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Interview With Terre Thaemlitz
- Steffen and Verena

In Transnational Queer Underground, January 25 2010.


what do you do?

i produce all aspects of my own projects (planning, development, audio, text, design, video, etc.), run a small record label, DJ, remix, sometimes collaborate... in a number of musical genres.

please describe your political ideology/standpoint.

non-essentialist, pan-sexually queer, non-op transgendered... along those lines.

does your political standpoint influence your music?

through my politics, i view music as a discourse. that means i treat it as contextual. not universal. and i try to use music to convey a message.

is there an international network that you consider important for your music?

it seems quite random. i do work "internationally" quite a bit, between europe and japan, but do not consider myself as part of a network. work invitations tend to come from individuals and groups which operate in local networks, and there are sometimes recurrent faces, but for the most part it seems the people who hire me are not networked to each other outside of sharing a common profession.

are you an active part of that network? In what way?

yes, i work with those people, so i am a temporary part of their network.

did you experience gender-related problems?

yes, people have their own ideas of what "transgendered" means (including myself). promoters and audience members are sometimes disappointed if i do not appear in drag, etc. - but it is my interest to compicate notions of transgenderism and have people understand the transgendered body does not cease to exist when "invisible" or "out-of-drag." (my opinion is that we are never out of drag.) lately, it has been my job to be the "transgendered voice" on "women's panels" discussing gender and electronic music... it can be a bit reductionist, and if the discussion takes a traditional feminist path i am ultimately considered yet another "male voice." i sincerely doubt i will ever sit on a specifically "transgendered panel" about transgenderism and electronic music... there is also a tendency for drunk "hippy-type" men (especially in germany) to heckle my speeches during concerts, denounce my politics, and denounce the need for any discussion of politics in a concert setting. (for example, "play music!" or "let's just love one another!" or "we already know about transgenderism from television specials - this is all old to us!" - of course, none of those people had any exposure to transgendered people in everyday life, and probably never saw transgendered people "live" off-stage.) this kind of heckling is not so unexpected (some people just want to party), but i notice that they do not heckle men or women who are not transgendered-identified at the same events. i am not overstating when i say this has happened at almost every german computer-music performance of mine for the past 3 years or more, which really disappoints me. transgenderism is also an issue when travelling, affecting immigration, international entry, housing and street safety. hotel staff can be very unfriendly, and unfamiliar streets can sometimes be scary.