"There's a joy I'm trying to depict in my artwork." The American DJ and producer discusses her latest painting exhibition, the power of poetry and exploring queer fantasy in visual art. Today, Berlin-via-New York multidisciplinary artist Juliana Huxtable might be best known for her DJing and dance floor productions. She's the co-founder of the party Shock Value and a regular at Berghain, Herrensauna, Basement and more clubs and festivals around the world. But she's equally prolific in the worlds of poetry and visual art, and in her first appearance on the RA Exchange, she talks to senior producer Chloe Lula about her multimedia painting exhibition, -USSYPHILIA, which is on display through the beginning of January. A champion of queer and trans theory, Huxtable uses collage, painting and poetry to explore themes around identity anarchy and sexuality throughout the exhibition. While the collection is serious and somewhat academic, it's also playful, diving deep into fantasy, psychedelia and allusions to soft porn. These days, Huxtable enjoys dabbling in other kinds of art as well. In her interview, she talks about her longtime love of performance art, which she says is ghettoized in the art world context, usually relegated to awkward programming add-ons in gallery exhibitions. Her band Tongue In The Mind is shaking off the performance art stigma and bringing it into the club with their forthcoming EP on PAN, Pretty Canary, out in late 2023. To hear about how she keeps on top of parallel creative practices, her thoughts on writing, experiences with psychedelics and more, listen to the episode in full.
"DJs don't hit their stride until their 40s." The DJ and creative multihyphenate discusses maturing as an artist, having a family and navigating the worlds of contemporary art and cuisine. Resident Advisor has followed Detroit native Seth Troxler's DJ career since the beginning. And on his first appearance on the RA Exchange, he is in his domestic bliss phase, living with his wife and kids in his new home of Zürich and partying at least a little less—and only on the weekends. Since taking the house and techno scene by storm in the late '00s, when he was still in his teens, Troxler has become one of the most famous DJs in the world, known almost as much for his jokester personality and party antics as his craft. But the public image belies the skill behind his work: he's one of the most popular artists in the world simply because he's also one of the best, able to string music together almost preternaturally, as if he was born to do it. You never know what kind of records he's going to play—sometimes he doesn't, either—but you can count on it being a journey worth taking. These days, Troxler isn't putting himself through the wringer like he used to, but he has his moments. Before this interview with RA music critic Andrew Ryce, he played New York, then Miami, then New York again, then Toronto, all in the span of one weekend. He opened up about his more responsible lifestyle, his family life and his love of food, as well as his passion for pairing art and technology and his hopes for a lasting legacy.
At Kraków's Unsound festival, the London-based ambassador of footwork and jungle opens up about recent musings about legacy and the art of letting go. Since her first Boiler Room set went viral (so viral, she claims, it broke her phone), SHERELLE's career has ascended with a rapidness that even she struggles to fully comprehend. Almost instantly, she went from working a day job at Mixmag to DJing major festivals around the world, where she spread the word of 160 BPM music. Today, the London artist has an NTS residency with long-time friend and partner Naina, has two EPs under her belt and is at the helm of two labels–Hoover Sound and Beautiful. This year, she planned to take her reputation as a producer to the next level with a debut album that was scheduled for release in 2023. But this summer, every musician's worst nightmare happened to SHERELLE . After a mugging in Europe, she lost every bit of her music—her DJ repertoire, her unreleased tracks and perhaps most devastatingly, her entire debut album. Discussing this at Kraków's Unsound festival, however, SHERELLE is chipper and refreshingly wise. In this intimate and hilarious conversation with RA's in-house critic, Kiana Mickles, she describes the incident as a launchpad for recent musings about the art of letting go, the importance of archiving and how she's approaching her debut album differently the second time around.
"I don't complain, I create." The house DJ talks about her new multi-platform project, Honeyverse, and using music as a way to celebrate the Black queer community. Honey Dijon is a queer house music icon whose reputation precedes her. Originally hailing from Chicago, she grew up going to raves in the 1970s, eventually beginning to DJ and produce alongside contemporaries like Derrick Carter, Mark Farina and other artists who shaped the Chicago house music canon. Throughout her career, she's been an active spokesperson for trans rights and a champion for the BIPOC community, and last month she put on her greatest platform for queer Black culture to date: Honeyverse. The multi-platform Honey Dijon experience took place at London's Southbank Centre, bringing club nights, live sets, orchestras and intimate conversations together in a takeover that drew its inspiration from her roots in Chicago's Black queer community. In this RA Exchange live from Southbank Centre, Honey Dijon talks to Josh Caffé about her connection to house music, an art form made from rejection and thus marginalised in the annals of music history. Her work, she says, is about giving visibility to the voices that were lost in its development and creating a more expansive platform for queer artists from the Black and Latinx diaspora. "This is a celebration of love, joy and acceptance," she says of Honeyverse. Listen to the episode in full, and watch video snippets of their conversation on Resident Advisor's Instagram and YouTube.
