- Published on Monday, 07 January 2013 16:18
Although it seems like we have become more and more dependent on technology since the industrial revolution, this relationship goes back to the palaeolithic period and the invention of the clovis point some 2.5 million years ago. Our ability to think of ideas and solve problems by applying these ideas in the physical sense to better our lives and be one step ahead, has created a world, where in our day and age, it is impossible to survive without it. Since the discovery of electricity, we have managed to peer into the heavens and make sense of our place in the universe and at the same time discover the minuscule and invisible world of quantum mechanics.
But when it comes down to technology's relationship with art, better technology doesn't necessarily mean better art. Picture this scenario: you give two painters (Tom & Jerry) a blank canvas, some paint and brushes and you say “see what you can come up with, I am going down the pub and will see you in 6 hours!”. You give to Tom a single brush and a single colour to work with and, for Jerry, you pull out all the stops: several colours to work with, digital drawing pens, airbrushes etc. Isn't it as possible to see a work of art from Tom as much as it is from Jerry? Just because Jerry has a technological advantage over Tom, this factor doesn't determine that he will come up with something better!!
And to go one step further, I'll say that the human mind thrives when restricted with fewer choices and an incident with Mozart, at St Paul's Cathedral in Rome in 1770, manifests this perfectly: The 14 year old Mozart was attending mass on holy Wednesday at the Sistine chapel and was taken back from a psalm called Miserere mei, Deus. The problem was that this specific piece wasn't allowed to be written down or copied so, as the young protégée was mystified by the choir's performance, he wrote it down completely from memory, went back on Friday to do minor adjustments and took it with him to Vienna (does this makes Mozart the first bootlegger of popular music?!?!). When the Pope heard his version, instead of ex-communicating him from the church (this was the punishment for copying the psalm), he invited him to Rome to praise him!!
This is what it took to be a famous musician/composer/producer back in the 18th century, an absolute genius!!! Having only his memory cells and pen and paper he managed to do something that no pop star of today can come anywhere near to. His compositions will resonate for centuries to come and all he used was his pen and paper!! If you compare that with the quality of music that comes from todays pop stars (with all the paraphernalia attached to them such as videos, marketing, fire eaters, fart ignitors etc), you can say safely that Justin Bieber won't be remembered after he has had his first shave!!!
All I am trying to say, I guess, is that technology doesn't necessarily make you a better performer or artist, although this is what marketing campaigns are preaching at us for the last 10 or so years, when it comes down to the performance platform DJs should use.
Phrases such as “this will change the way you play forever” or “this is a revolutionary product” have created this new and anticipated technological euphoria (Acute Technological Newphoria),with too much emphasis on new and improved features with sneak previews, special magazine write ups and celebrity DJ's swearing by this update and so on. This focus for the next version or the next update or even the next new platform is, in my opinion, a distraction from the actual principles of quality DJ-ing that coincidently (and after all the technological marvels) haven't changed since the days when vinyl was the only medium!!!
For all the announcements and all the fanfare that went with the new platforms that have emerged in the last decade or so, the fundamental needs for a good night out for the experienced and discerning clubber are still quality of sound and a good music selection, mixed skilfully by a DJ
The new-age notion of “adapt or die” has affected our scene greatly in the past when CDs replaced vinyl as the obvious choice. And this didn't happen because we found technology that sounded better, it was just a matter of convenience as we could carry more music in lighter cases and records won't be stolen by baggage handlers. This was replaced by even lighter cases full of laptops and MP3's. MP3's were designed to compress the actual recorded sound (thus lowering the quality of the original recording) so it can be downloaded easily by the masses over the internet when internet speeds were a big issue. They were never designed to be the choice of professionals in a scene where absolute quality is the target, so again, it was just convenience!! The next step was the syncing of your mixes, first from laptops and recently from CD players. What (again) is the purpose of sync? It is done conveniently by the computer so you are free to manipulate your music (although adding delay and reverb is the most lame thing you can do to a stereo mix, but most popular these days). I have seen from up close 100's of djs using sync but I never felt that the time saved by using your brain for beat mixing was used to do something groundbreaking or revolutionary!!!! So, in a scene where sound quality is a priority and is what makes a difference between a good or a bad night out, we have replaced quality with a poorer version mainly for convenience.........
