AYESHA GUIDES US AROUND QUEENS AND BEYOND
EDITOR: OSKAR JEFF
EDITOR: OSKAR JEFF
Ayesha is one of the most exciting names operating out of NYC at the moment, with momentum growing further since the recent release of her debut album Rhythm is Memory on Kindergarten Records.
It follows a previous EP for the label, Natural Phenomena, in 2020, as well as the Potential Energy EP on Scuffed Recordings in 2021. Fittingly, her sound hits the sweet spot between accelerative percussive techno and whiplash UK rhythmics.
“The album is a fun experiment in branching out sonically in weirder, deeper, dubbed-out and tripped-out directions,” she reflects, adding, “It purely reflects this curiosity, and aims to do nothing more.”
Alongside production, she is a resident at the locally cherished and globally respected Queens nightclub Nowadays, so we thought it would be a good idea to get a personal guide around the local neighbourhood and beyond…
How long have you live in NYC?
I’ve lived in NYC for a little over 5 years now. I have lived in Queens for 2 years now. Prior to that, I lived in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn.”
Tell us about the scene there? How tight-knit is the music community?
The music scene is very vast and it has its own pockets that can feel very insular and tight-knit. The techno scene has its sub-scenes for example - and I definitely inhabit the small cross-section of bass lovers out here! This community has been super supportive and foundational to my growth as a DJ and producer out here.
Who are some locals we should know about?
Shameless plug, but of course, all of the Kindergarten Records crew out here! Ma Sha, Despina, Sobolik and Drummy. Good friends and great musicians.
What are your favourite clubs?
Nowadays and Mansions right now, both are actually located here in Ridgewood, Queens.
I became a resident DJ at Nowadays partially because I was a huge fan. It’s just a really memorable room with an incredible custom-built sound system. This is definitely a room for dancers. Mansions is a micro-club that serves impeccable wine and feels like an old Elk’s Lodge. DJs play there regularly and its dancefloor has strangely satisfying wall-to-wall green carpeting that makes the room sound really warm.
What are some of the local radio stations?
I routinely play on the Lot Radio and really love the vibe. It’s truly a community hub for DJs with folks from all over playing and passing through. The other day I tuned in and there were folks playing both the drums and saxophone, accompanying DJ Takuya Nakamura, a local resident with eclectic taste. It’s one of those special radio environments where the vibe can surprise you.
Despina, Ma Sha, Sobolik and Ayesha at The Lot Radio (photo credit Ma Sha)
Where’s the best place to dig for records?
Human Head is my go-to record store in Brooklyn. The diversity of the selection is awesome - some real odd gems. This is a magical place where you can find a vintage self-help record in a 2-dollar bin and then go to your studio and sample it (I am about to do this). I also really love that this shop has multiple listening stations with nobody breathing down your shoulders waiting for you to finish, you can truly listen in peace and actually buy records you’ve previewed.
Human Head Records (photo credit 2bitmonkey)
What are the best food spots?
There’s way too many amazing spots for food in Queens! Rustico Taverna on Fresh Pond Road here in Ridgewood has amazing pizza and is run by a wonderfully friendly man named Sandro. Mum’s Mediterranean, also on Fresh Pond Road, is currently owned by an Egyptian family and it has a delicious ‘special’ falafel with french fries in it. Also there’s great Chinese options in Flushing, Greek food in Astoria, and South Asian food in Jackson Heights. Truly too much to choose from!
I used to also be a big fan of a Thai restaurant called Uncle Boon’s in Soho, Manhattan, unfortunately that shut down like many restaurants out here have. From the same owners, Thai Diner is a tasty replacement (also in Soho), but it’s super hard to get a table if it’s not midweek and raining!
What about for post-rave food?
While I avoid late night food excursions at this point in my life… I’d recommend taco trucks, they are the most satisfying and affordable way to go. There’s many outside the clubs here.
Queens Taco Truck (photo credit Melissa Hom)
Where’s the best spot on a summer day?
Fort Tilden at Rockaway Beach if you’re feeling adventurous, or if you want to stay local, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.
Best spot to hide from the rain?
Definitely a cosy bookstore. As someone who keeps it pretty local, Topos is a special place here in Ridgewood that I frequent - it’s a used book store with amazing occult and sci-fi selections that also serves coffee - best of both worlds when hiding from the rain.
Topos bookshop (photo credit onthegrid)