Tear-out techno-as-catharsis by one of the Midwest’s most ferocious DJs
Formerly known as DJ Shiva, Lisa Smith has been DJing and putting on parties for more than two decades. Much of this time was spent entwined in the legendary Midwest rave scene, and though the intensity of that era has since abated, she’s remained a hugely respected figure within techno. Thankfully, her reputation is now spreading beyond the US and, much like The Black Madonna and Eris Drew, her recognition in Europe and beyond is finally beginning to reflect the years of tireless commitment to music.
‘Music’ in this case has generally meant techno, and her unwavering dedication to the genre ensures that she’s one of the most accomplished DJs you’re likely to encounter. Smith also produces her own vein of heavy dancefloor artillery, recently releasing on Valence and Flash Recordings plus many others as DJ Shiva. In light of this, it seems curious that her name only became well known outside of the US about two years ago – around the time that Smith switched from DJ Shiva to Noncompliant (after the central concept in the cult comic series Bitch Planet). Still, the name change acts as a neat marker of the way in which she has seen her career expand on her own terms; follow her on panels, podcasts or Twitter and you’ll find someone who doesn’t mince words or suffer fools – and it is this same uncompromising attitude she channels in her sets and productions.
Her Crack Mix was recorded at a tumultuous time and the energy reflects that. “This mix was made while I was feeling really emotionally raw after suddenly losing my job of 11 years,” Smith explained over email. “I wanted raw and dirty techno to reflect that. It’s driving and relentless because that’s the energy I needed in that moment.” A timely reminder then of the alleviating potential of hard and heavy techno, and more importantly of the skill and power of Noncompliant at the decks.
Noncompliant closes out Whole Queer Festival, Gräfenhainichen on Monday, 17 June