Following on from one of many of this week’s heated debates in our discussion group, opinion was surprisingly divided on whether the infamous Lithuanian producer Ten Walls should be granted a second chance in the world of electronic music, as news spread like wildfire that the ‘Walking with Elephants’ creator was penciled in to play at a Sligo venue in the near future. This follows the release of his last album in March along with upcoming shows in Lithuania, Barcelona and Singapore.
In one way, it was good to see people’s more charitable side in offering the disgraced producer a second chance at his career, after he spent a prolonged period in exile after an astoundingly disdainful rant against homosexual people. With that being said, this wasn’t a once off mistake or an error of judgement. This was an individual openly expressing their views on a certain percentage of people in society; people we all co-exist with, in fact people that we in large part have to thank for the success of electronic music worldwide, and he used his platform, obtained via success within electronic music, to condemn them for their sexual orientation.
For anyone out of the loop, the origins of this story trace back to 2015 when Ten Walls posted a scathing Facebook status via his personal page taking aim at the homosexual community; declaring himself ‘intolerant’ of them and that they were a ‘different breed’. He then went on to blame the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal here in Ireland on homosexuals too in what was ultimately a bizarre and disturbingly ruthless attack (You can read it in full here).
Thankfully, the rant resulted in his seemingly abrupt disappearance off the face of the earth, not before a laughable apology statement that detailed the infamous rant as a ‘misunderstanding’ and not his ‘true opinion’.
Since all of this transpired, Ten Walls issued an even lengthier apology, which still doesn’t really explain where the rant came from and expresses his regret at peoples’ opinions of him and how his views may have affected people around the world. He since joined a Lithuanian symphony which encourages acceptance of all genders, sexual orientations, races and more, in an effort to spread a positive message around his home country.
With that being said, Ten Walls’ return to shows under his notorious moniker shouldn’t necessarily be welcomed, especially here at home. It’s undoubtedly positive to see him promoting acceptance, but little or no one in the wider public actually realises that the producer has done so. Ten Walls is known for being homophobic and hateful and not for what he did or did not do afterwards. In 2017, your star burns brightly for a limited amount of time and you’ve got to use that pedestal wisely, not to attack an innocent section of society.
Booking him for shows, supporting his productions and attending his gigs only serves to spread a message that it’s OK to spread hate as long as you apologise afterwards and ‘do your time’.
The dance music community is one that’s rooted in spreading togetherness and unity; everyone dances as one. When it comes to the people behind the music itself being bigoted, we should all stand together as a community to oust those opinions, not just to blacklist one individual, such as Ten Walls, but in order to spread the message of positivity and acceptance on a grand scale, for the sake of the person that to your left and right in the rave or just the person that lent you a lighter in the smoking area, because we should all have each other’s backs.
Turning a blind eye and saying ‘at least his tunes are good’ may indeed be a mature reaction to some because you’re placing the music at the forefront, but by doing so you’re ignoring the wrongdoings of someone that has openly criticised the orientation of a significant chunk of the population.
With gender already being a hot topic within electronic music that definitely needs in-depth attention, questioning whether or not out and out bigots should or should not be allowed within our scene is a simple one. We need to do what we all do best and put our feet down in unison.