MOTZ: Dynamic Reflection – Label Interview

AbstractDiv

It’s no secret that Ireland’s techno scene has been popping recently, putting us on the map as a techno hotspot in Europe and attracting major international talent. One of the event organisers that helped make this possible is Mutate, whose modus operandi is to bring underground artists to the intimate setting on Dublin’s Eden Quay. Mutate has featured a delectable mix of acts so far, from home grown artists such as Jamie BehanSunil SharpeDefekt, RSCH14, to international acts, including Ø[Phase], UVBRoman Lindau and Tripeo amongst others. Many good times yet to come with Abdullah RashimInigo KennedyLewis Fautzi and Amotik all lined up to play later this year.

Mutate’s latest collaboration is with Dutch born techno record label Dynamic Reflection, founded by Paul Boex in 2008. As insinuated by the name of the label, his purpose was to diversity and enrichen the techno soundscape. In the nine years since its conception Dynamic Reflection has had a host of impressive charted releases, offering a platform for both established and budding artists. In this interview we caught up with Paul Boex, discussing his motivations for starting Dynamic Reflection, and had a quick chat up with resident artist Abstract Division (Paul Boex & Dave Miller) and fresh talent Stefan Vincent, both of whom will be demolishing Dublin’s dance-floor on March 31st. Not to be missed!

Dynamic Reflection

Paul Boex

Dynamic Reflection was founded with the mission of producing techno in its purest form. Do you think techno has become contaminated?

No, I don’t think it has become contaminated. In fact, techno is bigger than ever. True, there is a lot crap coming out, but on the other hand there’s also A LOT of good stuff being released. Especially from new young producers, new small labels, or older labels that have re-launched. I think that’s a good thing.

Your label name “Dynamic Reflection” would insinuate that music is a form of reflective expression. Would you agree that techno is an intelligent discourse on modern society?

Well at the time when we started the label, there wasn’t much good stuff coming out. That’s the whole reason why we started this. But now, almost 9 years later, the scene and the output is better then ever. There are lot’s of great parties, labels, artist and educated crowds out there… so yeah, I think we can all agree to that.

Dynamic Reflection’s outputs alternate between releases that are both digital and vinyl, and digital only releases. Why is this?

Since we get so many good demos in our inbox and we want to create a platform for young and hungry talented producers out there. It simply would be too expensive to release this only on vinyl. Because, even if you make good music, it doesn’t automatically translate into proper sales. In the past we’ve tried to do this with a few young upcoming artists, but that didn’t really work out the way we hoped, so to release some of the young unknown talents on a dedicated digital only platform is a nice alternative. We make sure it get’s in the right hands.

You have amassed an impressive list of artist releases over the years, of both veteran and burgeoning artists. Why do you think Dynamic Reflection attracts such a high calibre of artists, and what do you look for in unsigned artists?

I think a lot of people just like what we do and what we put out. Also it helps if you have a personal connection with the artists, that’s very important to us. Most of the guys that release on Dynamic Reflection we have a deeper bond with. Which also makes easier to ‘get’ music from them.

Abstract Division

Paul Boex & Dave Miller

In comparison with many of that bangers being released by other artists, you guys have opted for a subtler blend of techno. Was this a conscious decision?

If you’re referring to that new distorted industrial techno movement, which is getting very popular these days? Well, that’s just not really for us we suppose. We produce and play what we like, from deep dubby stuff till old-school 90’s stuff and everything in between, but always with a certain level of quality. In our DJ sets the music is very well selected and we like to tell a certain story, where you take the people on a trip. That also means you have to kill your darlings sometimes, simply because it doesn’t fit the story at that point. It depends on the setting, the crowd, the timeslot and many other small factors.

Many of your tracks possess an inward tension, two conflicting forces with coalesce and result in a single coherent sound. To what would you contribute the level of mastery required to create this?

Well it’s quite rare to have a special chemistry between 2 people in the studio. Over time we both individually sat down in the studio with many different friends and colleagues, and most of the time that didn’t work out the way we had hoped. Although we both have different characters, somehow it really works well between us and we have that certain connection where it all comes down to in the studio. In fact it’s the same chemistry as we have on stage, which we are really happy with of course.

How do you prepare for a set?

Every week we get a lot of promo’s. So we dig for new music mostly once or twice a week. We also have a big collection of older stuff and we try to balance these two out in our DJ sets. Depending on the time slot and the show we try to estimate what to expect to encounter. If we play the warm up slot, we dig for deeper stuff. If we play primetime for a big crowd, we’ll bring more bangers. On the other hand, we never know exactly which direction we’re going to take or where it will end. Just go with the flow and see what happens. We think that’s also the beauty in it we suppose.

Stefan Vincent

You began by producing your own tracks and it was only after accumulating a stock of your own that you began DJing. What led you to take this approach?

After a couple of years of releasing tracks I started playing out my music live, which was cool but I rarely got more than an hour to play out my music (which is actually kinda normal for a live PA), and next to that the dynamics of a live PA are completely different than a dj performance. Next to that I was acquiring loads of new music which I wanted to play out as well, that’s when I decided I wanted to be able to perform in the full spectrum rather than being sort of limited to playing in a certain bpm or style.

What prompted you to start producing in the first place?

I was only 19 when I started producing, just because of a genuine interest in electronic music.  For me being on stage was never the plan to begin with. I just started to make music because I wanted to, I never had the plan to release music but eventually it started to happen anyway.

What machines do you have in your studio?

I have quite a modest setup as I work mostly digital, but next to ableton with a couple of vst’s I use the TR-8 a lot. I also have the Push 2, a System 1, a JX-03 and a D50. Also some novation controllers for playing live, and of course my RME fireface.

MOTZ: Dynamic Reflection – Label Interview

MOTZ: Orphx Interview – ‘We were often considered ”too industrial” for most techno promoters and labels’

Hailing from Canada, together Rich Oddie and Christina Sealey formed the music duo Orphx in 1993, and have been at the forefront of the experimental music scene ever since. Their sound has been heavily influenced by their studio equipment: in the early nineties their productions were dense, gritty and tactile but later on as they combined this with software, they began to fuse their industrial, experimental sound with techno, creating a blueprint for the industrial-techno which has risen to prominence today. Listening to their tracks, it conjures the landscape of Ontario, Hamilton where Sealey and Oddie grew up and first began producing together. They have amassed a list of releases as long as my arm, collaborating with independent labels such as Adam X’s Sonic Groove and Hymen Records, as well as providing remixes for artists such as DrumcellOscar MuleroPerc and Svreca. High in international demand, they have toured all over North America and Europe, playing live improvised performances in BerghainTresorMutek and Labyrinth amongst others. In this interview, Orphx gets technical, talking us through the tools they use to create their ‘rhythmic noise’ and the external influences for the tracks.

