THE GLASGOW UNDERGROUND WITH SEAN MUYABA

STAND UP STAND OUT

An exploration into the lack of racial diversity within Glasgow club culture through the lens of Groove City Radio Resident Sean Muyaba.

By Bill Rah

Sean Muyaba has been spinning records for three years in Glasgow. The 27-year-old is ready to make a statement within the cities highly competitive landscape. He spent his childhood growing up in the stunning tropical Republic of Zimbabwe. That time helped shape him into who he is today.

He spent his coming of age in Scotland, moving to Glasgow in his late teens.“I’m sane with a moderate grip on reality which is good these days.” That’s how he described his mentality during the pandemic that has crippled creatives. It’s difficult being in this situation. The industry is collapsing, but it will not deter him from working at his craft.

Sean truly has a diverse taste which explores Acid House, Techno and Italo Disco. He adores old school Chicago House. “I listen in awe because a lot of the songs have now been remixed so when you hear the original, you’re just blown away.” He is right, elusive Chicago sounds captivate our eardrums. “I dabble with other genres. I’ve been known to play funk.” He also enjoys a melodic sound.

According to Sean, “the deeper, the better.” His tight mixing is seamless, sharp and energetic. He has been featured on Groove City Radio and Clyde Built. Sean is a skilled producer, creating slick and bouncy energetic House infused rhythms.

He has a monthly residency on Groove City Radio. He has played in small local venues in Glasgow but has yet to achieve his dream of playing in Sub Club. No one is going to hand you a gig in Glasgow. You need to fight for it. “It’s hard for any DJ to stand out because of all the high-quality work people in Glasgow are producing, however, it is criminal we don’t have more diversity.”

It’s difficult for a black man to break out in the electronic music industry. He attended a Black Lives Matter protest in George Square during the height of the pandemic. “I was quite hungover at the time. Physically I was rather hollow but seeing all the people that came out in support was so refreshing and just gave my soul a hug.” The landscape has shifted in recent months as BLM protests have erupted across the globe in response to police brutality and systematic racism.

Society is becoming more aware and educated, or at least that’s what social media could fool you into thinking. Racism exists in every single facet of every industry. There is a lack of Black and Asian Resident DJs in all Scottish clubs. “I personally don’t know any non-white residents in the bigger clubs in Glasgow.” That needs to be addressed.

He feels when clubs reopen, we have an opportunity to right the wrong by ensuring diversity is reflected within lineups. “Diversity encourages innovation and since the pandemic clubbing is going to need to be innovative when they reopen, or they aren’t going to be relevant.”

As a multifaceted DJ and producer, Sean is an innovator. His ideas could lead to diverse progress within our culture. Organisations need to address the lack of diversity within their hierarchy. Black creatives need to breakthrough.

Especially in an industry which claims to be progressive. That is what the industry needs to kickstart a new era. Club culture in Scotland was built off the music Black LGBT producers in Chicago and Detroit created. We should respect this. “The diversity you see in club nights isn’t reflected in the people our institutions are giving exposure to and that’s just a shame as it paints our scene in a narrow light.”

Sean explained why music is a platform to make politically charged statements. “Music’s ability to invoke a strong emotional response makes it the perfect tool.”Music can be utilized into a powerful and influential weapon to bring forth social change. Although Glasgow could improve the diversity of club lineups, Sean praised the cities vibrant industry. “I don’t think it’s all bad, it proves we have a healthy scene and often some of the best events and nights are the smaller ones.”

He adores parties in intimate environments, which a safe space for many clubbers. In response to the overarching vileness of racial abuse, Sean was naturally livid. “We really need to stamp that shit out because hate is very parasitic and only serves to infect and ruin everything.”

As he pondered whether the movement will result in real changes within society, he exclaimed, “the optimist in me hopes it does!” Sean elaborated and candidly shared his thoughts. ”We as a species have more in common than we do differently.” He is right, humanity, should not be fighting forsupremacy because of skin colour. “The more time we spend fighting

because of ideology from a bygone era that was driven by greed and ignorance. The less we are working on all the many other issues we have as a species.” Sean is not fearful of ignorant bigots. “I’m scared of having to fight for a bottle of dirty water in 2 decades than I am of my neighbour because he doesn’t look like me.”

In terms of personal experience, he has been quite lucky and has not been subjected to the brutal side of racism. “I’m fortunate that this isn’t an issue in the circles I move in. I have friends that have shared stories you wouldn’t believe happened in Glasgow and sounds like something that would happen in America.” Scotland has a progressive façade in which we masquerade as a left-wing country but below the surface lies racial bigotry.

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