Philip Sherburne interviewte Spatz & Toci
für einen New York Times Artikel im November 2006.

What are the origins of the concept of „Rave strikes back“? When did it start? Who exactly is involved in the day-to-day operations of the stickers, t-shirts, website, etc? How would you describe your various activities, and what is your intention?

„Rave strikes back“ is an initiative of „Freude am Tanzen“ based in Jena/Germany. The idea is, to focus on rave and its music culture in this time which is overloaded with any kind of music. The initiative has no commercial background. We do it because we love rave music. It’s a fun thing. And we want to encourage people to tell us their rave experiences and their 10 top rave „classics“. At the beginning of 2004 we (Thomas „Spatz“ Sperling and Tino „Toci“ Schmidt) had the idea, to develop a new graphical motif for „Freude am Tanzen“. At the beginning, we wanted to work with the slogan „Rave is back“. But this seemed too obvious, too striking. So we chose „strikes“ instead of „is“. We produced T-Shirts in a very small edition and stickers, giving them out at Techno parties in Switzerland and Germany. The interest of the people grew and we realized the need of explanation … www.rave-strikes-back.de was born …

Why did you decide to print stickers? Where in the world have you seen your stickers (or at least seen photographs of your stickers)—that is, how far have they spread?

For us, stickers are the fastes medium to spread informations beside the internet. We could just give them to people and space them out in clubs and cities. This caused the ambition to install a photo gallery on the website which shows places and clubs all over the world with our stickers. So far you’ll just find them in european clubs as in Barcelona, Paris, Berlin and Zurich.

When you launched, why did you focus on the word „rave“? (As opposed to, say, „house“ or „techno.“) Was it a deliberately NOSTALGIC choice? What role does nostalgia play in RAVE STRIKES BACK?

We focus on the word „Rave“ because we grew up with RAVE music. In Germany, we always talked about techno, rave was used for the party and that’s why we used the term rave music. It is nostalgia in so far, as we and our leisure time activities were shaped by this music. We went to raves and bought records (vinyl!). Without realizing it, we became part of an – at that time quite new – youth movement. With „Rave strikes back“ we want to reactivate memories of a period with a lot of musical rebellion: rough, unpolished techno beats on vinyl/records in which the music industry had at that time no interest at all.

What role does the website play in extending the RAVE STRIKES BACK COMMUNITY?

The website plays the central role in the communication with these who have always been on raves. We ask them to tell us their most splendid but also worst rave stories. Artist are asked to participate by telling us their 10 rave classics. E.g., Dr. Motte, the founder of the love parade, sent us 20 tracks on a list, because he had so many rave music classics and couldn’t limit to 10. Many DJs from former times got in touch with us by themselves and payed their tribute – for example, DJ Tanith, one of the first DJs on the Tekknozid Parties in Berlin at the beginning of the 90th. The community is alive because of the DJs and the many people still going to parties.

Have you been surprised at some of the choices in individual DJ’s Top 10 Rave Tracks lists? (For instance, most of Ata’s list is not LITERAL rave tracks.)

Not at all because everybody defines the term „rave music“ for himself. Rave means to tear, to riot. And that’s why DJ Koze feels a T.Rex record as a rave record. And for ATA,a track by Kraftwerk (the founding fathers of electronical music) is a rave track.

What was „rave culture“ like in East Germany in the late ’80s and then early ’90s? For you guys, not living in Berlin, what was the effect of the Wall coming down? How did that affect rave culture where you lived and partied?

Toci: The rave culture at the beginning of the 90th formed me by going to parties in closed russian barracks. In East Germany there were no hip clubs, in the contrary, after the political breakdown many empty buildings just animated people to organize a sound system and a DJ to start a rave party. I bought records in record stores and got more and more involved in this music culture – no difference to a rave kid in the UK. The development is comparable, I guess. Since I didn’t grew up in a city it was quite normal that I went almost every weekend more than 100 km to Leipzig in the „Distillery“ club, one of the first clubs in East Germany at the beginning of the 90th. I couldn’t wait to listen to one of the „famous“ DJs from Berlin or Frankfurt.

Spatz: In the late 80th (1988/1989) in East Germany (GDR) there were a few house and acid house parties made with music from tapes … The music was recorded from radio broadcasts – e.g., DT64 (GDR) and RIAS (West Berlin). After the Fall of the Wall, the radio station DT64 with Marusha and Marcus Lopez played an important role for the development in East Germany. The breakdown itself made a free growth of the scene – mainly in Berlin (Tresor, Planet but also Tekknozid and MayDay) possible. It detached from the disco culture and shifted to an independent club culture. I believe, Germany wouldn’t be the „Techno Country“ number one in the world without the Fall of the Wall.

Did rave ever really go away in Germany? How has it mutated over the years?

Toci: I would say „no“. Sure, there was a time at the end of the 90th when a lot of techno scene people distanced themselves from the rave music. „Typical ravers“ came with whistles, glowing stabs and strange „bird’s nest“ hairdos to rave parties. Big events were declared to be rave parties. Not because they loved the music but to make as much money as possible. The music industry made up its own definition of rave music producing musical compilations without paying attention to the latest developments of the scene. Clubbers and buyers an arbitrary classification in rave, techno and electro tracks was suggested without following the constant development of the music which is much faster than any marketing strategy. Lately, there has been a development that a lot of clubbers use the word „rave“ again and a lot of underground parties are called rave parties. A very good example that rave is not dead.

Spatz: What is rave, who makes rave? The people who are going to the party or in the club make the rave. Going wild with the music which makes fun. Sure, the music is constantly changing. And of course listening to the music and dancing to the music. It’s a kind of microcosm which functions in itself. In former times, it was the party which swayed everyone. Nowadays it’s more grown up with clear structures: Club/Party/DJs/LiveActs/Labels/Agencies. But still, the core is the party which everyone wants to have – no matter whether he is partygoer, clubber, DJ or live act.

Many thanks for the interview. Bye.

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