This Reddit User Made a Playlist of Almost Every Song Played at EDC 2017

Impossible? Maybe.

Still amazing? Absolutely!

Yesterday, Reddit user stealthyd3vil posted a Spotify playlist featuring almost every song placed Electric Daisy Carnival this year. On the playlist, you’ll hear everything from Afrojack and Migos to Calvin Harris and DJ Snake.

Compiling every song at the festival is probably an impossible task, which is why the user made a note saying the playlist missed some IDs as well as “unreleased bootlegs and remixes, and songs that just aren’t in Spotify’s library.”

Still, it’s a pretty incredible feat and full of jams, old and new, sure to keep you dancing throughout the rest of the holiday weekend.

Listen to the playlist below.

The Unsung History of Circuit Parties, Where Gay Men Seek Sex and Freedom

This month, THUMP honors Pride with a celebration of LGBTQ nightlife all across America. Follow our coverage here.

Dance music was born in LGBTQ communities, but the circuit party is where it truly lived. The circuit—a loose global network of often weekend-long danceathons, where partygoers (almost all gay men) convene from around the world to bond spiritually, socially, sexually and musically—is one of the most unique phenomena to emerge from queer communities over the past few decades.

Circuit parties can be mild, like at Austin’s Splash Days, held at local watering hole Hippie Hollow, or at ski weeks held at resorts in the West and Switzerland, where action on the slopes rivals that of the dance floor.

Or, they can be wild, like at New York’s Black Party, with “strange live acts” that have included erotic use of a boa constrictor; or at San Francisco’s Magnitude, held the night before the Folsom Street Fair fetish festival.

But they always give attendees a space to shed social expectations, where they can be nobody but themselves.

Since their birth in the 70s, the circuit has grown into an international phenomenon, with parties blossoming throughout Europe, Latin America, and, more recently, the Asian Pacific Rim. But they may be on the wane domestically, and the future of the circuit is in question, thanks to the decline of LGBTQ community strongholds and the rise of new sorts of dance culture.

Back in 2007, I questioned whether circuit parties were dying. Many are asking if there’s still a need for these all-male gatherings. Undoubtedly, many younger gay men prefer smaller venues that “bask in the beauty and openness of queer culture.” Plenty of older gay men, too, find the whole ethos of circuit parties — glow sticks, remixed diva anthems, color themes, “body fascism”—to be tired anachronisms.

To figure out the state of the circuit in 2017, THUMP spoke with Mickey Weems, a lecturer at the University of Hawai’i Manoa who has extensively studied circuit parties (alongside religious, anthropological and folklore interests). Weems spoke to their past, present and potential future, explaining what role the circuit has played in shaping queer and gay culture, and what its evolution says about the same today.

A gay circuit party (Photo via noiZe.buzz)

THUMP: Can you give me a capsule history of the circuit?

Mickey Weems: It all started after the Stonewall Riots in 1969. When the Gay Activist Alliance was formed—the first gay rights group, born only six months after Stonewall—they had dances in an old firehouse in SoHo. It was so crowded and hot, people began taking off their shirts, and the circuit was born.

After Stonewall, we were allowed to have our own clubs without police interference. Technological advances in sound systems and DJ equipment made it more attractive to open dance spaces. And in New York, thousands of men began gathering at Downtown loft spaces that began cropping up.

Money started pouring in, with places like Flamingo and Twelve West, two of the most prominent gay male dance spaces, full of sweaty men dancing all night.

At the same time, Fire Island became the place for people who could afford it. There, DJs like Roy Thode, who may have invented the EP by looping a song back and forth until it filled one entire side of an album, were experimenting with new ways to play records.

That was the very first circuit. I believe [Andrew Holleran’s 1978 novel] Dancer from the Dance marked the first time it was named in a book. The term “circuit” came from it being the “need to know circuit”—not only discos, but “in-in-the-know” places in the gay community that even included barbershops.

Then, in 1980, the Saint opened in the East Village. Three years before, Paradise Garage opened several blocks away. Unlike Studio 54, The Saint and Paradise Garage flew under the radar. The circuit was always underground.

Both were megaclubs that attracted different crowds, but together, they developed the night-into-afternoon musical “journey” that would come to dominate circuit parties. DJ’ing became an art. There was a musical arc to the evening.

If you want to know the hottest circuit party today, it’s Electric Daisy Carnival.

In the rest of the US, queer people remained largely closeted. But they would visit New York and bring what they experienced back home.

In Columbus, Ohio, where I was living, Corbett Reynolds, a local nightclub owner, visited Manhattan and Fire Island. He decided he would bring the DJs and party themes to his club, Rudely Elegant. San Francisco began developing its own clubs and nights, separate from New York.

Meanwhile, uptown in New York, the ballroom scene was flourishing in Harlem. That scene informed the circuit in a number of ways: a lot of the terms we commonly use, like “fierceness”; and performers like Power Infiniti, Kitty Meow, Flava and Kevin Aviance, held a large influence.

