Describe your style as of late?
I have been mixing things up a bit lately. Although I am well known for banging the hard stuff, not much hard stuff has really been up to my standards lately. I have found myself getting into what I describe as more "minimal funk". Not so minimal as to be boring (if I wanted to listen to a sink dripping, I would stand in my kitchen), but clean, round sounds, with lots of tweaky noises, bleeps and bobbles. Lots of Adam Beyer's latest, as well as Thomas Schumacher (he is INSANE), Oliver Koletzki, Marc Houle, Ozgur Can, and so on. I have always liked techno that twists yer brain, and I am finding these artists are pushing those boundaries, but still keeping it good and funky.
I have also gotten WAY into a new genre coming out of South London called dubstep. Think hiphop/broken beats, with dub influences and thick SUBBASS. Lately I have been playing more dubstep gigs than techno gigs, mostly because I am one of the few people playing it in the Midwest. And I add in my techno mixing styles, do it all in Ableton live with tracks, loops and effects, and throw a slightly different flavor on the genre.
So I have definitely been varying things up lately, and I am really excited about music right now. :)
What influences have you brought into your music? How has it effected your music?
I definitely come from the more aggressive end of the spectrum, coming from punk rock/industrial, but I love all kinds of music, from folk to funk to hip hop to jazz to classical to ambient. So I have definitely brought the aggressiveness and the political awareness from my punk rock days, the musicality of my classical violin training, and the love of shaking my ass! I think the political landscape of late has had a big influence lately, which ranges from sheer anger to utter despair and every emotion in between. So I think my emotions have affected how and what I play, even more than usual.
Describe the "Goddess Complex"?
The Goddess Complex was an idea I had way back in the day. It was always meant to be a loose collective of women artists, musicians and DJs, but really never came to fruition until I realized that there were more women DJs in the Midwest now than ever before. I had thought of the idea for the Venus Envy parties about a decade ago, but there were never enough women around to make it happen. So this last summer, I finally had the venue, the resources and enough women DJs in the area to do it. So Venus Envy was born and The Goddess Complex came to life. We have done two events with all women on the decks and the proceeds donated to various local women's charities that empower women. I have always maintained that I did not want to play all women DJ events UNLESS they were benefits, so I finally got to do it the way I wanted to. Now we have a loose collective of women DJs in the Midwest who are involved. The purpose of TGC and VE is to empower women, to give back to the community, to inspire other women to get to it and follow their dreams, and to shake our asses and have a great time doing all of the above. Thus far, both Venus Envy events have been successful with some of the best vibes I have ever encountered. I couldn't ask for better people to share it all with than my Midwest sisters! Check MySpacefor more info!
How is SisterSpin going?
SisterSpin has been kinda slow going. I was hoping to build the kind of online women's DJ community that SisterDJs (made my DJs Daisy and Courtney back in the day) was for me, with less fear of being blatantly feminist. Truth be told, I haven't had the time to devote to it lately to really get it hopping, so that in large part is why things have moved slowly. Maybe once winter hits and I have nothing better to do than sit online I can really start to push it a bit more.
That's really up to a few labels that I have been waiting on forever. My remix of Ron S just came out on Anode Records, and there is a remix of Manuel Fuentes that (hopefully) will be out on Germany's Giant & Dwarf Records soon.
I haven't really been concentrating on production much lately, both due to an incredibly busy work and gig schedule, and just a lack of inspiration. I have never been particularly prolific as a producer, mostly because I only really write when the feeling hits. I don't like to force things if I feel I have nothing to say, just to get records out. That strikes me as soulless and pandering to an industry timeline and not necessarily to what my heart wants to do. I have a job already. I don't want music to be a "job".
So what do you see in the future of techno? How has it changed from say five years ago?
The future of techno has always been "right now". :) That said, it has changed a lot in the last five years I think. I played an old school techno set a few weeks ago, and that really made me rethink how I have viewed techno in the last few years. Each record sounded TOTALLY different, and it made DJing really fun and challenging (and kept the crowd interested as well). When things went super loopy (at least in the hard techno realm) it kinda took the fun and the challenge out of it. It kinda got real homogenized, and I don't think that's a good thing.
The genre splits have really taken their toll too. Now, instead of just playing good techno, regardless of its sound, people have split off into subgenre categorizing (hard/minimal/schranz/whatever) and super specialization, instead of just playing what is good across the board. Of course, only having an hour to play takes its toll as far as being able to stretch out and play a bunch of different stuff too, but listening to all techno (and just all kinds of music in general) is healthy as a DJ and a musician if you really want to do something interesting. I get bored easily, so I like to have a good variety at my fingertips. ;)
Tell me a bit about SUBterror?
SUBterror, while it could be seen as just another DJ crew, is so much more than that to me. It is my family. We all have known each other for years, play all kinds of different music, and share the common goal of both loving music and wanting to use music as a tool for progression and personal/social change. We share similar political/social views, and we are all there for each other no matter what. I know that my SUBterror brothers and sisters are there for me, through thick and thin, and I for them. I don't know what else to say. These people are my family and I love them all dearly. Check out the (woefully out of date)SubTerror.com
What direction do you see yourself going in the years to come?
Oh geez...do you have a week? I plan on spinning as much as humanly possible (I get a little tweaky if I don't play on a regular basis; it's my therapy...really...not kidding), hopefully doing more production as well. I am gearing up to work on a totally different kind of production project here in the near future with my friend Saqi Dosaj . She is a singer/songwriter, and I have been working on beats and random musical stuff for her next album. So it's a long ways away from techno production, and it makes me think in a totally different way. So that is a nice kick in the pants to go back to my roots of writing melodies and beats to go with vocals (I used to play guitar and bass in bands back in the day). That's in the embryonic stage right now, but I am plenty excited about it.
I have also been getting back to my poetry/spoken word roots. My friend kicked me out of retirement a few months ago, and then we went to Dayton, OH for a poetry slam, the grand prize for which was opening for Saul Williams in Dayton the week after. Well...I won. ;) That was rockin in itself, but sharing the stage with Saul was truly amazing. So my poetry juices are flowing (albeit slowly) and I am looking at the world through poet's eyes again, which I haven't really done in the last few years. But poetry has always been a little different than DJing for me. Poetry I do for the sheer enjoyment of it, and I have no plans to make a career out of it (the business end of ANY entertainment industry can get on my nerves big time). That said, I have NO idea what the future holds, so if anyone ever wants to pay me to travel around and do poetry, I ain't gonna say no.
I just want to enjoy life, make music/poetry/art, read books, hang out with my friends, travel, meet new people and impart a little joy to a world that is sadly lacking in it.
Oh, and I would like to overthrow capitalism and throw pies at Bush and Cheney. That too. ;)
Care to join me? We can play loud music and dance a lot while we do it, cuz (paraphrasing Emma Goldman) if I can't dance, I don't want your revolution! ;)
For mixsets (and even a short set of spoken word), visit djshiva.subterror.com or check me out live at Christmas Massacare!