In recent years, Orphx has stepped away from the virtual and turned to using analog modular synthesizers. What sparked that change and how does it change your live performances?

Christie: When we started making music in the early 1990s, we were using hardware: synths, a sampler, drum machines, contact microphones and reel to reel tape machines. We soon started using computers to sequence our music and by the 2000s we were using computers to record and perform. After a while, I started to feel restricted by the use of the computer and I didn’t feel as connected to the music when preforming or creating as I did with our earlier hands-on approach. Around 2008, I began exploring modular synthesizers as a way of developing a more engaging approach to live performance. Now they have become central to our studio recordings as well.

Rich: The modular also led us back toward improvisation. All of our early work was based on improvisation but over time we moved toward more carefully arranged recordings and performances. There was always an improvisational element but the computer software during the early 2000s did not allow much room for improvising with the basic structures of the music. We started using Ableton Live around 2005 and this allowed us to be much more flexible and intuitive with live performance. The modular synthesizers pushed us back towards a fully improvisational approach because it is virtually impossible to pre-plan and predict exactly how the system will behave. All of the elements of the sound can be changed in real-time and this makes the modular the perfect improvisational instrument. Now all of our sets are created in the moment, with a very rough plan of where things will go.

The music scene and in particular music production has changed a lot since 1993 when Orphx released its first record. In your opinion, what impact does this have on the quality and quantity of sounds being produced today?

Christie: It is much easier and faster today to produce and record high quality sounds from home now but that doesn’t necessarily make higher quality music. I still have a fondness for the stripped down production, harshness, and noise of a simple analog setup, and the shifting timings that occur when sounds are not tightly sequenced and quantized.

Rich: When we began, software was limited to basic sequencing programs and it was difficult to afford instruments, effects, and recording equipment on a limited budget. Today, it is much easier to access very powerful software for every aspect of the music making process. Many more people now have the ability to create music. As Christie said, you have an increase in quantity but not necessarily in quality. One of the challenges today is that producers are often faced with too many options and it becomes difficult to choose between all of the available instruments, effects, and programs. It is very helpful to have limitations and be forced to learn and master a small selection of tools.

The noun ‘pioneer’ is often used to describe Orphx due to your move to combine industrial & techno in the early 90’s that industry heavy-weights are only catching up with now. Was there a light-bulb moment or did the process happen more naturally, and why do you think it took others so long to come round to the idea?

Rich: When we started, we were listening to techno and going to raves but it did not directly influence our early recordings. But by the time of our 1997 release Nullity, you can hear the influence and this became a prominent feature of our sound from that point forward. It was a natural progression. Of course, we were not the only ones combining techno and industrial music. This was central to the European rhythmic noise scene that we became involved with through labels like Hands and Ant Zen/Hymen. And there were many other artists and labels within techno that were directly inspired by industrial music. In recent years, the industrial influence in techno has become prominent again but those earlier waves of influence are sometimes overlooked.

A blight on the music industry is an obsession with genre labels. What is your opinion on this and its potential repercussions on artists?

Rich: I think it can be very limiting to try to deliberately create music that fits into a particular genre. That often results in boring, derivative music. I think we’ve always tried to combine elements of different genres, rather than fitting into a particular box.

Christie: This was a problem for us in the past, because we were often considered “too industrial” for most techno promoters and labels, and “too techno” for some industrial fans and events. We have worked hard to reach a wide range of audiences and make connections between different scenes. We’ve also been fortunate to work with labels that have crossed the techno / industrial divide, at a time when the lines between those genres have blurred again. Now, with the internet it is possible to market your music to a wide range of people and I think this makes things a bit easier.

Making music as a duo is a beautiful fusion of two minds but isn’t always successful. Do you ever find you’re not in sync and if so how do you iron out any ‘creative differences’?

Rich:  We argue about it! But fortunately, we are usually in agreement.

Christie: Working as a team is sometimes challenging but I think ultimately more rewarding, especially for live shows. If one of us is having an off night it can negatively affect our live show but when things come together it can be really amazing and much more rewarding than playing on your own. We try to talk to each other during each performance to stay in tune and keep a good flow to the performance.  

You’ve said in other interviews that every track has a reference point. What is your creative process from the conception of an idea till production is complete?

Rich: That varies from one track to another. Usually, we start with sounds and rhythms rather than concepts. Later, ideas and reference points from books, films, or real-life events begin to suggest themselves and get worked into the track or reflected in the title.

Christie: We often discuss an overall theme/concept that we are both interested in and would like to explore. From there, we create starting points that we then bring to each other to work on further. I enjoy the sound and pattern creation aspect more and Rich excels at rhythms and composition so our work is often divided that way. We often work back and forth on tracks until they are complete.

You hail from Hamilton, Ontario and attribute a lot of your sound to the industrialized landscape. How was it making music there in the early days?

Rich: We learned about industrial music and techno through knowledgable friends and a few influential radio and television programs. The industrial landscape of Hamilton definitely resonated with the aesthetics of the music and we were naturally attracted to those sites.

Christie: The early days were pretty DIY and experimental in approach. We used anything that we could to make music, including contact microphones, tape machines, and scrap metal. We recorded sounds in some of the abandoned industrial sites around Hamilton and used field recordings from all around the city.

Rich: It was good in some ways to be developing our sound in a city which is relatively isolated. We were discovering new music and learning about the history of electronic music but there was no real scene for this music in the city and therefore no pressure to fit into anyone’s expectations. It also gave us the opportunity to start presenting our own events and building our own networks.

Working as a duo and working with music is something that has played lesser and larger roles at different points over the twenty three year span since you and Christina began collaborating. How do you manage to sustain yourself creatively over such a long time span?

Christie: I oscillate between music and visual art. I find that they work well together. If I am getting blocked with music I can get more involved in my painting and I often find that this reinvigorates my interest in the music and inspires new ways of working and vice versa.  

Rich: Until recently, I had a parallel life as an academic. My teaching, research and writing would often influence my music. In the last few years, all of my work has revolved around music but I take a lot of influence from what I am reading and seeing in the world around me. I’m always listening to a wide range of music and this also provides a lot of inspiration. I usually have a few different recording projects on the go and if I’m getting stuck with one, I will switch to another.