Dr Michelle and Mahnoor Hussain—a psychologist and a DJ, respectively—discuss ADHD and how neurodivergent individuals can find safety on the dance floor. In an age of technological surfeit and the attention economy, it seems that people are affected with ADHD diagnoses on an increasing frequency. Thinking differently can be both an obstacle and a superpower: while some ways of working and digesting information may be more challenging, others, like creativity, come with more ease. Today's episode of the RA Exchange, the final installment of Resident Advisor's collaboration with the UK mental health charity Black Minds Matter, explores the topic of ADHD and how it connects with dance music. The industry can attract and often be a safe space for people affected by ADHD diagnoses, says host Vanessa Maria, a London-based broadcaster whose work champions music and mental health. In two interviews, she unpacks what happens on a physiological level when one lives with neurodivergence, music's ability to alleviate many of the symptoms that accompany ADHD and how more inclusive dance music spaces could allow people to better navigate neurodivergence. Vanessa Maria's guests are Dr Michelle—a music psychologist, DJ and radio host—and Mahnoor Hussain, a DJ who lives with ADHD and creates projects for movement, music and meditation for South Asian minorities. Listen to the episode in full for their insights. This edition of the RA Exchange was recorded in collaboration with The Qube, London's first members' studio for music and content creators. If you're a music producer, songwriter, artist, photographer or podcaster and would like to apply for a membership, head over to theqube.com.
"Dancing is never just dancing." The Tbilisi-based DJ talks about nightlife politics, the Left Bank collective and Eastern European club culture live from ICKPA Festival. Tbilisi has been experiencing a club music renaissance over the last few years, with clubs like Bassiani and Khidi opening their doors to top tier DJs from around the world and simultaneously heralding an era of world class nightlife. While techno has reigned supreme at these venues, they left a gap that the relatively new space, Left Bank, has aimed to fill. Opening in 2021, it's provided a platform for what it calls "wildly diverse electronic sounds" beyond four-to-the-floor, and it's kicking off its new record label with a thirteen-track V/A, "Stop What You're Doing," this week. Ash Scholem has been a member of the Left Bank collective and social space since its inception, and in this episode of the RA Exchange recorded live at ICKPA Festival—an event co-run by contingents from the Georgian and Ukrainian dance music communities—he speaks with the Exchange's senior producer, Chloe Lula, about his involvement with the venue. He also brings his background in political science and sociology to bear, shedding light on how Eastern European socioeconomics affect nightlife; the ways in which revolutionary ideals have become ingrained into Georgian nightlife culture and how people party; the fight for queer rights and drug policy reform in Tbilisi and broader thoughts on the role dance music plays in politics and legislative change during times of crisis. Listen to the episode in full, and grab a copy of "Stop What You're Doing" on Friday, October 20th.
"I always want to challenge myself as a musician." The DJ, producer and T4T LUV NRG cofounder talks about her new live set and overcoming hearing loss live from MUTEK. Eris Drew is something of a mentor to many, including people she's never met. Her words on psychedelics, the ritual of dancing and other topics have become near-gospel for many fans, and it's always a treat to hear her speak on practically any topic. While many of her discussions veer towards the esoteric or spiritual, when it came time for our live RA Exchange at MUTEK, she wanted to get down to brass tacks about making and playing music. Ahead of the first North American performance of her stunning live show, Drew sat down with RA's music editor, Andrew Ryce. She spoke at length about her live show and DJing—including her old-school style of mixing she calls "riding the pitch"—and the trials and tribulations of proofing stages and booths for turntable use, hearing protection and more. She spoke with all the authority and feeling she usually does, with a deep, technical knowledge that makes this talk almost as much a tutorial as it was a conversation. Listen to the episode in full.
"You're the master of your own vision." In this collaboration with Rhythm Section, Ninja Tune's head of physical retail gives a masterclass on the inner workings of a record label. Alex Ives has been at Ninja Tune for ten years as the head of physical retail. He also runs Big Dada, a sub-label run exclusively by minorities and people of colour. In this masterclass recorded live in London, Ives unpacks the various departments and teams that make up the Ninja Tune enterprise, from manufacturing, sync and publishing, to product management and A&R. He also suggests a few routes for young people to get a foot in the door of the label world. It's often not a matter of trying to score a hard-earned internship at a major, he reflects. Often, it's easier to launch a career by starting a label yourself and adding it to your CV. "Going DIY can build a massive amount of love and interest that can lead you to a major label," he tells host Emily Jones. "Sometimes that's the best way." Working as the head of physical distribution doesn't come without its challenges in a world facing climate change, and Ives fields questions about pressing vinyl as a carbon-negative company, re-thinking record packaging, working to change consumer habits around ordering and returning records, and navigating a booming streaming economy. To hear more of his insights, listen to the episode in full. This conversation was recorded live in London, and you can watch video shorts from the talk on YouTube. Watch the Masterclass video playlist via the link below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anqltFRkqVM Rhythm Section’s Future Proof project is supported by Arts Council England and PRS Foundation.
