The Exchange is a periodic in-depth look at the artistic motivations of musicians and collectives. We try to approach this from a more cultural and societal perspective, aside from the necessary musical one, because we cannot deny the influence of modern age bringing ideas from all over the world which broaden our horizons. It is a fact that we can learn a lot from movements that are foreign to us.
june as, Beirut (Lebanon)
Following our past secret rave in the morgue (Sat March 16th, in Amsterdam), we catch up with june as (Frequent Defect) on the founding of a groundbreaking event series, the contemporary scene in Lebanon parallel to the political climate, and defining yourself through artistic expression. Listen to the recording of his set during the Tonotopic rave here:
Z – Hi June, thanks so much again for the amazing set during the rave. Notable was the intricate energy you were pushing, attuned to the crowd, but independent from any expectations. Which boundaries were you personally trying to push and how does this reflect back to the work you do in Lebanon?
Thanks for having me. I couldn’t have imagined it to turn out like this, it had a very familiar feel to it in what looks like the start of something amazing.
Well the idea is not to have boundaries in the first place to try to push, it’s kind of a more free-roam approach where anything can be worked on and molded. I mostly try to start off build a receptive environment around me, opening up room for a wider range of timbres. Stylistically it’s an effort to have the narrative I had in mind and the energy in the space converge, walking through my latest episodes. And I guess that in a way this lends down to the music creating something relatable. The whole thing turns into dancing on your grave in a way. Specially with the setting and all.
Z – Digging a bit deeper into the mission of Frequent Defect, the details such as the artwork, videos, and event names; what is the trauma you would like to address?
It’s actually traumas, and there’s plenty of them. The subjects stem from the abundance of barriers lying around, both on individual as well as social levels. Recurrent themes are social control and its various implications, subversion and transgressive techniques that serve as an intellectual vessel for an attempted change of state. A response to an age where the access and control of information are the primary tools of power, and our fight is more on a human level than anything else. It’s not an attempt to create another duality of right or wrong, nor create an alternate path, we try to put matters into perspective and look at our situation in conjunction with what’s happening around us. Mainly we’re not set for a single idea or struggle, it’s more about the methods of tackling life.
Z – The line ups you curate are extraordinary, even for Dutch standards regarding the size of your collective. How important are the personal bonds forged with these artists? What thoughts do you entertain on connecting scenes over the world, which share a similar need to overcome stagnant waters in their home country (the waters where politics-social-economic situation-generic normality cross).
It’s safe to say that all the artists who made their way here have become like family members. Their music speaks so much about them from the get go, and it becomes clear after a while that there’s a mold of understanding between everyone. It’s an exchange, a sharing of experiences and methods, where we could all learn. Needless to say the artists all have a heavy baggage of insight and ideas, and it’s through continuous cooperation that we can actually achieve something rather than through the one day experience. It feels like everyone is part of this group that’s trying to say something. The same applies to these collectives both locally and internationally that we had the pleasure to work with, and it’s been extending lately to other domains.
Z – After the rave in Amsterdam, are there any thoughts you will be taking back to Lebanon? What are the plans for the near future for Frequent Defect?
What happened there is gonna stick for a while. It’s great to see similar calls for resistance happen in other places, and seeing things from a different viewpoint gives you more insight on how things are going in the world. It starts in your own environment but our understanding should try to expand as much as possible.
Regarding Frequent Defect, a bunch of projects are already under way at the venue. We lately had a play directed by Line Itani, and next up there’s gonna be Barakunan’s book launch and A/V installation. We’ll also be having our first label showcase with Modular Mind, right after. Exciting times ahead!