You have lots of different projects going on. How do you manage that without becoming too overwhelmed?

Rich: These days, we are often working to meet recording and performance deadlines so that helps keep things focused. I enjoy having different projects to express different ideas and styles of music. I’d like to start more, if I can just find the time.

If you had to give advice to your younger self, what would you say led to your global success today? 

Christie: I don’t know that it is such a great idea to get caught up in the concept of global success. I think that this can come and go very quickly. But my advice would be to work in ways that are challenging and personally engaging, rather than worrying about following trends or scenes.

MOTZ: Orphx Interview – ‘We were often considered ”too industrial” for most techno promoters and labels’ 

MOTZ: In Review – Index Club

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with techno nights in Dublin recently. The line-ups have been stellar, the DJs have delivered, but it always felt as though something were missing – that kinetic energy that makes a night special. So when I heard that Subject x Mutate were hosting an event called Index on the Dublin qauys, I was hoping for something different. With Mord Records invited for the opening night and a line up including AnsomeCharlton and Bas Mooy, things were looking good already.

The exterior of Index is rather unremarkable; darkened windows and unmarked door, if you weren’t looking for it you could easily walk by without knowing a dank techno basement awaits below.

Walking in I was greeted by smiling, friendly bouncers, a good start that set the tone for the night. Next I walked down a dark tunnel that led immediately to the dance floor. As soon as I made it to the end, I could feel the energy that was brewing inside. It was palpable. Charlton was in the middle of his set, a dark figure doused in brightly coloured lights that shone from behind him. The space felt large yet intimate. The powerful beams penetrated the crowd, refracting against individuals as though we were on stage too. It created a sense of surreal and immediate reality. 

Charlton played a varied, experimental set, ranging from throbbing acid to clanky, thumping tracks that swelled up the whole room. To end his set he slowed it right down with a smooth rap track, laced over a jagged, off-staccato beat. 

While Charlton’s set felt transcendent, Bas Mooy’s sound felt distinctly more grounded. His track selection seemed to change the very composition of sound waves, distorting them till they were thick and stodgy and settled around my body, trapping us in a sea of beautiful, murky techno. He played banger after banger, mixing in textured, grainy tracks to sustain the energy and ultimately decimated the dancefloor with his trademark, bomb of a track Stave – Hardened Chord (Regis Remix)

There was an electricity and interconnectivity between the DJ and everyone present. The crowd were on a good buzz, having a good time but also committed to the music. The flashing neon lights heightened this feeling, creating a permanent state of presence that worked well in the small space. The only let down was the sound system which delivered a rather one-dimensional product, and I can only dream how Bas Mooy’s set would have sounded on a top-notch PA system. 

The night absolutely delivered and has reinvigorated my excitement in Dublin’s techno scene. 

MOTZ: In Review – Index Club

College Tribune: Lack of Information and Emphasis Highlight UCD’s Problematic Approach to Sexual Assault on Campus

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Several high profile incidents internationally and on campus have seen UCD’s policy and approach to sexual assault and harassment on campus come under question. Do students know how to report an incident with the university if they want to, or do the college need to make it clearer? Should the college take a proactive stance on tackling sexual assault or ‘rape culture’ on campus?  

The combination of the young adult’s burgeoning sexual identity, the nebulous concept of consent and the alcohol fuelled first taste of freedom: the formative years of university life are a vulnerable period for young adults which can turn college campuses into an insidious breeding ground for sexual assault.

America has seen a number of high-profile sexual assault and rape cases, which have brought to public attention the endemic of college rape culture that has existed for many years. The Stanford rape victim penned a widely publicised open-letter to her attacker; a university town called Missoula earned itself the label ‘America’s Rape Capital’ because of a series of 80 rapes within a three-year period; and the case brought against Owen Labrie rape case uncovered the long-standing tradition of senior students sexually propositioning younger students in an elite boarding school.

Irish press covered similar cases of violence against female students in November of last year, with investigations underway into the alleged rape of a UCD student in November in Belfield campus. Mainstream media reporting would suggest that these was random and isolated event, however the lack of press coverage should not be considered indicative of Ireland’s college rape culture.

Sexual violence is undeniably a stain on the wider fabric of Irish educational institutions and a study by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) in 2013 shows that 16% of students received an unwanted sexual experience while at their educational institution. The prevalence of sexual assault or harassment in borne on the shoulders of Irish female students more acutely. One in five women experienced unwanted sexual behaviour and one in twelve were the victim of rape or attempted rape, with the figure being less than 1% in relation to men. Speaking to Neuroscience student Áine she acknowledged feeling scared late at night in UCD, saying. ‘When I’m alone and walking through the car park or walking home through the library I have my keys between my fingers.’

Sexual assault on campus is an Irish problem not just an American one.

How does UCD deal with Sexual Assault involving its  Students?

Hand-in-hand with the disturbing frequency of sexual assault attacks against students in Ireland is the lack of proactive behaviour put in place by educational institutions to handle it. The Journal recently reported on a UCD student’s attempt to lodge an incidence of sexual assault, which is said to have taken place on October of 2015, with the college authorities. The second year student has said she was ‘bounced around’ by UCD officials as there are no ‘visible system in place’ designed to handle her claims, which remain unaddressed despite her feeling unsafe.

Informing students on the correct course of action in the aftermath of a sexual assault has not been a point of concern for UCD. With information on how or where to report an incident notoriously difficult to find. Anecdotally the Tribune quizzed fourteen random students on if they knew where to report an incident of sexual harassment or abuse within UCD, with not one knowing how to make a complaint.

I began by looking at information on the Welfare page under the sexual health section. The page listed the UCD Health & Counselling centre, a student advisor link (that didn’t work), the welfare page itself and the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. There was no prescribed route for dealing with the matter internally, nor any information beyond links to external websites. Next I turned to the support section of www.ucd.ie. The page listed the Emergency Campus helpline, which would refer the incident to official Emergency Services. Again, there was no information detailing an internal handling of the case, with all guidelines targeted towards the immediate aftermath of the assault.

I had a hypothetical scenario in mind, in which one UCD student is raped or sexually assaulted by another student of UCD. Was there a specific body in UCD to process such complaints and what were the necessary procedures and safeguards in place?

