Ifeoluwa on Intervention and decentralising dance music

If you've ever dreamt of being a DJ but found it all a bit too intimidating, Intervention is here to help. Its founder, Ifeoluwa, tells us about the DJ workshop series

Feature by Nadia Younes | 17 Feb 2022
  • Ifeoluwa

For many people, the thought of performing to a live audience with little to no preparation would fill them with fear and dread. But this wasn’t the case for Belgium-born, London-raised DJ, writer and activist Yewande Adeniran, AKA Ifeoluwa.

Adeniran's DJ debut, supporting Russian-born DJ Machine Woman at Rye Wax in Peckham in 2016, was also their first time DJing ever and, to make things even more difficult, they chose to do so mixing vinyl only. Frightening as this may sound, though, it led to a significant lightbulb moment for Adeniran. “I saw loads of women and queer people that I know in the music scene, and I was like this would be even better… if all of you could also be behind the decks,” says Adeniran.

Two months later, Adeniran founded Intervention, an event series that hosts free DJ workshops around the UK to encourage womxn, non-binary people, people of colour and LGBT+ people into DJing. Past workshops have taken place in cities like Bristol, Sheffield and London, but last year Adeniran teamed up with Resident Advisor – after participating in the platform’s exchange series, as part of a Black Minds Matter collaboration – to extend Intervention’s reach even further.

Beginning in October, at Wigflex festival in Nottingham, Intervention kicked off a 12-date tour across the UK, which also included stops in Sheffield, Swansea and Cardiff. “[Resident Advisor] wanted to facilitate me in spreading Intervention to other cities… so [they] were like, ‘let's do a community project,'” says Adeniran. “I think, personally, because of the bias towards techno – and even how that's been whitewashed – places like Leicester and Birmingham, and even Sheffield to a certain extent, are known for more drum'n'bass or bassline.

“It's because platforms like RA prioritise more clean-cut techno that those places are actually really struggling… because they're battling from so many different angles,” Adeniran continues. “There is a bias towards certain cities, so I'm hoping through the workshops we become less London-centric – less southern-centric as well – and focus on other places.”

The tour continues over the next few months, with two Scottish dates planned in Edinburgh and Glasgow on 25 and 26 March respectively, before concluding in Bristol on 29 April. For each date of the tour, Intervention will be teaming up with a local collective to host the workshops, with each one hand-picked by Adeniran – often discovered through their own work within music journalism.

In Glasgow, the workshop will be co-hosted by Stereotone, the record label and party series run by Glasgow native Wheelman, who Adeniran says is “one of my favourite producers.” Meanwhile, in Edinburgh Adeniran will team up with Palidrone, who have made a big impact on the capital’s club scene in their short existence through their monthly parties at The Mash House and regular slots on local community radio station EHFM.

“I pay attention to the smaller radio stations in different cities, and their show plays similar music to what I play on my Rinse France show, so that was a big connection,” says Adeniran. “And when I messaged them they were like ‘we've actually been wanting to contact you,’ because, obviously, you connect with the same sounds, so that was exciting.”

With the workshops prioritising opportunities for beginners, no previous experience in music or DJing is required to take part, and during the workshops participants will be taught the basics, as well as learning tricks of the trade from both Adeniran and members of the various local collectives. “I like to almost throw participants into the deep end, and get them to explore,” says Adeniran.

“I find that there's this patronising attitude when it comes to people who aren't men that somehow they don't know how things work,” they continue. “[But] people do, it's just you haven't given them the chance. Once you leave people with the equipment, people who love music already understand music; they understand the basics of DJing. It's just kind of to give them the space and a little bit of knowledge.”

With one of the main aims of the Intervention tour being to showcase the wealth of talent in the UK’s smaller cities, Adeniran hopes that this will, in turn, increase media coverage and general awareness of local scenes across the country. “It was really good when we did our workshops in Cardiff, because they actually do have a thriving scene; it's just that it's not covered in the media, so people think it doesn't exist,” they say.

“That's why we've partnered up with different collectives and DJs,” they continue. “I feel like it gives people a lot of agency and they can start building their own communities in a similar way that I've tried to do.”

RA x Intervention Free Beginner DJ Workshop with Palidrone, The Mash House, Edinburgh, 25 Mar - sign up here
RA x Intervention Free Beginner DJ Workshop with Stereotone, Civic House, Glasgow, 26 Mar - sign up here