Celebrate Pride with a global LGBT DJ broadcast
STATEMENT FROM FRISKY: We have been planning for a FRISKY Celebrates PRIDE event since last year, excited to show our support during Pride Month in the FRISKY way, with a day long broadcast that showcases a variety of talented LGBT DJs from around the world. We changed our logos in anticipation of the event, we’ve gathered interviews and prepared the show page, ready to share some fantastic mixes and celebrate Pride. Everything changed dramatically and tragically after the mass shooting at Pulse in Orlando on Saturday night.
The response to acts of hate is to unite us more in love.
This music connects us all. There are no boundaries, no judgements, and no separations in electronic music. It is and always has been about uniting everyone, especially those who have been marginalized, those who felt they needed to go underground (or in a Loft, or in a Warehouse) to be surrounded by people who wouldn’t judge them for who they are. From disco, to house, to techno, to raves, to today’s “underground electronic music”, the music will forever bring together those who need it most.
Through our special broadcasts and global community, FRISKY has always been and always will be about joining together in One Love. FRISKY Celebrates PRIDE with an open heart, with a sadness that permeates through many levels, but also with a determination to continue promoting the power of music and the power of love. As the original underground dance party at David Mancuso’s The Loft stated: “Love Saves the Day”.
Join us on June 18th for this special feature and honor the LGBT movement. Before we begin, catch up with a few of our featured DJs to hear their stories and perspectives on being LGBT in the industry.
Ladies on Mars
What was your first electronic music experience like & when did you know it would become a big part of your life?
Robert Solheim: I grew up in the 60’s/70’s in a house full of music, I started to play the organ around when I was 10, although my dream was to be a drummer. When I grew up, I listen to everything, but soon started to have my favourites like Bowie, Pink Floyd, Steve Miller, and, Kraftwerk, which all used synthesisers. I didn’t really think much about it back then, but I adored the sounds and one day a friend gave me a cassette with Yazoo, “Upstairs at Eric’s”, after that I was lost. I started to dig for anything with a synth on it. I had been playing drums for several years in a band then, I sold the drum-set and started to buy synths and drum-machines and to compose my own music.
Ladies on Mars: My first experience of electronic music was around 2001 when I started having my first contact with a computer to program music, composing electronic music from samplers. I realized that I would become so much of my life when my time composing at the computer start occupy the hours of my study (then studied Industrial Design at the University of Buenos Aires), was in 2003 when I decided to change career and decide to study for Producer in electroacoustic Arts at ORT Institute.
Rubeck: I guess it was in the early 80’s, when I was 7 or 8 years old. There were plenty of techno-pop bands being played over the radiowaves and on TV in Spain at that time and I really liked them.
It was around that time that I started listening to Jean-Michel Jarre. I loved his early albums – in fact, I still do. Then came Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, OMD… I was studying music in a school preparing the annual exams for the conservatory in Bilbao and these bands kind of opened my mind: I realised some time after, that I didn’t need to be the best pianist in the world; I could compose my own kind of music. It was right about then my life-long devotion to electronic music began.
The Wash: Electronic music has always been a safe haven for me when life went not that well or I was in a bad mood. I had a deep devotion to (electronic) music since I was a child. It also became clear very early that I’d like to learn the craft of DJing in my youth, so I’ve bought turntables in the year 2000. At that time at the latest I knew that electronic music is going to stay an essential part of my life and it still is as I am now DJ, head of a big website devoted to progressive sounds, event manager and producer.
Have you ever felt that being LGBT has effected your experiences as a DJ or a fan?
Robert Solheim: To be honest, in the beginning, no, not really. I mean house music would probably not even exist without the LGBT community, but I started out in a different direction, went from new wave and synth to techno, big fan of The ORB, and I also played a lot of rock, even psychedelic music in my sets earlier. I was a “late bloomer” when it came to house, and now I’m completely hooked, crate-digging wherever I travel and buy vinyls on the net. Classic house, strange deep house, things that move you deep inside.