My last port of call was UCD’s code of conduct. Trawling through the entire document I found only one mention of sexual violence, Article 6.14, which forbids ‘sexual harassment of any student or member of the staff of the University’. I referred to the UCD Dignity & Respect Policy to seek elucidation of the university’s sexual harassment policy. The Dignity and Respect policy (which is currently under review) fleshed out the meaning, by providing examples of sexual harassment of varying degrees of intensity. Only two of the nine examples involved physical harassment, the most severe of which beginning ‘threats of or actual, physical assault’. No more details were given as to what actions ‘physical assault’ would encompass.

Given that 1 in 20 of Irish female students are the victims of rape, with an additional 3% suffering an attempted rape, both documents appear grossly inadequate for dealing with the reality of sexual violence in UCD. It is unclear if sexual assault and rape is included within the scope of this terminology, and even if it were, the heading ‘sexual harassment’ demeans the level of violence suffered by a victim of sexual assault.

Speaking to UCD SU Welfare officer Roisin O’Mara about the issue she told me that if you go the Gardaí UCD cannot do anything about your claim. Acknowledging that campus sexual assault was not a new problem, she said that UCD needed to change its approach to a zero-tolerance stance. ‘This isn’t going away. This isn’t anything new.’

Seeking more answers I contacted the student discipline administration as well as a dignity & respect colleague. My experiences mimicked that of the earlier mentioned UCD student: I was forwarded from one person to the next and ultimately received no answers to my questions.

UCD’s willingness to distance itself from student instances of sexual violence and leave all investigations to Gardaí is at odds with the US universities, where often the preferred course of actions is to handle reports of sexual violence internally, often to the detriment of the student. Yale law student, Alexandra Brodsky has spoken openly about her experience of reporting her sexual assault to her university, whom coerced into not telling the police.

In response to public backlash, the US government sought to strengthen legal protections, and turned to Title IX, a US federal law designed to prevent sexual discrimination. In existence since 1972, it has been bolstered by the Obama administration to include sexual harassment and sexual violence, legally requiring schools to have an established procedure for handling such cases. If a student files a complaint the school is required to conduct its own investigation, regardless of whether it is reported to the police, and must act to remedy the harm incurred while ensuring it doesn’t happen again. This is still an imperfect model. The life form such an investigation should take is uncertain given that recommendations made by the US Department of Education are guidelines rather than uniform rules, leaving each university free to develop their own procedure.

Having a precise, judicious and thorough process laid out is in the best interest of both the victim and accused, as shown by the John Doe v Jane Roe San Diago Case. After John Doe had been found guilty of sexual misconduct by a tribunal and suspended for over a year he sued the college arguing that the administrative case brought against him was one-sided and unfair. The state judge agreed he hadn’t received due process and the guilty determination was overturned, putting the victim in a far worse position than she would have been had the original investigation been more rigorous.

If a disciplinary hearing were to take place in UCD to investigate a claim of sexual assault it is unclear what safeguards would be in place to accommodate the sensitive nature of the case. A disciplinary procedure designed to punish plagiarism is wholly unsuitable, and the rudimentary mention of sexual harassment in the UCD code of conduct would suggest that a UCD disciplinary committee is ill equipped to handle such complaints.

Does UCD have an obligation to handle sexual assault claims involving its students?

The salient question is whether it is appropriate that third level institutions should have an investigative and discriminatory role for sexual violence involving its own students, or whether it should be left solely to the legal system. The answer is that both investigations should be conducted in parallel with one another as neither is sufficient as a standalone procedure. Sexual violence is a criminal matter that should be handled by police forces, however there are circumstances that require action beyond the Gardaí, like how the university will deal with the practicalities of a victim and alleged abuser sharing a campus or a course.

Low prosecution rates serve as a major deterrence to victims reporting crimes of sexual violence: two thirds of rape cases reported are brought to trial and only approximately 1% of reported sexual assault instances result in conviction. With the burden of proof being ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ for criminal cases, lack of evidence is the overwhelming reason, as it is often one word against another.

Legally an administrative investigation by UCD on the other hand would benefit from requiring a lower burden of proof (‘on the balance of probabilities’) minimising the evidentiary hurdle permitting some form of disciplinary action. Sometimes victims don’t want the perpetrator to go to jail yet wish to avoid the vulnerable position of seeing their attacker on campus. Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz carried a mattress on her back throughout the school year to protest at the way the college handled her reports of rape at the hands of a fellow student Paul Nungesser. He was cleared by a tribunal despite similar rape claims made by three other students, and he continued to study alongside Sulkowicz for the duration of their degree. Committing repeat offences is not uncommon for those who commit sexual violence and internal action would allow UCD protective action swiftly and effectively.

By failing to take a firm stance against sexual violence UCD is contributing to culture that permits attacks and neglects victims. UCD’s response to the alleged rape last semester is particularly telling as they only made public the allegations once it had been circulated by mainstream media. Out of fourteen UCD students I spoke to, twelve had heard about the attack via social media and not from UCD. English and Drama Student Ronan Bartley described UCD’s reaction as a ‘tepid and lukewarm response’, suggesting that UCD intended cover up the incident, a worry voiced by several other students.

It is a worrying reflection of the disconnect between UCD’s governing bodies and its students if they believe the university favours its reputation over their personal safety. An environment in which students feel their safety concerns aren’t being addressed is the same environment that emboldens potential attackers. It’s clear internal policy and institutional frameworks have a long way to catch up to the realities of sexual assault and harassment on campus.

College Tribune: Lack of Information and Emphasis Highlight UCD’s Problematic Approach to Sexual Assault on Campus

MOTZ: DJ Polls and Social Constructs – When Techno Becomes Political

An annual marker of the year rolling to a close, the polling of the RA Top 100 DJ list is a time to reminisce on the year gone by in underground dance music, and to think about who has impressed us most behind the decks. This year, and for the fourth time running, Dixon was awarded the highly coveted number one spot. Dixon’s unrivalled winning streak received a tepid response from some, most notably an article written by Thump (of Vicemagazine) who rather dramatically lamented the results as confirming the rise of conservative techno.” Describing the Dixon as a totem of cultural conservatism – safe choices for safe people, the Thump article viewed his relentless dominance of the RA Charts as signifying the beginning of an epoch of bland, conservative clubbing”.

Describing him as a perfectly fine DJ, author Josh Baines, depicts Dixon as a safe choice but lacking in the galvanising and arousing qualities that are the hallmark of a DJ worthy of the number one spot. He compares a Dixon set to repeatedly watching a favourite film, re-reading a favourite book, or eating a bag of crisps or digestive biscuits; in other words predictable, comforting and boring. This craving for the familiar has dark undertones, according to the article: it is caused by a desire to retreat…within ourselves and within this practise lurks the danger of the marginalization of the unusual, a consequence with both music and socio-economic implications. In the author’s own words: ‘roots among queer people of color that shouldn’t need explaining ever again—will be forgotten, or worse, whitewashed.’’