I lived, first hand, through the abandonment of vinyl in London 10 years ago and it was not pretty. A whole ecosystem of record shops, distribution companies, clubs and promotional teams just collapsed and disappeared. At the time,there was definitely a stale and tired attitude in the London scene that was coming out from the burned out era of Disco House and instead of going back to the drawing board when the samples of old disco records were used to death,we thought that turning our backs on vinyl and “advancing” technologically to CD's was the thing to do......Armageddon followed shortly after that, 80% of the people I knew were active in the scene back then, left the industry all together as the system that supported them and was centred to the production, distribution and use of vinyl just collapsed. And this happened not out of a technology being surpassed by better quality one but because of convenience and thinking that technology will save the day!!!!
Of course the scene survived the storm and distribution companies emerged again, (mainly in Germany were there was a better stronghold for vinyl use) with better quality controls and lots and lots of good music. I am really happy to see a significant part of the younger generation being interested in vinyl, not because of sentimental reasons but because they have to know and experience the medium with the highest quality and most suitable to quality clubbing, in order to understand their trade and keep the tradition alive!!!
A basement, a red light and a feeling, is not just a compilation name from Kerri Chandler's Mad House imprint back in 1992 but wise words that convey that the focus for a great DJ should only be the music and the widening of it's boundaries through intelligence,hard work and artistic integrity. This path doesn't necessarily pass through the latest technological platform or the easy way out. Use technology and don't let technology use you, i believe that this is the path that we all need to realise in order to stay true to the values of musical evolution and to push the boundaries of creativity. There is absolutely no need to jump on the high velocity train of technological evolution in order to became better DJ's, producers and promoters. The illusion that technology will make you a better DJ, producer or promoter is a path which will distract you from what you really need to do and that is to become a creator of something meaningful with the simplest tools possible. Now,this is a challenge we should be looking forward to!!!
Article by Stathis Lazarides
- Published on Sunday, 30 December 2012 14:23
Over the course of the past week we collectively survived not only another over-indulgent Christmas in front of the TV, but a full-on Mayan Apocalypse. Therefore this year, more than most, we deservedly enter that curious purgatorial period between Boxing Day and the New Year with a little more spring in our step. If you already know what you're doing to bring in 2013, then this spring will evolve into an animated bounce as NYE draws ever nearer. If you still haven't a clue however, the next 48 hours will feel like a trudge through the mire. And yet never fear, MEOKO is here to help. Below are our top picks from around London town for both NYE and NYD. Go with one, two or three of these and we guarantee you a heady dose of hedonistic closure to see out one year, and bring in the next, in style.
The Coronet Theatre
9pm – 06am
After the success of the Eastern Electrics festival in August of this year, the stalwarts of NYE clubbing return to the capital after a showstopping 2012. As ever they will play host to a varied range of acts, with a focus on bringing the party to the masses. Joy Orbison, Eats Everything and Huxley make up three of the 2012's most emblematic DJs, while Shonky, Miguel Campbell and Geddes offer something a little different in support. Apart from the last batch of VIP tickets, all advance tickets are sold-out so if you're still umming and ahhing, get down early to avoid major disappointment.
Bussey Building, Peckham
9pm – 06am
Always ones to keep things fresh, Secretsundaze have migrated to South London for this year's climactic event, continuing their blossoming relationship with Peckham's Bussey Building. After his deep house smash 'New For U' topped almost every end-of-year chart in the scene, Andrés returns to headline alongside Amir Alexander, Trevino and Martyn, who will be showcasing his new and improved Live set. Tickets are still available online from £30 and given the reputation these boys have for a proper new year's blowout, it'll be worth every penny.
