“You have more power than you did then – and you can keep finding your power.” Producer, DJ, writer Noncompliant is featured in a film out this week talking about refusing to comply.
Noncompliant, aka Indianapolis-based Lisa Smith, is featured in a beautiful new series on the underground by director-photographer-editor Serge Garcia. It’s a personal look at what drives her (also, her other transport is the Millennium Falcon!), shot in Berlin the week of her Tresor gig, not long before the pandemic shut down open European-American travel.
It’s a tough time for so many people in the world right now, amplified along lines of race, class, queerness, and all dimensions of marginalization. So it’s good to get Lisa’s fighting words out into that world now.
In case you missed it, I also covered the portrait of Shaun J. Wright, who also opens up about queerness, race, marginalization, and the roots of the dance scene:
There’s plenty here for anyone looking for the strength to stand up to injustice – for yourself, as an ally, in support of friends, in support of a better world. Also definitely go read the interview with Lisa on them., accompanying the premiere of the film, for more background:
It’s a bit funny linking to a publication from Condé Nast, but writers like Tyler Trykowski are doing excellent work covering queer culture – like this music round-up.
Many unusual things have found their way into Berghain programs over the years, but Lisa’s post-apocalyptic speculative rave fan-fic, as she reads at the end, is one of the rarer gems. You can absorb the full text on Google Docs here:
One challenge of music writing, and maybe music in general, is that a lot of the time you really don’t know people. I feel fortunate to write about friends not as some kind of nepotism but because I do get more of the context. And I suspect that while we pretend as music journalists to have some omniscient view of the universe, it’s also natural that we find certain people as resonant.
That “energy exchange” on the dance floor Lisa describes to them. I think is vital – Shaun is also an extraordinary example of that. There’s a notion in music that talents exist separately from people on a personal level, and even a tendency to reward some of the more caustic or even toxic personalities in DJing. I do feel differently – I notice that a lot of the people I care about as humans, I also have a distinct experience when they play. And actually, I even hope that sense encourages readers of this site. I do think something personal comes out in how you DJ, let alone how you produce. Part of why I think there isn’t a fixed amount of room in the world to make music is the conviction that what you bring individually as a human is not something anyone else brings.
While I do love the Cocteau Twins, though, the one thing missing in the film on Noncompliant and the them. story is some Noncompliant music. So let’s have at it.
First, a great mix for queer-run/focused OBSKUR MUSIC out of Canada:
Some serious retro re-release action from 1999 and her earlier, now-retired DJ Shiva moniker – back to the storied midwest rave era:
Don’t miss her remix of this legendary classic from October – and hot tip, if you’re sending promos her way, maybe you should be somewhere in this territory (this whole comp is great, also with contributions by our friends FBK, Ron S., DJ T-1000, and more):
And a brutally funky mix of Christina Chatfield’s “Ascent” also out last fall:
If you’re not near part of her upcoming US dates, you can also catch Noncompliant now on Twitch fairly regularly:
Oh, PS, a PSA – if your idea of noncompliance is related to resisting vaccines or health protections, one of the things Noncompliant is outspoken about is public health, protecting people (particularly the vulnerable), and following science:
And share your track IDs, while you’re at it:
Hope to see all of you back in Berlin soon.