"We've never known what we're doing." Brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence talk about fame, inadvertently ending up on the pop charts and their new album, Alchemy. Many listeners of this podcast likely associate Disclosure—AKA brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence—with the hits that shot them into the spotlight as teenagers. These had a good deal of crossover success, and the Lawrence brothers went on to have an extremely active touring career and secure multiple Grammy Awards. But there’s much more in their brothers' creative arsenal than meets the eye, as demonstrated in their newest dance music LP, Alchemy, which came out quietly this summer. The duo released their fourth studio album under the pretence that they wanted to move away from some of the big tunes that defined the first part of their career. They did no marketing or PR, choosing to self-release and share the word via announcements on their social media pages. Alchemy is full of beautiful melodic interludes, field recordings and oblique references to the personal experiences that shaped the making of the songs—it was composed during a moment of intense heartbreak and upheaval for Howard, a narrative that weaves its way through the album. "These songs are about feeling lost and looking for love," they explain. The brothers go deep with Chloe Lula about this period of Howard's life, talking about writing music based on intuition and how they lean on each other for creative and personal support. They also share the strategy behind their rise to success, including how they've navigated record label contracts, visually finessed their performances to appear more like live bands, exchanged EPs for page follows and started a Discord server to connect directly with their fans. Listen to more of their insights in the full episode.
"There are books about techno and rave, but let's fill in the blanks." The scholar and activist talks about her book Raving, bringing club culture into academia and more. McKenzie Wark, professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the New School, is a scholar and raver who has written extensively about the world of dance music and its surrounding subculture. Most recently, Wark penned Raving, a first-person account of her experiences in the Brooklyn queer and trans rave scene. Wark's writing is a unique blend of memoir and literary criticism, and Raving takes readers straight into the heart of undisclosed locations around New York nightlife. Raving to techno is an art and a technique at which queer and trans bodies might be particularly adept, she writes—but it's also for anyone who lets the beat seduce them. In her conversation with the Brooklyn-based DJ Alyce Currier, AKA Lychee, Wark talks about how the book came to be. She explains how entire chapters of the book wrote themselves out in her head, and how she carefully chose 26 characters—all of which have a letter as a name—to represent the friends and acquaintances of hers from the world of queer nightlife. Her own relationship with raving started when she was still living in Australia. At the time, she says, she hadn't yet transitioned and was experiencing an ambient sense of gender dysphoria that only dancing and nightlife could placate. She didn't actually transition until she was in her late 50s, in 2017. "After I went on hormones, I couldn't write," she says. "But the pressure [to write Raving] was enabling, and I found my voice in this book." Wark and Currier also talk about what it means to bring club culture into academia, working with fellow rave scholar madison moore and how parties can serve the communities they're designed to cater to instead of exacerbating existing social structures that already exist. Listen to the episode in full.
"I'm curious about everything—this is my power." The Ukrainian DJ and label boss sits down to discuss her approach to building sets, growing as an artist, parenthood and more. Nastia calls herself a "true DJ." The Ukrainian artist first laid her hands on decks back in 2005 after moving from her small hometown and attending the University of Donetsk, in Ukraine. Beginning as a radio host at Kiss FM, where she curated a show called NECHTO—now the name of her eponymous label—she started actively touring, pursuing a career dedicated to the stage craft and nothing else. The artist concedes that she's reached greater heights as a DJ than most artists have with no productions under her belt. In this conversation recorded live at Nuits Sonores festival in Lyon, Nastia tells moderator Christine Kakaire about her decision to now turn her attention towards the studio at the apex of her career. She also discusses her idiosyncratic style of crafting sets, using each stage appearance as an opportunity to educate the audience about music and create a narrative expressive of her internal world. "I'll never be just a drum & bass DJ, or just a techno DJ," she says. "I'm curious about everything—this is my power. Among Nastia's reflections on music are her considerations of the war in Ukraine, parenthood as a touring DJ, self-development and more. Listen to the episode in full.
"Vocals go hand in hand with the grime I know." Ahead of his appearance at London's Waterworks Festival, the UK artist discusses the significance of MCs, working with Skrillex and more. Marc Veira, AKA Flowdan, sees MCs as the "hub of all the vibes." Growing up in East London's rich dancehall and reggae scene, he developed a singular view of music that blossomed into a career as a well-known MC and cofounder of the grime collective Roll Deep. Alongside a string of successful EPs and collaborations come on labels like Hyperdub and Tru Thoughts, he recently earned widespread plaudits for his appearance on Skrillex and Fred Again….'s anthem, "Rumble," which came out last year. In this RA Exchange with DJ and radio host Tash LC, Veira discusses how he got to this point, starting from his time at home and his mother's passion for sound system culture. "The MC being the hub of all the vibes—I heard that in sound system culture," he says. He believes there still isn't enough credit afforded to vocalists in live performances more generally. "The grime I know, the garage I know, the drum & bass I know—vocals go hand in hand with all of that. And at festivals, massive artists headlining shows have no mention of their vocalists. That's not what the music is." Veira also unpacks his love for working with other people, his mentorship of up-and-coming producers and using Flowdan as the character behind which he hides his natural shyness on stage. To hear more about his creative process and trajectory, listen to the episode in full.
