RA Exchange

Resident Advisor


The weekly RA Exchange is a series of conversations with artists, labels and promoters shaping the electronic music landscape.

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1178 episodes

EX.679 McKenzie Wark

"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.

1h 3m
Sep 21
EX.678 Nastia

"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.

Sep 14
EX.677 Flowdan

"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.

1h 3m
Sep 07
EX.676 James Blake

"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.

Aug 31
EX.675 Playing Favourites: Donato Dozzy

"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

1h 7m
Aug 24
EX.674 Schacke

"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.

Aug 17
EX.673 Future Proof with Moxie

"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.

1h 1m
Aug 10
RA EX.672 Dorian Electra

"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.

1h 15m
Aug 03
EX.671 Craig Richards

"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.

Jul 27
EX.670 Robert Gordon of Warp Records

"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.

Jul 20
EX.669 Future Proof with Jordan Rakei

"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

Jul 13
EX.668 madison moore

"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

1h 15m
Jul 06
EX.667 Cherie Hu

"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.

1h 7m
Jun 29
EX.666 Jayda G

"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.

Jun 22
EX.665 Héctor Oaks

"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.

Jun 15
EX.664 Black Minds Matter UK: Charisse C and Conducta

"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.

1h 3m
Jun 08
EX.663 Emma Warren

"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.

Jun 02
EX.662 Shanti Celeste

"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.

May 26
EX.661 New York Nightlife In The '90s

"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.

May 18
EX.660 - Herrensauna

"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.

May 11
EX.659 Critics’ Roundtable [May 2023]

"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

May 04
EX.658 Source Material: 15 Years of PAN

"It feels like every artist is presenting their work in the same way that a gallery or an art institution would." Seven artists share their thoughts on the genre-bending label and its legacy. Resident Advisor's April cover features Bill Kouligas, the singular curator at the helm of PAN. Now celebrating 15 years, the imprint's releases traverse a dizzying array of mediums and genres. As Whitney Wei writes in her article, PAN has long befuddled some people in electronic music. Its catalogue is a bricolage of musique concrete, improvisations, left-field club music, performance soundtracks and other strains of electronic-adjacent work that feel somewhat impossible to place. Amnesia Scanner's cyberpunk nu-metal and Eartheater's sweet singer-songwriter pop are some of the best examples of this immense range. But sitting in Bill's studio, she writes, everything makes sense in context. "I feel a lot of record labels tend to somehow fall under an umbrella of a sound, or a specific genre of music," reflect Amnesia Scanner in this episode of the Exchange. "With PAN, every artist is presenting their work as independent from the work of others, like in the same way that a gallery or an art institution would present work. Of course there are shared ideas and shared values and so on, but it's not built on a narrow idea of what kind of music PAN would represent." The label has garnered a devoted fanbase that recognises the vision uniting this seemingly far-reaching output. And as Kouligas has moved increasingly towards interdisciplinary interests such as fashion soundtracking and art directing, his audience has followed him. The music on the label has done the same, evolving from tracks for the dance floor to documentation of avant-garde visual art. This episode of the RA Exchange collects music and interviews from key individuals who have shaped PAN's trajectory and canon, including Anne Imhof, Objekt, M.E.S.H., Rashad Becker, Amnesia Scanner, Eartheater and Low Jack. Listen to the episode in full. If you're looking for more PAN content, be sure to tune into our live RA Exchange with fellow PAN artist Tzusing from Rewire Festival, which aired last week. Tracklist: Anne Imhof - Dark Times (Sex) Objekt - 35 (Cocoon Crush) M.E.S.H. - Search, Reveal (Hesaitix) Rashad Becker - Dances VII (Traditional Music of Notional Species Vol. II) Amnesia Scanner - Faceless (Another Life) Eartheater - Claustra (Irisiri) Low Jack - Rough Rider (Low Jack Remix) (STILL)

Apr 28
EX.657 Tzusing

"This is me dealing with how to be a progressive man in this era." Tzusing discusses his new album on PAN, Green Hat, in this live RA Exchange from Rewire Festival. Chinese artist Tzusing is currently splitting his time between Taipei and Shanghai, but he spent a significant amount of time in the United States as a young adult and university student. It was only after moving back to China in his early 20s and taking a long break from production that he amalgamated these diverse influences and refined his sound, releasing a string of EPs on the label L.I.E.S. and launching into his musical career in full force. His 2017 release, Invincible East, was his first exploration into more thematically-loaded work that interrogated masculinity and power. His second (and newest) LP, Green Hat, builds on these tropes. The full-length—which came out on PAN in late March—examines Confucian values around familial obligation, the patriarchy and how to be "a progressive man" in 2023. It also brings together his penchant for trap, techno and industrial, while still mining Asian instrumental motifs. In Tzusing's words, the music itself is full of angst and fear, and it's his most intense output as an artist yet. In this live RA Exchange at Rewire Festival, he talks to Resident Advisor's Senior Producer, Chloe Lula, about the production of the album, Chinese club culture and his move towards a sound that isn't indebted to a singular genre or scene. The episode is part of Resident Advisor's cover series on PAN; read the article in full on our website, and listen to Tzusing's conversation in full here.

