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East London 2012: Thristian Richards

We speak to the music programmer behind the online show Boiler Room about the changes in his base of Hackney

This month we asked 30 label founders, artists and creative entrepreneurs based in East London to join the debate of whether the once illustrious area is now dead due to gentrification sucking it dry. In the current issue of Dazed & Confused, we spoke to Thristian Richards of the huge online electronic music show, Boiler Room known for live-streaming their nights, and Dalston's NTS. In the full interview here, Richards talks about life since moving to Hackney and the changes it has gone through over the recent years.

Dazed Digital: Who are you and what do you do for a living?
Thristian Richards: My name's Thristian. I curate and programme music-and-arts-related projects including (online music-show) Boiler Room. I also occasionally DJ and have a radio show on NTS.

DD: Where in east London are you based?
Thristian Richards: Mare Street / London Fields, Hackney.

DD: What first attracted you to the area and how long have you been working here?
Thristian Richards: I spent a lot of time in Hackney when I was younger. Even though my parents’ house is in Essex, both my grandparents as well as a bunch of aunties and uncles live in Clapton, Hackney and Dalston. After I finished uni in south London, I moved back to Hackney, and have been here for five or so years… probably a little longer.

DD: How has east London changed the most since you've been here? Why do you think that is?
Thristian Richards: East London has always been developing, changing and evolving. It's always been multicultural. I don't think it’s quite as scary to a non-east-Londoner as it was before. It was very much an undesirable area when I was growing up… and now it's the polar opposite. I find places like Stoke Newington Church Street and Chatsworth Road quite interesting. That's where I've seen significant change. Church Street was one of those places you'd avoid at any cost, now you can't get down there for fear of getting run over by a pushchair.

DD: What is the most exciting part of your local creative community?
Thristian Richards: There's a massive creative buzz and energy in the area, everyone's up to something. That people move here from all over the world to explore their creative license is amazing.

DD: Has the area informed your creative work at all and if so, how?
Thristian Richards: Yeah, east London does seem to throw an aesthetic around anything that's produced in the area. I couldn't quite put my finger on it…. but there is a definite east London influence.

DD: Is it possible to say ‘Silicon Roundabout’ aloud without laughing?
Thristian Richards: No.

DD: What's your favourite East End hangout?
Thristian Richards: Depends what the weather’s like.

DD: Does anything annoy you about the area? If so, what?
Thristian Richards: The price of housing, and the lack of integration between communities that have lived here for years and guys that have moved in recently.

DD: What are you going to do during the Olympics – stay or flee? Why?
Thristian Richards: Dunno, don't care.

DD: Is east London dead?
Thristian Richards: Never!

Dazed Digital invites you to map your east London memories on our timeline, 'A Secret History of East London'. Get involved HERE!

Photography by Jamie Hawkesworth