You once said that electronic music and its culture should be idealistic. What options do white and male artists have to help to move this scene towards its diverse, open ideal?
Well, you can work publicly, or you can privately. But it’s something that I believe we should all be conscious of and working on all the time, through conversations and dialogue. The relationship I have with my agent and the way we chose to work with promoters is based upon making very clear where we stand on this. I won’t play on line-ups that are all male, all white. If I look at a line-up and it is the opposite of what I feel should be put forward in this world, and I have the opportunity to change it, then I will. If I can’t change it then you either look at the bigger picture around the organization or you withdraw. There are many other problems we have now. I think the diversity issue is one that has had a lot of attention – that’s good. But in the history that I have with this music and the scene things have changed, sometimes for the worse. For example, audiences tend to be less diverse now than they were maybe ten or fifteen years ago. And when you look at the reasons for this there are bigger economic reasons – which we don’t have control over. But there are also values we are all complicit in, that I think have contributed towards this. Values which are inherently middle-class and have ended up making the spaces that we operate in more middle-class. There are things people are snobbish about. And that snobbish kind of intellectualism has had quite negative impacts on the diversity of audiences that go to these clubs. I hope these are the next conversations we have. Once the conversations about diversity become normalised or are normal.
What do you mean exactly when you say that people are snobbish about things?
They’re snobbish about types of music, types of house music. They’re snobbish about things that they see as distasteful. And you end up with people also fetishizing certain kinds of records. If you insist on rotary mixers and expensive records and all of this stuff it excludes people who don’t have money. And you end up with this very ridiculous bourgeois environment around something that should be diverse. I hate when I see these kind of things become normal in our scene. When you see DJs that are judgemental of records or think a record is good because it’s rare or expensive. These are things that make me really sad, because they have consequences maybe that that DJ is not aware of. Well, then let’s have these conversations and make people aware of that we shouldn’t fetishise things like this. When I think of the audiences I’ve played to this year, one of the most diverse audiences was in Ibiza. Now, why is that? Why is the audience more diverse in DC-10 than in a particular festival or club in London, Amsterdam or Berlin I’m playing at? Well, these issues have to do with class. And the fact that DC-10 costs 60 Euros to get into, however, there are people who don’t have so much money who save up for a long time to go there. Because it’s still something that is connected to them. Within these spaces, there isn’t this snobbery around the music. I heard lots of people play in Ibiza that I don’t particularly like. But it’s not for me to dismiss them. Or to dismiss the people that like them. Sure, there are lots of aspects of Ibiza to criticise. It’s not my kind of place, in terms of a place that I would spend money seeking out or going to. But equally, I get bored and tired of being in spaces which are one-dimensional, where I agree with everybody in the room about my opinions on music. That’s too easy. I want to feel like clubs are places where we unite around something we love, and those people uniting aren’t all the same.