500 episodes

The weekly RA Exchange is a series of conversations with artists, labels and promoters shaping the electronic music landscape.

RA Exchange Resident Advisor

    • Music
    • 3.5 • 2 Ratings

The weekly RA Exchange is a series of conversations with artists, labels and promoters shaping the electronic music landscape.

    EX.718 BASHKKA

    EX.718 BASHKKA

    "My place of rebirth was New York." The DJ and producer discusses Brooklyn's queer ballroom scene and advocating for Munich's queer community at BLITZ Club.

    BASHKKA is a name you might recognise from festival lineups. In fact, it seems to be everywhere these days. The Munich-based artist has seemingly blown up in the past 24 months, but her ascent is well-deserved. The Munich-based DJ has been a resident at BLITZ Club for two years since returning from a decade-long stint in New York, where she quickly found family with Brooklyn's trans community. While she's now living back in Germany, the experience ignited a lifelong commitment to her advocacy for the cultural, political and de-colonial advancement of electronic music. She is an activist for Southwest Asian and North African artists across the scene, especially those from queer femme backgrounds or who have been otherwise marginalised from the mainstream dance music narrative.

    In this interview with the Exchange's senior producer Chloe Lula, BASHKKA talks about her roots and how the dichotomy of growing up to a Turkish family in Bavaria—and then living within the trans community in New York—has shaped her creativity and her outlook on family and life. She also talks about her debut EP, Maktub, on Nene H's label Umay, where she explores a mixture of ballroom, ghetto tech, house and the legacy of her years in New York. According to the artist, it's a "hot stew of seduction"—and it's only a prelude of what's to come. Listen to the episode in full.

    • 44 min
    EX.717 DJ Pierre

    EX.717 DJ Pierre

    "We were searching for our own voice." The Chicago artist talks about pioneering the sound of acid house and the spirit of experimentation in early dance music.

    The Chicago-based Nathaniel Pierre Jones—AKA DJ Pierre—may be best known for forming the "squelch" we now call acid. When he and his friends Spanky and Herb J picked up a TB-303 in a pawn shop, they captured the sound of the knobs being turned as a pattern started to run. While this wasn't how the instrument was intended to be used, they were enthralled by the result, reproducing it and releasing it as an EP called Acid Tracks under the name Phuture in 1987. The result was the birth of the acid house era and a new, international musical craze.

    In this RA Exchange recorded live at International Music Summit in Ibiza, Jones retraces the acid craze and the nature of experimentation and risk-taking more generally. In his view, there's a marked absence of this mindset in contemporary dance music as many producers have become accustomed to using sample packs, presets and generally operating within workflows that stymie originality. At the end of the interview, he raises important questions around if and how the music being released today enhances our lives, as well as what a truly transcendent and mutually supportive industry could look like. Listen to the episode in full.

    • 46 min
    EX.716 Wolfgang Tillmans

    EX.716 Wolfgang Tillmans

    The photographer and musician discusses his love of nightlife, the origins of his music practice and his new album.

    This week's Exchange—falling on the first week of Pride Month—features the acclaimed artist Wolfgang Tillmans, a figure who has become known for documenting Berlin's queer nightlife culture. But Tillmans isn't just active behind the camera. He's also an outspoken activist for the international LGBTQIA+ community and the wave of conservatism rearing its head against gender and reproductive rights around the world. His evocative photos invite viewers to look at society straight in the face, question the status quo and harness the power of collective resistance to normative, capitalist ways of living. An ardent fan of electronic music, he also captures artists and DJs at the heart of underground club culture. When he started taking photos in the '90s, it was at the acid house parties blossoming around Germany and the UK.

    Now entering the height of his career at 55, Tillmans has been profiled multiple times in major magazines like the New Yorker and given career-spanning solo retrospectives at the MoMa in New York, Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, The Centre Pompidou in Paris and countless galleries across the world, including David Zwirner, which represents him.

    While it's widely acknowledged that Tillmans enjoys participating in club culture, what might be less well known is that he actually makes music himself. In recent years, he's begun putting out albums on his own label, fragile, creating new wave-tinged electronica that nods to early synth pop. Tillmans released his debut album, Moon in Earthlight, in 2021 and he's now celebrating the release of his second album, Build From Here, where he explicitly sings about human rights and violations against the LGBTQIA+ community. Overall, its message is one of hope and excited apprehension about the future and the arts' place within it. Listen to the episode in full.

