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No set genres. No residencies. How a dance party in Denton focuses on music diversity.

Tanner Cassell, a DJ who goes by Acid Angel, performs at Fluid Construct in December 2023.
Petra Wilde
Tanner Cassell, a DJ who goes by Acid Angel, performs at Fluid Construct in December 2023.

At Fluid Construct there are no rules.

The monthly dance party at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios features everything from techno to jungle music. Alex Stock, a queer Denton-based DJ, founded Fluid Construct in 2022 when they noticed a lack of DJ nights and electronic music in their hometown.

“I just couldn’t believe that Denton didn’t have its own thing,” Stock said. “I was like, ‘If I'm going to do it, I’m going to do it my way.’ ”

Before starting Fluid Construct, Stock, who goes by Freakhorse, spent countless nights traveling to Dallas and Fort Worth to catch DJ sets at dive bars and clubs. Many DJs there have residencies, where they regularly play the same genre of music at the same venue. Stock, who doesn’t stick to one genre when DJing, thought creating a space for all types of dance music could help grow the DJ scene in Denton.

North Texas DJs Eve.ning, Ravestab, Missxhoochie, and Freakhorse at Fluid Construct's two-year anniversary show.
Petra Wilde
North Texas DJs Eve.ning, Ravestab, Missxhoochie, and Freakhorse at Fluid Construct's two-year anniversary show.

“I wasn’t seeing enough DJ nights that highlighted all the different genres, and I wanted to focus on that,” Stock said.

They envisioned a night where different fans could listen to different genres under one roof. Two years later, Fluid Construct has now become a creative, experimental hub.

Every month, the Fluid Construct lineup inside the main stage at Rubber Gloves looks and sounds different. The lineup usually consists of three to four North Texas DJs – some seasoned, some new faces. The DJs at Fluid Construct don’t follow a theme; instead they play different styles of dance music in one night.

“You don’t know what you’re going to expect each month,” Stock said.

One night, Fort Worth-based DJ Dr999w played a techno-and-electro set. Another night, Luna, a member of Texas techno group Beverly Hill Cowboys, played hard groove tracks. Another month, Chemdawg, of the DJ duo Frontale Club, played house and drum-and-bass. It's the genre fluidity that Stock thought Denton needed.

“I like to have people from different collectives play together, different crowds interacting together,” Stock said. “I've had everything from up-and-coming, new DJs, to established DJs in the scene.”

Aside from genre diversity, Fluid Constructs' concept has allowed newer DJs in the area to be seen by larger crowds.

Tanner Cassell, a Fort Worth-based DJ who goes by Acid Angel, was performing ’90s-inspired psychedelic trance music at house shows and parties in North Texas. He performed at Fluid Construct for the first time in December, which was also his first time playing on a big stage.

“It was definitely the best show that I played up until that point,” Cassell said. “It was really amazing because I'd been going to the other clubs for a while, and I was thinking about what it'd be like to play there.”

Cassell performed at Fluid Construct again in May. He said playing Fluid Construct has helped give him more experience outside of house parties.

“A lot of the baby steps of working up to playing in an actual club I've been doing with Fluid,” Cassell said. “Getting to meet a lot of different types of people, and people who have similar music tastes as me, it's really good for helping foster community.”

And that sense of community is not just for the DJs.

Alonza Ian, a queer Fluid Construct regular, said the diverse music selection brings in a diverse crowd.

“It’s a safe space where you can express yourself and show up without judgment,” he said.

Petra Wilde, a trans woman, has been going to Fluid Construct for two years and is now the dance party’s photographer. She said Fluid Construct is more than a dance night; it’s a place where queer people can be themselves.

“It's a space creating fun bonds and atmosphere among queer and trans people of color,” Wilde said. “Fluid Construct not only showcases music, but the fluidity in everyone that goes through gender expression, orientation or tastes in music.”

Arts Access is an arts journalism collaboration powered by The Dallas Morning News and KERA.

This community-funded journalism initiative is funded by the Better Together Fund, Carol & Don Glendenning, City of Dallas OAC, The University of Texas at Dallas, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, Eugene McDermott Foundation, James & Gayle Halperin Foundation, Jennifer & Peter Altabef and The Meadows Foundation. The News and KERA retain full editorial control of Arts Access’ journalism.