Apr 20
EX.656 Tama Sumo & Lakuti

"Going back-to-back makes sense. We live together, we really love the same music." The Berlin-based duo discuss their partnership behind the decks—and in life. Tama Sumo and Lakuti are two of Berlin's best-known house DJs. Partners in life and in music, they've played as solo artists (and together) since the early '90s, and hold residencies at Panorama Bar. Unsurprisingly, they have an unparalleled synthesis behind the decks and in conversation, and on this unique episode of the RA Exchange, they interview each other about their formative experiences in the music industry and the roots of their respective musical practices—for Tama Sumo, the bars and lesbian weekenders in Kreuzberg, and for Lakuti, disused warehouses in Johannesburg. They also talk about deeper, more intrinsic aspects of their crafts, their relationship, and their identities as marginalised artists navigating Germany's house and techno scene. This interview was recorded live at The Standard in London as part of the series TheirStories, which platforms narratives from the LGBTQIA+ community. Listen to the episode in full.

Apr 14
EX.655 Surgeon Talks Improvisation and Live Performance

"Live improvised hardware connects so directly to the fundamental rawness of electronic music." UK techno lynchpin Surgeon reflects on his connection to machines and making music on the fly. Surgeon, also known as Anthony Child, has been one of techno's most influential and consistently brilliant artists since the mid-'90s. For the last decade, he has spent most of his creative resources on developing his abilities as a live performer, in his usual techno environment as well as more abstract settings. As Child reinforces in this live Dekmantel Exchange with Aaron Coultate, his live performance practice is at the heart of his creativity. "There was literally one day I woke up and realized that having the computer—DJing, as it were—was getting in the way of taking this form of performing further," he says. "That was determining the structure of what I was doing. And to be truly freeform and improvisational I had to be free of this imposed structure." This archived conversation comes on the heels of Surgeon's most recent LP, Crash Recoil, which RA music critic Kiana Mickles hailed as "one of his best albums ever." To get an inside look into this risk taking artist's production process and approach to dance floor composition, listen to the episode in full.

Apr 06
EX.654 Critics' Roundtable [March 2023]

"Dance music artists are creating in an environment where they can be more outspoken about their queerness, which means that their work becomes extensions of their queerness." RA's critics discuss expressions of gender and sexuality in the underground scene during this month's roundtable. Each month, Resident Advisor reviews a number of standout EPs, albums and singles, but there are some that resonate with us more than others. In this episode, our in-house music critics Andrew Ryce and Kiana Mickles join RA's Senior Producer, Chloe Lula, in a deep dive into the releases that they considered to be the most noteworthy from this month: Surgeon's new LP, Crash Recoil; Fever Ray's much-anticipated new full length, Radical Romantics; and I. JORDAN and SHERELLE's split two-tracker. Beyond just assessing the music itself, we also debate bigger questions that these works raise. We discuss how some of this month's music invokes themes of love, romance and desire—which are relatively new to the electronic music underground; how representations of queerness are shifting in the contemporary music landscape; and the perennial pop-electronic music crossover, which has defined the contours of the last few weeks' worth of releases yet again. Listen to the conversation in full. This week's intro and outro music, "Transience," was composed by Jo Johnson.

Mar 31
EX.653 Tony Andrews on Sound and Spirituality

“I actually believe that humans are made for more than what we're currently doing. We just need to switch on parts of our brains that we're not." Funktion-One creator Tony Andrews reflects on music and spirituality live from AVA London. According to visionary sound system designer Tony Andrews, the creator of Funktion-One, there’s a spiritual current that unites humanity—and good sound is the first way for us to explore our communal mind. In this RA Exchange recorded live from AVA London, the founder of one of the best high-end speakers on the market reflects on his experience engaging in the broader, spiritual meaning of music and the universe and how his decision to start Funktion-One in 1992 sprung from a desire to help humans connect with each other. Far from being a technical deep dive into loudspeaker design and engineering, this conversation delves into his first forays into the world of sound as well as the broader implications of music and how it can incite a paradigm shift in how we experience the human experience and consciousness. Listen to the full, live talk and Q&A moderated by RA contributor Will Lynch.

