You were vocal about the plague raves on your social media, and I want to take a minute to talk about it, if you will. What is taking me off guard is how some of those new DJs , who’ve been playing for three years maximum, are cosplaying the 90s rave aesthetic for clout while ignoring the anti-capitalist ethos that was behind it in order to go play at plague raves.
Well let’s give some of those DJs a little break, a lot are run solely by management and, I think, having their enthusiasm taking advantage of, many DJs’ first point of call is what you call “cosplaying”. I grew up as a youngster with disco that I inherited from my mother, so me playing Lonnie Liston Smith or Roy Ayers 12” records that were once hers in a club some 10 years later gave immense joy, so I honestly think that a large proportion of these young DJs you refer to are being thrown out there to earn money. Many people at the beginning of their musical career make big mistakes in this regard, some of the percentage splits they are on are quite unfair for example. They are also being run by PR, which means that the virtue signalling is not from the heart but scripted and techno for these artists is much more now about money, asking for £20k plus for a charity gig for example, than unity. Ibiza exposed many that played at raves as being truly the children of Thatcher, being solely and only into capitalism and enjoying all the power games that brought along.
Can we even call this ecosystem in electronic music a “community” or a “scene”, people love using those words but do they even apply?
No we cannot, not anymore. The scene of this commercial enterprise is mainly linked together by money and certainly not ethics. How can a DJ that is based offshore for financial purposes ask a government for a bail out – they should receive the same ridicule as Richard Branson surely?
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The defense has been “the government said”. It’s like make your mind up, are you cosplaying Spiral Tribe or not?
In some territories it was obvious that despite loose government permission being given the rules for social distancing would not be observed at all, and international DJs that played those events gave authenticity to those events so that governments could later put the boot in, and in the Netherlands, the government did use Italy as a reason why clubs would not open, it was an obvious own goal.
You canceled your shows in Belgium and Netherlands at your own initiative, both countries are COVID hotspots – do you sometimes feel like you’re going crazy because everybody seems to be so relaxed about it, especially in the techno scene?
I can only talk for myself in this regard: I followed government guidelines with my decision as travel was not allowed, I am skeptical at the moment about “hotspots” because there are many, many more tests available than during the first wave, so we have no comparative numbers, but the virus exists and this winter will tell us a lot about the next steps needed. Some countries have tried, through track and trace, to do events and see what happens, I’m not sure if the Leipzig data has been published yet, others like the UK have just been in a mess.
You can see how governments are backtracking now. We had the information in our hands, we knew it couldn’t last but some people were delusional about it and had a blind faith that throwing open-air with thousands of people with an airborne virus will be viable because the government said so.
There are many “coping mechanisms” for people in a crisis. Bury your head in the sand and pretend all is good, willingly believe the negative algorithms that are sent your way by social media, not everyone is equipped to be rational in a crisis. And if financially you are screwed either as someone in the events industry, or a pilot, or an owner of a family business that needs tourism it is easy to see that people would rather forget about this situation, it is a side of human nature.