The piece reaches some ominous conclusions with potentially harmful implications if everything the author says is true. However, while the article has the beginnings of making some valid points, the author’s tendency to exaggerate at best undermines the impact of his article and at worst, puts him at the source of the very hostility he himself denounces.

Identity Politics

The article raises the issue of identity politics in the music industry by drawing attention to Dixon as being a cis white straight male. The RA Top 100 is heavily male dominated, with only 8 female artists featured altogether, and a mere two in the top twenty. A large majority of the DJs listed are also white. Here at MOTZ we will be the first ones to say that more diversity would certainly be welcomed. 

Baines makes the point that the rise of conservatism is inherently linked with identity politics, reflecting the wider world view that cis, white, straight males are valued more greatly due to these non-transferable attributes determined by their genetic make up. The insinuation being made is that Dixon’s victory is not by virtue of his DJing skills alone but due to his conservative appeal, which encompasses his gender, skin colour and sexuality. 

Acting as a watchdog for discrimination is a vital role for journalists in the music industry, but to do so irresponsibly is in nobody’s interests. Diversity for the mere sake of diversity does more damage than good and should acknowledge the plurality of talent that does exist in the industry, rather than being a token gesture. When it comes to judging talent, you listen with your ears and not your eyes. Dixon was not afforded this equal treatment in the Thump article, which indirectly used his superficial features as a form of criticism. The critique levelled at him was a maelstrom of sweeping statements, name-calling and pidgeon-holing, and the closest it came to critically assessing his technical skills was Baine’s through the medium of dance. When was the last time you saw someone going absolutely wild over a Dixon set?”, asks Baines

Jeff Mills, who weighed in on the issue by commenting under the article, makes an excellent point on the issue and accuses Baines of using identity politics as a smokescreen for his lack of technical knowledge on the issue. You realise people who rely on identity politics—especially in music—use this easy way out because they don’t truly understand the technical skill and talent behind what they’re arguing against, right?

The Great Equaliser

No pocket of society is free from prejudice or discrimination but the underground scene has a reputation as being open-minded and unprejudicial.  Describing about the powerful effect of music, “It’s [music] the great equaliser”, says Mills. Taking a look at past winners RA polls, black DJs Seth Troxlerand Jamie Jones claimed the top spot in the years just before Dixon. The repetition of Dixon’s victory (as opposed to any other cis, male, white, straight DJ – of which there are many) would suggest that it is the merit of his DJing ability (as opposed to his politicized attributes) that earned him his accumulation of votes. Mills compares his talent to that of a classical composer. 

The Average Dixon Fan: “He’s always been there, drink in one hand, phone in the other, standing in the shadows at a Hot Creations show.”

Much of the terminology used to describe Dixon is crude, laddish and condescending, with Dixon being described as the DJ equivalent of a sauceless steak served well done. It is glorified slagging rather than musical or political edification, and flies in the face of the author’s own claims of open-mindedness. The condescension is extended to the voters too, with the average Dixon fan profiled as being politically disengaged and musically ambivalent clubber only interested in “having a fucking good time.” This ridiculing caricature, which features too many derogatory labels to list, is the very antithesis of the “safe space” the author champions further on in the article. 

A skewed voting system?

Some of the articles objections are valid but misplaced and would be better answered if the RA voting system and its structures were put under closer scrutiny. The RA poll is open to RA registered members to vote for the top five DJs that appeared in their RA diary. Like all voting systems that are open to the public at large, it is a popularity contest as much as anything else. Flavours of electronic music that push the envelope are invariably going to be a niche interest, captivating some while alienating others, so by definition a conservative blend is more likely to attract a greater majority of people. Branding Dixon as a “safe bet”, or returning to his own rather odd motif, a “sauceless steak served well done”, Baines acknowledges Dixon’s capacity to appeal to a large audience (himself included if his mood is right).

So although Dixon may not be radical in his music selection, by accommodating to the average club punter he is more likely to feature somewhere in people’s top 5 (as opposed to no.1): a foolproof strategy to climb the charts. Dixon’s relentless victory is more-so the product of a skewed voting system as opposed to the beginning of a whitewashed narrative or a conservative era, and the claims made by Baines amount to scaremongering. 

Comparing the RA voting model to the model of the Mixmag DJ charts proves that a difference in selection process yields very different results. The Mixmag annual compilation of the year’s top 20 DJs are chosen by Mixmagstaffers rather than the public, allowing them to make bolder choices rather than crowd pleasers. The list features six women in total, just two less than the RA top 100 overall and Dixon does not feature on the list at all. The overall winner? Veteran, female DJ The Black Madonna. Two totally different approaches and two totally different outcomes. Arguably, the Mixmag chart could be criticized as ignoring the opinion of the hoi polloi club-goers but both systems have their flaws. 

Dixon would not feature on my own list when it comes to top DJs, but it’s a decision I attribute to my own personal preferences in music than anything else. Chances are the Thump article won’t make a dent in Dixon’s reputation but in terms of integrity it is sorely lacking. It displays a rigidity of judgment limited by the false tenet that all mainstream music is bad while all alternative music is good.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It breeds a different species of close-minded conservatism, insipidly dangerous under its guise of tolerance and freedom of expression. 

We all turn to music to find ourselves, to lose ourselves, to be ourselves. Whatever that means, we should be able to do it free from judgment. 

MOTZ: DJ Polls and Social Constructs – When Techno Becomes Political

MOTZ: Dublin’s Electronic Music Venue District 8 May Face Demolition

The Liberties Dublin posted the news on its Facebook page this morning that the beloved Tivoli Theatre, home to District 8 on the weekends, may face demolition. Located on 135-138 Francis Street, the historic theatre faces danger by an application for planning permission made by the Hodson Bay Group to redevelop the location theatre and adjoining carpark and to build an “aparthotel” in its place.

Under the proposed development the Hodson Bay Group would build a “298-bedroom aparthotel in a new 5-6 storey building set around a courtyard. The theatre will be demolished.”

A previous application was rejected by An Bord Pleanála in October (Reference 4337/16) but was rejected. The revised proposal for planning permission has been scaled back in size, which would suggest initial plans were overly ambitious.

