Dardishi with: Sarra Wild
Co-founder of Glaswegian music platform OH141, Sarra Wild, is working on combating issues within the city’s club scene by creating spaces and opportunities for women, POC and members of the LGBTQ community. OH141 demonstrate how easy it is to tackle these issues when you actually care; they promote equality, diversity, and inclusivity by getting their favourite artists involved in club-nights at Sub Club and The Art School, as well as on radio shows on Subcity and Berlin Community Radio. We spoke with Sarra about going out underage, the precarity of UK clubbing, and ignoring what your mum thinks you should do with your life.
Hey, Sarra. How are you doing? Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hello. Tired from the weekend but otherwise alright, thanks. I’m a DJ and run OH141, a club-night and radio show based in Glasgow.
When did your interest in club culture first begin?
I think, like most people, it began with me sneaking off to a club underage. I had my first club experience at 16, seeing Green Velvet at some sweaty basement club in Edinburgh. I knew there and then that I wanted to be a part of it all.
What kinds of music did you grow up with? White people are always talking about their dads raising them on crusty rock and I just remember my dad playing Let Me Blow Ya Mind a lot.
Your dad has great taste clearly. I’m of North African descent so as a kid was exposed to a lot of Rai and French hip-hop. It wasn’t until my teenage years that I started to explore other genres.
Can you talk to us a bit about OH141? What were its aims when it first launched, and have these changed since?
OH141 is a platform, club-night and radio show based in Glasgow. Our initial aim was to promote equality in the dance music community. We felt there was a lack of representation for women, members of the LGBTQ community and POC, not just behind the booth but also on the dancefloor, and we wanted to address it. The only way that made sense was to launch a platform that would create opportunities for these exact people and bring about some balance. This aim hasn’t really changed, however our tactics approaching members of the community who don’t experience the same oppressions as us definitely have. It takes a lot of patience and repeating yourself, which can be frustrating at times, but it’s worth it when they eventually come round.
What have you most enjoyed organising as part of OH141 and why?
Honestly, I’ve enjoyed every bit of it, even the times it’s felt like folks just aren’t getting what the night’s about. It’s meant I’ve developed a voice, and I’m definitely not scared to challenge dominant voices in my city anymore. Bringing people together, especially those who haven’t previously felt included in the community, is my passion, so as long as I get to do that then I’m happy.
The precarity of UK club culture is something that has received a lot of attention recently. Where do you see the future of UK nightlife heading, and what do you consider the responsibilities (if any) of partygoers to ensure its survival?
Tough one. I think it’s different here than it is down south. Clubs in Glasgow are a lot more accessible, I feel. We somehow find ways around club closures by finding new ways to host parties. I’m not sure if that’s the same for other cities, or even for other promoters, but for me the only way it’s gonna survive is if we continue to speak up and ensure marginalised voices continue to be heard and encouraged in club culture. We’re stronger as a community that way.
How important is it to you that partygoers understand the history of club culture, both of where they go out and generally?
Really important. I feel if more people involved in the scene knew the history of how house and techno began, or the message it’s pioneers wanted to spread by creating those communities, there wouldn’t be issues of misrepresentation or all white and/ or male techno line ups. Straight white dudes wouldn’t be dominating the scene as much as they are now, that’s for sure.
Do you have any words of advice for other young, marginalised people who are looking to create similar platforms of their own?
Believe in yourself and don’t let anyone talk you out of pursuing your passion. Not even your mum. Even if she does mean well [laughs].
Image of Sarra Wild by Zaynah Ahmed.
Annabel Amin is a student currently living in Paris who likes hip-hop, pop culture, selfies, and wants all the girls in the world to be friends. Her favourite album of 2015 was Carly Rae Jepsen's EM•OT•ION. You can follow her on instagram or read her dardishi articles here.