Electro scene: “It’s not always easy to do your job”, says the president of Technopol

“We really want to find our audience and make the streets of Paris vibrate”impatient Tommy Vaudecrane, president of Technopol Association which organizes the Techno Parade. The participants have an appointment at noon, Saturday, September 24, place Denfert-Rochereau. The course of more than 6 km will end at Place de la Nation.

Eleven floats have the mission of making the crowd dance. In solidarity with Ukraine, Xenia, Ukrainian DJ, is the guest of honour. The party is back after “a period of Covid-19 which had a great impact on the actors and actresses of electronic music and weakened [leur] ecosystem”.

“It’s not always easy to do your job”

“We need to be represented, we need to be visible. We realize, despite the existence of almost twenty-five years of the Techno Parade, a presence for almost thirty years of electronic music in France, thatthere are always difficulties in organizing events. Some town halls, some prefectures are not always very open. Amalgams are made. It’s not always easy to do your job.”continues Tommy Vaudecrane. “We associate it much more with disturbing public order than with the festive”he summarizes.

Tommy Vaudecrane, president of the Technopol association, on September 21, 2022 in Paris.
Tommy Vaudecrane, president of the Technopol association, on September 21, 2022 in Paris.

© Radio France
– Margot Delpierre

The beginning of “demonization”

“Today, the term electronic music is very broad, explains specialist Jean-Yves Leloup. It brings together both music “much more experimental, close to scholarly music dedicated to a niche audience and music with pop formats”.

There is also “dance music, what is called techno or house for the two most representative and well-known genres. Often, it is very naturally associated with the music of clubs, discos, rave parties or free parties. It is in particular the one who has had the most problems with the authorities and the prefectures since the first bans which arose in the early 1990s..”

Indeed, from 1994 in France – a few years after England -, with the popular success of this music, the organization of partly clandestine parties and the consumption of drugs associated with them, “an imaginary”oppositions and criticisms, as well as “what sociologists call moral panicsays Jean-Yves Leloup, author of several books on electronic music and curator of the Electro exhibition, organized in 2019 at the Philharmonie de Paris.

Politicians and the media then seized on it. This demonization started from flyersremembers Jean-Yves Leloup. In 1995, a circular called Pasqua described these rave evenings as ‘high risk’ evenings. She made a date and gave new weapons to the gendarmerie and the authorities to stop parties or seize equipment.” Then again in 2001, with the law initiated by Thierry Mariani.

Since the 1990s, the look has changed

“Today, the vast majority of parties are no longer clandestine. In parties, festivals, clubs, workers are declared. The environment has become more professional since 1996”notes Jean-Yves Leloup.

“Obviously, the look has changed. We cannot say that we are in the same situation as in the early 1990s, recognizes Tommy Vaudecrane. We have, on paper in any case, the same rights to practice our professions under the same conditions as any cultural actor in the performing arts, contemporary music.”

“However, as we are still developing our musical aesthetics, they are not always known, understood. So there is, as often when new things happen, a certain reluctance which leads to a greater rigidity, perhaps, in relation to the reception of our events. However, electronic music is “a strong vector of tourist attraction”, recalls Tommy Vaudecrane, which Jean-Yves Leloup confirms, citing Les Nuits Sonores in Lyon or Paris Electronic Week.

“What we expect is that there is fair treatment. From the moment we pay our taxes, when we hire and work like any other cultural player, we expect from institutions, authorities and others that we be accepted and that there is no of higher police presence in an electronic event, for example”, hopes the president of Technopol, who specifies that for the Techno Parade, he works hand in hand with the Paris police headquarters.

He hopes that there will be no difficulties, no more in any case than in a jazz or rock event for example, to set up a festival at the local level. Finally, during Covid-19, because there are still a lack of professional structure from the actors and actresses” electronic music, “many have not been able to access the aid offered by the State. This has put many people in very precarious situations”.

Otherwise, “for a long time, there was a kind of non-communication between the electronic scene and Sacem [Société des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs de musique] who has, in recent years, done a little ‘forcing’ to sign composers and composers, also tried to put in place systems that will make it possible to know precisely what is being played at parties and at festivals. Basically, many people in electronic music had the feeling that it was not useful for them to join Sacem because they would never see the color of their rights. Sacem became aware of this a few years ago. explains Jean-Yves Leloup.

The role of the Techno Parade, cultural and political lobbying

The Techno Parade, founded in 1998 by Technopol with the support of former Minister of Culture Jack Lang, has been playing its role as a showcase for electronic music, its many genres and subgenres, for twenty-four years. The event, popular and free, brings together hundreds of thousands of young people. Many are between 14 and 18 years old.

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“It was in response to cultural lobbyinganalyzes Jean-Yves Leloup. The idea was to show that this music was certainly festive, but that it was also accompanied by events, an artistic and cultural program parallel to the parade” to show another image. “The scene is much more politicized than it was at one time, in the 2000s or even in the early 2010s. It’s a scene that has always been much more involved in the issue of parity, equality, LGBT culture.

The previous parade in 2019 was dedicated to Steve Maia Caniço, who drowned during the Fête de la Musique in Nantes after a controversial police intervention. This parade brought together 300,000 people from the Louvre to Place d’Italie.

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We must not forget the musical aspect, of course: “The Techno Parade is here to show the general public that electronic music is not just about what they hear on TV or the radio”confirms Tommy Vaudecrane.

“Electronic music has created its own networks. Some of the big platforms, like SoundCloud for example, were born through the electronic scene. Discogs, which brings together all the discographies of all the artists in the world”, too. “She has created her own online networks, alongside the major television or radio media, to which they have relatively little access”adds Jean-Yves Leloup.

“We consider that we are a musical aesthetic apart. I don’t know if we should register for cultural heritage, but in any case, we want to have a specific follow-up to electronic music”, concludes Tommy Vaudecrane.

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Electro scene: “It’s not always easy to do your job”, says the president of Technopol

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