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Ten Walls Unfiltered: Controversy, Redemption, and the Beat of Evolution

In electronic music, Ten Walls is both a revered and controversial figure. Hailing from Vilnius, Lithuania, he has faced the harsh glare of public scrutiny, grappling with the fallout of past remarks that sent shockwaves through the LGBTQ+ community. In this deeply personal interview, Marijus Adomaitis bares his soul, reflecting on the impact of his words, the toll of relentless criticism, and the arduous journey toward redemption and artistic rebirth.

Through this candid conversation, Ten Walls shares the raw emotions of navigating cancel culture’s unforgiving terrain, confronting his own missteps, and finding solace in the cathartic power of music amidst the storm. As he charts a path forward, he speaks to the importance of accountability, the complexities of reconciliation, and the unwavering commitment to creating a more inclusive and understanding space within the electronic music community.

EG: Hi, Marijus, and welcome to EG. Where are you right now?

Ten Walls: I’m currently in Vilnius, Lithuania

EG: Your recent interview provides valuable insights into the controversy surrounding your past remarks. Looking back, how do you feel about the impact of those comments on the LGBTQ+ community and your own journey in the electronic music industry?

Ten Walls: As I said in my latest interviews, this has been a heavy weight on my shoulders all these years – knowing that it hurt the LGBTQ community because of bad translation. My words were taken out of context and I am glad that I was able to give the long-awaited closure and truth they deserve. My journey in the music industry since then has changed, of course, but as an artist, I never stopped creating. I have been releasing a lot, working with amazing talents, and having some great shows, real fans never left my side and I always felt that. During all this time, I have released 6 albums, produced the electronic opera E-Carmen, and made my dream come true – have my own live “Symphony” show with a full orchestra.

EG: You’ve emphasized that your controversial post from 2015 was not directed towards homosexuals but rather individuals exhibiting concerning behavior. Can you elaborate on how you’ve come to understand the misinterpretation of your words and the ensuing backlash?

Ten Walls: As soon as I saw the translated post, it was very clear to me that it wasn’t correct at all. The person who did this poor translation didn’t watch the videos in my original post and just took random sentences out of context and turned them around.

EG: Considering Lithuania’s track record on LGBTQ+ rights, how have you navigated personal evolution and ideological separation from societal norms?

Ten Walls: Yes, many years ago Lithuania was not the most friendly environment for the LGBTQ community, however – I have never paid attention to it and I have never separated people because of their sexuality, race, or beliefs. I have always worked with transgender and homosexual people, also in my friends’ circles there always have been people from these communities.  Since then, Lithuania has also come a long way, and now is very different and much more open and friendly for the LGBTQ community.

For me, it has always been natural. As an artist – I don’t care how popular a person is, I don’t care about any numbers, and even less do I care about anyone’s sexuality or race or beliefs – if I like their voice, lyrics, style or whatever they bring to the table as an artist – I am happy to create together. As a father, husband, and person – I care only if the other person is honest and good in their intentions; nothing else for me is important – not their race, sexuality, or beliefs. The whole underground music scene is built on marginalized groups and people, our dancefloors and studios are full and always open for everyone. It’s crazy for me that people can even assume that I – someone who’s been in so many years in this scene could be homophobic.

EG: Mental health struggles are often exacerbated by public scrutiny and criticism. Can you share how you coped with the emotional toll of the controversy and what role music played in your healing process?

Ten Walls: I can tell you that I didn’t cope well with it, and probably not in the best ways. Now, looking back, I would have done things differently and probably healed better and faster. It was a very hard and difficult time for me, and the only place where I felt safe and could express myself was in my music studio.  So basically, I spent almost all of my time in my studio, creating so much music, and that was my healing process. But I always felt and knew that at some point, for me to let it go fully, I would have to tell my side of the story to the public.

“As a father, husband, and person – I care only if the other person is honest and good in their intentions; nothing else for me is important – not their race, sexuality, or beliefs. The whole underground music scene is built on marginalized groups and people, our dancefloors and studios are full and always open for everyone.”

EG: While obviously our mental health should always be taken as a priority, isn’t saying “I was exhausted” or “burnt out” rather similar to, let’s say, someone blaming a series of discriminatory tweets or posts on the use of some powerful medication, like comedienne Roseanne Barr did back in 2018?

