Paula, being based in the Netherlands, do you think the sound there is different from the UK? How do the techno scenes compare?
Paula: Well I grew up near Manchester. I was in a club at the start of buggy, before building the second floor.
Paula: Yes, Sankeys! So back then it was names like Robert Hood, Dave Clarke and you guys. All the same people you would have had in Scotland. There was Voodoo in Liverpool and Orbit in Leeds, and it was my techno triangle of heaven. I would go every weekend. Back then, the energy was totally free and exciting. The fact that you didn’t have phones to film you really made a difference, it was just about letting go. But in the Netherlands it surprised me how laid back it was, the energy, rather than tearing itself apart, which I like too. Festivals like Awakenings, DGTL, By The Creek, Zonder…
Stuart: Rotterdam rave…
Paula: Yes, Rotterdam Rave is probably the rawest and craziest of big events. It’s quite interesting to see a whole sea of people pumping their fists. They love the hardcore element here and I’m influenced by that.
Stuart: You can certainly hear it!
Paula: I like it because it’s the really strong and fun element. We also have it in England, like in the days of Aphex Twin and Rephlex squeeze that kind of mental acid out.
Stuart: We were lucky enough to play Orbit once, and we did Voodoo a few times. Orbit was in full swing. 145 BPM plus, rear rave. At that time it was probably one of the more mental clubs.
Paula: It was my favorite club, it would be the one I went to the most. It was 8 p.m. until 2 a.m., you arrive at 8 a.m. and it’s full. There were people we called basketball players because they were running from side of the room to the other, a unique dance was going on!
Meikle order: I saw somewhere that the fabric introduced a policy banning images. The guy said, “You don’t have to film it, just, you know, be there.”
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On that subject, with the way the scene moves – there’s this real love and attraction to places like Berlin. How do you see the evolution of the techno scene?
Stuart: Apparently, Berlin is no longer the epicenter, it’s Paris! Or Ukraine. I think it’s starting to evolve towards a more inclusive side of techno that you see in clubs like Griessmuehle. There is also this typical ‘Instagram techno’ stage that divides everyone a bit. But there is also an underground bunker style, a kind of original ethic that is starting to make its way.
Ordered : I think a lot of small underground promoters are looking to the local scene to support emerging producers. And also to avoid those ridiculous prices for basically just another DJ. We are moving a bit away from the Dutch model of these all-and-everyone-on-one-bill type events.
Paula: Yes. I think because we both went through that first period of techno, and then there’s almost like a death like that, and then now a resurrection. It’s relaunched bigger and better than ever, but there has been a price to pay, which is the social media aspect. What I like and what I take away from the original techno era is that it didn’t matter. There was no pressure on your appearance or who you were seen with. But now as an artist or DJ there is so much pressure to focus on Instagram.
Stuart: It is a form of marketing.
Paula: I do not want that. I feel really uncomfortable, and because of that, I feel like I’m going to be left behind. There is always this constant pressure to play with algorithms.
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Ordered : When you talk about the first wave of techno, you made a name for yourself with your performances and the music you played. Now I feel like the music and the performances have slipped in order of importance.
Paula: Yes! I mean, how dare I complain, but I’ve posted on Instagram before about music – no nobody cares. But then I take a selfie and that’s it all love it. Suddenly my music didn’t matter anymore. I thought it was a sad moment, but on the plus side, techno is more popular than ever. Everyone I talk to now knows what techno is, when years ago I would have been pretty embarrassed or shy to say. Everyone had a really fucked up idea of what techno was. Now everyone is like ‘OI TECHNO!’ like it’s the best thing in the world. So I guess my ego likes it a bit!
Stuart: I also remember someone saying that techno is a type of music that doesn’t ask you to like it, you know?
Paula: Yes exactly! That’s what attracted me. Not just the fucking good music and the sounds that were so exciting. But also, during these events, it didn’t matter.
Stuart: I almost love how it turned into a dirty word …
Paula: I like that too. The people you would meet at techno parties would have so much the same ideas. I guess everyone is doing drugs related to music. I wasn’t on drugs, so it was pure sound to me in a completely sober way.
Ordered : Visuals were always important in our clubs early on, but we didn’t need pyrotechnics or whatever a “good night” can cost. It’s about the accessory, the things around you. Like I said, the music seems to be lowered in order of importance which is never a good thing and will not last. It will always be music.
Stuart: I think what you said about inclusivity among local talent, with something like Riverside Festival, for example, we’re trying to create inclusive programming in the downtown area. Being an urban festival in central Glasgow, it kind of belongs to Glasgow. This is something that we are aware of, trying to mix it not only with the best international talent, but also with local artists.
Ordered : There is a fairly diverse choice of musical genres covered by local DJs.