"I've been lucky to work with some of my favourite artists of all time." The Grammy Award-winning producer discusses working with Jay-Z, throwing dubstep parties and his new album. Many people know James Blake as the singer behind the breakout cover of Feist's "Limit To Your Love," which was a hit in the underground and global pop music charts, or the Grammy Award-winning producer who has worked with artists like Beyonce, Frank Ocean, Vince Staples and Bon Iver, among many others. Before all of this, Blake was making records for R&S and Hemlock—two UK mainstays in the dubstep and garage scenes. As a 20-year-old, he was also throwing bass nights on his Goldsmiths University campus called The Bass Society, inviting the likes of Skream & Benga to empty auditoriums. Back then, “we never made any money," he describes in this week's RA Exchange. "But we had so much fun. The feeling of promoting a night and getting Distance to come and play your night, even if there were only 20 people there, just felt like such a massive achievement." His passion for this music never left, and now he's coming full circle with his album Playing Robots Into Heaven, out September 8th. For more on his vision behind this new record, his collage-like production techniques and his take on being a producer versus an artist, listen to the episode in full.
"These records changed my emotional perspective on music." Recorded live at Dekmantel, the Italian techno artist dissects the records that shaped his approach to DJing and production. There are few artists as widely respected as Donato Dozzy, who is known for his unique approach to building hypnotic, acid-infused atmospheres as a solo artist and as one half of Voices From The Lake. He is also a singular curator at the head of Spazio Disponibile alongside Neel, and a DJ with a reputation for building sophisticated and slowly unwinding sets at festivals like Labyrinth, Terraforma and Horst, as well as in public spaces and museums. In this Exchange live from Dekmantel 2023, Resident Advisor's editor-in-chief, Whitney Wei, asks Dozzy about the songs that shaped his craft in our Playing Favourites flagship series. He takes us back to his childhood, playing the first track that introduced him to electronic music before moving chronologically through his life and the pieces that acted as lynchpins in his creative development. He discusses how he grew up in a musical household, listening to classical orchestrations with his parents before finding Italo disco and the stylings of Giorgio Moroder, Lory D and The Future Sound of London. These albums, he says, influenced how he builds his sets, leaning into slowly unfolding narratives as he moves from one track to another. "When I started releasing albums, I decided that I wanted to create stories," he says. Listen to the episode in full. Tracklist: Franco Battiato - Summer on a Solitary Beach Giorgio Moroder - The Chase Lory D - Abrupt Interruption The Future Sound of London - Cascade Kruder & Dorfmeister - DJ Kicks 1996 Mike Parker - Dispatches Die Woodys - Fitchtl's Lied Verde Prato - Nina Sonando Donato Dozzy - Valentina
"I've always been fascinated with extreme art." The Fast Forward member discusses the Copenhagen techno sound, eroticism and his proclivity for noise and black metal. Martin Schacke has been leading the charge on developing the psytrance-inspired techno sound that's dominated clubs over the last couple of years. He's also known for making provocative, catchy club tunes like "Kisloty People"—his breakout single from 2019—and Apocalyptic Decadence, an LP that came out on Instruments of Discipline last year (which made Resident Advisor's "The Best Albums of 2022" list). He's joined by a rank of DJs from Copenhagen like Sugar and DJ Tool who are popularizing this fun and fast counterpoint to heads-down dance music, and which Schacke describes as originating from a desire to start a scene distinct from the Berghain sound. Interestingly, Schacke is also an artist of many trades. He's heavily involved with noise, industrial and black metal music, and he discusses how these more experimental forms have inspired his releases for the dance floor. "I've taken a lot of these ways of working with aesthetic opposites and absurdities from noise music, where it's normal to use extreme subject matter and go into dark territory and fun territory," he said. "I think those can really intertwine." In this RA Exchange, he talks about his roots in this scene as well as his proclivity for extreme aesthetics, taking breaks from dance music, the personal costs of choosing a life dedicated to being an artist and more. Listen to the episode in full.