Hearn St Car Park
11pm – 06.30am
If big room tech-house is your tipple of choice this NYE, few parties will quench your thirst as thoroughly as Onemore, who welcome Radio Slave, Tiefschwarz and Antonio De Angelis to East London's Hearn Street Car Park. Having celebrated their 2nd birthday but a few weeks ago with Lawrence and Kenny Larkin and with a whole host of high-profile 2013 dates already in the diary, you can bet your bottom dollar come midnight Onemore will be seriously popping off. Tickets are still available online.
Ewer Street Warehouse
9pm – 06am
If you're after something a little tougher to help see in the new year then look no further than Beat Dimension. Welcoming man-of-the-moment Blawan to headline alongside Mike Denhert, Untold and Cosmin TRG, this promises to offer something other than the usual hands-in-the-air NYE fare. Appleblim has been announced as a special guest and final release tickets, somehow, are still available, so get moving and get ready to get those fists pumping.
NYE & NYD
Jaded & LWE
8pm – 2pm
London Warehouse Events and after-hours specialists Jaded are combining this NYE/NYD to bring the capital a full-on 18hr rave. Taking place first across Factory 7 in the Hearn St area of East London and then Cable in London Bridge, this looks set to be one the most intense and sonically rewarding of all the events on the calendar. Nina Kravitz and Mr G headline with support from stalwart DJ Raymundo Rodriguez, which just about tells you all you need to know really. Tickets are still available online for either only the NYE party or both at a reduced price.
NYE - 9pm - 9am
Cargo host a post apocolyptic zombie rave this new years eve with Visionquests Ryan Crosson headlining, bringing with him an arsenal of house and techno strong enough to blow the heads off any zombie standing in his way. With a free afterparty from 6am the heart of Shoreditch will be firmly beating from within Cargo's railway arches to the sounds of Omid 16B, Shane Watcha, Clint Lee who all play alongside Ryan Crosson.
Fabric NYE & WetYourSelf NYD
NYE: 9pm – 09am / NYD: 10pm - 06am
If ever there was a safe choice of what to do over NYE, Fabric is it. The iconic London club never fails to put on a showstopping night of partying, with a solid, always eclectic line-up of some of the most cutting-edge names in underground dance music. This year Four Tet, Steffi and Martin Butrich top the bill on NYE - and that's only room 1. On the evening of Tuesday 1st, the club fires up the engines once more and continues the rave courtesy of Sunday purveyors WetYourSelf. Miss Kittin, Marc Houle and Palisade all feature. Tickets are still available online for both events, plus the usual on-the-door admittance.
JUNK Department with Upon You
8pm – 05.30am
Junk Department return to London this NYD to bring us a very special, extended celebration. The Southampton based outfit have invited none other than Steve Bug and M.A.N.D.Y to top the bill, teaming up with Berlin label Upon You to bring a trio of their most forward thinking DJs to the party, namely Marco Ressman, Emerson Todd and Gunnar Stiller. What with their burgeoning relationships with Cocoon, Zoo Project and whole host of others, you can always trust Junk Department to have their finger firmly on the pulse. Tickets are still available online.
6am till late
What a year it's been for Kubicle. They've set up a residency at Sankeys Ibiza, partied at The Chalet in Berlin, taken their craft to the WMC in Miami and of course, weaved their magic across many of the UK's best festival dance-floors. Not to mention, of course, their staunch dedication to the East London after-hours scene. In true Kubicle spirit, they will be hosting an as yet interminable event on NYD at The Basing House in Shoreditch. PBR Streetgang headline. Tickets still available.
