It is not your techno, it is everyone’s
Yasmine Dammak and Sara Dziri founded Not Your Techno because they wanted to improve the accessibility of the party scene in Belgium. They figured that the best way to realize this was through creating a movement with other artists. By changing little things, such as having a more inclusive line-up or a better door policy, they try to create a safe atmosphere for partygoers.
You are a ‘party series, a platform and a collective’, can you explain that?
S: We want to be a place where everyone feels welcome and represented as much as possible. We want people to come to our parties and feel good and respected, regardless of their gender expression, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Not Your Techno is more than a party in that sense.
Do you attract a different kind of audience because of that?
S: We try to change the atmosphere at our parties, but we don’t try to attract a different audience. Our door policy is making sure that the people who come in are queer-friendly for instance and they need to be aware of our house rules. We rather allow people inside and give them a chance, instead of refusing a lot of people at the door. We are aware of the fact that this kind of exclusive door policy is often linked to prejudices, like racism.
Y: We do have certain rules and a policy that people need to follow so that everyone can have this mutual respect and enjoy themselves.
How do you make sure it stays a safe space for everyone?
Y: Firstly, we brief our security. In a more indirect way, it is very important for us to have inclusive line-ups and a team that represents our vision.
S: We also have a safety team moving around on the dance floor to make sure that people are having a good time.
What inspired you to start a collective?
S: I think the main motivation was the vision that we had about what a party should be like, which is inclusive in a real intersectional manner. Not just being pro-queer or pro-women but also conscious of certain prejudices based on ethnicity and trying to find a middle ground in that.
Y: We wanted to create a movement. It’s not just about throwing a party, we have a vision behind it with certain principles.
We have this activism in our DNA
What do you mean by movement?
Y: We have this activism in our DNA because of who we are and where we come from. We try to be reflective about our scene and what can be done better.
S: Even with our name ‘Not your Techno’, we wanted to make a point that the techno scene belongs to everyone and it should be accessible to everyone. Unfortunately, this hasn’t always been the case. It’s improving but still not as inclusive as it should be.
Why is it so important for artists to come together?
Y: If you do everything alone, you have tunnel vision and miss out on approaching things from another perspective. Being with people is quite inspiring for me.
S: And especially for artists, it’s important that we form an alliance. Sadly enough, we don't always have a very good position, so working together and strengthening each other is very important.
There’s a need for people to find each other again and collaborate
A lot of people seem to be looking for a community nowadays.
S: I think there’s this need to be together after these two years of Corona. You notice it in the amount of B2B’s that you see or the number of residencies that are being announced. There’s a need for people to find each other again and collaborate.
I think this is a post-COVID movement; a lot of thinking and acting together, exchanging ideas and sharing creativity
Y: There’s more solidarity after the pandemic as well. Everyone loves to be in a group and cluster again. I think this is a post-COVID movement; a lot of thinking and acting together, exchanging ideas and sharing creativity.
What do you hope Not Your Techno will look like in the future?
Y: Besides a party series, we want it to be a platform as well. In our edition at Decoratelier, we included a dance performance, so we’re exploring this idea of something multidisciplinary. We are dreaming about doing a hybrid concept in the future by including other forms of art.
S: We definitely want to keep throwing parties but during the pandemic, we launched a talk series which was also well-received. I think that’s an aspect we want to keep and broaden.
What was the talk series about?
S: We had two talks. One was about the representation of women in the techno scene and the other was about the representation of the North African community. The latter topic is not really being touched upon despite the fact that Belgium has a very big North African community. And it’s something very dear and personal to us, we’re both Belgian Tunisian.
What should we currently keep an eye out for?
Y: From September on, we will have a resident team that consists of Sara & Cheb Runner, who are DJs and producers, and of two other DJs: Spirite and Timmerman. This team reflects our vision of having real inclusivity at our parties. The idea is to have the residents play as often as possible at our parties and to represent Not Your Techno. We also have our third birthday edition on the 10th of September.