Ladies on Mars: Not at all. Always take my sexuality as something natural and normal. And that’s what I try to convey both my presentations and my music or my everyday life. I never liked lock or belong to getos. I have friends of all religions, sexuality, sexual orientations, and all musical tastes. That represents when composing my productions and my gigs.
Toni Rubeck: I really do. Being gay has affected me in every experience in my life. I have thought about it many times and I think that the fact of starting creating and being interested in music and art in general, was kind of a gateway to scape my life in a small town. The time when you start discovering how you feel is not easy at all. I was blessed to move to Murcia to start university there. Luckily it happens to be one of the most open-minded cities in my country. Being gay there was both accepted, and affirming. The diversity in the electronic music scene there was very rich – made up mostly of people from the LGBT community. In saying that, it was very hetero-friendly – the music was the most important factor gathering us all together there not only because of being L, G, B or T. I liked it. It came out to be something natural.
The Wash: Not at first sight since I haven’t been very much into the Viennese gay scene in the beginning of my DJ career. But more and more I discovered that most of the events I really loved and the promoters that inspired me and shaped my musical taste were all gay. In Vienna we had a strong underground community in Progressive House in the years 2000-2007 and events like “Departure” were a huge inspiration for me as fan and as DJ.
How important is it for new fans to be aware of the music’s roots in the LGBT community?
Robert Solheim: No doubt, Very Important! Musical history is as important as any type of history. The more you know, the better you can enjoy this incredible art-form. You can go back years and years and find LGBT people inventing new styles and wonderful music. Check Big Mama Thornton., first lady of rock’n’roll if you ask me, she never tried to be anything but herself.
Ladies on Mars: To be honest I do not know. I take it as something part of my life, I think that’s why I’m not constantly remarking confinement nor do I only play in the community, I play everywhere. That’s what I think it should be. Many people who do not know me know my sexual orientation, until you tell them or they see it on my Facebook status. It’s not something hidden anything, but not do that marketing.
Rubeck: As a matter of fact, it is very important. True, we don’t need to mix arts with artists, but being part of a minority, belonging to the LGBT one kind of bring us together when experiencing creations by any of its members. When I was a child, I remember trying to find my experiences reflected in the lives of people I believed were like me in the spheres of music and art. Translating lyrics from English into Spanish, I scoured songs looking for stories dealing with themes I could identify with; similarly, I hunted for video clips and films rumoured to represent LGBT lives… You can’t imagine how beautiful it was for someone like me to discover Bronski Beat’s ‘Smalltown boy’ or many years later, Sigur Rós’ ‘Viðrar Vel Til Loftárása’.
I think it’s important to show the younger generation that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being ‘different’. As far as I’m concerned, it’s just as natural as being straight. Being L, G, B or T is being equal to everyone else. Since the Internet revolution, it’s so much easier to reach out to anyone, no matter how marginalised. That makes me really happy.
The Wash: In my opinion it’s getting more and more important nowadays since (thanks to the huge steps the world has made in direction of equality) people don’t see much of the political aspect of gay parties anymore. I also think that in most parts of the world the LGBT community is still a huge driver for underground music and without the early work of the promoters and DJs back then electronic music wouldn’t have the face it has today.
Do you feel things have changed for LGBT DJs since you have been a part of the industry?
Robert Solheim: Well, in a way is has. I think that before, we didn’t really think that much about it, all kinds of gender together enjoying music, now it’s almost becoming a label. I really do not like labelling people or things in general. On the other hand, it brings it out into the light, which is a good thing in some ways. I guess I am stuck in the underground and love it there….
Ladies on Mars: I think today take them more seriously Worldwide, and at all levels, not only in the LGBT community. That is the most important! Years ago no one would be able to see a DJ community, today no matter whether or not … the important thing is that one likes and does what it conveys.