9pm – 05am
What more is there to say about Circo Loco. For what feels like centuries the international clubbing behemoth has been plying its popular brand of party promotion, bringing a consistency and professionalism to the scene that is unrivalled. For their annual NYD London blowout, the Circus is taking over Brixton Academy and playing host to the recently crowned No #1 DJ in the world Mr. Seth Troxler. As if that wasn't enough, Maceo Plex, David Squillace, Tania Vulcano and Clive Henry are all offering their talents in support. What a night this promises to be. Tickets are only available online from Ticketweb and instore at Phonica Records in Soho, London.
Midday – 11pm
Another year down, another successful year for Fuse. The celebrated Sunday party remains as one of the most popular in the capital, regularly attracting visitors from all across the continent and beyond. With as good a team of residents as you'll find anywhere in the city, Fuse welcome Onur Ozer and Julain Perez to join the melee, two DJs who are revered and recognised scene-wide as being masters of their craft. Despite the move from the comforts of 93 Feet East to Village Underground, Fuse is surely one of the most reliable and enticing of all 2013 NYD options.
The Hydra: Electric Minds
6pm – 06am
If, for whatever reason, you want to keep things South of the river this NYD, then there are few better options than Electric Minds. With a jaw-dropping line-up spread across three rooms, you can ease yourself into 2013 accompanied by the sounds of Mosca, Levon Vincent, Will Saul, Henrik Schwarz and Jay Shepheard. Compared to the hyper-inflation on show on NYE, tickets are considerably cheap, and very much still available. This looks hard to turn down.
- Published on Sunday, 23 December 2012 15:28
With New Year’s Day often hounded the better New Year’s Eve, more and more revellers are saving themselves for the cutting edge parties and incredible line ups now on offer on January 1st. This year Junk Department is no exception. With a forward thinking music policy and party first, ask questions later ethos, Junk comes back to the capital for a New year’s Day feast loaded with underground talent. Serving up a showcase for Berlin based label Upon.You. at the convenient Factory 7, the likes of M.A.N.D.Y. and Steve Bug, will be delivering a platter of delectable beats from the far corners of house, techno and between. Alongside these two electronic music veterans, they are joined by Marco Resmann, Emerson Todd, Gunnar Stiller, Luca Pilato and Junk residents, bringing London a little taste of the action for the famous German city.
Exclusive Mix by M.A.N.D.Y. ahead of Junk Department NYD
Heavyweights of the UK clubbing fraternity, Junk Department has grown out of Southampton’s very own Junk Club, a regular nominee for DJ Mags Best Of British Small Club award. The Junk family bring together everything they know from the South Coast, Bristol, London, Eastern Europe and more, with one collaborative aim in mind, to put on the best parties in the world. Working closely with the likes of Cocoon, Moon Harbour, Circo Loco, Superfreq and Crosstown Rebels to name just a few, Junk Department have made a name for their warehouse parties that storm through the scene with distinguished line-ups and an ethos for music loving and appreciation. Finding its home at Factory 7, it’s garage style space and East London location make for the perfect setting Junk Department devotees have come to know and love.
Steve Bug Exclusive for Junk Department NYD
This NYD we see the Junk crew set the bar for what NYD parties are all about, getting down with your friends and you celebrate new beginnings and fresh starts to quality music from quality DJs. The main man, one third of the Upon.You founders, Marco Resmann never fails to deliver and neither does his label. Having put out a marathon of releases that such young labels are rarely able to achieve, it’s also maintained a sort after quality, evident by constant presence in the charts. This is one label showcase that really will focus on the output, so expect a cleverly considered soundtrack to you new year’s day.
Check out Junk Department Presents Watergate 10 Years
Highlights will include Get Physical label bosses M.A.N.D.Y., who have achieved massive success in colluding to create music that simply makes bodies move. These two will be showing you how it’s done. Poker Flat head honcho, Steve Bug is a dream behind the decks. For those who haven’t seen him, this really will be a treat for the ears and he lays on one face screwing track after another, a dedicated, energetic and constantly surprising talent. Emerson Todd, also shouldn’t go a miss, along with the rest of the stellar line-up.