What was the effect of the AIDS crisis?

When disaster starting rolling in, people were freaking out. On Fire Island, people were suddenly dying. Empty houses dotted the boardwalks.

The Saint and the Garage went through a wobbly existence. Both got going as the first glimmer of AIDS appeared on the horizon. One of the early names for AIDS was “The Saint’s Disease,” because by the second season, it had already begun decimating the club’s membership. As it got worse, they both became legendary. The Garage closed in 1987, and the Saint a year later.

At first, people were traumatized as their friends began to disappear. Then they became defiant. The whole reason for dancing changed.

By the mid-80s, dancing began to rise as form of resistance, as a way to bring the community together collectivity and to raise money. People started circuit benefit parties, like the Fire Island Morning Party, first held in 1985. And there were benefit parties like the Miami White Party and Hotlanta.

Not just benefits, though. Didn’t promoter-producers step in?

People like Jeffrey Sanker came in and commercialized the circuit; he started the Palm Springs White Party in 1989. I don’t mind it because their parties are beautiful.

By the early 90s, some cities were having a “circuit party” every weekend, in places like the Roxy in New York, Probe in Los Angeles, clubs in San Francisco. Then it began expanding abroad, in places like Montreal and Europe, with the opening of megaclubs like Heaven in London.

By 1992, the Miami White Party had become famous because celebrities discovered South Beach. This is where the Latin influence came in as well. In 1996, arch-conservative Representative Bob Dornan, a Republican from California, condemned on the floor of Congress a party held at a federally-owned ballroom for the main event of the annual Cherry Party.

No question, the 90s were halcyon days for the circuit. Parties spread to mid-sized cities, like Cleveland’s Dancing in the Streets; Detroit’s Motorball; Louisville’s Crystal Ball. Most couldn’t sustain themselves. The circuit had reached saturation. People wanted to save up for the really big events—like White Party Palm Springs and the Black Party in New York—that were spectacular. The other parties would come and go.

Still from YouTube/”Circuit Festival 2016 – Pervert Party”

With greater visibility comes more scrutiny. How much did drugs have to do with that?

Ecstasy, of course, was always popular. And speed was always present. But tina and GHB, which began to arrive on the scene in the late 80s, are easy to make and more easily obtained.

GHB had a huge influence. Too many guys were not taking care of themselves. One thing the 2002 documentary When Boys Fly [which followed a group of young gay men attending the Miami White Party] got right was showing someone falling out [passing out from drug use].

It was scandalous. Promoters would have to hire 13, 14 ambulances at a party. When you have to have an ambulance parked in front of your event, it casts a pall on the whole scene. After 9/11, with a recession and travel restrictions, everything got worse.

Parties started dying off. The circuit’s nadir hit around 2003. People didn’t have as much money. Then you started seeing the rise of the internet, which especially affected the gay dating scene. There were other factors, too, like escalating real estate in cities like Miami Beach, New York and San Francisco.

A lot of negative scrutiny of the circuit came from within our own community, too. A handful of prominent gay pundits saw these parties as a waste of our energy and resources. As the parties got bigger and more elaborate, the [mainstream] media also inevitably took notice, elevating their critics. That must have had a negative impact, right?

Circuit parties involve a lot of preening. People like Michelangelo Signorile, who wrote about his experience at the Palm Springs White Party in Life Outside , a book about gay culture at the time, were positing that the parties were elitist.

Among critics like Signorile, Larry Kramer and Gabriel Rotello, parties were seen as havens for irresponsible behavior, sex and drugs. They were telling us to settle down, be grown-ups, have kids. In 1998, Kramer went to the Morning Party, and his remarks in the New York Times helped get the party shut down. I link it to the movement early in the AIDS epidemic to shut down bathhouses instead of using them for education.

There have been a raft of studies that want to show the parties in a bad light. Most of these kinds of studies look at these areas of gay culture—like the bathhouse scene, club scene, the app scene—because they’re supposed hot spots for HIV infection and rampant drug use.

But the question is: do the people doing these studies understand our community at all? Because what they’re “studying” is just what goes on in regular gay life.

Except that “regular gay life” has come to mean something very different in 2017. There’s no question that for gay men, things have gotten better. We’re coming out earlier and are more readily accepted by our families and peers. Laws are on the books protecting us from discrimination on the job on finding a home. We can serve openly in the military. It’s far easier to be part of a sports team or head a religious congregation.

This generational divide between gay Boomers and millennials has to influence how they perceive circuit parties—or even if there’s still a need for them.

If, as you said, the circuit reached a nadir earlier this century, has that decline been constant, or have they made a comeback? And if so, what’s the motivation for younger gay men to attend a circuit party? H ave the parties themselves evolved to meet the challenge of a changed landscape for gay/queer culture in a post-liberation world?

Circuit parties still have a function. They’re like a Grindr profile come to life. People who are into that get a real treat when they come to a circuit party. You get to look at all the candidates in one place!

