Dave Randall in Conversation with Peter Hooton

Friday 26th May
Written by Alice Mason

Dave Randall took to the stage to discuss his book, Sound System: The Political Power of Music with Liverpool's own Peter Hooton from the Farm. Dave Randall is best known as guitarist with Faithless and his own band, Slovo

The purpose of music within politics has been debated. In his book, Randall mentions how integral music has been in society for many centuries. 'The emperors of China set up an Imperial Music Bureau tasked with supervising court music and keeping an ear on the music of the masses, believing it to be a telling portent of social unrest'. Take a movement like punk. Punk was brash, uncaring, against the norm. Rebellion against the goverment. You only have to listen to God Save the Queen by The Sex Pistols to understand how anti-establishment they were.

In the discussion between Hooton and Randall, they covered this and more - from current political affairs, to the music industry and social movements like Black Lives Matter. The Q&A portion was very informative, the audience just wanted the discussion to carry on! What interested me most about the night was the need for a social movement within music, Randall even said, 'Those of us who would like to see a better world have got a fight on our hands'. There's been a significant decline in sales in the music industry, where even more musicians are turning to advertising for money, what can artists do to tell a social message? With songs like Liar Liar by Captain SKA depicting social unrest in today's political world,  it's obvious we will find a way. More voices are getting heard with the help of YouTube, SoundClound and Bandcamp. 

Later on in the night, Randall took to play some live guitar whilst explaining music theory featuring the tritone and how this linked to modern music chord progressions. The entire evening was very engaging. This is one of the most in-depth conversations I have heard about how interrelated and important music is  - from politics, to culture, to protest and has led me to listen to music with a political understanding.  As Dave Randall says in his book, 'We need to take concrete steps towards securing music as a tool for social progress'. So current and future musicians, it's up to you!

We also had the wonderful pleasure of Dave Randall DJing late into the night as part of WoW's after party. Once again, thank you to all the guests, volunteers, speakers and venues who have helped WoWFest thrive. Onto next year!