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Noise Manifesto: Paula Temple's techno refuses to lie down

Paula Temple's pioneering approach to dance music is vital now more than ever

  • Words: Patrick Hinton | Design: Vassilis Skandalis
  • 9 January 2017
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A number of experimental club music labels have begun to emerge in recent years with explicitly radical intent to redress worldly imbalances. Their music is also labelled as “deconstructed”, which is similar to the process you’re pushing with Decon/Recon. How do you think deconstructing established music methods challenges hegemony?

For me, it definitely links with deconstructing society and violence. People think of violence just in the physical sense, we don't think of structural violence, cultural violence. It's so embedded and conditioned into us that something can be said that is highly racist or misogynist, and yet so many people don't even notice because it's so embedded structurally. People don't even know what structural violence is, and how our governments, the legal system and industries operate. We follow these systems, but most in the western world are highly hierarchical and will always favour white men, and usually white straight men, male-born men. When you start deconstructing these you start to learn about things that are constructs. It's like a minefield at first to trying to understand, but we can start thinking beyond them.

For example, linking back to the music industry and the way I'm still regarded: I'm a skilled producer, artist, DJ, and yet some promoters or whatever would still put me in the box and call me female. That's really backwards and unnecessary. Why do they need to separate me out like that? And that's just my own experience. We're starting to understand inequality in many aspects of society and that things are still not fair, and we're starting to recognise what has been going on for so long in the music industry, how we echo chamber our tastes, for example. People say, "it's just about the music", without realising that there are hierarchies going on in their preferences.

It's good to see that people are starting to pay attention to how they select their favourites, and start to really listen to music and enjoy music, not just be told what music they like. I think that's more possible in the underground scenes because they're less influenced by marketing I'd hope, and less influenced by a magazine or journalist's opinion.

How do you see the clash between capitalism and underground subcultures playing out? Can you envisage a breaking point or do we pin our hopes on progressive individuals fostering change however they can?

It's so difficult because we all still rely on the capitalist system: we all have our rents to pay etc. My absolute desire is for the money system to collapse. There are better systems that have been well thought out and are on offer, it's just that our minds and resources are still controlled. This is in direct conflict with a lot of the beliefs that artists like myself and scenes like the underground techno scene hold. We know that the driving forward of capitalism is clashing with the creative fields. With things like music being given away, on the one hand it's a good thing to have free resources, but at the same time we've still got our rents to pay, and we still want to be valued for our art. It would be better the other way around. To be funded somehow, and be able to access resources.

I would love it if we had a world where we didn't have money at all, but if you need resources because you want to pursue your creative needs, and if it's electronic music, then you are resourced to be able to do that. Rather than you struggle, but somehow you're able to produce some music, and then you get rewarded if it's a hit or becomes popular, I'd prefer it where resources are provided to you first so you have the chance, and that's the reward. And we live in a society where we don't need to worry about being homeless and living in a shit place and not having decent food. All those things have already been thought out in a different kind of system which is starting to be talked about a lot, and we could easily have that. But we are so tied to the capitalist system at the moment, and the capitalist system is going into this kind of hyperdrive now where we're working crazy, zero-contract hours, taking any conditions of labour because we're too scared to not have a job, and it's affecting our quality of life and it's possibly going to get a lot worse if automation gets really taken on board with the bigger companies.

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