One of the big differences for this generation is that they drink more at these parties. Sanker started marketing the White Party as “Spring Break.” For the younger guys going to these parties, it’s to be silly and have fun.

Younger people are coming out earlier. They have straight friends, male and female, who are much more integrated into their lives. They go out dancing with them. And young people are establishing “circuit colonies.” We create a gay space on the dance floor of mainstream parties. If you want to know the hottest circuit party today, it’s Electric Daisy Carnival. EDC encourages it.

One ongoing criticism is that these parties represent only one small segment of gay men. Have circuit parties become more diverse in terms of age, ethnicity, body type?

There’s more general acceptance across the board. For economic reasons, they don’t turn away anyone.

The average age used to be 33 or 34. It might be 28 now. Near the end of the 90s, most people seemed older. I was 38. I felt real comfortable. In the bar and club scene, once you hit your late 30s, it’s easy to feel invisible. The circuit for older guys is still very comfortable.

Do you have to have the body to buy your way in? You did in those days. Now the dance floor is much more diverse.

Black communities have created their own parties, too. Sometimes, they just want to be with their own. The difference between white and black circuit parties is the friendly competition on the dance floor. In a party situation, when somebody catches a vibe, it becomes infectious. They want to have a good time without giving a shit what other people think. Their party, their rules.

Where is the future of circuit parties?

Just after the beginning of the century, parties started springing up all over East Asia. Kuala Lumpur had one, briefly, as did Hong Kong. Once something becomes too visible, the authorities cracked down.

In Thailand, two major parties are thriving: Songkran and White Party Bangkok. Seoul has a its own, smaller, party, I Am Seoul. In Taiwan, there was a clampdown for a while but it’s loosened up. Taipei had one in October. A party outside of Tokyo is doing well.

The orientation is Pan-Asian. Although there’s a loosening up about attitudes toward gay people, these societies are still very traditional. These parties allow them to openly express not only their sexual orientation but their sexuality.

Around the world, circuit parties have become popular. In Europe, there are several, including Rapido in Amsterdam and circuit in Barcelona. Sydney has its long-running Mardi Gras There are several parties in Mexico and Brazil. There’s even been on in Johannesburg.

Here in the States, I predict that, because of the current repressive government, the circuit will start to increase in popularity. A lot of protest involves dancing. Part of that comes from what happened at Pulse. Pulse did something to us.

More Than 400 Medical Calls Reported During the First Day of Electric Daisy Carnival

According to a report from the Associated Press and Las Vegas Now, more than 400 medical calls were placed during the first night of the Electric Daisy Carnival. The festival began on Friday and takes place in the Nevada desert.

The total number of medical calls was 443, according to the Associated Press. According to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, six people were taken overnight to a local hospital.

There has been no reported determining cause for the medical calls, but Las Vegas is reportedly suffering its first major heat wave of the year. Friday’s temperatures reached a high of 113, and there appears to be no break this weekend, with predicted highs of 117 degrees for Saturday and Sunday.

In addition to the numerous medical calls, police reportedly made 29 felony narcotic arrests and 118 attendees were ejected from the festival.

More than 136,000 people were estimated to have attended the first day of Electric Daisy Carnival.

Can’t Make it to EDC? Watch the Full Stream Here.

Summer music festivals are wild, fast-paced and a lot of fun, yet most of us can’t make it all of them. Red Bull TV is here to save the day, or at least give you an excuse to stay in this weekend.

All weekend long, the festival will host a live stream of Electric Daisy Carnival. The stream is part of their ongoing summer festival streaming schedule, which previously included Gorillaz’ Demon Dayz and will later include Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits.

Got plans this weekend? Check out the daily schedule to find when your favorite artists are playing. Can’t pause part of your day plans? The stream will replay each day’s feed until the next day’s scheduled performers hit the stage.

Watch the live stream below.

Red Bull Adds First U.S. EDM Festival to Their Broadcast Schedule

Just because you can’t make the summer music festivals doesn’t mean you’ll be left in the dark.

Red Bull’s 2017 music festival broadcast schedule has added Electric Daisy Carnival to its already-eclectic lineup. EDC is the first United States electronic music festival added to their broadcast schedule, which also includes Bonnaroo in Tennessee, Lollapalooza in Chicago and Austin City Limits.

Additional international festivals include Primavera Sound, which takes place next weekend in Barcelona, the Gorillaz’ Demon Dayz (a new addition to the schedule) and Denmark’s Roskilde. Red Bull will reportedly announce the performance line-up of each festival broadcast a few days before each schedule.

Follow all of Red Bull’s music festival broadcasts here.

Is Texas America's Next Big EDM Capital?

Header photo courtesy of Lights All Night Dallas.

A few minutes before midnight on New Year’s Eve, three giant, digital clocks count down behind A-Trak. “Ten minutes,” the New York DJ announces, breaking in over a remix of Kanye West. “Five minutes.” He climbs up on top of the booth and waves his arms at the thousands of people before him, who twirl glow sticks and dance with hula hoops. Finally, the screens turn blindingly white, and the room explodes with balloons, confetti, and streamers. One girl to the side of the stage, unsteady in heels with a drink in her hand, falls over.

