Paula Temple on the Social Power of Techno

The techno legend tells us how community action (and seriously loud noise) can drive change on, and off, the dance floor

By: Katie Hawthorne

Watch the full exclusive video interview of Paula Temple in Conversation with TicketSwap at ADE2022 now.

For an artist who specialises in loudness, Paula Temple has a very soft voice. The English producer makes techno at scale: enormous expanses of cinematic noise that feel alien and comforting at the same time. When we catch up with the innovator at ADE, Temple tells us – quietly but firmly – how techno and its community can be a force in changing nightlife for the better.  

Climate Justice in Dance Music

“We need to talk about it as an industry, about our role in minimising damage,” Paula says. In response to years of watching the industry side-lining the topic, her album Edge of Everything (2019) brought climate justice to the table. This year ADE Green is a welcome addition to dance music’s biggest week: a string of talks and events will discuss the sector’s urgent next steps. “Holy shit, we’ve got to get going,” Paula exhales. 

“I called the album Edge of Everything because it still felt like there was a chance to change things. But it’s becoming less of a choice, because we’re not changing our ways fast enough. But also, you have to not get too consumed by pessimism and support the people who are leading the way.”

Community in Action

Paula’s inspired by the likes of DJ Bone: the Detroit spin master runs Homeless Homies, nights with stacked line-ups and a covetable silent auction that ‘help the unhoused, one city at a time’. “I see homelessness everywhere, when I travel, and how easily ignored it is. DJ Bone is dedicated not just to raising awareness but raising funds.”

In this spirit, Noise Manifesto, the label Paula runs with wife Nicole, is celebrating 10 years of global, queer-positive techno innovation with a four-record drop: Part 1 was released on Oct 18. All income will be donated to thebridge2hope, a charity in Amsterdam that supports people recovering from modern slavery.  

Safer Spaces for All

And while we’re dancing for good causes, Paula wants everyone to be safe. “If you want to sell tickets, you have full responsibility,” she emphasises. “Security: they have to be trained! No homophobia, no transphobia, nothing. Awareness that chucking someone out the club because they look messed up is putting them in danger. There’s a lot to do but it’s worth it: this is a scene where we care about each other.”

She reflects, too, on the safety of the artists behind the decks. “I don’t feel microaggressions the way that a Black trans female artist might. They tell me about things I couldn’t possibly experience. There are more Black artists, more Asian artists on line-ups now - and it’s not about tokenism, it’s about not having such a narrow bias.” She remembers being told “there’s no women artists” in the early days of her career, and gestures proudly to indicate the reverse: “You couldn’t possibly say that now.”


Katie Hawthorne writes about music, art and culture for the Guardian, CRACK, the Scotsman and more. Edited by Kate Pasola, Content Editor at TicketSwap.

– Candas le vendredi 21 oct.

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