In conjunction with the NYD event, MEOKO have a stomping competition to offer one lucky winner. You and 3 friends could spend the first day of 2013 Berlin style AND win some top notch vinyl straight from the Upon.You release catalogue, all you have to do is tell us...
Who are M.A.N.D.Y. most famous for collaborating with?
a) Jamie Jones
c) Booka Shade
Doors open at 8pm on Tuesday 1st January and close at 6am.
- Published on Friday, 07 December 2012 17:20
One of the most important, yet often under appreciated, jobs for a DJ is that of the warm-up set. In fact, it's a crucial role for any DJ worth his salt and is usually where most of the big names we know and love today earned their stripes. Playing a warm-up set typically takes a higher level of skill than most headline sets – ask any DJ and they'll tell you, it's no mean feat striking that delicate balance between luring ravers onto the dancefloor and keeping them there, while making sure you don't overshadow the headliner(s). Maintaining a good, strong energy but not peaking too early. Of course, there are stringent rules to playing a warm-up set, you will always need to gauge the crowd – but, generally speaking, it must be said that slow and easy is often the best and safest way to begin.
Take MEOKO's 50th podcast, Voigtmann b2b LamÂche warming-up for the legenadary Mr.G at Toi Toi Musik. Their vinyl-only three-hour set is a masterclass in warm-ups, starting off with just piano chords and working slowly and confidently towards stirring up the dancefloor. Check it out and hear for yourself, it's a sublime set.
Voigtmann b2b LamÂche live recording from Toi Toi Musik - MEOKO exclusive
Having recently played a warm-up set myself, I can also vouch for their importance and difficulty. Everyone in front of you is there to party, that's a given, but the party really gets started when the peak time sets are played. As a warm-up you often begin with a very slow, tentative approach to your set, easing your audience in with some uplifting yet not too “hands-in-the-air” tunes. Peaking too early is a cardinal sin, as is overshadowing whoever comes after you. Working up from the slow start, it's sometimes useful to whet the clubbers' appetites with some more familiar tracks – injecting some energy, yet not pushing it too far. As the set progresses you'll want to keep the energy levels solid, each step of the way considering the fact that the night is only just beginning and it's your job to start off the evening in the best way possible. Keeping a frim hold on how the crowd gets down is imperative to your job, the temptation to let loose and throw down some big tunes is always going to be there, but you have to keep reminding yourself that it's early and there is a lot more to come.
Picture by Daddy's Gotsweets
Another key thing to bear in mind and I'm stating the very obvious here, is to know who is on after you – purely to work out how and what to play. Every DJ has their own style, their own following, their own identity.. and this is something that will have a direct effect on what you play as a warm-up. Encroaching on their set is considered sacrilege, imagine unknowingly warming up for someone like Josh Wink and playing Higher State Of Consciousness – only for him to arrive later on and play it again. He may or may not have heard you play it, but the crowd has and they won't forget. Leaving Josh looking a little bit silly, to put it lightly.
Picture by Nick Ensing
There's a pressure from playing warm-up sets that is not as common in headline sets. When you think about it, the majority of the people who turn up at a party are there because they've seen one of their heroes on the line-up – which means half the battle is already won for said headliner. (Ok, there will be some chin-stroking critics too, waiting for them to fuck up – but most will be excited as soon as their hero jumps on the ones and twos). So, the warm-up DJ, who will always be lesser known, has the pressure of performing to a crowd who are waiting for their favourite DJ to appear, while also having to set the tone of the night. Great training for any wannabe DJ and, as I've already said, the starting point for many of today's stars. The skills one acquires as a warm-up will stay with that person for their entire career and that is absolutely priceless.
So, next time you arrive early at a club night and you see someone warming up, remember their name because the likelihood is, in a few years time, they'll be headlining.
