Party without borders: North Carolina’s No Visa is transcending cultural differences with dancefloor universality


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Functions is our monthly interview series profiling parties from across the world. This week we meet: No Visa.

Musically, physically, and spiritually, No Visa is a party without borders. First launched in 2019 by brothers Alec and Mike in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, No Visa is a genre-agnostic club night with an ethos built around transcending borders through music. Woven into the very fabric of this ethos is co-founder Alec’s experiences as an ‘undocumented’ immigrant, which ultimately led to his incarceration years ago where he spent nine months in a detention centre. Despite cultural differences between himself and his fellow detainees, Alec discovered first-hand how music could “transcend those differences and bring people together”, sewing the seed that would eventually grow to become No Visa.

“We were in a dormitory of 60-70 people, all from different backgrounds and nationalities, each with different horror stories,” recalls Alec. “Music was the one thing that united us. We got to learn about each other’s culture and dance to each other’s music – I got to see firsthand how music could transcend cultural differences and bring people together. So, No Visa is a child of those experiences.”

In the true spirit of its name, the fledgling party has been quick to travel outside of the US to cities like Johannesburg in South Africa, Abidjan in the Ivory Coast, and Abuja in Nigeria, hosting names such as DJ Lag, Bianca Oblivion, and Jamz Supernova over time. Reflected in No Visa’s booking choices is Alec and Mike’s dedication to supporting minorities, and a desire to stay true to their “universalist ethos” by remaining “inclusive and open to all”. On any given night at a No Visa party, expect a crowd that is as diverse as its sound.

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Label and creative agency Immaculate Taste is the driving force behind No Visa parties, another collaborative project from the pair informing the club night’s bookings. The label has helped put them onto artists such as Cruel Santino and AYLØ, and enables Alec and Mike to manage artists at music festivals across the globe. As with Immaculate Taste, the pair hope to see the nomadic party further establish itself on a global level with dreams of hosting parties in cities such as Paris, London and Nairobi in the future.

For now, No Visa continues to spotlight and platform artists from a plethora of genres. As they ready up plans to share the work of more artists that they truly believe in following the release of a compilation album from local artists, No Visa club nights continue to transcend borders and bring the community together in North Carolina.

We spoke to No Visa’s co-founder Alec about their earliest parties at North Carolina’s now-shuttered Nightlight club, providing opportunities for minority artists, and upholding its inclusive ethos. Read on to hear their story.

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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