For most of the year, Dallas Market Hall plays host to conventions and trade shows, but tonight, A-Trak is playing day two of Lights All Night, the longest-running EDM festival in Texas. With the room’s rows of vendor booths and neon lightsand a roster of performing artists that includes Above & Beyond, ASAP Ferg, and Zedd, Nero and RL Grimethe scene feels like a mix of a state fair midway and a bottle service club in Las Vegas. But it’s also a kind of spectacle that’s becoming increasingly common in the Lone Star State, where events like Sun City Music Festival, Ultimate Music Experience, and Day for Night have helped transform Texas into a hub for EDM.

A-Trak performing at Lights All Night 2016 in Dallas. Photo courtesy of the festival.


Started in 2010 by two Dallas natives just out of collegeScott Osburn and Hank KellerLights All Night drew 6,000 people its first year, before expanding to 26,000 the next. The festival has since turned into a New Year’s standby for Texas EDM fans, and 2016 was a year of growth: Deadmau5, who finished his set in Dallas an hour before A-Trak took the stage, hopped on a plane to El Paso, where for the first time, Lights All Night was hosting a concurrent NYE event on the other side of the state.

“There seems to be huge opportunity in Texas,” says Osburn. Events like Lights All Night, which, between Dallas and El Paso, attracted 40,000 people this year, are considerably smaller than West Coast powerhouses like Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and Beyond Wonderland in San Bernardino; by comparison, the former claimed 400,000 attendees last year. But festivals in Texas face a considerably less saturated market as well. “, because you have to come in with strong investment, and look at it over the long term,” he says.

Expanding to El Paso, a city that not only opens up Lights All Night to fans in West Texas, but also those in New Mexico, Arizona, and Mexico, is the latest long-term investment for Osburn and Keller. But, inspired by Day for Night, which Osburn calls “visionary,” they’re already looking at what the next move will be.

“In order for us to be relevant moving forward, we really need to rethink the formula,” Osburn says. “It was such a left-of-center idea, and it worked. I think that’s the most exciting thingand in Texas, of all the places.”

Creators Of Electric Daisy Carnival Announce Middlelands, A New Music Festival

Image via Insomniac.

Insomniac Events, the company behind Electric Daisy Carnival and Beyond Wonderland, have announced Middlelands, a new music and camping festival set to debut in the Spring of 2017 in Todd Mission, Texas. Insomniac has partnered with C3 Presents, the company behind Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits, for Middlelands.

In a blog post about the new festival, Insomniac described it as, “a whole new festival experience unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.”

Details about the event have not been released, but audiences can sign up for more information on the official Middlelands website to learn more about ticket prices and festival lineup announcements.

Electric Daisy Carnival Will Hold Its First Festival In India This November

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Electric Daisy Carnival will expand its flagship party this year with an inaugural festival taking place November 12 and 13 in New Delhi, India. The New Delhi version will reportedly feature both international and local acts.

This is not the first electronic music festival to take place in India. Sunburn, which originated in the country, takes place at the end of the year in Goa. And Tomorrowland, which originated in Belgium, held a version of their festival in Hyderabad for the second year in a row. Electric Daisy Carnival has thrown international editions in Britain, Mexico and Brazil.

“We see India as an exciting market to build a unique and special festival,” Pasquale Rosella told Yahoo News. Rosella is the founder and CEO of Insomnia, Electric Daisy Carnival’s parent company based in Los Angeles. “With a population of 1.2 billion people, half of whom are under 26, and connected through smartphones, the potential is incredible.”

Electric Daisy Carnival Will Hold Its First Festival In India This November

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Electric Daisy Carnival will expand its flagship party this year with an inaugural festival taking place November 12 and 13 in New Delhi, India. The New Delhi version will reportedly feature both international and local acts.

This is not the first electronic music festival to take place in India. Sunburn, which originated in the country, takes place at the end of the year in Goa. And Tomorrowland, which originated in Belgium, held a version of their festival in Hyderabad for the second year in a row. Electric Daisy Carnival has thrown international editions in Britain, Mexico and Brazil.

“We see India as an exciting market to build a unique and special festival,” Pasquale Rosella told Yahoo News. Rosella is the founder and CEO of Insomnia, Electric Daisy Carnival’s parent company based in Los Angeles. “With a population of 1.2 billion people, half of whom are under 26, and connected through smartphones, the potential is incredible.”

EDC's 20-Year Anniversary Poster Is A Secret Tribute To One Of The Greatest Album Covers Of All Time

In dance music, remixing isn’t limited to what you hear. Certain visual signifiers pop up again and again on flyers, videos, and album covers: smiley faces, alien spacecraft, the fractal. These dance music tropes are as familiar to our eyes as the Amen break, the acid squelch, or the air-raid siren are to our ears and feet; they’re part of our shared history. So is another dance-music design that has recurred less often but just as notably.

