Ten Walls comes tumbling down
Ten Walls’ homophobic outburst on social media shows some house and dance acts are clueless about the roots of their sound
It took a few days for the story to ignite after Marijus Adomaitis, AKA Lithuanian producer Ten Walls, first made his now infamous remarks on his Facebook page, but the story did inevitably appear. It always does. In this gilded age of social media, you may think that no-one is really paying attention to whatever you say on Facebook or Twitter or Snapchat in the heat of the moment, but they are. And when you say something completely ridiculous, horrible, ill-considered, ignorant, nasty and downright insulting, as Adomaitis did, it comes back to bite you.
There are several costs for Adomaitis to consider as he sits things out after his homophobic update on Facebook last week. For one, there’s the financial damage. Thanks to his hit tune “Walking With Elephants”, the producer was estimated to be making between €8,000 and €14,000 a gig. Considering that he’s been kicked off such festivals as Sonar, PITCH, Pukkelpop, Urban Art Forms and Creamfields on the back of that outburst, that’s a lot of lost income.
It’s also lost income for his agency Coda who took the quick and commendable decision yesterday to stop representing Ten Walls. “Coda Music Agency condemns all forms of discrimination based on race, religion or sexual orientation”, they said in a statement. Meanwhile, the producer himself said he was taking a break and cancelling upcoming shows (though seeing as most of the upcoming shows had already been yanked by the promoters, he probably didn’t have much to do on that score).
Then, there’s the reputational damage to Adomaitis. Who in their right mind is going to work with or support or book the producer now? How long is it going to take for anyone to decide to give him another chance? There may well be some markets who will happily welcome a homophobic house and dance music DJ, but they’re few and far between.
There’s the rub because there is a very simple detail to consider here. House music is the most unlikely place in the world to encounter an attitude like this because the roots of house – and especially the kind of soulful, deeply grooved house music which Ten Walls was making under his other alter-ego Mario Basanov – owe so much to the American gay community and their experience and culture.
DJs and club runners like Larry Levan, Frankie Knuckles, Nicky Siano, Danny Tenaglia, Junior Vasquez, Derrick Carter, David Mancuso and countless others paved the way creatively for what passes for house music today. Gay or gay-friendly clubs like Body & Soul, the Warehouse, Paradise Garage, the Loft and gazillions others provided house and dance music with the spaces to experiment and develop. Surely even an eejit like Adomaitis can see that the music which provides him with a good living would not exist were it not for the LGBT communities he so clearly despises? It really looks like he was in the wrong business.