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RA Exchange

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

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EX.622 - Patrick Topping In Conversation

Patrick Topping's love of dance music stretches back to his early teenage years when he discovered mákina, a subgenre of hard Spanish techno that's popular in North East England. "I still love that music now," he says on this week's episode. Since those early days as a young raver in Newcastle, Topping has become an in-demand artist known for a wide range of styles that includes happy hardcore, classic pop and gospel-inflected house.Currently holding down a summer residency at DC-10 in Ibiza, which he describes as "the pinnacle of my career," the UK artist explains how he reached this stage after starting out in the industry as promoter, following in his father's footsteps. After being mentored by Jamie Jones, Topping says he's now in a position to pass on insights to younger artists as well as support emerging talents through his residency and label, Trick.Topping then goes onto his discuss why he prefers to play sober these days—"it changed my relationship with DJing"—and why he controls his own social media presence—"you're pulling together bits of media to tell your story, it's kind of like DJing."Listen to the full conversation for more details.


11 Aug 2022

Rank #1

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EX.621 - Lafawndah (Archive)

A repeat episode from 2020.Lafawndah's second album, The Fifth Season, on French label Latency, is a journey through science fiction, friendship and cinematic storytelling. It saw the Paris-born artist expand the myths of NK Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy and cover the likes of Beverly Glenn Copeland and Lili Boulanger. The record continues a four-year run of avant pop jewels, kicked off by her a debut EP for Warp and a collaboration with minimalist composer Midori Takada in 2018, before her first full-length statement, 2019's Ancestor Boy.Here, she speaks with Martha Pazienti Caidan about the making of The Fifth Season, an LP that's elemental, emotional and uncannily fitting for the present moment.


4 Aug 2022

Rank #2

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EX.620 Reflections: Inside Nightlife’s Spiking Epidemic

Berlin has witnessed an alarming number of drug and needle spiking incidents in recent months, raising worries about nightlife safety in one of the world's top clubbing destinations. In this edition of Reflections, a new series on the RA Exchange that breaks down important journalism on our site, staff writer Anu Shukla and managing editor Chloe Lula examine the context surrounding recent spiking claims.Shukla, discussing her article on the topic, describes how she spoke to two women who said they were spiked with needles at Berghain and Sisyphos. Their stories have pushed others to share their own experiences with spiking, Shukla says. Lula, who has been looking into the socio-economic and political climate behind spiking, notes how some clubbers may now feel unsafe going out alone. The pandemic has brought about a rise in anti-social behaviour and regressive attitudes towards sex, which could be a factor behind spiking, she describes.Listen to the full conversation to understand how spiking poses serious implications for women and minorities in nightlife.For resources on community care, harm reduction and mental health, revisit our list from earlier this year: https://ra.co/features/3961


28 Jul 2022

Rank #3

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EX.619 - D Double E & Tash LC In Conversation

Darren Dixon, AKA D Double E, wants the world to know that he's not just a MC. In a short but deep chat with London DJ and presenter Tash LC on the sidelines of Outlook Festival's debut UK edition, the grime veteran discusses his recent productions for for the likes of Novelist and others. Despite producing for years, Dixon has largely hidden that side of his artistry from the public. But that's now changing following the release of his latest EP, Bluku! Bluku! 2."It's a separate life but I'm now pushing it into the world," Dixon tells Tash LC ahead of his live performance at the festival. His production and vocals on the new EP touch on classic grime but there's also elements of '80s synth music and R&B. The record is a reflection of his personal tastes, he explains. Putting out new music is a chance for fans to see his personality, he continues, noting how that's not always possible during live grime shows. "When I'm doing grime sets, they're playing mad beats and I have no choice but to spit on the beat," he says.Listen to the full conversation for more details on Dixon's creative process as well as his collaborations with Swindle and Chip.


21 Jul 2022

Rank #4

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EX.618 - Critics' Roundtable [July 2022]

New music, community-driven parties, tech talk and more from RA staffers.Every month, members of Resident Advisor's global team highlight their favourite artists, exciting labels and industry trends on the Critics' Roundtable podcast. This edition, featuring senior designer Lucy Ross, senior US partnerships lead Lottie Moore and senior staff writer Nyshka Chandran, jumps across genres and regions in a reflection of the trio's myriad tastes. Selections feature records with an introspective touch, setting the tone for a mindful summer. From the furious breaks of NIGELTHREETIMES to V.C.R's gospel-inspired soul to Joy Orbison collaborator KEYAH/BLU, the group describes how each artist incorporates a cinematic gloss into their respective compositions. Elsewhere, Honolulu-based label Aloha Got Soul gets a mention for its commitment to showcasing Hawaiian funk and jazz, as does young amapiano star Uncle Waffles, whose global footprint keeps expanding.Recent developments impacting the electronic music ecosystem are also discussed. Moore looks at community-building initiatives of promoters, highlighting Los Angeles' Mapamota and noting the potential of chat platforms such as Discord to strengthen ties with punters. Ross, meanwhile, summarises how AI is influencing brand identity from a designer's viewpoint.Listen to the full podcast for more.


