Farley Leads Black Techno Matters In A Reclamation Of Electronic Music For Black Creative Expression

Farley Leads Black Techno Matters In A Reclamation Of Electronic Music For Black Creative Expression

“I think I was put on this earth to be a party starter. The person in the house turns on the energy and excites everyone. I also like to think outside the box and I like to create music and art that shows people new ways of seeing and doing things. I see the founding of Black Techno Matters As one of the pillars of my career and a combination of both."

These words come from the lips of Bernard Farley, a multidisciplinary artist whose work is based on the celebration of black art. From being immersed in music since childhood to working for tech innovators, Washington, DC native Bernard's journey is a story of perseverance, self-reliance, and the power of community.

Bernard's introduction to audio began with tapes and in his youth. "Since ninth grade, I've had fun making simple tape effects, distortions, and wave mixes on my sister's old karaoke machine," he says. “When my family finally got their first computer, it had a demo of Beat2000, the music creation software that had all kinds of music, techno, drum bass and rave loops. I eventually started using modular music software like Audiomulch and DAWs like Ableton Live. I now record exclusively with drum machines and synthesizers like the Roland TR-8.

Music played an important role in his childhood, instilling in him an appreciation for a wide range of styles. "My mom used to listen to disco all the time," says Bernard. “She had such a beautiful voice. I was constantly singing around the house and making up songs on the spot. He was also a great dancer; I got my dance genes from there. I acquired music from artists like Sylvester and MFSB and labels like Salsal Records. When I was in grade school, I lived in Queens, New York, and my mom would bring home recorded mixes of the new jack swing DJs she hung out with.

Bernard's father was a jazz musician and multi-instrumentalist who played multiple instruments, including guitar, saxophone, and keyboard, and admired artists such as Sade, Anita Baker, and Prince. “I would improvise on jazz instruments and record live on tape. My father was hard as a board. He tried to teach me to play the guitar but it didn't work. I think I prefer self-education, which includes music and writing.'

Bernard, who grew up obsessed with Michael Jackson, was one of those kids who memorized all of his musical choreography. In high school, he was exposed to artists like Daft Punk, The Chemical Brothers, and Apex Twin on local radio in Middletown, New Jersey, and got into techno by being exposed to the music of Jeff Mills, Richie Hawtin at school. secondary. . and others. Abstract music by Autechre.

“I went to Virginia Tech and did a show on their college radio station. I was ripping hundreds of CDs on my computer while playing music over the air, and it really opened up my taste to a variety of artists, including Steve Rich, Philip Glass, and John Cage. I became a huge Björk fan when I was in college and learned to sing her songs "Homogenic" and "Vespertine".

technical recovery

Born out of the need for a platform to promote the black art of techno music, Bernard formed Black Techno Matters, a collective whose mission was to reclaim techno as an expression of black expression. The collective creates online and in-person spaces that honor techno's black origins, champion the genre's pioneers, and empower young creators to find their voice as artists.

“I started Black Techno Matters in October 2019 after googling 'black techno artists' and was disappointed with the search results. There were a few sites that mentioned pioneers like the Belleville Three and Jeff Mills, but I didn't see a list of black artists doing techno, especially in modern times. This struck me particularly because techno is the color black. After searching the internet for about an hour, I was able to fill out a piece of paper in a notebook with the names of black artists.'

"The phrase 'Black Techno Matters' came to mind and I threw a party in DC with only black artists," Bernard continued. “Some of the people who attended the show thanked me for creating this space, and that's when I realized there was a real need to highlight artists of color and physically bring them together in one place. Since then, Black Techno Matters has grown into a collective that organizes events, playlists, mixtapes, music releases, and other resources that spotlight and celebrate hundreds of artists of color from around the world.

A personal reinvention of the techno genre and a celebration of black music, Bernard's music has taken many forms over the years. “I have recorded several solo albums of electronic music under the name Output Message, from tempo to techno to indie dance. I have recorded several ambient albums with my good friend and musical partner Patrick Blinhorn called Smoke and Tea. I have a new album coming out in March called 'Hell0' and I think it's really setting the stage for the music portals I want to open like B_X_R_N_X_R_D. Bernard will release his new album B_X_R_N_X_R_D via the Black Techno Matters music label, as well as streaming platforms and Bandcamp.

