This is Pauly here (aka Platinum Ray from Heat Werk on DDR.) On our last show on May 25th something happened that sent me into a spiral of worry and unhappiness. I just want to write this brief message to address what happened and explain to our listeners what it means for Heat Werk for the foreseeable future.
DDR is a vehemently pro-choice station and as it happened our last show was on the same day as the repeal vote. Our slot began at 10 p. m. and this coincided exactly with the closing of the poling stations and the announcement of the exit polls. My friend and Heat Werk regular Tóirse (aka Educution) asked to open the show and proceeded to play dark techno records with a voiceover of a short story. Although the short story itself may not have been offensive there are a few reasons I feel that it being played at that moment in time was not appropriate for the wider context of the vote ending. Here are just a few reasons:
- It was a male’s voice that was being played and I felt that it was a no-brainer to play female lead music and voices at that time given the vote was about women’s bodily autonomy.
- I felt that the narrator of the short story being played was entirely inappropriate for the time that was in it. It’s important to note that Tóirse did make an effort to disguise the voice with pitch and echo effects. He thought that no one would notice whom it was that was speaking. However, even with the effects put on the voice, it was immediately clear to me who was speaking.
- Although I asked Tóirse to turn it off as soon as I realised what was happening he continued to play it for approximately a quarter of an hour. At the time this length seemed unnecessarily excessive for me, but it’s important to note that it was Tóirse’s intention to play the entire short story (in spoken word) from start to finish.
The fall out from this was pretty immediate. I went on the mic after a while and said something to try to counterpoint what was happening on air. Although I haven’t listened back to the archive I’m pretty sure I mentioned the vote and made it apparent that I felt that what was being played was an odd choice given the timing of it. Personally I was left feeling a bit stunned in embarrassment, but we continued on. Daragh and myself played after Tóirse I proceeded to announce the results of the exit polls (which to my relief predicted a landslide victory for the pro-choice movement.)
It took me a few days to really process what had happened. I called Torsh to express my feelings about it to him and try to figure out what his intentions were. We had a bit of a barney. He explained that he in no way had he intended the short story to be in response to the vote. He explained that he had tried to disguise the voice of the narrator and he really thought that no one would notice. He also told me that he felt my speaking on the mic was unfair to him and other listeners who might not be of the same political leanings as myself.
So what does this mean for the future of our show? Honestly my first thought was for us to end our show entirely and ask the DDR folks to put a woman on instead of us. I think this would probably be the most honorable thing to do, but somewhat weakly I just can’t bring myself to do it.
My personal situation is that I don’t get to deejay very often as I’m a father to a young child and need to be up early to care for him. As such, maybe somewhat selfishly, the bi-weekly show I do is very important to me as a creative outlet and I just can’t give it up that easily. It’s also really important that I get pleasure and enjoyment from doing the show. For me Heat Werk really can’t become a kind of edgy political discourse between Tóirse and myself. That’s not in any way what I intended for our show. Also all of this is really unfair to my brother Daragh who also plays records on the show with us.
I need to stress again that Tóirse is clear that he intended nothing political, so it would be unfair to kick him off the show for a perceived crime that I may have just imagined in my own head. In any case I’m not the boss of Heat Werk so that wouldn’t be my call.
However for me a line has been crossed and I think that it’s important for my own mental health, and creative health, to step away from doing the show with Tóirse at this time. I honestly feel like a prick just writing this, but this is what it’s come to. I called Tóirse again after initially speaking to him and explained my decision. I raised the possibility of us alternating the show between us, but he doesn’t want to do that. Effectively this means that Tóirse won’t be appearing on Heat Werk again for the foreseeable future.
Daragh and myself will continue to do the show. I think alternating the show between Daragh & myself for a while will allow me some space to refocus creatively on the music side of things.
Apologies if saying all of this seems weird, unnecessary and odd, but I’m glad to hopefully draw a line under it and move forward.