By They Keep Dancing
VANCOUVER – Looking back on 2017’s world of dance music, the name Noncompliant (aka DJ Shiva) was hard to miss. In a decades-long career that arcs from rural Indiana raves to top tier European clubs, it might be hard to identify a tipping point. “I think I found a fresh musical focus with the Noncompliant project. Also, I finally just bought a ticket to Berlin, got one gig at a femme/queer collective called Room 4 Resistance, and it was exactly the right place with exactly the right people. Other than that, I have no idea, really. Sometimes it’s just luck that you catch the right ear at the right time.”
It’s more than just timing and luck that helped spread the Noncompliant moniker, the work is there too. The Midwest producer and DJ recently released music on notable labels like Argot, Valence Records and FLASH Recordings (the Techno platform of producer Florian Meindal). There was the raucous Boiler Room set at Detroit’s Movement music festival and a European tour ending with a closing set at Berlin’s Berghain nightclub, the holy grail for techno DJ’s. “That was a dream come true and real life was actually better than the dream version!”. And then came the accolades. To name a few, a spot on Mixmag top 20 breakthrough DJs of 2017 and a best mix of the year pick over at San Francisco’s Technoclam.com (“Celebrating the not-dudes of House and Techno”).
After more than 20 years as a DJ, Noncompliant is proof that refusing to conform can set you free. “Don’t be intimidated by jerks. You will run into them: naysayers, shit talkers, haters. You have no control over them, but you have control over you. Don’t let their bullshit drive you away from what you love. Never let them win.” Inspiring words from someone who started out in music on their own, without having others in the community to identify with. “Not in the earliest days. I was in a small town, no internet, pretty isolated. After I moved to Indianapolis I found more of a community, including a few friends who weren’t DJs but occasionally bought me records to support me when I couldn’t afford them. Later there was an email list called Sister DJs that was super supportive. I have since found various groups of women and queer folks online.”
In 2018 the techno veteran shows no signs of slowing down. “Going back to Europe in March, playing Moogfest in May, I’ve got some fun tunes dropping on wax fairly soon.”
Noncompliant plays Open Studios (Vancouver) on January 27.