The discussion explores the conditions of working as a black person in the industry, diving into challenges and how things need to change for black people to survive and flourish. Panelists include Jasmine Infiniti (Brooklyn), Lakuti (Berlin/London), Axmed Maxamed (Amsterdam), Authentically Plastic (Kampala) and Onirica (Rio de Janeiro)
"When you call the embassy automatically they think of it as a White person, so they answer that way."
"I'm not focused on making myself acceptable to those that are othering me. Standing in all my intersections has been my path for the past few years, and it is so freeing."
"I'm sick of White people playing our music and making lots of money off of it when we play the music better at our parties, and they don't care about it."
Reactions To Rosh's Open Letter // People have known about and suffered from these problems of whitewashing, revision by omission, and "passive" but extremely active blacklisting [practices] for years and years now. And it's 2020, and there's a lot going on. Awareness is great to a point, but we need changes and solutions rather than conversations, think-pieces and all the rest. At the same time anything fuelling the whole destroy and rebuild, bin the establishment wave is appreciated.
Seeing the table listing over 40 club nights (either headed by Black promoters or with a large proportion of Black ravers) that were held in clubs which have been shut down for licensing or redevelopment is infuriating. In the resurgence of some of these clubs, many of these events have not been re-housed - gentrification of the nightlife speaks volumes here.
"Austerity, gentrification and policing go hand in hand.” For black people, the criminalisation and subjugation we face in the outside world is extended to our experiences of the club scene. Unfortunately, the UK press works in tandem with these forces: as the state takes our property and culture away from the black community, the UK music press actively erases our impact and role in shaping UK club culture.
Stereomodernism by DeForrest Brown, Jr. // “Stereomodernism” addresses the life, struggle, triumphs, and deaths of African Americans from 1619 to the present. The mix reinstates the original framing of techno as embodied aural history—and does so from a Black theoretical perspective, as a direct foil to Rainald Goetz’s 1998 novel Rave.
With “Stereomodernism,” I hope to counter the fantasy that is the white, Eurocentric view of a distinctly African American art form. Techno’s brutal roots were forged from generations and generations of Black trauma. The music culled from centuries of attempts to evade and subvert the status quo in America, which was established through the technocratic, racialized distribution of labor and capital. Black Band Camp: How a volunteer project is becoming a vital new platform for Black artists // It’s as if the entire industry had been waiting for something like this. It’s the messages we receive from artists, users and huge publications thanking us for building such a needed platform. We receive a lot of messages from producers saying how much they have seen an increase in their music purchases since the creation of the site.
It feels as though people are so excited by it, particularly with the recent rhetoric around Black lives. The wider music industry has been extremely supportive, and I hope that this level of enthusiasm is not only around in-so-far as the heightened feeling of ‘Black lives matter’ during a global pandemic suffices, but continues everyday.”
“It’s time to restructure the current systems of big players within dance music, which are predominantly monopolised by white males. If I am able to grow the size of this platform, this will allow us as a people to take back what is truly ours.”
DJ VOLVOX: FUTURE DYNAMICS AND RAVING IN A POST PANDEMIC ERA // Contrary to mainstream culture, we are likely to see profound changes in underground culture and especially queer clubbing. In particular, I imagine a greater emphasis placed on sustaining micro-economies led by local talent as opposed to an endless rotation of international bookings and adhering to the general pre-pandemic status quo.
Queer culture is already better positioned for self-sustainability as it generally operates via smaller players led by a strong community spirit. Furthermore, the relentless examining nature of queer culture positions it perfectly to digest new issues as they arise and to experiment with fresh solutions.
The recent rise in mutual aid projects in the United States also points toward a greater sense of individual responsibility to each other and to collective goals. This new way of seeing what a collective of people can accomplish will help to finance and manage costly and complex projects (like underground raves) collectively as opposed to individually, contributing to overall growth and strengthening of local scenes.”