    • 58 min
    EX.715 Tijana T

    EX.715 Tijana T

    "Being a part of this scene is already a political act." The longtime DJ discusses politics in dance music and Ex-Yugoslavia's dynamic anti-establishment creative culture.

    Tijana Todorovic (AKA Tijana T) proudly hails from the Ex-Yugoslavian capital Belgrade. The Serbian city, alongside the territories now known as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Slovenia, were once under singular socialist rule that Tijana describes as a "utopian time" that fostered intense creativity and counter-cultural art and music. A liberal communist republic that didn't operate under the influence of the USSR, as many Eastern European countries did at that time, Yugoslavia gave birth to a dynamic, anti-establishment performance culture rooted in new wave, feminism and everything non-mainstream.

    In her RA Exchange with senior producer Chloe Lula, Tijana reflects on how growing up in this environment irrevocably shaped her values and taste in music, as well as how the civil war—and Yugoslavia's subsequent fall—defined the period of intense fear and poverty that followed. In Serbia, techno and nightclubs became an energetic force for young people seeking solace, community and sociopolitical change. Tijana went on to work as a TV and radio journalist that fought vehemently against the war, and to break out as an artist beyond the Ex-Yugoslavian territory. She talks about her unlikely trajectory, her view on the intrinsic connection between politics in dance music, underdeveloped music markets, sobriety and more. Listen to the episode in full.

    • 58 min
    EX.714 Juan Atkins

    EX.714 Juan Atkins

    "What is it about my music that's touching other people?" One of the forefathers of techno reflects on his legacy, the state of techno music and the city of Detroit live from IMS.

    Most people in nightlife are familiar with the name Juan Atkins. One of the originators of techno, he grew up in Belleville, a middle-class suburb of Detroit, and would become one of the Belleville Three alongside Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson. This first wave of Detroit techno artists was inspired by the late night emissions of radio DJ The Electrifying Mojo—a late-night presenter who famously mixed different synth music, like Krautrock and the German outfit Kraftwerk—and the writing of futurists like Alvin Toffler, who imagined a different, utopic vision of urban life and technology.

    In this keynote interview recorded live at International Music Summit in Ibiza, Atkins reflects on his roots and the musical movement that's grown from his first experiments with techno in the '80s. Returning to his adolescence, he unpacks the origins of his electro collaboration Cybotron, his solo project Model 500 (coming to Houghton this year) and his label, Metroplex, which became a blueprint for a hoard of techno imprints that would emerge in its wake. Now 61, Atkins also reflects on the broader impact music has had on his life—he has given lectures on the intersection of physics, music and spirituality—as well as the remaining stones left unturned as he enters the (very much still active) sunset in his career. Listen to the episode in full.

    • 52 min
    EX.713 CJ Bolland

    EX.713 CJ Bolland

    Recorded live at Brussels festival Listen, the veteran talks about leading the birth of acid techno and the sound of proto-techno in Belgium.

    At the turn of the '90s, Belgium was under the twin influences of early techno and '80s new beat. It was artists like CJ Bolland who helped usher these two sounds together, bridging the low-slung sludge of bands like A Split Second and Lords of Acid with the futuristic chug of Juan Atkins, Jeff Mills and Detroit's first guard.

    Bolland grew up in Antwerp and was exposed to underground music from his parents, who owned a club. Eventually beginning to produce himself, he helped create the early acid rave sound that would take over Europe. He signed to then-powerhouse label R&S Records with his career-defining single, "Horsepower," in 1991, and from there embarked on a prolific touring career.

    In this Exchange, he talks to RA's senior producer Chloe Lula live from Listen Festival in Brussels, diving deep into Belgium's unique musical landscape and his thoughts on how it's evolved in response to its position between major techno hubs like The Netherlands and France. A massive gear head, Bolland also shares his favourite tools and reflects on how the state of music-making has changed in the years since he first started his career. Listen to the episode in full.

    • 47 min

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