Electro DJ Larry Tee Thom and vegan vlogger Sophia Hoffmann are making their impact on the world in very different ways. We dig deeper about what drives them and discover how what they’re doing is keeping Germany’s capital ahead of the game
Larry Tee Thom
The DJ, club promoter and music producer is concerned that people do things they think they have to do, even though they could be doing the things they love instead. He coaches people on making their dreams become a reality, and he believes that humans are magnificent creators.
In the late 1990s you coined the term electroclash to describe that mixture of synth-pop, techno, punk and performance art, which was a revolutionary response to the somewhat rigid formulations of techno. The genre is associated with names such as Peaches and Fischerspooner, whose careers you helped to launch. What was the movement about and how has it evolved?
“It was a reaction to how dance music, and house music in particular, had become more mainstream. Even fashion was taking the same path. There was no counterculture and no critique on contemporary lifestyle. When I discovered Peaches, Chicks on Speed, Fischerspooner, Adult, Miss Kittin, Felix da Housecat, Scissor Sisters, I realised their music was about more than just selling a product. It was political, with Chicks on Speed singing about corporate criminals. It was feminist [such as Peaches questioning gender norms through her music].
“This music also had an open attitude towards gay people, and many of the acts were calling themselves bisexual, even though they were predominantly straight. It was everything I wanted in music. People at the top of the industry at that time were very against this invasion of women, gay people and politics into music. The artists involved are still as vital as ever. And even the new ones, such as Crystal Castles, the DFA Records crew and Grimes, could be considered children of this revolution.”
Is there any connection between music and politics? Can music change the world?
“I grew up knowing that music can change the world, but since Apple took over music distribution, it has devalued what music used to mean. The pop-music industry is also controlled by big corporations that pay hardly any taxes. Music is not distributed very fairly any more and the money that artists make flows into the hands of big corporations. It’s time to start the next music revolution – to give money back to the artists and the public.”
You are starting up a new queer party in Berlin – Krank. Tell us a bit more about your new baby.
“Berlin certainly has the best clubs, but sometimes it feels like music-industry people here are too afraid to try anything new, so I feel there is a room for another party. I know so many creative people in Berlin, but I rarely see them all attending the same party on a regular basis – Krank is an attempt to bring people together more often. It’s about a mixture of music, performance art, contemporary dance and fashion.”
What about Berlin – is it the perfect city to live?
“Berlin is constantly changing and it’s one of the few cities that doesn’t have a grumpy and frustrated atmosphere. It has reasonable prices, it is kind to its citizens and it values creative expression.”
Cooking has been always Sophia Hoffmann’s biggest passion, but four years ago, she was able to make it her profession, too. A committed advocate for veganism, she has written cookery books and regularly shares her versatile and colourful recipes on her blog and YouTube channel. She believes everyone should make an informed decision about what they’re consuming, whether that’s food, electronics or clothing. “It’s shocking how cheap animal products are nowadays and what a huge negative impact animal farming is having on climate change,” she says.
What is veganism for you?
“It’s a social and an ethical movement. It means showing empathy to all living beings – humans and animals alike.”
In one of your videos, you talk about the refugee crisis in Germany. Why are you covering such topics on your vegan-food channel?
“I always say what I think. Especially now, because of the presence of so many right-wing tendencies in society and crimes against refugees, I feel I should speak out more loudly against injustice and support human rights and altruism. For me, being vegan, caring for the environment and showing empathy to all living creatures is all part of the same mind-set. I don’t know, maybe there are some vegans out there who care more about baby chickens than refugees, but I am not like that and there are other people who are not like that – and those people will get my message.”
There are many gender stereotypes and clichés associated with cooking – the perfect housewife who does all the cooking at home, the testosterone-fuelled chefs at top restaurants. Can cooking contribute to gender equality?
“It’s part of my mission to change those stereotypes through my work. There is a new generation of women who are entering the food industry, who are excellent entrepreneurs and have an alternative perspective on leadership. My second book, Frauen am Herd [Women in the Kitchen], released in September, is actually about this kind of woman. We work together and inspire each other. Of course, men are welcome to join us and work with us as well.”
Words by Veronika Dorosheva
Photography by Harling & Darsell
Production by Andrea Horn
Larry Tee: All clothes by Tzuji
Sophia: Blouse by ARMEDANGELS
Special thanks to: Loveco