It comes as a shock that the unique 500-seat theatre built over 70 years ago in 1936 may face destruction, particularly after the previous blow that Hangar on Andrew’s Lane Theatre will shut down, also to be replaced by a hotel.

A statement from District 8 shows they remain unfazed and positive despite the uncertain fate of the Tivoli Theatre. ‘We’re happy to reveal that the plans for the redevelopment of the Tivoli site are long-term. We have shows booked right up until 2018 and, after our biggest year to date, we’ve big plans for 2017, including opening throughout the summer this year. Onwards and upwards!’

While the proposed plans may provide a boost to the construction industry and provide much needed housing (for those wondering, an “aparthotel” is “serviced apartment style complex that uses a hotel-style booking system”) it is questionable at what cost. Given that Dublin City Centre is littered with vacant lots and derelict buildings it is surely unnecessary to target buildings that would potentially dilute the musical and cultural identity of Dublin.

In 2016 both District 8 and Hangar have had a momentous role in expanding and influencing the music scene in Dublin, importing industry heavyweights from all around the world as well as showcasing home-grown artists.

MOTZ: Dublin’s Electronic Music Venue District 8 May Face Demolition

Chance brought me to Taiwan, Asia’s ‘undiscovered gem’

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Chance brought me to Taiwan, Asia’s ‘undiscovered gem’

IRISH TIMES

Taiwan refers to itself as “The Undiscovered Gem of Asia”, an astute self-appraisal given it seemed like no one I knew had heard of Taiwan before I moved there. “When are you leaving for Thailand?” I was asked repeatedly. If I’m completely honest, my own knowledge of Taiwan wasn’t exactly extensive and how I ended up there was down to chance more than anything else.

I was in my last year of college and like most final year students I was clueless about what I wanted to do once I left. All I knew is that I wanted to go as far away as possible and experience something unlike anything I had known before.

Asia had become a fashionable place to visit and, with a culture and history so different from our own, I knew it would be the place to satisfy my craving to experience something completely different.

Around the same time one of my college lecturers announced in passing that the Taiwanese government was offering Chinese language scholarships. Despite not speaking a word of Chinese nor knowing much about Taiwan, I sent in an application without giving it much thought. Eight months later I found myself on an aircraft headed for Taipei.

My overwhelming first impression when I arrived in Taiwan was just how warm everyone was. If I spent more than a minute looking at my Google maps, someone would offer directions. If I was struggling with multiple bags at once, a stranger would rush to help me carry them. Arriving in a country where I knew no one and couldn’t speak the language, the kindness I received from strangers softened the landing blow.

While my status as a “Westerner” may have had some bearing on my interactions, to reduce the benevolent treatment I received to my skin colour would be simplistic and unfair. The thoughtfulness and consideration I experienced was characteristic of the Taiwanese in all aspects of society. Crime was virtually non-existent, I always felt completely safe and the support given to the elderly would put Ireland to shame.

Cultural gulf

The cultural gulf between Taiwan and Ireland may be significant, but the parallels that can be drawn between the two countries are uncanny. Both nations are small islands, adjacent to the country that dominated them for years and in whose shadow they resided.

Like Irish, Taiwanese tribal languages are dying out having been almost wiped out by the official language: Mandarin Chinese. Perhaps it is the consequence of living in the shadow of an “empire” for so long, but both the Taiwanese and Irish share a sense of humility, an unassuming nature which paves the way for our having a reputation for being some of the most welcoming people in the world.

Although lreland is almost 2.5 times bigger than Taiwan, the Asian island has an impressive population of 23.5 million people. Taipei alone has more than seven million people.

The sprawling metropolis became my home for seven months. Crowds and queuing soon became a part of daily life and skyscrapers were my playground. Despite the hustle and bustle, everything ran in a timely and orderly manner. People would spontaneously queue in a straight line and crowds felt comfortable rather than overwhelming.

When I became jaded by steel and concrete I could escape to one of the many hiking trails on the edge of Taipei, accessible within 40 minutes by public transport. Being an island, Taiwan has many beach towns as well as numerous national parks and countryside locations with stunning scenery. Although I am a city mouse at heart, periodically I crave the serenity of nature and Taipei provides the perfect hybrid between the two.

Known as one of the four Asian tigers, Taiwan is one of the most prosperous nations in Asia and spotting a Ferrari was a regular occurrence. For the first time in my life I became aware of how much money I didn’t have. Witnessing people’s frivolous spending habits was like going back in time to our own Celtic tiger era. Much like in Ireland, this new influx of money has meant younger generations are growing up in a country almost unrecognisable to their grandparents.

Street food

As Taipei is a capital city, I didn’t experience the drastic culture shock I had anticipated, and learning the Taiwanese way of life was more a gradual process than an immediate blow. Still, I’ll never forget the night when I first arrived and discovered that most Taiwanese flats don’t have a kitchen, street food being the most economical choice.

Image and status are a cornerstone of Taiwan’s society and in turn the Taiwanese are extremely conscious of how they present themselves publicly. Outfits are chosen carefully and with impeccable taste and the perception of affluence is just as vital as sporting the latest trend.

The glaring disparity of wealth between the classes was an unsettling part of Taiwanese life, and one I never quite got used to. Depending on how much money you had, it would be like living in two different worlds.

Despite the city’s tendency to lean towards ostentation, food and public transport are inexpensive so it is possible to enjoy yourself with a minimal amount of money.

Getting by on a student income yet accustomed to the exorbitant prices in Ireland, I was able to flitter between both worlds and find a balance to suit my budget. Sometimes I would find myself in a decadent rooftop bar, sipping on a drink that cost five times what I had paid for my dinner that night.

I went to Taiwan not knowing what to expect and when my seven months were up I packed my bag with great reluctance. My lifestyle there was easy and exciting, and I could enjoy myself without constantly having to ask myself, “Can I really afford this?”

With delicious food, a rich culture and some of the most beautiful landscapes in Asia, Taiwan offers so much more besides efficiency and affordability. It is no wonder it is known among expats as the best-kept secret in Asia.

Nina Kraviz backlash: no techno or something more sinister?

There has been extensive coverage of a facebook post written by Nina Kraviz this month, in which she defends her track choice during a closing DJ set in Melbourne. Playing to a crowd of 4,000 at the Smalltown open-air event alongside Bjarki and Marcel Dettman, Nina faced harsh criticism for the lack of “techno” in her set, with some going as far as asking for a refund.