By Marcus Barnes
- Published on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 14:45
November 2012. Drug -- especially ketamine -- consumption at parties in London hits a new “high”, literally. And acclaimed artists on labels such as Crosstown Rebels step up and deliver the perfect lounge-back low-swing: Fur Coat’s “You And I - Cocaine and Ketamine” with its slurry voices is an iconic anthem for the high society. Tracks which seem to be the lullaby of our generation eschew responsibility, thus reflecting the irony of todays fast-lane-drop-out society, by consuming even more. It seems as if values have gone completely overboard, with almost everybody heading freely into “the more the better”.
Even hardliners tone down and talk about legalization, as it seems drug use -- whether legal or illegal -- is just part of our everyday life. Instead of changing our habits spinning out of control, it’s simply become acceptable to be out of it. It’s so normal to see passed out people on the dancefloor and ambulances driving in and out of festival grounds at a steady rhythm that no-one even mentions it anymore. As it’s not only become normal to accept the wide-spread drug use, it’s also become normal to use “recreational drugs”, which are, as the fun name suggests, simply something to unwind with, whether that’s on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. As long as it’s fun!
Hardly anybody is questioning their habits, and neither DJs nor event organizers or anyone else in the industry for that matter is trying to use their influential position to take a stand against drug (ab)use. With excesses being socially accepted, be it binge-drinking, taking uppers, downers, anti-depressants, or whichever medication suits our very needs, it’s a tough one to actually be the party pooper who speaks up and questions the procedure. As about 70 % of the population use some kind of drug, whether it be legal or illegal, there is hardly anybody left to speak up to. So...
Whilst old veterans in the scene simply see drug preferences and fashions shift whilst use is on the rise, newbees often feel estranged by the excesses, yet do not find alternatives. Does being into electronic music mean being into taking drugs? Is it not all about the music? It almost seems like it, something that outsiders often misinterpret and judge as “it’s impossible to stand this bumbumbum without being drugged up”, thus leading to major discrimination throughout the nation: Electronic music has a stigma stuck to it, and anyone who’s tried to shovel through prejudices stating “I really like the music though”, knows what we are trying to say.
Does being into electronic music mean being into drugs?
And maybe it’s true. Music sounds amazing on E. And being on K or LSD certainly stimulates parts of the brain that might not be activated normally. Those of us who know..., let’s be honest: The brain is majorly stimulated under the influence, and each stimulant has their own spectrum of kicks, tricks and challenges, something people definitely get hooked on, each of them caught in their own mind trip.
Is this what it’s all about? The adventure to go out on Friday and to get back on Sunday only half-way remembering things, analyzing the weird mind warps that make up our reality, and then slide back into the tumbling trot of everyday routine... until it’s Friday again, hooray?
And what would be the alternative? Is there one? Can we enjoy the party without the kicks? A very good question. Just to ask it, though, and to emphasize, that YES, drug use can be questioned -- and should be questioned. It just seems to have become a routinely habit, and not fun for most, as they are just chasing some weird-ass shadow down an alleyway to nowhere really. Some people feel, especially industry folk including DJs , promoters, warehouse owners, security and the EDM media should take some social responsibility and project onto the party-goers.
I’m so high I can’t mix, and it’s fine! I’m having a laugh!
Says Tina, a clubber: “Where is our generation heading towards with drugs such as ketamine so freely available to everyone all the time. The kids are turning into zombies and there is NO awareness from anywhere. No big artists or promoters who the kids look up speak out against it, or at least how to do it safely - only mostly the opposite! Saying ‘it’s absolutely fine, look at me, I am so high I can’t even mix and it’s fine!’ Time for a change and to come together as a scene and say that it is really not all okay to do bags of ketamine every weekend, it’s extremely dangerous and without no-one even knowing the consequence. We need to take some sort of responsibility for this.”
It’s easy to misjudge sincere words of concern as motherly outcry that should not be listened to, as it’s not taking into account that people need and want to make their own mistakes. As it’s always been, people, young of age, move out and venture into the world with the best intentions to take it and make it their oyster, as protagonists, DJs, superstars, dancers, designers, or whatever it is that makes us tick.
