It’s Her Party

Words by Curran Reynolds Photo by Ben Rosenzweig

Rocking a jet-black beehive and ghostly pallor, Nikki Sneakers looks just how a shepherd of dark souls should. The Vulcanesque beauty is an authority on all manner of malevolent music and, with partner Soren Roi, she delivers the best of it to the underground masses every Wednesday night. Her party is called Nothing Changes and the location is Home Sweet Home, a dungeon bar on a ratty block of New York’s Lower East Side.

Nothing Changes is in fact all about change. Celebrating its second anniversary this year, the party began as the successor to the world-famous Wierd night but quickly broadened the vision. Under Sneakers and Roi, goth, industrial, punk, and noise fester symbiotically. In the past two years, the duo have hosted performances by Death In June, Merchandise, Iceage, and Youth Code, along with a slew of lesser-knowns, stamping their own sigil on New York nightlife.

Mass Appeal: Nothing Changes appears to be the epicenter of a scene. Can you put a name on that scene?There are some diverse sounds and looks going on but there’s a vibe tying it all together.

Nikki Sneakers: I would never actually coin a term for the “scene” we could be the epicenter for. There are all types of shows and people at Nothing Changes. There is a lot of crossover now between music that would have at one time represented really opposite, niche groups. Seven years ago, you wouldn’t see people in Tesco who even knew who the Belleville Three are, and vice versa.

We strive to book shows that will not only bring people out, but that we ourselves want to be at. Our aim was to branch out from the initial intent of Wierd. We wanted to allow a little more into the fray and we definitely do.

How did you initially get involved with Wierd and how did the transition happen from Wierd to Nothing Changes?

I had always been interested in the Wierd world, even in its earlier incarnations. I used to be a big fan of Veronica Vasicka’s Minimal Wave show on East Village Radio in my early college years and that opened me up to a lot of the Wierd catalog. I moved away from NYC briefly in 2008 to run a gallery in Philly and upon my return the following year I started hanging around the party more. I filled in bartending at Home Sweet Home from time to time, became friends with Pieter Schoolwerth, and started doing the door at the party. Later, Pieter had me booking nights here and there, and the same with Soren.

It was a natural progression from Wierd to Nothing Changes. I think Pieter had been planning on it for a while and gradually groomed Soren and I to take the reins. A lot of aspects of the party are the same but we aren’t locked into exactly the same aesthetics and restrictions.

Nothing Changes is named after a Death In June song and in 2014 they performed at Nothing Changes. Was that a milestone for you? How was that show?

That show was a milestone for me personally, I never thought I would be able to book them or see them in a venue of our size, after missing them at Pyramid in 2006. The show went swimmingly. I was so pleased with the dedicated turnout of fans and how smoothly things went on our end. It was definitely my first moment as a show promoter of “is this really happening right now?”

Other favorite memories from Nothing Changes’ first two years?

Youth Code’s first East Coast gig was so great on so many levels. It was our first time hosting a Dais Records band, which we are huge supporters of. Sarah and Ryan ripped through that set so aggressively. It was wildly impressive. The System Fucker/Aspects of War show was absolutely wild. People were going crazy, crowd surfing in Home Sweet Home. Our “Tribute To Euronymous” was definitely my favorite show as a whole. Such an intense night. DJ Akitsa played De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas in its entirety at midnight.

Then there’s the impromptu Ssleeperhold dance party. The whole crowd decided to join him onstage during his set and get into it while he was playing. And Uniform’s first-ever show – they set their amps on fire in the midst of it and, well, we are alive and so is the bar so it wasn’t that bad. It definitely was scary though. Ron Morelli DJ’ed that one too! And the Statiqbloom furry party – you can’t make things like this up. During the soundcheck for this show about 30 people in furry costumes rolled into the bar, dancing around. It was very confusing and memorable.

What’s in store for the rest of 2015?

In May we have our most substantial show to date, in conjunction with Red Bull Music Academy, at Output in Brooklyn. It’s our first endeavor on such a large scale, and it’s been quite an undertaking. The idea of this event is to bring the most transgressive music into a space that otherwise would never host an event like ours. We’re bringing in all the elements that have made the night work over the past couple of years, from Hospital Productions to L.I.E.S. to Ascetic House and Sacred Bones. We’re even flying in Japanese noise legend Merzbow.

Back in our humble home in the basement of Home Sweet Home in the LES, we’ll be hosting the likes of HTRK, Lust For Youth, Oake, Lussuria, Forma, Darkwood, Raw Distractions, and anarcho-punk phenoms Part 1.

This story appears in Mass Appeal Issue 56, which is available for purchase here. Read more stories from the issue here.

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