"Just be obsessed with music. Love it." The beloved London artist gives a masterclass on how to make it as a DJ and build a sustainable career. Alice Moxom—better known by her stage name, Moxie—started out as a radio DJ on Kiss FM and NTS before playing parties and touring full-time. Now she has a label and party series that she curates called On Loop, which has invited artists like Matthew Herbert, Josey Rebelle, Leon Vynehall, K-Hand and Joy Orbison, in venues across Europe and the UK. The key to her success, she says, is that she hasn't rushed anything in her career. "Your sound can evolve and you can change," she says. "If you're thinking about this as a real career, the [opportunities] will always come around." In this episode of Resident Advisor's Exchange—the second in a three-part masterclass series called Future Proof, a collaboration with Rhythm Section—co-host Bradley Zero says that Moxie is "one of the most organized and graceful DJs on the circuit." She reveals how she has steadily built a career from the ground up, detailing how she's developed a synergistic relationship with her booking agent; selectively chosen gigs and mix opportunities; maneuvered stylistically without confusing promoters; and cultivated lasting relationships with a team of people she trusts. Listen to the episode in full. This conversation was recorded live in December, and you can watch video shorts from the talk on YouTube. Watch the Masterclass video playlist via the link below: youtube.com/playlist?list=PLIpC…kFN9QmisE_xxW-mgCOV Rhythm Section’s Future Proof project is supported by Arts Council England and PRS Foundation.
"Fandom is the new religion of our capitalist society." The genderqueer pop star discusses economic philosophy, queer aesthetics and the internet ahead of their new album. Avant-pop star Dorian Electra wasn't your average American student. As an 18-year-old, they were interested in exploring philosophy and political radicalisation through music, making their debut in 2010 with the song "I'm In Love With Friedrich Hayek"—a ballad to the economist who influenced Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher’s free-market ideology. Electra was simultaneously working as a stripper, channeling their exploration of gender into an early career series of pop videos that told the history of feminism, drag and vibrators. More than a decade later, the artist has brought these seemingly contradictory facets of their interests into a bizarre and beautiful symbiosis, and is now celebrating the release of their third album. On this week's RA Exchange, Electra speaks with moderator Gunseli Yalcinkaya about the underpinnings of Fanfare, which lands on October 6th. The first single, "Sodom & Gomorrah," explores the album's central conceit: the meaning of fandom and online culture in 2023. "I've been experiencing hyper-online everything," they said. "The past few years have solidified the idea in my head that as we've grown increasingly secular, people still want something to give their life greater meaning, and they've found that in connecting with others online in a way that's largely replaced religion." They also discuss their proclivity for ultra-synthetic, cartoonishly masculine pop; their take on the internet zeitgeist; ADHD; musical performance as an expression of the extremities of human experience and more. Listen to the episode in full. This edition of the RA Exchange was recorded in collaboration with The Qube, London's first members' studio for music and content creators. If you're a music producer, songwriter, artist, photographer or podcaster and would like to apply for a membership, head over to theqube.com.
"Devotion is the main aim—to try to encourage commitment in people." The fabric resident and Houghton festival founder discusses his love of the crowd, DJing and more. Craig Richards, arguably one of UK dance music's most respected DJs, is normally averse to the spotlight. But the multi-hyphenate artist and fabric resident has played the London institution every Saturday for nearly two decades, DJing alongside fellow household names like Ricardo Villalobos and Nicolas Lutz. Over the years, Richards has profoundly shaped the canon that's defined the space and its programming week in and week out. He’s keenly attuned to other DJs and the flow of a night, and he's not indebted to one particular style or genre. In a Resident Advisor feature from 2019, Ray Philp described his sound as "intergalactic space metal" that goes far beyond techno, house or electro, instead interplaying classics with deep, headsy tunes that he tirelessly seeks out every week. In this interview with RA's European deputy editor Carlos Hawthorn, Richards talks about what makes a good record, and the DJ's role as a bridge between the past and present. He also discusses his endeavours beyond the booth—most notably the idyllic festival he started in 2017, Houghton, which is set in the English countryside—and his passion for painting and cross-disciplinary creativity. Listen to the episode in full.
"I approached and signed all of the first weird Warp acts." The Sheffield record producer and label cofounder discusses starting the UK label and the early days of bleep techno. Before Warp became the landmark label it is today, it was a Sheffield record store. Robert Gordon was an employee there in the early '80s, working alongside colleagues Steve Beckett and Rob Mitchell, with whom he'd start the label in 1989. Listeners familiar with the contemporary UK techno landscape may associate Warp with luminaries like Aphex Twin and other names associated with IDM and bleep techno. It also released a lot of artists who were recording in a Sheffield studio called FON, which is where Robert Gordon found his footing even before starting Warp. In this Exchange—conducted by DJ, producer, CDR founder and Resident Advisor board member Tony Nwachukwu—Gordon talks about FON and laying the groundwork for the Sheffield scene. In 1985, he recalls, it was the first local commercial 24-track studio and attracted luminaries like David Bowie, Yazz and groups tied to post-punk band Cabaret Voltaire. More recently, it's produced work by 808 State, Nightmares On Wax and Sweet Exorcist. Gordon also reflects on FON's early days. It was foundational to the sound of the '00s and formed a tight-knit community around itself that eventually became intrinsic to a bigger musical movement. Although Gordon left Warp in 1991, his A&Ring for the label—along with his own productions and engineering assistance—defined its sound. Listen to their conversation in full.
