Rebekah Teasdale, better known by her moniker Rebekah, is one of the most powerful names in the contemporary techno scene. Her work to better the community extends far beyond her dynamic performances in the booth, with a focus on reforming some of the industry’s most taboo subject matters, such as sexual harassment, addiction and gender politics.

Following her most recent release on ElementsGO HARD OR GO HARDCORE series. Rebekah is taking a new route, influenced by the industrial backdrop of her birthplace of Birmingham, as well as the explosion of post-COVID nightlife that is built on the notion of high-intensity, hard-edged music, an attitude that has persisted in her work as an artist thus far.

The UK artist is now looking ahead to future generations of techno musicians and actively seeking out new talent on the more abrasive side of the techno spectrum. Her label Elements has often been home to industry stalwarts such as Noneoftheabove, Martyn Hare, Lag, Rebekah herself, and others, but now the label-owner is looking to highlight new and thriving talents under her GO HARD OR GO HARDCORE series, which combines industry veterans such as Patrick DSP with trailblazing talents such as Nineted.

Working in the industry since the 1990s, Rebekah has become a household name in the techno scene, routinely performing on some of the world’s most prestigious venues. During this period, Rebekah has released several iconic records on Soma, CLR, Naked Lunch, and others, while also performing at Berghain, Tresor, and Awakenings, to mention a few. The UK artist has also been vocal about sexism, abuse, and harassment in dance music with her #ForTheMusic Campaign.

We chat to Rebekah about the GO HARD OR GO HARDCORE series, her move towards the harder spectrum of techno, addiction in the music industry, her ForTheMusic campaign and more.

What first attracted you to techno?

The energy and the fact it was music I had never heard before. I felt like I was being turned inside out on the dancefloor, the excitement and thrill of it all.

How has your hometown of Birmingham’s rich techno history influenced your music?

Birmingham’s influence will be more on the industrial side of things, the history of metal as well as Techno means that there is a rough edge to the sound combined with the fact Birmingham was the “motor city” of the UK up until the late 90s. This industrial heritage can be found in my music with the steel sounds I am attracted to and enjoy creating.

Congratulations on your latest VA release ‘Go Hard or Go Hardcore’ on your label Elements. It’s a huge release with plenty of new and old names across the compilation. Does this release mark a shift in direction for the imprint?

Thank you! And yes, post Covid there has been a lot of change, personally and within the industry. I struggled with connecting to the new scene, but in the last year things started to come together, and I gained a clear direction of what I had to say musically and found interesting artists who share this vision too. Now the concept is fully live I am excited to see where it lands and if it adds a new dimension.

The release dives deep into the harder spectrums of dance music with hard techno & hardcore being the focal point of the release. You’ve produced a number of styles over the years, does this hard-edged take on techno encapsulate your sound now?

Whether I play 130bpm or 170bpm, my sound has always been hard throughout the years, it’s the way that I deliver the music within my sets, usually quite direct and hard-hitting. The new generation took this to a new level and now I am inspired back to take it a little further and delve into hardcore which I believe to be a natural evolution of industrial techno. The sound design and production techniques make this genre very interesting, if you take out the more commercial parts but even the standards of those hardcore radio edits make it closer to EDM in how slick the production needs to be compared to underground techno.

Events like Teletech and Verknipt have been at the forefront of the hard techno scene, and thanks to certain brands and DJs, the genre is becoming more popular than ever before, outperforming some of the more traditionally accessible genres like house. What do you think contributed to the rise in the popularity of hard and fast dance music?

Post-COVID energy and social media have both combined to create a product that can be sold easily through your phone. It’s hard to capture the vibe of house to a new audience when you have huge pre-drop hard techno capturing an insane amount of energy. This has obviously made things more difficult for DJs not doing this sound but you can look at it in another way that we have a massive influx of new ravers who eventually will get bored of hard dance and look for other musical experiences. There are so many scenes and genres that are open to them, it’s probably one of the most exciting times we have had in a long time.

Which DJs and producers should audiences look into to learn more about the history of hard techno and hard dance?