“Every DJ That Has Played EDC Over the Past 20 Years” is the title of a digital-only poster published on July 8 on the website of Los Angeles-based promoter Insomniac Productions, celebrating the twentieth year of its most successful festival, Electric Daisy Carnival. DJ names, over 1,600 of them, are laid out alphabetically over two large pages. From afar, it just looks like any other poster, with the “EDC 20” logo in greyscale against the black-white backdrop. But once you click to enlarge the picture, digging through all those performer names can be overwhelming.

The EDC 20-year anniversary poster (Photo via Insomniac.com)

Insomniac, long America’s premiere rave promoters, was founded in 1993 by LA native Pasquale Rotella, who has built EDC since its 1997 debut into an international event brand. Multiple festivals per year, multiple days each, multiple stages apiece: those numbers add up. Who are you more surprised to find played EDC? Old-school throwback rappers Jurassic 5, arch electro act Gravy Train!!!!, or mid-’00s glam rockers Louis XIV? How many of the DJs on the poster do you even recognize? Not as many as you think, probably. That’s the fun of trying, though: to jog dormant memories, and discover nuggets of buried history.

Insomniac was started in the middle of a police crackdown on parties, which was the city’s response to riots that erupted after the Rodney King verdict in 1992. The rest of the LA rave’s heyday had subsided, but one reason Insomniac’s parties like EDC continued to do well is that they held fast to the scene’s cartoonish iconography and carnival atmosphere. The early-90s rave community had its own tradition of visual remixing, thanks in large part to designer Rick Klotz. Fresh Jive, Klotz’s company, merged pop art and streetwear with a Warhol-like tweak, repurposing consumer-goods logos such as Bazooka gum and Tide laundry soap, and replacing them with Fresh Jive’s name on T-shirts. The company was also the go-to flyer designer for raves in the city, and their brazenly cartoonish aesthetic helped define the LA scene that Insomniac would come to dominate.

Fresh Jive T-shirt (Photo via Simfonik)

But Insomniac’s EDC 20 poster looks a lot more somber than usual, with its black-and-white color palette, austere font style, and minimalist design. That’s clearly on purpose. Insomniac’s site doesn’t credit a particular artist (THUMP’s attempts to get the designer’s name from Insomniac also proved fruitless), but the poster’s visual template is a definite callback to another giant-sized thank-you letter to the dance-music scene: the Respect album, released in 1994 by Hardfloor, the duo of Oliver Bondzio and Ramon Zenker, on Frankfurt imprint Eye Q/Harthouse.

Like the EDC 20 poster, the Respect cover art is a list of dozens of musical actsnamely, the electronic music peers and precursors that Hardfloor considered their heroes. This roll call, says Zenker via email, “was Oliver Bondzio’s idea in the first place; then the TB Resuscitation album before just switch the color to black,” says Zenker.

The Nurse with Wound list (Photo via Wikipedia Commons)

Of course, paying explicit tribute to your heroes and forebears in album art is hardly a new idea. In 1979, Nurse with Wound, the British avant-garde band led by Steve Stapleton, released its debut album, Chance Meeting on a Dissecting Table of a Sewing Machine and an Umbrella, which was packaged with a sheet of paper containing, in dense all-caps, a typewritten list of nearly 300 artist names, from British improv group AMM to Frank Zappa. The names were broken up by cloud-like white spaces, and arranged under the header, “Categories strain, crack, and sometimes break, under their burden step out of the space provided.” Quickly dubbed the “Nurse with Wound list,” it became a go-to resource for fans seeking equally outr sounds a role typically played in dance culture by DJ top tens in dance magazines and, later, websites from Beatport to Resident Advisor.

Both the EDC 20 poster and the Respect cover work in the same way as a one-stop source for further musical exploration. It was one thing for Hardfloor to name their favorites in an interview, as when Bondzio told the Milwaukee zine Massive in 1995 that he dug the labels Peacefrog, Plus 8, Proper, Synewave, Djax-Up Beats, and Dance Mania (“I don’t like the ghetto with the ‘pussy’ and ‘fuck’ thing,” he added of the latter). It was another to see, in plain type, some seventy names that added up to the viable underground of the time. For anyone who’d flown the techno flag, seeing all those names together was a powerful validation of the music’s reach, as well as the fervency of its constituency.

Being name-checked on the Respect cover “was one of the milestones of my career,” says Woody McBride, the Minneapolis DJ-producer and fellow acid producer (and co-promoter of Even Furthur 2016, happening August 19-21 in “Somewhere, Wisconsin”); his name is in the second row beneath the R in “Hardfloor” on the cover. When I ask Zenker what the reaction of the other artists listed was, he emails back: “They made a fire in their gardens and danced a pentagram-formation in their underwear,” followed by, “:) #justkidding.” He adds, “The ones we’ve met said thank youwe haven’t met them all.”