"It's through collaboration that I've grown most with my sound." In this collaboration with Rhythm Section, the multi-instrumentalist talks about how he found his style and started his career. Jordan Rakei is a self-made musician. A multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer whose work dips into soul, hip-hop and electronic music, he moved to London from New Zealand, giving himself a four-month "buffer budget" to get his career off the ground. Now, he's released on Ninja Tune and Rhythm Section International, and has collaborated with a number of Grammy- and Oscar-award-nominated artists. But his journey wasn't easy, as he explains in this masterclass moderated by Roy Mills and Rhythm Section's Bradley Zero. Rakei talks about how to build a career as an independent artist, why he transitioned from working alone to working with a big agency, signing deals with labels, and living close to the edge in an expensive city. It's the first in a three-part series called Future Proof hosted by Rhythm Section International, all of which explore facets of creating and sustaining a career as a musician. This episode was recorded live in May, and you can watch video shorts from the talk on YouTube. Listen to their conversation in full. Watch the Masterclass video playlist via the link below: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLIpCC9Ep-UEmgJkFN9QmisE_xxW-mgCOV
"DJing and lecturing aren't different practices for me. I just fuse them together." The scholar and performer reflects on bringing critical ideas to club spaces and writing about raves. madison moore is a true multi-hyphenate: an artist, scholar, DJ and assistant professor of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University. Despite having a hand in so many seemingly disparate endeavors, however, moore sees their work across academia and music as being intrinsically interconnected, and their mission is to find ways to bring theory and practice into one space. In this conversation with journalist and former RBMA editor-in-chief Aaron Gonsher, moore reflects on how he was first inspired by figures like Paul D. Miller (AKA DJ Spooky), who brought DJ technologies, parties and theory together. "Knowledge doesn't have to be gate kept behind a JSTOR portal," he says. "It doesn't have to be an institutional access thing. You can bring the knowledge, bring the ideas, bring the fun out." In a series of performance lectures focused on queer nightlife, moore teaches about the historical context around dance music and the significance of the club for queer Black folks, explaining that he sees performance as a critical tool to spread ideas. He explored this fusion of academia and dance music at his recent nightlife residency at The Kitchen in New York—where he curated a series of public programs with DJs, artists, scholars and queer nightlife performers—and in his book Fabulous: The Rise of the Beautiful Eccentric. To hear his reflections on these projects and more, listen to the episode in full. Photo by Rome God
"What is our shared purpose and motivation for being here?" Our guest editor for June discusses community-building, innovation in music technology and more in this week's Exchange. Cherie Hu thinks about music differently. Trained in classical piano at The Juilliard School in New York, she went on to study math at Harvard while simultaneously launching a freelance journalism career. It was towards the end of her time in university that her parallel interests in music, writing and statistics coalesced in one long-term mission: to bridge the innovations happening in music creation and technology. First a newsletter and now an international membership-based platform, Water & Music was her answer to this unique topical intersection. "Water & Music's goal is to connect like-minded readers and develop a bottom-up culture of curiosity and critique around where music and tech are headed," she wrote earlier this month on RA. "Through media, my own personal goal is not only to document and analyse music-tech innovation as it happens, but also to foster a culture of proactive experimentation. I want to help artists and their teams use the tools at their disposal to expand the boundaries of possibility in both music and culture at large, and kickstart a longer-term dialogue around how music creators and professionals can incorporate tech into their careers in an ethical manner." Over the last few weeks, Hu has curated thoughtful and practical articles for RA that touch on the ethics and implications of AI, the metaverse and fandom, as well as more far-reaching topics that she explores in depth on the Water & Music website and Discord. In them, she urges everyone in creative ecosystems to think more critically about why trends happen, how we can cultivate sustainable artistic communities and the ways in which we can create more agency and collective ownership over how music is released and consumed. Listen to the episode in full.
"Singing is super vulnerable, but it's such a big release." The DJ and producer opens up about her new album and how she brings deeply personal issues to bear. Jayda G's father, William Richard Guy, died shortly before she turned ten. In the months leading up to his death, with the help of Jayda G's older sister, he recorded 11 hours of video tapes documenting his story for his youngest daughter. Guy, the Canadian DJ and producer's latest album on Ninja Tune, is built around snippets of his recordings, with each track inspired by either a particular chapter of his story or something she's learned about herself as she unpacked her grief. "This album is about him and for me," she wrote on Instagram. "I needed this. It gave me perspective, understanding and depth to myself and my outlook on life and family." For this episode of the RA Exchange, Jayda G spoke with Berlin-based artist Juba about making the album and the history that inspired it. She also opened up about integrating her own voice into her songs, a process that made her feel vulnerable, but also provided an enormous sense of release. While she doesn't have plans to sing the album live anytime soon, she revealed her other upcoming projects—including a feature-length documentary about her work in environmentalism—and how she balances her busy touring schedule with her parallel interest in science, her marriage and, most critically, her much-needed downtime. Listen to the episode in full.