We are now in a second wave of hard techno, there are some similarities with the 00-10’s subgenre echoing the schranz sound that was popular then, Pet Duo, Buchehca, and Patrick DSP all have amazing back catalogues to dig into. As for hardcore, Lenny Dee with both his labels Industrial Strength and Hard Electronic is a great starting point. Marc Acarpidiane for some early music and then Ophidian, Igneon System, Chaos Project, and Mad Dog, for industrial through to downtempo which easily fit in a hard techno set.

Can you give us an insight as to how you wrote the collaborative track ‘The Way’ with Malke?

After watching the TV Show The Mandalorian I bookmarked the vocal “This is the Way” to use in a track. We got the project started and went back and forth adding our own elements, Malke with the big synth and myself with the addition of the hardcore kicks. It didn’t take so long and having two creative minds made for fast decisions.

Can you tell us about your hybrid style of DJing?

As a DJ, I play with Traktor across 4 channels with the use of cue points and effects, it’s a really fun setup that allows me to see everything happening on one screen (the iPad) giving way more control than if I was looking across 4 CDJs. It’s not currently configured as a hybrid for my regular DJ shows but when I do play this hybrid I have the same set-up with my modular, which is linked via midi, this allows me to have the addition of two oscillators and some extra percussion.

You’ve been very vocal about addiction in the dance music industry. Do you believe there is enough information available about the risks of addiction associated with frequent party attendance?

I think there are more open conversations about addiction now than when I wanted to stop, more events and venues are taking the initiative to educate on drugs and their effects with harm prevention being necessary, we have a responsibility to create a safer space in many areas, drugs being one of them. As for drug addiction, the scene is as old as it is now, which means we have seen people who work in the industry come through this and get help and come out on the other side better for it. The gift of recovery means that you are supposed to carry this message with you and help in any way you can, so the sober DJs who are vocal about their experience serve as an example and guide you in what helped them. It’s finally lost the taboo.

How did you adjust to touring as a musician while sober?

It is far easier, to be honest. Having comedowns and hangovers whilst travelling was one of the worst things ever, the drama and pain I inflicted on myself and others was horrendous. So doing it sober was a welcomed habit.

It can be increasingly difficult to create safe environments as techno grows in popularity. Large-scale gatherings can be difficult to organise, and some participants may not grasp the ethics associated with rave culture. How do you think the industry can implement safe spaces for bigger events?

Having a protocol in place and having it clearly communicated to the clubbers via posters all around the venue is a good start, this would consist of house rules around consent, stating the zero-tolerance policy and what that means and where incidents can be safely reported. This can also go out via email to people when they purchase tickets. Once this is in place and people are aware it’s proven that fewer predators operate within these environments and it also helps people to be more on the lookout for one another. The venues can do this quite easily but as a community, we really need to be creating upstanders and accepting if we have a scene and feel connected with our identities, the music we like, and the clothes we wear, it must extend to the safety of each of us within that community.

Have you seen any positive changes in the music industry since launching the ForTheMusic campaign in 2020?

There have been many initiatives, venues and events focusing more on creating safer spaces and this has been incredibly positive to see. It’s also opened the door to discuss these difficult topics as well as seeing some very strong individuals come forward to start the proceedings to prosecute their aggressors. It’s small steps in the right direction but we still have a long way to go as some areas are harder to change; like the corporate side where HR is still failing employees we need to find more ways to have safer reporting systems in place. Also suspending people from work when allegations come out until things can be more clear, rather than let someone who could be a potential risk still operate. We do have a few things backwards because “that’s how it’s always been”, challenging this old way of thinking takes time.

Clubs and festivals have certainly become more aware of the gender disparity in dance music, and the gaps in lineups appear to be slowly closing. However, production remains a male-dominated field. How can the industry encourage more women to begin producing music?

Using the same formula as the line-ups for record labels, there are definitely many non-male producers out there, they just need to be discovered. A good A&R will be aware of this and scouting. The more women who are signed artists be more to create music.

What does the rest of 2024 hold for you?

My main focus is to be creating as much music as possible, since 2020, COVID and the launch of the Campaign my inspiration has been at an all-time low, I think I was severely burnt out. Only in the last year I have found my direction again and excited by where the music is heading once more. I feel ready to share my vision once more.

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