Eye Q’s ad in Massive #11, 1995 (Photo via Rave Archive)

Hardfloor’s label would remix the Respect image several times over the next few years. In 1995, Eye Q ran an ad in the Milwaukee zine Massive as a thank-you gesture to the folks that supported the label throughout the years. The ad looked strikingly familiarit used the same basic typography and design as the Respect cover, but with an updated list of shout-outs to labels like Alien Sanctuary, writers like CMJ’s Kurt Reighley, and stores like Disc-O-Rama. Eye Q’s roster and catalog titles were also printed at the bottom of the ad, with each section broken up visually by text that referenced its source material: “Respect – To Our Friends All Across the Country.” “It worked because it was zeitgeist, and the scene worldwide was still small,” explains Roth.

In 1996, Eye Q went even bigger with its next remix of the imagea full-sized, promo-only poster that included everyone from the Hardfloor cover and Massive ad but added several dozen more names. If the Respect cover was the radio edit and the Massive ad a 12-inch dance version, the 1996 version was more like a blowout so large it took three CDs to fit it all. The new Respect poster became one of electronic music’s most iconic images, decorating the walls of many of the DJ-oriented shops that it named.

A recurring motif in dance music always carries some of its own backstory, especiallyas in the case of EDC and Hardfloorwhen that motif explicitly pays tribute to its historical origins. The power of visual remixing is that it signifies continuity, community, and tradition, while adding a fresh layer of elasticity and playfulness with each new iteration. Both the Respect cover/poster and the EDC 20 poster are about updating history while paying homage to their roots. Sometimes the only way forward is to look back.

Follow Michaelangelo Matos on Twitter

EDC's 20-Year Anniversary Poster Is A Secret Tribute To One Of The Greatest Album Covers Of All Time

In dance music, remixing isn’t limited to what you hear. Certain visual signifiers pop up again and again on flyers, videos, and album covers: smiley faces, alien spacecraft, the fractal. These dance music tropes are as familiar to our eyes as the Amen break, the acid squelch, or the air-raid siren are to our ears and feet; they’re part of our shared history. So is another dance-music design that has recurred less often but just as notably.

“Every DJ That Has Played EDC Over the Past 20 Years” is the title of a digital-only poster published on July 8 on the website of Los Angeles-based promoter Insomniac Productions, celebrating the twentieth year of its most successful festival, Electric Daisy Carnival. DJ names, over 1,600 of them, are laid out alphabetically over two large pages. From afar, it just looks like any other poster, with the “EDC 20” logo in greyscale against the black-white backdrop. But once you click to enlarge the picture, digging through all those performer names can be overwhelming.

The EDC 20-year anniversary poster (Photo via Insomniac.com)

Insomniac, long America’s premiere rave promoters, was founded in 1993 by LA native Pasquale Rotella, who has built EDC since its 1997 debut into an international event brand. Multiple festivals per year, multiple days each, multiple stages apiece: those numbers add up. Who are you more surprised to find played EDC? Old-school throwback rappers Jurassic 5, arch electro act Gravy Train!!!!, or mid-’00s glam rockers Louis XIV? How many of the DJs on the poster do you even recognize? Not as many as you think, probably. That’s the fun of trying, though: to jog dormant memories, and discover nuggets of buried history.

Insomniac was started in the middle of a police crackdown on parties, which was the city’s response to riots that erupted after the Rodney King verdict in 1992. The rest of the LA rave’s heyday had subsided, but one reason Insomniac’s parties like EDC continued to do well is that they held fast to the scene’s cartoonish iconography and carnival atmosphere. The early-90s rave community had its own tradition of visual remixing, thanks in large part to designer Rick Klotz. Fresh Jive, Klotz’s company, merged pop art and streetwear with a Warhol-like tweak, repurposing consumer-goods logos such as Bazooka gum and Tide laundry soap, and replacing them with Fresh Jive’s name on T-shirts. The company was also the go-to flyer designer for raves in the city, and their brazenly cartoonish aesthetic helped define the LA scene that Insomniac would come to dominate.

Fresh Jive T-shirt (Photo via Simfonik)

But Insomniac’s EDC 20 poster looks a lot more somber than usual, with its black-and-white color palette, austere font style, and minimalist design. That’s clearly on purpose. Insomniac’s site doesn’t credit a particular artist (THUMP’s attempts to get the designer’s name from Insomniac also proved fruitless), but the poster’s visual template is a definite callback to another giant-sized thank-you letter to the dance-music scene: the Respect album, released in 1994 by Hardfloor, the duo of Oliver Bondzio and Ramon Zenker, on Frankfurt imprint Eye Q/Harthouse.

Like the EDC 20 poster, the Respect cover art is a list of dozens of musical actsnamely, the electronic music peers and precursors that Hardfloor considered their heroes. This roll call, says Zenker via email, “was Oliver Bondzio’s idea in the first place; then the TB Resuscitation album before just switch the color to black,” says Zenker.