Mar 23
EX.652 dweller festival with OK Williams

"I don't hear any white DJs talk about where dance music comes from or its appropriation." OK Williams talks about the origins of dance music and archiving Black culture live from New York's dweller festival. Since the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd, there have been renewed efforts to shine a light on dance music's roots in Black communities. Still, there's a critical need for more Black-forefronted collectives and programmers—as well as more thoughtfully curated and balanced rosters of talent in clubs and festivals—to keep the origins of electronic music alive. This isn't as easy as it seems, OK Williams reflects in this week's RA Exchange. Deep-rooted inequities, including a lack of time and resources, continues to bar Black artists from contributing to the contemporary dance music landscape to the same extent as white artists. "I don't even know where to begin or how to articulate this properly because it's actually just so deep, and it goes so much deeper than dance music, and it goes so much deeper than the club. Because until we fix structural issues that Black people face, nothing is going to change," she says. Today's episode, recorded live from dweller festival in New York, examines the UK artist's thoughts on archiving Black dance music culture and building communities of colour, as well as her own ascendance from NTS morning show host to internationally touring DJ. Speaking to RA music critic Kiana Mickles live from an event created to highlight exclusively Black talent from across the globe (Discwoman's Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson started the festival in 2019), the Nigerian-British selector reflects on the state of the scene as well as her first forays into production and falling into DJing. This is a lively discussion that includes questions from the audience. Listen to the episode in full.

1h 4m
Mar 16
EX.651 Source Material: Music and Iran's Fight for Women's Rights

"I don't know what I would do if my life was on the line." In a new audio documentary, female Iranian musicians reflect on the implications of speaking out against the country's misogynistic regime. On September 16th, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini—from the northwestern Kurdish city of Saqez—was arrested by Iran's morality police for not wearing her headscarf in accordance with the Islamic Republic's clerical standards. The circumstances of her death were suspicious; while authorities deny beating Amini and insisted in a statement that the cause of death was sudden heart failure, eyewitnesses, including women who were detained with Amini, reported that she was severely beaten and that she died as a result of police brutality. The incident sparked a series of protests described by the media as the most widespread in Iran in almost 10 years. In honour of International Women's Day, this week's RA Exchange examines the ongoing fight for women's rights in Iran. At the time of this writing, the situation on the ground has escalated, with the government arresting and killing protestors who have spoken out against the country's oppressive policing practices, and even inciting suspected poison attacks against dozens of schoolgirls in the country's capital. According to our guests, women and minorities face more discrimination than ever as the Islamic Republic continues to extend and entrench its grip over Iranian society. "It is this conflict that has to do with the regulation of women's bodies that has been at the core of the Islamic Republic's main agendas," says one interviewee. "By controlling women, they're also somehow solidifying their power within the society." RA Exchange's Senior Producer Chloe Lula starts this episode with a reflection on RA staff writer Anu Shukla's news piece from last autumn, which documented the protests when they first erupted, before speaking with Iranian musicians Azin Zahedi, Farahnaz Hatam and a third woman who asked to be removed from this episode for fear of her life. They reflect on the repercussions of the protests, the implications for the Iranian diaspora and how music and art can amplify sociopolitical issues—and galvanise communal action and positive change. Listen to the episode in full. Tracklist: Jo Johnson - Transience Jo Johnson - Vigil Shervin Hajipour - Baraye

Mar 09
EX.650 Critics' Roundtable [March 2023]

In 2023, we're refreshing our Critics' Roundtable format, inviting RA's in-house staff writers and industry specialists to reflect on the releases that resonated with them, as well as the trends and news that's circulating around the music sphere. March's roundtable features Andrew Ryce and Kiana Mickles. In addition to discussing the much-anticipated EPs and albums that they've enjoyed—Caroline Polachek, Nene H, Fadi Mohem and more—the duo also raise important questions about the contemporary club music landscape: how should we consider an artist's core audience, especially when their music taps into an uncharted trend? What is the strategy behind releasing multiple albums at once, like Skrillex's recent double LP? What can we make of the new pop-electronic crossover, and what are the deeper implications of mainstream musicians appropriating underground tropes and themes? We explore these issues and more in this month's roundtable RA Exchange, and talk about our most anticipated new releases for the coming weeks. Listen to the conversation, moderated by RA's Senior Producer Chloe Lula, in full.

Mar 02