Ten Walls: We should be taking responsibility for our actions, no matter the state we are in because the state we are in – is also our responsibility. Yes, I should have said no to some gigs and tours, and taken a rest instead, of course – now I look back and it’s easy to say. Everyone is smart after the war, right? And I am taking responsibility for what I said, the issue is – that my original post was never homophobic, it was turned around to be such. And yes – after that – I didn’t have enough strength to fight against the whole world and so much hate.

EG: Despite facing professional repercussions, you’ve continued to create music and engage in various creative projects. How has your artistic expression evolved in response to the challenges you’ve encountered?

Ten Walls: One thing for sure – I will never stop creating music. And as an artist, I think you always evolve, I produce very different music styles, and each experience, of course, shapes me also as an artist and musician. My music always had a certain depth, no matter the genre. Since everything – maybe it’s easier to hear that, but I created my sound already before this scandal, and that has never changed – you always can hear when it’s my production and it has its own unique sound.

EG: Building understanding and empathy is essential in addressing controversies and promoting reconciliation. What steps have you taken to educate yourself and others about LGBTQ+ issues, and how do you plan to contribute positively to the dialogue moving forward?

Ten Walls: I think the best I can do from my side – is to be open to having these conversations. As I mentioned before – it has always been natural for me, and I have always been involved with people from LGBTQ communities – in professional and personal ways. If there are any specific ways how I can help any marginalized group – I am open to hearing suggestions and taking it from there.

EG: Accountability and growth are integral aspects of personal and professional development. Reflecting on your experiences, what lessons, beyond “don’t always speak your mind,” have you learned about taking responsibility for your actions and fostering positive change within the music community?

Ten Walls: As we grow older, we grow wiser, and I think that wisdom comes with knowing when to speak up and when to simply stay silent and be at peace with that. When we are younger – we want to rebel, we want to scream our opinions, we want to be loud, and it is needed to be like that to later come to a place where you can be in peace, even if you didn’t get to tell your opinion. My biggest lesson from all of this is – that situations like this help you to filter who is around you, bring to your life those who you truly need, and get rid of those you don’t need around you. About not speaking you’re your mind – it is a lesson for every public person, but I think nowadays we have much better knowledge about PR and what should be said, what shouldn’t, etc., I had to learn it the hard way.

EG: Cancel culture often leads to swift and severe consequences for public figures. Looking back, how do you believe the situation could have been handled differently, both by yourself and by those involved in the industry’s response?

Ten Walls: It always starts with ourselves. I should have been more aware of my mental health and should have stood my ground stronger against my team at that time – and said NO to tight schedules and no rest in the first place. I was very unlucky with the advice given at that time, I should have educated myself more, so I didn’t put my whole trust only in my PR team and their knowledge and advice to not analyze the situation and just stay silent, which was the opposite of what I wanted to do, but I decided to trust their advice. For industry response – there’s so much they should have done differently, starting with – simple 5-minute research to find my original post and see that for all my life I have been involved professionally and personally with the LGBTQ community, that would have been enough for this situation to not spiral in such negative way.

EG: In light of ideological concerns, how do you approach the balance between supporting artists’ work and addressing ethical considerations?

Ten Walls: I believe I have answered this already in my previous answers. I don’t have to think about any balancing when it comes to ethical or any other considerations – I work with you if I like your art, end of the story. I don’t care not about your race, sexuality, gender, or numbers, I care about what you bring to the table as an artist.

“We should be taking responsibility for our actions, no matter the state we are in because the state we are in – is also our responsibility. Yes, I should have said no to some gigs and tours, and taken a rest instead, of course – now I look back and it’s easy to say.”

EG: As you navigate your comeback in the music industry, what steps are you taking to rebuild trust and credibility with your audience, particularly with LGBTQ+ listeners who may have felt hurt or marginalized by your past remarks?

Ten Walls: I don’t have a strategy behind this. I am simply finally telling my story and hopefully reaching enough of those who have been hurt, because of not knowing the whole story. I hope I have given closure to those who needed and deserved it. That is the most important thing for me here.

EG: Moving forward, what message do you have for your LGBTQ+ fans and the broader electronic music community?

Ten Walls: If you listen to electronic music, especially anything from the underground scene, and you are already supporting LGBTQ+ art, keep doing that. And never let politics into the music scene. Peace, Unity, Love, and Respect are what our dancefloors are built on. Please keep that in mind every time you dance!

EG: Thanks for the time, and all the best.

Ten Walls: Thank you for this interview, and also, all the best to you!

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