Says Neil: “Passion! For something. Is something that our scene has always promoted. The music is something that can change your life. You get into it, and you get caught, and you love it so much so want to be part of it, every day. You aspire. You get some turntables, teach yourself mixing whilst travelling to clubs every weekend to hear and see what those who inspire you are up to.”
To go further and further is one of the motivations, to never stop, to never wake up and return to normality... Whilst office staff step into their hamster wheel, the scene is a joyful celebration of alternative, or escapism, of glamour, of madness. And yes, that’s something most young people are drawn to, feel attracted to, and look up to. The alternative. Which life do you prefer? The life of a clerk, or the life of a jet-setting DJ? Whilst the image of each of those professions are stereotypes summoned up and enhanced by mass-media, we all love to get caught up in a dreamy fantasy. But life ain’t just peaches. And drugs are drugs, they don’t work.
Caner - Free Thinker / Events Producer (Owls Way/Down Under) agrees and adds that “there is lots that can be done and this can be done collectively by individuals taking responsibility for their personal actions. This is not an anti-drugs campaign, the idea is creating social awareness about this problem and how people can avoid embarrassing situations. Recently, I have observed promoters feeling proud to have someone passed out, pissing themselves, completely out of it in their parties. Yes, we do experience this sort of problem in our scene for long time, but today it has become the norm. I love my scene and I think together, by individually taking a little responsibility, we can be part of a positive change, and help avoiding those disconcerting scenes and heartbreaking episodes we are experiencing -- people getting targeted by people with bad intensions robbed and worse; losing their jobs ; going into depressions and end up in dark places"
Which life do you prefer? The life of a clerk, or the life of a jet-setting DJ?
Alone the fact that Fur Coat are called Fur Coat is very tongue-in-cheek and shows that they love to play with contradictories -- and this is what our society is all about. On one hand, people cry out saying: “This is so wrong... how can you wear fur coats, take ket, consume blindly, eat animals, etc....”, whilst on the other, most people simply do it -- even though they know better? And to top it all off, those who act out double standard morals are on "top of the game", whatever this means. They are on MTV, in the Olympics, hugely successful, with a little “fine-tuning” on the side, cheekily, here and there, everywhere. We all know what’s going on, and we all adhere to it as we do not speak up against these practices. As long as no-one takes a photo of a white nostril, it’s all picture perfect... Heroin-chic models, coked up politicians, you name it. Bla bla...
The younger you are, the truer to yourself you are, the more you see through falsities, and question them, the more you desperately look for a message between the lines. Only to hardly ever find one except: ‘Consuming makes you happy’. We are not alone: Most people are clever enough to see through hypocrisy, double-standards and twisted promotion of wrong values, as seen on TV. But they are not strong enough to stand up and take responsibility.
Ponders Spencer: “To say, ‘Hey, I am trying to be myself, but I am not willing to be one zombie more’ takes some balls. But why? Maybe it’s because generally, the cool people, those we look up to and admire, do not stand up, proudly, proclaiming... ‘Hey, there is an alternative! You can be yourself, really being yourself, and it feels so good you don’t even need drugs...!’”
Instead, the media celebrates the fallen angels by the pound -- the younger and more desperate their drugged up story, the more coverage. It does not surprise that people turn to drugs in the end... It's almost impossible to stand this hypocritical society without tuning into the same madness. Or is it?
To be yourself can feel so good you get high on it
Says Lea, an “aging” DJ of 37: “I firmly believe it’s possible to be a DJ and play not taking drugs, and actually be a beacon for those in the scene. As it stands right now, there are just a few routes down the road, the beaten path, of destiny. You can either be a drug-taking kid, and pull out of it when you wanna pull out of it, or be part of the huge league of zombies. Chances are you are being someone very grounded, with lots of interests and prospects and ideas, and in the end, the drug-taking element of electronic music, life, universe, will be of less and less importance. You are entitled to your legitimate experience, and hopefully you will be taking something out of it that’s worth telling your grandchildren about, but chances are that you will also encounter difficulties no one really articulates. No-one knows what long-terms effects are, and the price can be really high.”