The Nurse with Wound list (Photo via Wikipedia Commons)

Of course, paying explicit tribute to your heroes and forebears in album art is hardly a new idea. In 1979, Nurse with Wound, the British avant-garde band led by Steve Stapleton, released its debut album, Chance Meeting on a Dissecting Table of a Sewing Machine and an Umbrella, which was packaged with a sheet of paper containing, in dense all-caps, a typewritten list of nearly 300 artist names, from British improv group AMM to Frank Zappa. The names were broken up by cloud-like white spaces, and arranged under the header, “Categories strain, crack, and sometimes break, under their burden step out of the space provided.” Quickly dubbed the “Nurse with Wound list,” it became a go-to resource for fans seeking equally outr sounds a role typically played in dance culture by DJ top tens in dance magazines and, later, websites from Beatport to Resident Advisor.

Both the EDC 20 poster and the Respect cover work in the same way as a one-stop source for further musical exploration. It was one thing for Hardfloor to name their favorites in an interview, as when Bondzio told the Milwaukee zine Massive in 1995 that he dug the labels Peacefrog, Plus 8, Proper, Synewave, Djax-Up Beats, and Dance Mania (“I don’t like the ghetto with the ‘pussy’ and ‘fuck’ thing,” he added of the latter). It was another to see, in plain type, some seventy names that added up to the viable underground of the time. For anyone who’d flown the techno flag, seeing all those names together was a powerful validation of the music’s reach, as well as the fervency of its constituency.

Being name-checked on the Respect cover “was one of the milestones of my career,” says Woody McBride, the Minneapolis DJ-producer and fellow acid producer (and co-promoter of Even Furthur 2016, happening August 19-21 in “Somewhere, Wisconsin”); his name is in the second row beneath the R in “Hardfloor” on the cover. When I ask Zenker what the reaction of the other artists listed was, he emails back: “They made a fire in their gardens and danced a pentagram-formation in their underwear,” followed by, “:) #justkidding.” He adds, “The ones we’ve met said thank youwe haven’t met them all.”

Eye Q’s ad in Massive #11, 1995 (Photo via Rave Archive)

Hardfloor’s label would remix the Respect image several times over the next few years. In 1995, Eye Q ran an ad in the Milwaukee zine Massive as a thank-you gesture to the folks that supported the label throughout the years. The ad looked strikingly familiarit used the same basic typography and design as the Respect cover, but with an updated list of shout-outs to labels like Alien Sanctuary, writers like CMJ’s Kurt Reighley, and stores like Disc-O-Rama. Eye Q’s roster and catalog titles were also printed at the bottom of the ad, with each section broken up visually by text that referenced its source material: “Respect – To Our Friends All Across the Country.” “It worked because it was zeitgeist, and the scene worldwide was still small,” explains Roth.

In 1996, Eye Q went even bigger with its next remix of the imagea full-sized, promo-only poster that included everyone from the Hardfloor cover and Massive ad but added several dozen more names. If the Respect cover was the radio edit and the Massive ad a 12-inch dance version, the 1996 version was more like a blowout so large it took three CDs to fit it all. The new Respect poster became one of electronic music’s most iconic images, decorating the walls of many of the DJ-oriented shops that it named.

A recurring motif in dance music always carries some of its own backstory, especiallyas in the case of EDC and Hardfloorwhen that motif explicitly pays tribute to its historical origins. The power of visual remixing is that it signifies continuity, community, and tradition, while adding a fresh layer of elasticity and playfulness with each new iteration. Both the Respect cover/poster and the EDC 20 poster are about updating history while paying homage to their roots. Sometimes the only way forward is to look back.

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Photos Of The Beautiful Freaks At America's Biggest Gabber Festival

Photos by Justin Cole Smith

Last month, I saw an event pop up in my Facebook feed called “Gabberfest 2016: America’s Hardest.” Slated for June 18-19, the three-year-old festival promised to help “fans of the sounds too extreme for any mainstream festival find their sanctuary during two days of pure chaos,” and a “hellish inferno under the Las Vegas sun.”

A couple of my Facebook friends had said they were attending, but I knew they weren’t actually going tothe flyer was pretty goofy and the event was way out in Vegas. Still, I became super curious about what a gabber festival in America would look like in 2016. Gabbera Netherlands-born subgenre of hardcore music marked by heavily distorted kickdrums, whiplash-inducing BPMs, and no-fucks-given aggressionwas mostly popular in Europe 10 or 20 years ago, corrupting an entire generation of Dutch children.

I imagined a few different scenarios, the most likely that the actual festival would be sparsely attended, mostly by weird, angry, bald white dudes. What I found in reality was a hyper-dedicated and tight-knit scene gabber heads leftover from the larger hardcore explosion in America decades ago that either got swallowed or abandoned by more accessible electronic music genres over time.

Watch our documentary on the Rotterdam Terror Corps, Holland’s Most Badass Hardcore Collective

These lovable freaks gathered in a dive bar called Hard Hat Lounge north of the strip. Many of them were also DJing at the festival, which was thrown by Las Vegas resident Brandon Ramirez AKA the “White Ape,” with the help of a San Bernadino-based production company Techno Belligerent. Their dedication to ball-bustingly hard electronic music is so unwavering that they were even willing to put up with the 108 degree weather to rage in the parking lot.

