TLDR: The electronic music world honors the past by removing the intolerant from our community.
The situation involving Ten Walls’ disturbing homophobic words reminds us to honor the past of dance music, to keep the spirit of the music always in our hearts. It also shows us how quickly the electronic music industry will react to someone messing with their long standing attitude of acceptance and equality. With his booking agency, record label, and long list of festivals quickly dropping any association with Ten Walls, it’s obvious that electronic music lovers will waste no time removing intolerance from their scene.
The evolution of dance music began in the LGBTQ community, along with other minority groups, all who were looking for a family that could unite together to enjoy this special new style of music. In the warehouses and underground clubs, everyone was equal and love was free, feelings that will always be at the core of dance music. While I am sure that many fans of other musical styles would have a similar reaction to the ridiculous and hateful statements, it’s no surprise why the electronic music world would react with such swiftness and finality. The Resident Advisor article “An alternate history of sexuality in club culture” dives deeply into the subject, while still only covering a small part of the story. It begs the question: “If the roots of electronic music are so sexually diverse, why do today’s audiences need to be reminded of it? Have we forgotten about the queer nightlife worlds of the ’70s and ’80s?”
Some people claim that this is in fact the problem. With the commercialization of electronic music and popularity with a “white/straight” crowd that is far removed from the gritty nightclubs where the music began, it makes one wonder if the lack of respect for the music’s origins is what causes people to show such intolerance. Loren Granic, aka Goddollars, co-founder and resident of A Club Called Rhonda in LA states in the RA article: “I think it’s important that we highlight the role that the gay community played and that we educate new fans of dance music to the ideals of community, equality and diversity that were so crucial to dance music’s DNA from the beginning.” As the author of the article concludes: “If the stories of marginalized peoples tend to disappear from the “official record” of history, then we need to look closely at those historical fragments that don’t easily fit into this dominant narrative.”
The electronic music world has been dealing with the mass commercialization of their music, continuing to keep the underground strong while attempting to ignore the takeover by those only in it for money or fame. We try to keep peace, and let the new, strange scene play out. However, when some one messes with our ethos, we are quick to defend our rich history and the essence of the music. And sometimes we like to have a little fun with it.
The Ten Walls situation reminds us to remember the history of electronic music, and to make sure we keep the spirit of welcoming and love at the forefront of our community. While I don’t think you have to be knowledgeable about the history of electronic music to show tolerance to all people, I do think it’s important to remind ourselves why acceptance and non-judgment is such a vital part of dance music. I believe that what appealed to those who began the house and techno music movements, is what appeals to its listeners today. There is a spirit that inspires a feeling of welcoming and freedom, one that accepts all those on the outskirts of society and tells them to come dance too. As Midland tweeted: