbC festivities push the boundaries of queerness for an all-encompassing culture of fun.
To commemorate this anniversary, we asked co-founder Elninodiablo (music producer and DJ) to reflect on their first year of curating the creative, inclusive, sex-positive party together with Adam Munnings (film director). Elninodiablo takes us through LbC’s founding, the highlights, and the ingredients necessary to make such a safe space for the queer raving community.
What was the origin story of Lunchbox Candy?
Our first party was on September 27th in 2021 and its formation was inspired by Elninodiablo’s eponymous track, ‘Lunchbox Candy’, and its in-your-face queer punk music video directed by Adam Munnings.
During the lockdowns, collaborators and co-founders of LbC – Elninodiablo and Adam Munnings – worked on four music videos that brought together an incredible group of people who took part in these films. As a labour of love, it was all done on a shoestring budget and our first party was a massive thank you to the cast and crew, friends, and collaborators. Our aim was to create a safe space and container for our community, a place of radical self-expression, inclusion, and diversity. Lunchbox Candy is also a vehicle for our creative endeavours that offers a platform for our crowd, hosts, DJs, and performers to live out their fantasies.
You have described yourself as like a rave, but cuter – what is the LbC definition of cute?
It’s a ‘cute rave’ in the sense that our home, ÆDEN and now ÆVE (ex Chalet – now owned and ran by the ÆDEN crew and it is where we are holding the birthday party) offers very welcoming and intimate surroundings, so it feels like we are having a rave in our living room with our friends and lovers as opposed to being in a field in England.
We want to embrace and celebrate the whole spectrum of queerness, sexuality, and diversity in Berlin and encourage radical self-expression in all its forms and shapes.
What separates you from other rave scenes in Berlin?
We incorporate an array of elements into the Lunchbox Candy experience. For instance – we operate careful and respectful guest curation at the door led by Mark Gilleran and Abbey Walker, we offer a free guest list and discounted tickets for low-income people, and we promote unique and well-thought-out decor. This embellishment of our club is something we take seriously. We decorate the space with photography and videos by Adam Munnings and Arnaud Ele, beautifully deranged sculptures by Berlin artist Hinrich Kroeger, and our cheeky poster campaigns. All these elements of our ‘host culture’ pull together the diversity of our community and offer a platform for subversive and impromptu performances to queer, drag, trans and non-binary artists, all under one roof.
We want to embrace and celebrate the whole spectrum of queerness, sexuality, and diversity in Berlin and encourage radical self-expression in all its forms and shapes. We also want our music and performance curation to embody that loved-up, euphoric unifying field that uplifts and nourishes our crowd and leaves them with an elevated, life-affirming sense of belonging.
Finally, our parties are founded on safety, kindness, consideration, and respect. We are not profit-driven, we’d be content if we break even after each event and everyone is paid fairly.
What are the key elements to creating such an intimate, safe, and sex-positive party?
As previously mentioned, the parties began within our creative collective where everyone knows each other via artistic collaboration This origin story means that when you come to one of our parties now, it feels that you are part of a family where we inspire and support each other. These strong bonds among our core crew and organisers filter down to everything else we do.
How do you curate a soundscape that is unique to LbC?
By being open-minded and embracing multi-genres within the electronic music arena that have a strong emotional and bodily resonance and that also fit well on a great sound system. We put a strong focus on our resident DJs (La Schmock, Elninodiablo, and Adam Munnings) and we also bring in a live element with our in-house percussionist, Sudha Kheterpal. We always keep the energy levels high with our sounds and aim to create soundtracks that cover the whole spectrum of emotions, embracing both the light and the shadow.
Who have been the standout performers and hosts for LbC since your birth?
That’s a tough question to answer as there are always jaw-dropping performances at LbC. If I were to choose one or two, it would be Phoenix parting the dancefloor and having everyone sit down and cry at the peak of the party (3am!), while delivering an incredible performance art piece about their transition and coming out as trans completely naked.
And my second choice would be an appearance by Alvin Collantes, who made their debut in drag back at our November party. They just sent the crowd into hysterics with their supernova energy and adrenaline-fuelled dance moves.
It’s so heart-warming to see the efforts people go to with ‘radical self-expression’ and the attitude they bring to the parties.
What are your highlights from your first year?
Each event takes us to new highs! What has exceeded all expectations is to see how Lunchbox Candy now has a life of its own. Our community has really taken the concept to heart. It’s so heart-warming to see the efforts people go to with ‘radical self-expression’ and the attitude they bring to the parties. It makes you feel immediately included, welcomed, and celebrated.
What can first-time attendees expect from your anniversary on Saturday?
A safe space where they can let themselves go completely loose to express, dance, interact, be pleasantly startled, inspired, and fall in love with themselves and/or with somebody else.
What do you hope for year two of LbC, and beyond?
To keep doing what we’re doing, building our community and finding ways to improve. To live out our creative and personal fantasies and desires while staying true to our ethos and values and to turn out rocking parties to go down in history books!
Lunchbox Candy’s 1 Year Anniversary Party takes place on Saturday October 15th at ÆVE.