14 Jul 2022

Rank #5

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EX.617 - Badsista

As a DJ, Rafaela Andrade AKA Badsista channels her childhood, culture and history into no-holds-barred sets that blur the lines between Chicago house, techno, hip-hop, pop and baile funk. At this year's edition of Nuits Sonores, the São Paulo creative jumped from Rihanna to acid, incorporating a medley of styles she grew up with. "I'm a result of my time," she tells Resident Advisor at the Lyon festival. Growing up, Andrade says she was constantly exposed to music from family members, street parties and friends. Those influences, reflected in her mixes and performances, add a degree of intentionality and meaning to her craft, she explains.Baile funk is a recurring sound in her sets and productions. Speaking to Lula about the genre, Andrade discusses similarities with punk rock and how the genre varies around Brazil. In Rio de Janeiro, for instance, it's percussive and faster while in Belo Horizonte, it's slower and more vocal-heavy, she describes. Baile funk is also deeply intertwined with local politics, she points out. Federal programs under former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva provided computers to working-class neighborhoods, enabling more people to access music-making software. Under the current government, however, equipment has become expensive, which is weighing on the creative economy, she warns.When Andrade isn't DJing, she focuses on education and club nights. As co-founder of collective BANDIDA, she helps to throw parties in São Paulo that showcase women artists in addition to teaching women of marginalised backgrounds how to DJ and produce using affordable hardware. For more details on her community-oriented approach to nightlife, listen to the full conversation.


7 Jul 2022

Rank #6

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EX.616 Reflections: Web3 in Nightlife

Reflections, a new addition on the RA Exchange, takes a magnifying glass to long-form journalism on our website. On each episode, writers break down their latest feature in an effort to shed more light on underlying issues surrounding the story. As part of Resident Advisor's technology month, senior staff writer Nyshka Chandran investigated how blockchain networks known as Decentralized Autonomous Organisations (DAOs) are looking to disrupt the global nightlife industry. Here, she outlines how she came across the niche world of Web3 nightlife and explains the cautious sentiment behind this fast-growing sector. While several DAOs throw parties featuring electronic music artists, only a few seek to operate their own venues and transform the process of event curation, she notes. But their lofty ambitions are tied to the fate of the cryptocurrency market, which could ultimately make or break a DAO, she warns.Listen to the full conversation for more details.


30 Jun 2022

Rank #7

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EX.615 - HE.SHE.THEY (Archive)

A repeat episode from last year in celebration of Pride month.Steven Braines and Sophia Kearney founded the party brand He.She.They. in 2018 with a mission to make their events "a utopia where people feel they belong whilst expressing their utmost individuality." Their first event was at London's Ministry Of Sound and has since visited Pacha, Watergate, Rex Club and other big-name venues in Europe, Asia and the United States. They also run the artist management agency Weird & Wonderful, representing acts like Jossy Mitsu, LOUISAHHH and Maya Jane Coles, who's also a regular DJ for He.She.They. In conversation with journalist and author Marcus Barnes, Kearney and Braines expand on the history and ethos behind the brand, having to trade DC10 for London lockdown and their Pride parties in Brighton.

1hr 34mins

23 Jun 2022

Rank #8

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EX.614 - Portrait XO

As an artist focused on experimental electronics, visuals, AI and augmented reality, Portrait XO is used to thinking in a multidisciplinary approach. Whether developing sound installations, musical dining experiences or audiovisual albums, the Berlin-based creator consistently intertwines music, art and immersive technologies.This integrative way of working stems from the artist's synesthesia, a neurological condition in which people experience one sense through another. "It's like a cross wiring of senses," Portrait XO explains on this episode of the Exchange. Exploring synaesthetic reactions between sound, taste and sight is now a major element of her work. One project involved her performing music based on sounds that she experienced from flavours.Most of her productions are centred around human-machine collaboration. Her 2020 album, WIRE, used machine learning to generate ten hours of new audio from just hour of her recorded vocals. Working with AI "feels like a 50/50 collaboration, at least when it comes to melodies," she describes. While AI isn't smart enough to create full lyrics and melodies, it's "a really great idea sparker and something I’ll hear will then inspire me to write the rest of the melodic phrase or the best lyrical idea that I get out of it," she continues.For more details on how synesthesia and machine learning influence her creative process, listen to the full conversation.


16 Jun 2022

Rank #9

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EX.613 - Critics' Roundtable [June 2022]

Two new faces join Head Of Podcasts Martha Pazienti-Caidan on the June edition of Critics' Roundtable, Resident Advisor's monthly podcast that showcases the varied tastes of our contributors. Over the course of 40 minutes, Glasgow City Manager Rose Manson, Staff Writer Zoey Shopmaker and Pazienti-Caidan herself present their favourite music and new stories from the past three months.Their selections include New York producer K Wata, whose recent 12-inch connects the dots between loopy drum patterns and experimental ambient, as well as the 10 year anniversary compilation of UK label Local Action. Kiernan Laveaux's March mix for Noods Radio is also highlighted, as is the new Air Max '97 EP and Glasgow community radio station Buena Vida. Towards the end of the chat, the trio discuss a directory of women, trans and non-binary producers, the slow pace of festival ticket sales and efforts to end sexual violence at large gatherings.Listen to the conversation in full.


9 Jun 2022

Rank #10