Even though Gabberfest was organized as a pre-party to the massive EDM festival Electric Daisy Carnival, where crossover hardcore act Lenny Dee and quite a few hardstyle DJs were playing, I didn’t talk to a single person at Gabberfest who was attending EDC as well.

Chatting with some of the folks present, I felt instantly welcomed into their community, and got the sense that everyone was very optimistic about the future of their micro-scene. Even the Satanists were super nice!

Deadly Buda

THUMP: How did you get into gabber?

I guess I got into it right when it started, more or less… I threw my first rave in 1991.

How do you feel listening to gabber? Whats the perfect setting for it?

That big distorted kick drum really stimulates the fight-or-flight response so it makes dancing like a thrill ridethat’s what I like about the gabber sound. You want a big system you can jam out to.

How do you feel about the American gabber scenedo feel like it’s a unified culture?

There are all these awesome producers in America who are basically getting no attention whatsoever. One of the great things about Gabberfest is we’re getting everyone to meet up and start cooperating to make the scene bigger and better. You are seeing the unification of the scene right here.

Do drugs make the gabber experience better or worse?

Technically I think it makes it worseit makes it harder to dance. I think drugs hold back any music scene, but smaller music scenes have more people dedicated to the music.

What do you think it would take for gabber to become more popular? Would you want it to be?

I think you’re seeing it happen right now.

Steven AKA Metal Jesus

How did you get into gabber? What makes it special?

I was asking friends for the hardest, fastest music and Berzerker was a a band I was given. I started seeing tags like speedcore and terrorcore, so I just started to look that shit up and that’s how I got in the scene. My first party was Angerfist’s first party in the United States at Murder the Dancefloor in 2007. Now I’m at the point where I can go to a party alone and know three or four people there.

So you feel like there’s a unified scene?

Fuck yeah.

How do you feel listening to gabber?

Oh man, I could play gabber to wake me up, and play gabber to put me to sleep.

Do drugs make the gabber experience better or worse?

I dance so hard and so long that if I do do drugs, it’s gonna fuck me over big time. So just water and caffeine and make sure I get some good protein and fruit through out the day. People can do whatever the fuck they want, but from what I have seen, not very many people do hard drugs.

Tell me about how you dress to a gabber rave?

Oh I have no clueI’ll wear whatever I’m comfortable in.

Brent AKA Counterterrorist

How did you get into gabber?

I got to see Delta9 at a New Year’s party about five years ago when I first got into gabber. I found more of it online and just really went with it.

How do you feel about the American gabber scene? Do feel like it’s a unified culture?

It used to be really big and I feel like it can be again if we coordinate.

Do drugs make the gabber experience better or worse?

Thats an interesting question. I have to say it’s based on the person. It can go really well or really bad. Alcohol is a big thing with gabber. Where I’m from, mostly people would do a lot of acid and listen to breakcore and stuff. Drugs can enhance .

Tell me about your clothing or style.

HK: I’ve just always done whatever the fuck I want. I don’t like to do the whole super feminine style. Just whatever is comfortable.

Brandon AKA The White Ape

How did you get into gabber?

A lot of us we just stumbled onto the mixtapes, but back then, what really hooked me was the energy and the power of hardcore music at its peak. That was 20 years ago.

How come there aren’t more women in the scene?

We have a few strong women DJs, but we could always use more women.

Do drugs make the gabber experience better or worse?

Drugs are everywhere. It’s an unavoidable evil, but in the hardcore scene I don’t think it’s as much as an overt problem as in other scenes.

Helbert AKA En3gy

How did you get into gabber?

I used to have a friend who would bring back tapes from the UK and Holland in the mid-90s and tell me, “you gotta listen to this stuff.”

How do you feel about the American gabber scene? Do feel like it’s a unified culture?

It’s had its ups and downs. Once we stick together, things will start to get there again.

Do drugs make the gabber experience better or worse?

It makes no difference. I’m sober half the timeunless I’m drunk.

Tell me about your style.

I grew up in the hood, so for me, it’s just urban. I’m relaxed.

Gary and Donna

How did you get into gabber?

Gary: Being in the hard dance scene and hardstyle just eventually led to this.

Donna: Artists out of LA just started to bring it out more to Texas.

Do drugs make the gabber experience better or worse?

Gary: Drugs maybe just make it a little more fun. I could be sober or on anything.

Do you feel like women are properly represented in the gabber scene?

Donna: There needs to be more active women in the gabber scene. Women are scared to be more hardcore than the boys.

Tell me about what you’re wearing.

Gary: I’m gonna dress however the fuck I want. To be honest, we’re Satanists, and I just love anything dark and evil.

More photos from Gabberfest:

Adam Schwarz is a DJ based in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter.

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