The post and the backlash raises issues which are close to our heart at MOTZ: the art of techno and the influence of females in the industry. Most of the criticism launched at Nina was whether or not she delivered a true “techno” set, and according to some present at the event she offered “none.” Nina hit back, stating, “in fact all I played was pretty much techno at least in my own definition but much of a broader spectrum.”To placate any doubters, Nina prefixes this statement with an in-depth self-analysis of her set (always the sign of a good DJ), detailing the tracks she played, the mood of the crowd and descriptions of the picturesque views which verge on poetic. 

“…with the bay view in front of me, the sunset and strong cold wind blowing in my face took me into some other dimension.”

I am not going to subject you to a long-winded, academic debate hypothesising the definition of “techno”, because quite frankly in this instance it is a form of snobbery and a tool for repression that undermines all that is good about music. Nina herself admits that the set was slightly left-field and didn’t necessarily conform with the repetitive, fast-paced and monotonous 4×4 beat associated with techno. 

“Quite possibly they wanted 3 hours of long steady beat narrative and I offered something that didn’t match their expectations.”

Her set included many unreleased tracks such as Bjarki’s “Fresh Jive”, “I Want To Be a Stewardess” by Mira aka ISHOME or Shadowax, as well as older tracks such as a “Blood On My Hands” remix by Ricardo Villalobos and a favourite of mine (and Nina’s) DJ Slugo’s “Wouldn’t You Like To Be a Hoe”.

There is such a thing as artistic license, yet this seems to have bypassed the hawkish techno-nerds in attendance, more concerned with rigid classification than submitting themselves to the music. This type of censure is reductive and harmful as it undermines the artistry of DJs, demotes their skill to that of an entertainer and acts as a form of censorship. It is a mistake to think of sets as inanimate, pre-packaged objects where you get exactly what it says on the tin. Most DJs view their sets as an organic process, influenced by the setting, the crowd and the atmosphere. Nina’s post alludes to this when she talks feeling enough at ease to be unfiltered in her musical experimentation.

“This time I felt comfortable and a bit lose and only on these sort of occasions I feel confident enough to play 100% Acidiferous-“tank” at its original speed without a fear of being misunderstood.”

Let us also be cogniscent of the setting when delivering judgment. The location was a sunny beach in Australia during an afternoon-into-evening open-air event, not a dingy basement or the industrial halls of Berghain. Additionally, Nina was playing the closing set which always allows for more freedom and subjectivity in track selection.

The perturbing thought that protrudes amongst all the negativity is whether or not a man would have received the same treatment. Criticism, sure, but would a male DJ in the same position face such unyielding judgment that fans would go as far as to demand a refund? Take Ricardo Villalobos for example. Famous for his experimental sets, Ricardo is applauded for playing whatever he wants to hear rather than conforming to crowd expectations, earning the grandiose title of “the first true genius 21st century techno has ever produced” (according to Pitchfork magazine at least).

Last summer a video of Villalobos made the rounds on the internet which showed him with his back turned to the audience, mixing drinks, and flouncing around the DJ booth during his set at Cocoon in the Park. Villalobos was butchered by the media for his unprofessionalism, yet all in all his reputation remained unscathed. No one asked for a refund and it was chalked off as a one-time flop. No hate on Villalobos (everyone has a bad day), but as an exercise in comparison it is outrageous that both events elicited a similar level of vitriol despite the standard of both performances being worlds apart.

Nina’s acute self-awareness of her set’s trajectory is a testament to her dedication and professionalism, yet this wasn’t enough to placate angry fans. God knows what kind of outburst she would have received had she performed a set similar to Villalobos. Women are woefully under-represented in the ‘old boys club’ that is the underground music industry. In order to gain a foothold in the industry they are forced to work ten times harder, and are subjected to intense scrutiny that pressurises them to emulate their male counterparts. Due to women’s increased capacity for empathy, females DJs often break convention as their ability to connect with the crowds pushes them to play more obscure, off-the-wall tracks. Yet rather than celebrate Nina in all her glorious femininity, fans have chosen to keep her track-selection in check and stifle her spontaneity. 

Nina’s response was not a mere case of sour grapes nor is it the case that DJs should be immune from criticism, but to demand a refund is an extreme, unprecedented response and it is unlikely that a male DJ would face such condemnation. Had the critique been related to bad technique, sloppy transitions or an incoherent flow, asking for a refund may have been more understandable, but to mount such an aggressive response because a DJ did not comply with a rigid art form undermines the whole concept of artistry and artistic freedom. It would be absurd to go to an art gallery and criticise the artist for their failure to conform, yet that is exactly what has happened. Surely when we choose to see a particular techno DJ perform we anticipate a delivery which propounds their version of techno rather than a commercial or industry driven definition. However Nina’s “fans” have shown little interest in Nina herself but rather a blinding devotion to techno.

This obsession with pigeonholing DJs stunts them as artists and damages the industry by pushing DJs towards playing crowd-pleasing sets rather than allowing them the creative space to unleash their self-expression. If you don’t like it, fine, but to denounce a professional artist because their set is not strictly “techno” borders on insulting. Fair play to Nina, she managed to keep her cool throughout the post, lest a more strongly worded response resulting in her being labelled “emotional”, “narky” or “bitchy”. She did manage a sly dig by reminding fans of her considerate expertise and knowledge, saying: “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but it definitely takes some time, experience and knowledge to form one.”

Personally having listed to her track-listing I wish I was there to witness Nina perform with her guard down, but given the response it is unlikely a performance like that will happen again.

The world of “techno” is worse for it.

Nina Kraviz backlash: no techno or something more sinister?

College Tribune – Language Lazy: Why are the Irish so Bad at Mastering a Second Language?

College Tribune – Language Lazy: Why are the Irish so Bad at Mastering a Second Language?

When I spent my Erasmus year in Berlin I went with the determination to master the German language. I envisioned myself speaking the infamous language on a daily basis and nailing the coveted accent. By the end of the year I would trilling my rrrr’s, sizzling my tz’s and the guttaral tones would roll from my throat with ease.

In retrospect, how wrong I was. I had forgotten to account for the advanced English proficiency of the average Berliner and the German penchant for bluntness. It proved a lethal combination.

Within the first few weeks my average conversation with a German went like this: Five minutes would pass while I blundered and blustered in German, befuddling gender articles and pronouncing words with a high-pitched, South County Dublin twinge.

