How We Can Get Sexist Trolls Out Of Electronic Music
After a spate of abuse, Boiler Room and Nightwave detail the steps needed to make our community safer.
The longstanding issue of sexism in electronic music came to the fore again in late June during two Boiler Room sets across Europe. One came when Glasgow producer and DJ Nightwave responded to trolls after her Boiler Room set in Paris in which a flood of unfiltered and insulting comments came through to the artist via Facebook Live. The night before that, on June 28, Staycore’s Toxe, from Sweden, was faced with similar comments from people watching at home.
In the wake of these incidents Boiler Room have promised change and are aiming to improve things with “immediate effect.” It may seem like an impossible task to rid even a small corner of the internet from trolls but that is now Boiler Room’s mission. The FADER spoke to Nightwave and Boiler Room’s Gabriel Szatan to get their take on what happened last week, and find out what happens next
Gabriel Szatan, Senior Programmer at Boiler Room
How long have you been aware of the problem with offensive and insulting language on Boiler Room comment sections?
Personally, ever since I started watching Boiler Room as a student way back when. Then it was more anoraks making Darude [Finnish producer behind 1999 single “Sandstorm”] jokes when people asked for track IDs, and laughing at the very passive crowds you used to get back in the day. The notoriety of the Boiler Room chatroom waned, but since I joined in 2014 now and again we've received requests from female DJs asking for YouTube comments to be disabled. I won't name who, but a British DJ had some pretty grim comments on her video, which her dad wound up reading and got understandably upset about.
The advent of Facebook Live in the past couple months has seen a massive spike in real-time comments once more, and with this has brought a rush of people who aren't even in our audience who can pop up on a stream and just volley abuse. I should stress that a glut of really vile comments on Toxe and Nightwave's sets came from people who hadn't even liked Boiler Room on Facebook. So in those cases, it's keyboard warrior cowardice; the lack of anonymity doesn't have a deterrent effect as you might expect: they simply revel in being cunts.
When it does get ugly, the most common thing we see is not really sexualised comments as much as this idea that a female producer doesn't know what they're doing, especially if the music isn't straight house/techno. The amount of bedroom DJs who suddenly [think they have] become trained sound engineers when it comes to watching a woman mix is hilarious. Even on a set like [Brooklyn-based producer] Volvox's recent one in N.Y.C. — which is hands down one of the best techno sets we've had all year — they say she touches the mixer too much, or does things in the “wrong” way.
Read the full interview with Boiler Room's Gabriel Szatan by David Renshaw over at The Fader