Collective Listening off the Dance Floor // Before the genre was mainstreamed under the innocuous EDM label (Electronic Dance Music), many dismissed techno tracks for all sounding the same. Clearly, these individuals neither listened for nor felt the sub frequencies, that low frequency oscillation that runs through each track, each set, sometimes living underground for several hours before surfacing into auditory levels and becoming part of the narrative of the evening’s sound.
Martin Zebracki uses the term techno-space interchangeably with techno-scene to emphasize Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of ‘assemblage’ as applied to the configurations of bodies, sound, and matter while concluding: “There is still considerably little known about how the techno-space is experienced” (2016: 112). This last comment feels particularly acute in spring of 2020. While the academic and raver in me loathes the idea that that listening to techno requires the internet, I’m mindful that listening cannot be tainted by nostalgia. The virtual techno parties happening under lockdown are not the same as a Boiler Room pharmakon. They are not a supplement to the ‘original’ because the original—the physical party—no longer exists in the here and now. De School announces club closure // For weeks the club has been reacting to a range of public criticisms, especially related to the lack of diversity in their staff and club programming. In early June, local queer collective X3 moved its livestream fundraiser for Black initiatives to Radio Radio "due to the lack of action and accountability" from De School. Earlier this month, a live podcast with Doornbusch and other core staff gave rise to accusations of sexual harassment by the club's security. No dancing, just listening: Berlin club Berghain reopens doors // Just 50 people are let in at a time to allow for physical distancing, but without the venue's notoriously picky doormen standing guard, no one has to worry about being denied entry. Visitors to the former power plant are enveloped by an eery, almost surreal soundscape of rhythmic throbbing, soft city noises, murmurings and even the whirling of helicopter blades. INSIDE TRAX RECORDS: WHY CHICAGO'S HOUSE ORIGINATORS ARE FIGHTING FOR REPARATIONS // Countlesssimilarstories of dodgy label dealings ring through the past and present of the music industry, and structural racism built into society means it is almost always white people who take up positions of power which enable them to exploit artists, who are frequently Black. Missed Opportunities: A View Of The Industry // Odd Fantastic is one of several dance music institutions to disband after being called out in recent weeks. Amsterdam club De School said it would close due to the financial pressures of the pandemic after addressing claims of racism and sexual harassment at a panel discussion. Last month, London collective SIREN disbanded after DJ and artist Anu accused them of bullying.
According to many Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), these incidents were a lost chance to move towards a healthier electronic music ecosystem.
Help raise funds for DJ Deeon // Whilst seeing the world change musically over the last 25 years, I myself have been through it all - years of ill education on health in my younger years led me to Quadruple Bypass Heart Surgery, then suffering through Cancer and Chemotherapy, and then finally they took my leg. I cried like a baby. But I kept fighting, I said no to the wheelchair, so they gave me a prosthetic and I wore it every day since. I travelled the world to perform thanks to you beautiful people, I grimaced through the pain for the love you gave me. For the last few years this was my challenge, medicating, pain relief and keeping thick skinned.
The final stroke was different and was not working itself out like the past two. Every thing was so much harder with minimal results.
I love what I do and I’ll never give up.
Bandcamp Fridays to continue for the rest of 2020 // "Because the pandemic is far from over," they say, the site will continue to offer its share of sales to artists or labels for the remainder of 2020. Forthcoming days are slated for August 7th, September 4th, October 2nd, November 6th and December 4th. Six More NYC Restaurants & Bars Have Liquor Licenses Suspended For Pandemic Violations // In a press release, the governor's office adds that there have been nearly 1,100 compliance checks between July 21st and July 23rd, documenting violations at 84 establishments. Businesses found in violation of social distancing regulations face fines up to $10,000 per violation, while egregious violations can result in the immediate suspension of their liquor license.
A pair of electronic EDM music haircuts who profit from their beige bastardisation of black culture put on a massive show where social distancing seems to have been abandoned, during a global pandemic that is disproportionately killing black people, in order to hawk a brand of overpriced and un-necessarily over-engineered hand sanitiser in a gig where the warm-up DJ was CEO of investment bank Goldman Sachs. Phew. If this isn’t peak 2020 then I’m Wiley’s PR.