"Punk is more an attitude than a style of music. And I think that techno is way more punk than punk." The Spanish DJ discusses the ethos of the underground, vinyl DJing and more on this week's Exchange from AVA Festival. Héctor Oaks relocated from his hometown of Madrid to study at "Berlin University"—the clubs, record stores and underground parties that would shape his career as an artist. After once famously saying he could "live in peace" if he could play Berghain just once, the techno DJ has since graced the institution's dance floor multiple times and earned residencies at Herrensauna and Bassiani. Now one of a handful of in-demand, vinyl-only DJs, he's also a prolific artist and the head of two labels, KAOS and OAKS. What makes Oaks especially interesting as an interview subject, though, isn't his newfound popularity, but the underlying ethos that drives his music career. A self-described "techno punk," he reflects on what happens to the punk ethos around the underground once the underground becomes mainstream. "When you see that you've worked for the underground and then the underground becomes pop, do you want to fight against it, or do you want to be part of it?" he asks. "We're not only carrying the music, but we're carrying the values." In this interview, Oaks also talks about the art of playing vinyl, his new hip-hop project, working for the now-defunct Record Loft and his forthcoming album and live show. Listen to the episode in full.
"If you feel like you're not progressing, the likelihood is that everyone else you're looking at is going through exactly the same thing." Conducta and Charisse C talk about isolation and mental health in this collaboration with Black Minds Matter UK. Resident Advisor is delighted to welcome back our quarterly collaboration with Black Minds Matter UK, a charity connecting Black individuals and families with free mental health services. In line with their mission to make topics around mental health more visible and accessible to the Black community, this recurring series dives deep into some of the issues that plague BIPOC artists specifically, not to mention people working within the creative industries more generally. In this episode, Vanessa Maria hosts engaging conversations with two London-based artists: Charisse C, a DJ and resident on NTS Radio who derives much of her musical inspiration from her Zimbabwean and South African heritage, and Conducta, a UKG tastemaker and the founder and A&R of Kiwi Rekords. The duo share their thoughts on themes around loneliness—the alienation of social media, the risk of burnout on the road and the self-doubt that accompanies any kind of achievement. But they also share inspiring ways to encourage transparency and a real dialogue around hard work and happiness in the dance music scene that isn't mitigated by social media and outward appearances of success. "Everything that people think has happened overnight in the last two or so years, that's all been a process and a journey of hard work," says Conducta. "I think one thing that will benefit young people coming up in the music industry is understanding that if you feel like you're hitting a stalemate, the likelihood is that everyone else you're looking at is going through exactly the same thing, feeling exactly the same thing." Listen to the episode in full.
"The dance floor is a portal and a transmission tool in addition to being a technology of togetherness." The British author’s new book, Dance Your Way Home, offers a sociocultural history of the dance floor. Emma Warren has been documenting grassroots music culture since co-founding Jockey Slut magazine in the mid '90s. From those early years to subsequent stints at THE FACE and Brixton’s youth-run Live Magazine, her journey of personal growth has become intertwined with nightlife. In this episode, the UK author speaks with Aaron Gonsher, former editor-in-chief of the now-defunct Red Bull Music Academy, about her new book, Dance Your Way Home: A Journey Through The Dance Floor. Writing about how music thrives through in-person connections and physical spaces, she provides a social history of the dance floor while highlighting the power of communion. Their conversation is a fascinating and far-ranging one; they speak about writing from the heart and Warren's deep connections with nightlife communities. She also talks about how the dance floor acted as a palliative in times of personal strife. "As I was writing [the book] and working it out through the writing, I realised that the less my dad could move or had control over his body, the more I needed to dance and have control over mine," she says of her father's disability. "So, I feel this absolute connection to the strength which you bring on the dance floor: that core control, that tightening of your body, that loosening of your limbs when you're moving and just how important that was to me—and what a life saver, really." Warren is also the author of three other books, including Make Some Space: Tuning Into Total Refreshment Centre, Document Your Culture: A Manual and Steam Down: Or How Things Begin. Listen to the conversation to hear her thoughts on why we dance together and what dancing tells us about ourselves.
"Because we're women, we just compliment each other. We're playing together, and we're not trying to one-up each other." The UK artist talks about DJing with friends, her artistic trajectory and finding solace in painting. Shanti Celeste is one of those artists whose personality matches her DJ style. Her fun-loving nature and breezy demeanour always light up a room, as do her vibrant sets that span sunny house music, slow-burning disco and emotive techno—just revisit her RA podcast for a reminder. Fresh off her Hessle Audio debut, the London-based artist sat down with RA's Martha Pazienti-Caidan for an honest chat about track selection, bad gigs and her approach to production. During DJ sets, the Peach Discs co-founder doesn’t like to focus on genres. Instead, "I think about, like, building and releasing tension and making sure that I stay in a specific energy level," she explained. "Whereas before, I think I knew the energy I wanted to bring, but I didn't know how to do that cause I was just thinking about everything in terms of genre." Reaching this holistic stage, however, took time. It was a process of acquiring knowledge and experience but also confidence, she described, adding how she previously had "really bad imposter syndrome." Learning to recognise that certain factors might be outside an artist’s control is essential to self-realisation, she continued. Recounting her experience of playing big festival stages, she noted the importance of "learning what side of yourself to channel" rather than compromise on music. For more details on her experience playing with fellow women DJs, her lockdown romance and recording her vocals, listen to the discussion in full.