“Just to be someone who is aware of these things, and communicates these experiences, and maybe offers alternatives makes you stick out of the crowd. I became pregnant but luckily I already quit any kind of drug way before this, even coffee, and all of a sudden had a sober vision of nightlife. And of myself. And I loved it, to be absolutely in control of my destiny. I did not feel excluded, or bored, or repulsed at all, just relieved I found the way out, and to be able to still enjoy my scene! I hope I can serve as an example. I have done drugs, they almost broke me, but I got out as I got bored and appalled by my own suffering, and this is -- sorry to say it guys -- the absolute exception. Most people just end up screwed up. It’s hard to escape even for someone sane, so try not to bury yourself in madness, go and be strong and yourself and don’t get too involved. Music is not drugs, and drugs are not music. Amen.”
In The Talk Hole:
Mathias Schaffhäuser, Ware label head, producer and DJ for almost 20 years, Cologne mastermind and always a correct key figure of the German techno and house scene, as he stands out with his intricate and headstrong take on electronic music talks to Meoko about his attitude towards drugs. Read on to find out more and do not forget to check his new records: His “Nuevo Romance” just came out on NOICE, and the records by his new project "Fanatico" and his remix for Ziggy Kinder on WARE are leading Schaffhäuser's label into a new height.
What is your motivation to be a DJ, a producer and label honcho?
Schaffhäuser: To be honest, I am a huge fan. I still get enchanted by new music, and it always motivates me -- I totally enjoy making music, it’s so much fun, after all.
How do you enjoy being part of a scene full of drugs, not ever taking part of the consuming frenzy?
Schaffhäuser: For me it’s not that extreme. To be honest, you would have to ask me: “How do you enjoy living in a world full of drugs?” Drugs are being taken everywhere, not only in the techno house scene but in the music scene in general, in the teacher’s room, in Parliament, in a normal pub, in the back room of a supermarket and in the bosses’ head office. It’s a total demonization to always think of our music scene as utterly extreme. Think drug consumption at pop and rock events and afterwork parties, and you get the full picture. And, please, don’t forget “mom’s little helpers”. Drugs are part of everyday life, not a night life phenomenon. Drugs also are called “medicine” and prescribed by doctors and sold in pharmacies.
How do you do this job without taking drugs? Also considering that it’s very hectic and heavy, flying around the globe, changing timezones, and switching day and night time?
Schaffhäuser: I believe I would not be capable to be on drugs and go on stage, and manage everything that goes with that. If I took drugs, I would go mental, completely. I need a clear head to get everything sorted, everything else would be scary as f%^&. And to take drugs to stay awake or clear during work is not an option for me at all.
Do you play afterhours, and if so, how do you feel in this environment?
Schaffhäuser: I always make the same kind of experience which is that the crowd is not half as wasted as people say. I love to play at 8 in the morning and never had any trouble at all.
Are you really 100% clean or do you have some cultivated little fascination with something, be it sex, chocolate or collectable rock records?
Schaffhäuser: I am totally addicted to crisps.
What kind of recommendation can you give those who are caught in drugs?
Schaffhäuser: I am sure I have no new recognitions and I am surely not the most suitable to give advice. And most people who are addicted to something or have problems with something know most of the important facts about this matter anyway. The nature of being high though is that it escapes logic and undermines reasoning. Which can be the fascination with it, but of course this becomes a tough one as soon as you reach the turning point, and fall, which causes great difficulty. It’s a great skill to be able to hold the balance and know for oneself what is okay, and how much of it, and what should be avoided. But if someone is really hooked, these ‘wise’ recommendations do not really help at all.
Did you lose friends?
Schaffhäuser: Luckily no one has died, but to drugs I definitely lost a few.
Words by Katrin Ritcher