Kristen Leigh Marconi and Rachel Potter, creators of Let The People Dance spoke to us about their milestone 100th podcast and all the amazing things they get up to...
RR: Kristen, Rachel - great to chat. Let The People Dance is an established brand in Sydney's underground scene. What inspired the movement? ...And the groovy name?
Kristen: One of our best mates was dating a girl in Berlin and took a photo of her tattoo that read “Let The Children Techno”, and about the same time the lockout laws had just been passed in Sydney and there was going to be a rally in response to it. The message of the tattoo really resonated with how a lot of us were feeling at the time and still do - we just wanted to dance. The dance floor is a place we go to catch up with friends, listen to great music, meet new people and just dance away any stress or worries we may have. ALL of my best friends and I met on the dance-floor!
So "Let The Children Techno" became "Let The People Dance". I loved the name and thought of how it could look on a shirt for the rally. At the time, a friend of mine owned a t-shirt printing company and another was running a charity that helped under-privileged youth get a start in the creative industries - so we had the tees printed and decided the profits would go to the charity. It all happened pretty fast.
RR: Quite the journey! Ok, tell us how the two of you met and what your best memory of partying together is.
Rachel: We met on the dance floor, the first time was at S.A.S.H but my favourite memory was at Return to Rio when I showed Kristen how to DJ. That was when we connected more.
Kristen: 100% taking an extra night at Return To Rio in a cabin where the decks were free for once. It started us DJing and meant we then took on the radio show shortly after.
RR: Congratulations on recently celebrating the release of your 100th podcast! Can you tell us what you look for when choosing artists for the series and what your favourite mixes have been?
Kristen: It’s been really fun to put music out each week and Rachel and I have spent a lot of our lives on dance floors and behind DJ booths in Australia, USA and Europe so you could say we know a few too many DJs. Having Gabby do our 100th was really special for me. My first music industry job outside of nightclubs was with Pulse Radio and Finely Tuned Agency and I remember being so inspired by Gabby - her music taste and that she was also a dancer and designer... girl got skills! I’d put her mixes on constantly in the office until the guys finally took notice, booked and then signed her. She’s still my favourite and such an inspiration to me.
RR: So if you could get absolutely anyone to do your 200th podcast mix - who would it be?
Kristen: Ooh… so many options! Carl Cox has been an incredible human and not only said he’d wear an LTPD shirt but also given us a second chance to get the size of the tee right! Silly me thinking XL would be big enough… yeah, no. That was an embarrassing moment, Rach and I trying to stretch an XL in her living room before giving it to him is a pretty funny memory. He was amazing and just held it up for the photo. He’s such class, so talented and such a gentleman always! So let’s dream big, Carl Cox for 200?
Rachel: Hahaha or what about us? Let’s do number 200 together if Carl’s busy. I’d love to do a mix with Kristen!
RR: We tune in regularly to your weekly radio show on Bondi Radio too, what has that experience been like?
Kristen: It’s been really fun for us and we're really grateful for the opportunity to have our own show. It’s been a way to share Monday afternoons with some talented friends. We love inviting guests on our show and it being right on Bondi Beach is just stunning! Rach and I then get to learn from some of our favourite DJs and get some practice on the decks. Glad you guys have now joined the family too. Welcome aboard!
RR: Thanks! We've seen your cool apparel worn by people all over the globe and shared on your Instagram account. Tell us the process you went through when designing the tees.
Kristen: Thanks so much, we still get so excited when friends send us pics of people wearing them. The logo is inspired by a record and a disco ball - two circles together also mean unity. It’s coming together, dance floors are about people coming together. Finding a supplier and the styles involved a lot of trial and error and resulted in many tears when we realised our first round had the labels coming off in the wash - not a great look for an early stage business. Shout out to our amazing friend Damo Perry who helped us in the production process, I had some styles in mind and he really brought it to life. Also need to shout out to a good friend who’d like to remain nameless who lent us the money for the latest range of tees... eternally grateful!
RR: We know you run some amazing music programmes and workshops for young people. What have been the most challenging and rewarding aspects of those?
Kristen: We would love to hold more of those, it was so rewarding hearing the feedback of how they loved it. It was a way for us to share what we love and show a different side to the scene. Showing the creative side, the back of house organisation side and career options to teens who may be interested. Everything from DJing, producing, PR, marketing and promotion, festival organising, film, and photography - there's so many different facets to the electronic music industry and opportunities for work and creative expression. That's what we wanted to showcase so Electronic Music Conference and I-Manifest teaming up with us to do it was an incredible opportunity.
Anything where you're trying to give something quality to people who won’t be paying for it is really, really challenging as there’s a lot of work and costs that go into the events and workshops. I was quite naive about this going in and agreeing to the 10K goal of the workshop costs, but I wasn’t going to let I-Manifest or our first supporters or the kids down! We had to get creative to make it happen so we did a crowd fund, planned events with friends' brands including S.A.S.H., sold t-shirts, did a charity dinner in a nightclub, an art auction and more…
RR: Nice! You also host fundraiser parties, such as last year's 'Dance for Freedom'. What was the motivation behind that event?
Kristen: I’m so inspired by social enterprises and the idea of business for social good. When we did the first round of tees the second thing we did was team up with I-Manifest and put some of the profits towards our workshop goal. With 'Dance for Freedom' we teamed up with our good friends that ran Electric Gardens Festival and Pulse Radio for a pop-up live stream event and we got to pick the venue. I’d heard of the beautiful space called Freedom Hub and the work they were doing to help women and girls out of slavery situations in Australia. They help those women rebuild their lives, have their own freedom and to recover from the fears that come with being trapped and sometimes abused - learning skills they need to gain employment and feel safe again.
The work they’re doing there is amazing and saving lives. It really is the most stunning space too and I love turning spaces that you wouldn’t expect into dance floors. Rachel had made these incredible dancing girl mannequins with CDs covering them that made them look like disco balls that fitted in the space so well. Having Kate Monroe and Girl Friday headline the livestream event was pretty special too... such a fun night.
RR: Now if you had to describe each other in 3 words, what would you say?
Kristen: Well, this video on how to start a movement pretty much describes us... without Rachel I’d be the crazy girl dancing on the hill - with her believing in me and the project it became a real thing. We want everyone everywhere dancing!
RR: Haha great vid! Finally - what do you have planned next for Let the People Dance? And where would you like to see it in the future?
Kristen: It’s organically grown to be a creative agency for social good. The podcasts will continue weekly as we’ve got so many other artists that inspire us and we want to dance to. I’m on a mission to get our clothing on more people on more dance floors and partake in more social good and music education projects. We’re also potentially going to take part in producing an event series we want to bring to Sydney soon and Rachel is starting to bring some of her favourite artists to Sydney and Melbourne, which is pretty exciting. Everything we do is about bringing people together as a community, sharing music, positivity and paying it forward in ways that make people dance.
RR: Well, you have our full support here at Rave Reviewz. Kristen, Rachel - thank you.
Check out the official Let The People Dance website here