"We were doing parties in Staten Island that were completely packed; Manhattan didn't want anything to do with us." Three New York visionaries discuss the city's '90s heyday. '90s nightlife in New York conjures images of Party Monster, jacking disco house and a rotating cast of mega clubs that saw thousands of revellers pass through their doors each weekend. From Limelight and Sound Factory to Palladium and countless others, clubbing was hitting its stride in New York, while producers like Joey Beltram, Frankie Bones and Damon Wild were producing game-changing 12-inches. But it was also the beginning of a decline, catalysed by the rollout of Mayor Rudy Giuliani's discriminatory policies that slowly gutted the club scene and the communities that called it home. To honour Resident Advisor's partnership with Wire Festival in Brooklyn this weekend, we're revisiting a panel recorded at our 24/7 party at Nowadays in 2018. We tasked the beloved Brooklyn fanzine Love Injection with presenting discussions covering five decades of dance music history. In this panel, Strictly Rhythm cofounder Gladys Pizarro, DJ and producer Lenny Dee and drag superstar and vogue performer Kevin Aviance spoke with journalist (and former RA staffer) Max Pearl about the rise and fall of the city's club scene during its golden decade. They also discussed how the city was sequestered, forcing many artists at the vanguard of '90s-era techno to make music and throw their own parties as the scene grew and shifted beneath the weight of city-wide reforms. "We were doing parties in Staten Island that were completely packed; Manhattan didn't want anything to do with us," said Lenny D. "So when we were doing it, we were making parties out in Brooklyn. A lot of music at that time was made here in Brooklyn—Joey Beltram, Frankie Bones, Tommy Musto, Damon Wild. So we had this scene where we're making great music, but no one's letting us play, so we're just going to do it ourselves." Listen to the episode in full.
"You realise you're not just playing music. You give people the power to empower themselves." Cofounders CEM and MCMLXXXV discuss the revered party series and its fledgling label. Berlin queer party Herrensauna—which means "men's sauna" in German—started as a seed of an idea shared between friends Cem Dukkha (AKA CEM) and Nicholas Endlicher (AKA MCMLXXXV). They were teenagers in Vienna at the time, dreaming of becoming DJs in Berlin. When they finally relocated, they started throwing parties in the basement of a Neukölln off-location. This quickly snowballed into a residency at Tresor, and now a globally recognised brand that curates lineups at clubs and festivals around the world and counts Salome, SPFDJ, Héctor Oaks, JASSS and DJ Spit as residents. In this RA Exchange, hosted ahead of Herrensauna's curated night at Wire Festival in New York, CEM and MCMLXXXV spoke with senior producer Chloe Lula about the party's origins and how its mission has changed, shifting from focusing on gay men to championing an all-inclusive vision of queerness. They also discussed their artwork and aesthetics—including their provocative re-appropriations of quasi-religious iconography—as well as the role that platforms like theirs have in shifting the cultural zeitgeist and attitudes towards the LGBTQIA+ community. Listen to the episode in full.
"You can trace techno's origins to the seminal 1988 album Techno! The New Dance Sound of Detroit, which featured many producers that are now regarded as techno pioneers." We discuss Detroit techno, Frankfurt's electronic music museum and more in this month's Critics' Roundtable. As we approach the end of May, and with it, Movement Festival in Detroit—one of the longest-running dance music events in the world—Resident Advisor returns to a discussion about electronic music's roots. In this month's Critics' Roundtable, RA music critics Kiana Mickles and Andrew Ryce talk with producer Chloe Lula about the newest release from Detroit "techno soul" stalwart Eddie Fowlkes and a breakout album from a newer Detroit name, DJ Girl, who just released on Planet Mu. The trio also discuss how techno's origins in Detroit's Black communities continue to be contested. The Museum of Modern Electronic Music in Frankfurt, which opened last year (and was written about recently in The New Yorker), has overlooked the city's key role in the creation and dissemination of techno, sparking backlash from the electronic music community. Mickles and Ryce lay out the implications of the continuous omission of Detroit from techno's narrative. Why is electronic music's origins an ongoing debate, and how do we honour its progenitors as electronic music moves further away from its foundations into the mainstream? Listen to the conversation in full. Tracklist: Eddie Fowlkes - Shake Your Hips DJ Girl - Technician Rhythim Is Rythim - It Is What It Is Jossy Mitsu - World's End