“It feels weird to call myself DJ Yanique because it doesn't capture all of that other stuff,” says Yannick Benoit, 36.
Yanique Entertainment is his work and passion and includes producing, dancing, choreography, DJing, event organising and teaching dance & fitness.
We spoke to Yannick about being a DJ and all of the other stuff, plus his upcoming underground dance party which is sure to get a little sexy.
You seem to be doing a lot on the Perth scene right now - please tell us about what you’re up to at the moment?
It seems that way! But I'm really just doing all this for fun and going with the flow. I have so much fun preparing events and seeing how it all comes together. I also love to bring my friends and family together so this is just a very natural happening in that regard.
We just completed our K'Lypso Tropical Vibes Party at Connections a couple weeks ago, and that was so much work but so fulfilling. I had all my family, students and many friends there from so many different community groups that I belong to. That was our 15th K'lypso over a 5 year period, and our second one at Connections.
The very next party is the NOIR Underground Rave, downstairs at The Rechabite, Sept 3rd. It was so amazing last time. It was pretty full by 9.30pm and that was even during limited capacity! It's an event targeted for gay men, but people will not be refused entry based on gender. It was sexy, and sweaty... I loved it!
Two weeks after that, is BollyHood (Bolly Meets RnB) at The Aberdeen Hotel, Eden Bar, including a special Bolly show by Danisa Snake, Perth's only traditional female drummer, DJ Rony Ronald, DJ Dips and myself. After their newest renovations, The DJ booth is on a new balcony so I can't wait to see it!
NOIR Underground Rave is coming up soon… What’s it all about?
NOIR is french for Black/Dark. NOIR is a contrast to the day party I hold. Light and Dark. The polar opposite of the pool party. Where one is a day party (bright, open and sunny) and the other is dark, underground and discrete.
It's a dance party scheduled around certain phases of the moon. NOIR is where people can be less self-conscious and let themselves be free to dance like nobody's watching. It's an amazing feeling to dance freely.
Although it's not pitch black, it's certainly dark enough and it is the mood that you want to get loose in, and show off those sexy, risque costumes you always wanted to break out.
The Goodwill Club at The Rechabite is the perfect underground venue for that.
I am so excited to have heartthrob David Riley back to open the night; with myself following after. And to close, an international multiple award winning DJ, Jason Stone. We have other sexy shows lined up (but that's a surprise). Also keep an eye out for designs by Mauricio Alpizar who has designed some amazing fetish gear, just for this party!
We had heard there were some issues around the bathrooms last time, what happened and how will it be different this time?
The issue was around the mixing of our crowd with the drum and bass event upstairs which were mainly young, straight boys.
On the 11th of June, I had a meeting which included the CEO and also the general manager of The Rechabite to discuss how we felt about it. The Rechabite were absolutely supportive and compassionate towards our needs.
Straight away, they created signage which makes it very visible, to all patrons, that anyone can use whichever toilet they preferred and felt most comfortable and safest in. They have also promised to only allow events in the hall which will compliment our event downstairs. This includes other gay friendly events, like the one which will be happening on Sept 3rd, which is an all female/queer band.
Security will also be focused on the downstairs area too. Like last time, I am covering the cost of the cloakroom, which will be in the club itself, and it will be free to use again.
The Rechabite posted a message on the Facebook page stating this, and also made a statement they wanted me to share on our website which shows their commitment to our community and our safety.
Any other highlights or fun information you’d like to add?
Yes! Some exciting news for Summer... (even though it feels like forever away). Subscribers to the Spank website will be sent a link very soon to our annual Summer Pool Party.
In addition to our usual pool party which will be January 15th, where 99% of attendees end up being male, we have added one especially for the ladies on Feb 19th with more focus on female entertainment including DJ Her Highness and DJ Dips. But like all our parties, any gender within our community is welcome, just keeping in mind the theme of the events.
As I love giving things away, for each party, I have a room up for grabs! So winners will have their own room that opens out onto the pool party, and they can stay the night as well. The room could fit 3-4 people. The first 100 people to purchase a ticket will be in the running to win one of these rooms!
So, January 15th is our main event that we hold every year and February 19th will be our female event. We have something really fun happening in March so keep an eye out!
Can you tell us about a moment during one of your recent events that made you feel really great?
A turning point in my Spank PrideFest Carnaval event last year was when a Kiwi girl came up to me after a full performance by Corroboree for Life and Haka For Life. They performed in their masses, in full traditional costume, dancing to their own indigenous music, and wanted to deliver a powerful message about their alliance with our community in regards to mental health and suicide prevention. > View the show on YouTube.
She came up to me immediately afterwards and said ‘Thank you.’
I said, ‘you’re welcome, but for what? - I wasn’t in the show.’
She said, ‘Thank you, because that was the first time I ever felt that Pride was about me.’
Thinking about that still gives me goosebumps.
The acknowledgement humbled me and moved me in another direction. It made me realise there was still a gap in representation here.
But I felt that people were beginning to understand me and what I was trying to do. It inspired me to do more of it, for people like her and other CaLD or BIPOC members in our community. Which is why I moved my multicultural K'lypso events to Connections, and I'm so glad I did because I realised that I'm fulfilling a 25 year dream of hearing Mauritian, Brazilian, Latino or French-Afro music at Connections nightclub!
What other LGBTQI+ Events in Perth that we should look out for?
I absolutely love the Barn Dance. It's so camp and interactive... Even though I was there DJing there last year, I felt like I wasn't there and really missed the social aspect of it. I'm also looking forward to the Beyond a Hug Rainbow Gala.
Are you involved in any other LGBTQI+ organisations or events in Perth? Tell us about them…
Wedstyle, owned by partners Glen and Craig do amazing decor for weddings and events and always sponsor my events, which is why they look so amazing. I offer my services to these guys too as I also am a Wedding DJ, and love a good gay wedding!
I also support the mission of Beyond A Hug and they've been very supportive of my creative side. I occasionally DJ or have DJ'd for Perth Gay Social Club, Pride WA, Bears Perth, Vic Park Pride, Perth Spectres Basketball fundraiser and will be doing the Perth Pythons Hockey Club fundraiser soon. I will be back DJing at Connections soon too.
What do you think is great about the LGBTQ+ Community in Perth?
I love what's happened in the past 5 years. I work as a clinical community health adviser in high schools, so I get to see, on a mass level, all over Perth, the social changes that are happening with our young people.
I am in awe at what we have achieved as a community with all the events we run, and how visible we are.
The community is very active with all the sports clubs and interest groups that I'm sure there is something for everyone to feel like they belong.
...and what improvements would you like to see for the community here?
I feel like everything is still still growing and improving already. So many things are happening and moving so fast, I would love to see more groups working together.
I'd love to see what happens with the City of Perth's Pride Hub and hopefully it brings lots of creative and passionate people together.
What would you recommend for anyone new to Perth that they must see or do here?
Check out a show at Connections; have a drink overlooking the Elizabeth Quay; check out Scarborough beach dancing at the amphitheatre, google some wilderness treks like Bells Rapids in Swan Valley... Head to a Spank event 😉 get to the Barn Dance, oh and definitely be part of the Perth Pride Parade if you can!
Yanique is in it every year, so if you want to be part of our float, make sure to send me an email! The float will be very multicultural and colourful as it always is.