Rubeck: Things have changed enormously for the LGBT community in general. There are still many things to be done, though. I was living in Madrid when equal marriage was approved and, despite it being a really pro-LGBT city, I was aware that there were many people who still expressed discomfort with it. I was actually inspired to write the track Demonstration on my first album Gorgeous and Wet (is how we roll) as a kind of response to them. I do believe that music has a great power to communicate messages to the masses. In Paris, where I live now, a similar kind of thing happened. When the mariage pour tous (Marriage for all) was approved, having been adopted by the PS (socialist party) program, which got the majority in the elections, there were those nonsense demonstrations opposing it. There have also been some violent episodes against the LGBT community here, which is a great shame, but nothing compared to what is happening in many other countries in the world. As I said, we’re doing well, but there’s still a long way to go.
As far as LGBT DJs are concerned, I can see more and more parties where DJs and, or producers are LGBT. In the past, those parties where attended by LGBT audiences but now you can see plenty of straight people there. I like it. Actually I will be DJing in Madrid on Saturday 2nd July, the weekend of the gaypride there, at Republik. The party is organised by Ciclogénesis and DUAL. Their parties are always awesome, and when it’s the gay pride, even more: very nice music, people and atmosphere.
The Wash: In terms of musical style definitely – as the clubbing scene in general broke more into the (commercial) spotlight in general. It became more and more fancy for everyone to take part in gay clubbings. In Vienna, we have this Tribal House with pop elements called “Circus Sound” on the one hand and Berlin-style Techno on the other. I try to fill the gap in between with my event, the Resident DJ Friday, but we don’t have this general devotion to progressive dance music anymore as we had 10 years ago.
What can we look forward to hearing from your DJ set for the FRISKY special?
Robert Solheim: I’m playing some of my own music, from the different projects I work in and putting in some real favourites to complete it. Terje Sæther is a key name, a good friend and great musician and lately we are working on music together and also playing b2b dj set.
Ladies on Mars: They will not expect anything different to what they can expect from a DJ than community, so if you I can say is that going to hear all own productions, in my 10 year career trying to dump in 1 hour several of last productions, hope you enjoy it a lot. And especially to be identified. Being LGBT does not mean that Tarry in another world and do different things not, we live in the same world, we breathe the same air, we have the same needs and to create the same music that someone who is not.
Simply because music has no gender.
Toni Rubeck: I’m probably more of a producer than a DJ at the moment but I do love being behind the decks. I’ve been very busy lately launching my latest album KAOS, which came out in March of this year, and putting together some live performances I’m planning to coincide with that. As you can imagine, all of that activity makes it difficult to find time to DJ or to upload DJ sets (a particular love of mine) that I used to do on a regular basis in the past. I really wanted to create a new set and so being contacted by the Frisky team to do so was a great pleasure!
As with my previous outings in production, the set for the Frisky Special includes mostly techno tracks (including Dubfire and Miss Kittin, Oliver Huntemann, Stephan Bodzin) mixed with some electronica (Jon Hopkins and Moderat, Autechre, Ital Tek), as well as some electro and electro-house (Röyksopp, Tiga). As you’ll discover, I’ve also added a couple of alternative mixes of tracks from KAOS. Within, you’ll find brand new tracks and older favourites. I don’t limit myself by release dates when I DJ – rather, I let myself go and I pick tracks that move me to build beautiful mixes. I hope you like it!
The Wash: Deep, hypnotic and groovy stuff – i don’t really like to categorize my sound but in the past few years i developed something we call “Dark Room Sounds”. Thanks to my work for Progressive World I am in the great situation to be able to pick my personal favorites and top tunes every month out of an amazing promo pool. Maybe I’ll also share one or two of my own tracks – we will see!
FRISKY celebrates PRIDE is about honoring the music within all of us, the journeys that unite us, and the love that conquers all. Join us this Saturday June 18th, starting at 10AM EST [convert timezone] and be a part of that celebration.