Liminal PodQuest #5: The Dancefloor Experience - Memoirs of a DJ
Spirited caretakers of rave culture share thoughts and dreams on 4 February 2021 at 21h CET
"Rave is just this: a local language without definite articles. There is no such thing as the rave – if that means a category of material, a genre, an approach, or a set of techniques.” writes Samir Sellami about the fluid, ever-shifting collective experience of the dancefloor. Ravers found deep release in the feverish freedom of getting lost in a crowd of swaying bodies.
The pandemic put the harshest halt to this one activity that is probably the most physically intimate collective human experience. Dancing with strangers on dusty fields or in sticky industrial basements now lingers in the dreams of those who danced. For some, there is simply longing for this collective experience of sound and for others, this sudden separation from speakers and hip-shakers is resulting in a mental health meltdown.
How has this time been for artists without a dancefloor? Playing a set to an empty room is a very different experience. With venues shut and future events without a date in sight how has the artistic community been impacted? What is so special about the dancefloor experience that we are perhaps truly now discovering the value of?
Join us in conversation with veteran Dutch DJ, producer, event organiser Isis Van der Wel, Berlin-based vinyl-only spinner Killa and psychedelic force of nature DJ Nuky to hear some first hand experiences, thoughts and dreams of three spirited caretakers of rave culture.
She started her performance career at age 17 with a residency at Amsterdam club RoXY from 1992 -1994. This launched her long-running International career, performing at dance venues and festivals in Europe, South America, USA, Asia, Africa & Oceania. In 2002 her talent was recognised globally and she was ranked in the top ten of worldwide female Tech-House DJs.
At the World Climate Summit 2009 in Copenhagen Isis achieved her audience capacity record, reaching up to 100,000 spectators. In 2010 she became the Night Mayor of Amsterdam. Ever since she has been involved with nightlife as an advisor and consultant for both the scene as well as the local authorities. She is now producing and performing as part of the duo Isis & Mozes, who played in Boom’s 2018 Alchemy Circle.
Raised on a strict diet of beats and swag, KILLA is a vinyl-only DJ whose sensitive ear for the more unconventional crossovers between groovy techno, high-brow electronica and the b-side oddities of dance music is helping her flesh out a sound uniquely her own.
KILLA came to Berlin in 2010 and started mixing publicly a few years ago, earning a quick-fire reputation for the uncompromising musical integrity of her selections, frequently served with a dash of diva sass. Her sets are as diverse as the venues she plays at (://about blank, Griessmühle, IfZ, KHIDI, Tresor) and the crates she digs in. A resident of Lecken since day one, she is also co-organiser of local and international events with the KILLASAN sound system since 2014.
Since 2005 DJ Nuky has built a reputation for her solid style. As one of the core DJs of Bom Shanka, she’s played at some of the biggest festivals and psychedelic parties around the globe, including Boom, Ozora and Universo Parallelo, and has compiled 3 CDs for Bom Shanka Music - the most recent of which “Gold”, released in October 2016.
DJ Nuky is now finishing her fourth compilation coming out in the next couple of months, which will include various renowned cutting-edge artists. She has also been working in the studio for over 10 years under the name “Dirty Saffi” with her husband (Al Psymmetrix) in order to distill some of her signature energy into full power psychedelic music. Dirty Saffi's latest EP with 4 solo tracks of pure hard psytrance was released in September 2020 called “Out of Time”.
This silent summer, in the wake of widespread festival cancellations and club closures, we coined the term, Ravesilience, a coupling of rave (wild, free, frenzied, fiery expression of pleasure) and resilience (the ability to resist or adapt to challenges).
In other words, Ravesilience is the adaptability, toughness, elasticity and endurance of the spirit of rave that bounces back no matter the obstacle.
To maintain a connection to the community of audiophiles and bass junkies, to create virtual group therapy spaces while the Covid continues to prevent reunions on dancefloors, to nerd out over the ins and outs of festival production, to politicise the scene and spark debate (because commercial and independent event productions have been impacted very differently by the pandemic), to explore the tools and strategies to keep art, music, dance and cultural events alive in the middle of immense uncertainty.
To achieve some of these things, we are producing podcasts, hosting virtual meet-ups, writing articles, sharing content, generally facilitating the exchange of ideas, vibes and values.
These are just some of the ways in which we want to continue interacting with the international rave community and uplift this counterculture subculture that deviates from the mainstream monoculture.
Know more on Cultivate Ravesilience.