Taking pity on me (and also having run out of patience) this poor, unfortunate, German victim of mine would stop me mid-sentence with a pained expression on their face and suggest we switch to English. The reason they gave was always the same: speaking English would be easier for both of us.  

In Ireland I had been proud of my German ability, but compared to the English-speaking Germans I encountered I was nowhere near bilingual. The same proved to be true when I compared myself to other European-Erasmus students, amongst whom English was always the collectively spoken language. We could converse on any topic: current affairs, economics, philosophy etc., no matter how poncey our conversation they could always speak eloquently and fluently.

Given how well regarded the Irish education system is, it is troubling that we are falling so far behind in our language abilities. The average Irish student can manage the ‘oul cúpla focal as Gaeilge and can get by in a third language, but anything beyond asking for directions and you’ve lost us. Bi-lingualism is a rare talent, reserved for the exotic few that have a parent from foreign lands or who choose to study a language in college.

The reasons for this are manifold and the years dedicated to Irish only account for part of it.

Thanks to the English Empire’s rampant colonisation both on home turf and abroad, English quickly became the most widely spoken language in the West and is currently the unofficial global business language. This has led us to both the reasonable and unreasonable expectation that no matter where we travel, all interactions will be conducted through English. Reasonable because, granted, more often than not this is the case. Unreasonable, because it is pretentious of us to travel to a foreign country anticipating that they speak our language considering we do not extend them the same courtesy. At most we will attempt to learn the basics of their language but even this formality can be dispensed with.

Having English as a first language automatically gives us an advantage over our peers, but only if we persevere to master an ‘unneccessary’ second language. Sadly in Ireland we have come to use English as a crutch. Remove the need to speak a language and you will take with it the impetus to learn it.

For the majority Europeans the opposite is the case. A high-level of English is necessary just to level playing field and it transforms their language learning habits. In most European countries foreign languages are taught at a young age and the students themselves are far more aggressive and autonomous in their learning approach. They see beyond its limitations as a school subject and recognise it for what it is, a means of communication.

This willingness and eagerness to learn allows English to be taught at a much higher level in schools than it would otherwise, and students progress at a faster pace.

Comparatively, foreign languages are taught at a much older age in Ireland because the initial focus remains on Irish. Time-wise we already face a disadvantage. Secondly, monotonous, uninspiring curriculums that under emphasise the spoken word has meant that teaching languages in Irish classrooms resembles pulling teeth.

The core reason, however, remains that most Irish people view learning a language other than English as an exercise in redundancy, attested by our inability to speak Irish following a fourteen year learning span. This is of course a sweeping statement but a 2006 EU study found that Ireland was the member state with the highest number of citizens unable to speak a language other than their mother tongue.

This might sound harsh and admittedly, to reduce our lack of bi- or tri-lingualism to pure laziness or lack of interest would be unfair and reductive, and in some ways we are at a disadvantage by having English as our mother tongue.

In comparison to most European languages English is actually a relatively easiy language to learn. Compound this with the ubiquitousness of English in mainstream media, films, TV and music, and the wide exposure to English makes it easy for most Europeans to pick it up almost via osmosis.

Additionally, with the general structure of national and international bodies and societies posed towards communicating through English, the system is actually pitted against English speakers trying to learn a foreign language.

Had I been so inclined, I could have spent my entire Erasmus barely speaking a word of German beyond the something phrases accumulated by every Erasmus student: ‘Hallo’, ‘Danke’ and ‘Ein Bier, bitte.’ Germans are particularly eager to practise their English and it required extreme tenacity on my part to ensure that any conversations I had were through German rather than English. I would insist up to ten times within a single conversation that we switch back to German because goddammit I did not spend hundreds of hours in a German classroom only to speak English in Germany.

Our lack of multilingualism has graver consequences than merely being labelled as ignorant every-time we travel. By failing to capitalise on the one advantage of our invasion by the British, our lackadaisical attitude towards learning foreign languages has resulted in Irish people being excluded from jobs in our own country for which we are otherwise qualified.

Should Irish students commit to learn a second or third language with the equivalent vigour and determination of our European counterparts it would give us an edge in the international job-seeker’s market, as well as the experiencing the joy of speaking another language.

But to achieve this in a meaningful way would require a drastic change in attitude. Learning a language requires sustained, accumulative and independent learning, and a lack of self-motivation will predispose you to failure. Students need to be inspired by their families, their teachers and by each other.

They methods by which languages are taught are also in drastic need of an overhaul. Curriculums need to shift the focus from reading and writing and ensure that students are first and foremost comfortable speaking the language. As long as they continue to view languages as an exam they need to pass we are doomed to remain a uni-lingual nation.

MOTZ – In Review: Halloween Special at District 8

With Halloween unofficially falling on October 30th this year, where better to spend it than in the dark and smoky lair of District 8? With a stellar line-up including Omar-S, Randomer and James Ruskin the Halloween Special was a night not to be missed. As usual the turn-out was large, with many fully embracing the theme of the night and dressed up in all kinds of weird and wonderful costumes.

Warming the decks for Ruskin, Randomer played an energetic set, mixing in some squelchy acid and with whoompy bass-heavy tracks. While the crowd clearly enjoyed the solid techno served up he did hold back from playing the mind-blowing tracks he’s famous for, aware he wasn’t the real star of the night.

Upstairs in the theatre Omar-S was providing the closing . His set began on a positively up-lifting note verging disco at times and had everyone smiling. After half an hour he made a sharp shift to the slightly darker realm of tech house. Playing tracks with a relaxed, steady pace like his own “Take Ya Pik Nik!!!” it was the perfect mix against the plush setting of red theatre seats.

After an hour and cognisant that Ruskin had already started I left Omar and made my way downstairs. 

Ruskin’s set was a history lesson through the decades of classic techno tracks, most likely a nod to ‘The Wizard’ Mr Jeff Mills who played in Dublin earlier that night. Among the classics he played modern but old-school sounding tracks that blended in seamlessly, like his own release ‘After Dark.’ People were going crazy and it was a joy to see everyone giving it socks, dancing individually but very much together.

While the night was enjoyable the downside of such a jam-packed line-up was my inability to be two places at once. I couldn’t fully let go and had to constantly keep an eye on the clock for fear of missing another act. You could hear it in their performances that the DJs felt the time-pressure too. With minimal set times to flex their fingers, they sounded under pressure to compress as many tracks as possible and the movements of the sets felt unnatural at times.

All in all it was a great night and I can’t wait to see what District 8 has to offer up next.

MOTZ: In Review: Halloween Special at District 8