Bernard's determination to celebrate her existence as a black artist and the history of black art is a driving force behind her work both personally and in her community. Their way of thinking refuses to conform to the oppressive narrative and creates their own.

"As a black man, to stay sane in this racist society, I have to choose hope over fear, patience over anger, and joy over despair. I have to think outside the system and work to achieve goals because the system doesn't work for people like me.. The world of music is no different. My goal as B_X_R_N_X_R_D Music and my work with Black Techno Matters is to create an alternative timeline where the immense power of black creativity is properly respected and celebrated."

Bernard's words convey an unmistakable sense of pride and celebration as he recalls Black Techno Matters moments.

“I'm living in the moment singing 'Black Techno Matters' instead of techno at our Liber8 party in San Francisco. As black artists comment on our Instagram Takeover series and show respect and love for each other, artists tell me how welcomed and appreciated they feel after participating in our event."

The Black Techno Matters website serves as a comprehensive resource for black electronic music, including the "Blackness is Revolutionary" playlist, which features over a thousand songs by black electronic artists. “Seeing the artists who connected and collaborated on our platform, the artists who found themselves in the genre after feeling isolated, all the black faces on our fan page, page after page, I could go on. All this gives me the strength to continue and develop Black Techno Matters."

the future is community

"2023 marks the anniversary of my first music release 'Bernard's Song' on Ghostly International," said Bernard. “I see Black Techno Matters as a way to channel my artistic energy and experience in the music industry out into the community in a way that creates opportunities for young artists. In general, this is how our team works. We all contribute to the mission of Black Techno Matters in our own way, using the skills and experiences we've gained along the way."

While techno forms the foundation of Black Techno Matters, the collective also advocates for other forms of artistic expression outside of music, which in turn creates a more cohesive and inclusive artistic community. "Audio and video documentation of our events is an important part of our business. Graphic design is critical to the promotion and atmosphere of our events, and the dancers who perform at our events bring their energy to the spaces we create. Plus, the poignant songs we use in our Instagram posts to highlight artists are black, a true tapestry of love and pride in music.
2023 is a year of growth for Black Techno Matters. "We'll be taking the black fire we started in Washington and bringing it to other cities across the US. As always, we'll do something special on June 19, but that's all I'll say, so stay tuned."

Black Techno Matters is a year-long initiative to celebrate and educate others about the impact of black innovation on music, art, and culture. Barnard actively challenges minimal understanding of the contributions of black individuals and communities to world history and seeks to turn black history into "a special chapter at the end of a United States history textbook that a teacher can never read in the classroom.", to quote Barnard.

“To be clear, black history is the history of the United States. This country was built on the suffering of slaves and blacks. Black people have made countless contributions and innovations in music, art, culture and technology that have literally changed this country and the world," he explained. "Of course, that also includes the global phenomenon of techno and dance music, which wouldn't exist without us. We're not just part of history, we're essential to history, and to think of it as anything less is to whitewash history. With Black Techno Matters, let's celebrate our black heroes every day."

Supporting Black artists is an integral part of Black Techno Matters' work throughout the year, and by supporting the collective through his online channels, Bernard shares ways everyone can help support and amplify Black voices. "By signing up for our mailing list or buying a t-shirt, attending one of our events, visiting artists we feature on their social media, attending their events, buying their music, leaving a comment or sending them a compliment. Even giving them your Connect with other artists or venues in the area so they can get more gigs. People can donate on Venmo or our CashApp (@blacktechnomatters) and support other artists that way. Every little bit counts."

Community and shared knowledge are core values ​​of the Black Techno Matters spirit. By sharing, your community is strengthened and in this strength lies strength. "The future is family. The future is community. People power is the new power. Don't expect the white man to give you anything. Build it yourself if you need it. Build your community to build a stronger future for all".

Find Bernardi on Instagram.

Learn more about Black Techno Matters on Instagram, Bandcamp, and Spotify.

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