Hard Wax, female:pressure and granular synthesis.
In the early '90s, DJ Hell told Susanne Kirchmayr about Hard Wax. Within a few years, she had moved from Vienna to Berlin to work at the techno institution and record store. During her first year behind the counter, 1993, Kirchmayr released her first record as Electric Indigo. Since then she has built a formidable discography that spans and surpasses techno with ferocious dance floor 12-inches, conceptual sound installations and live compositions. She's won awards for her decades of work in music, started her own label and toured around the world for decades—but she's only recently announced the completion and release of her debut full-length album, 511593, which is coming out soon on Monolake's label Imbalance Computer Music.
Despite her prolific career as a musician and DJ, Kirchmayr is perhaps best known as the founder of female:pressure, an international network of female, non-binary and trans professionals in electronic music and digital arts. Since its launch in 1998, the database has become one of the first and foremost forces in dance music feminism. Its actions include the influential FACTs survey, which analysed data about music festival lineups to track the dire rate at which female and non-binary artists get booked. The shifting terrain of social justice activism in and beyond underground dance music has in turn shaped the network's own development and posed new challenges for those invested in the future of gender equality. Kirchmayr came to the RA office in Berlin to speak to Elissa Stolman about the historical roots of this politically charged moment in techno history.