Mexico City's Sex Shop Boys are coming to Toronto

June 17, 2023

Phil Villeneuve


The Mexico City dj duo make their Canadian debut this month during Pride weekend

Priest and Tommy Hart are two of the busiest DJs in Mexico City. They are [sic] club resident DJs and spin at some of the wildest parties in the city, ranging from abandoned building raves, to daytime disco moments. Their dedication to queer nightlight in their city and unmatched and if you've been lucky enough to catch them solo or together, then you know they are the moment.

We asked them a few very serious questions before their headline set at the Pride... For The Lovers queer rave on Pride Friday, and we're more in love with them than ever before.

The Sex Shop Boys by Alberto Clavijo

Hello Sex Shop Boys, we love you and have seen you both DJ in CDMX, but can you introduce yourselves to folks who don’t know what you do, where you do it, and why?

We are Francisco Manzano (aka Priest) and Tommy Hart, residents of [sic] club in Mexico City. We started playing together in 2022 after being friends for a few years before that. We mix and match our respective backgrounds and influences, and together we make a great team that we believe reflects the current culture in CDMX.

We’ve both spent time developing our own identities separate of one another, but after working together at [sic], we realized the value that we add by combining our efforts. At first it was just a fun experiment, but at this point we know that what we have to offer results in something special—greater than the sum of its parts.

How did you two first meet and why were the Sex Shop Boys created?

We were introduced to each other by a mutual friend at a music festival in Mexico City, and have been friends ever since. We have always had a lot of respect for one another, especially for what Priest has done in Mexico to carve out a space in the scene that is uniquely his. Last year we really wanted to get serious about starting a project that was bigger than just ourselves, and we thought it would be a real power move to get both of us in the booth at the same time, bringing our sounds together and seeing what happens. Our first set together at [sic] was electric and we’ve been hooked ever since.

Tommy, can you explain your sound and musical influences?

I went to school for acting and still love theatre—I like big dramatic builds and tracks that make people feel like the main character in their own movie, and playing to your emotions rather than sticking to one particular genre…although my sound is pretty firmly rooted in house music. I moved to New York as soon as I finished college and was really fed by the underground scene that’s thriving there. I had never heard music in the club that felt high energy, but nuanced and rich in history at the same time. That search for variety and depth in the tracks I select is what keeps me interested, and what I try to bring to the table when Priest and I prep for a show.

Priest, same question to you...

I grew up studying classical music and playing the violin, so my first musical references are there. But what always caught my attention the most was the Latin music that played at family parties and the rhythms I heard in the street. There’s music everywhere you go in Mexico and this latin sound has been my main music reference until now. In my teenage years when I started going out to clubs, I started getting exposed to more house and techno, so that became the music I used to listen to everyday. I think you can hear all those references in one way or another in my sound.

Priest, how would you describe the queer party community in CDMX?

I started going out in the city when I was 16 years old, so I have had a lot of time to watch how the queer scene has evolved over the years. Right now, you can find a little bit of everything and everyone. People who visit are always surprised at how mixed the crowds are. If I could describe the whole scene with one word it would be: ECLECTIC.

Tommy, you have the same name as a professional American football player. Do you have an accidental jock sports following because of this?

Ha! Nothing is an accident. I think he was in the height of his career in the 70s...and I do love a good throw back moment. But the toughest namesake is a goofy real estate agent in DC who owns That one hurts.

Tommy, you are a fixture in the CDMX queer nightlife world, what made you take this leap to this beautiful city?

Ok story time! It was a gradual process. There was never a split decision to just pick up and move. A Venezuelan friend who has lived in Mexico City for almost a decade was having visa issues during the pandemic and couldn’t get back home. I was familiar with the city and had a few friends here already, so I decided to rent his place and take care of his cat while he sorted out his residency situation. When he came back almost 6 months later, I had made a nice circle of friends and was serious about learning Spanish. At that time, the world was still in such a state of limbo, so I decided to find another apartment here with a friend while I figured out my next move. After [sic] opened the following year and offered me a residency, I had been in Mexico for a while and decided it was time to put down some roots. It was a scary move after calling NYC home for almost 5 years, but I can hands down say that I have the best friends I’ve ever made here, and I feel really grateful for the turn my life has taken. Mexico City is a paradoxical world where ephemeral beauty and utter chaos collide with centuries of history and ancient culture, and learning to appreciate life in that multifaceted way has been the most rewarding experience.

Priest, your musical past and (soul-sucking) fashion background has created this amazing DJ personality - and a truly unique sound. How has the CDMX queer world nurtured you until now?

Mexico City is my hometown, I love the chaos and diversity of this city which is reflected in the queer scene, understanding where I come from and the queer history of a country as immense as Mexico has being one of the most important things in my career also it helped me to have a more open perspective, from the musical to the social and political problems we have, it also has taught me to be aware all the time and represent, create and being part of spaces where our voices are heard.

We cannot WAAIIIIITTTT to see y’all at the big warehouse party during Pride weekend. What kind of night to do you both want people to have?

We can’t wait either! We don’t like to put ourselves in a musical genre box, but we try to mix sounds that are familiar with something that maybe you’ve never heard before. We want to have fun and we want you to have fun! And to fall in love and be in love, and feel really sexy and empowered. It’s Pride after all!