Dear Like-Hearted Ravers,
HAAAAAPPY 2015!!! As we take a big step forward into this new year I hope that we can all hold on and plunge in together... Towards each of our own individual goals, interests, betterment and to continuously support one another! I can't deny that 2014 would not have been as great as it was if it wasn’t for all of you that I’ve had the opportunity to connect with! And to those of you that happen to be reading this post that I haven’t had the chance to meet yet... lets make it happen THIS YEAR!! :)
As most of you may already know, I had to take a trip these last six weeks to attend my cousins wedding in India and to visit my sister who is currently studying abroad. So you know what that means?! Time to gear up and RAVE... Along the way I finally had the chance to tour the continent that I had always wanted to - Europe. And though I am still sitting in Europe right now for another week I thought I would take the time to write to all you amazing people and share the dance music related parts of my adventure while its all still fresssshhhhh...
To start off with my first visit to India, I have noticed the electronic dance music scene there has grown quite significantly within the past few years of widespread growth of EDM, particularly big-room house. Though parts of India (Goa) were known for having a dance music scene and european influx since it was colonized, the rest of the India has not been particularly known for having much of an electronic music scene... at least until more recently. People were surprised by this years rumours of India potentially receiving a festival on its land by ID&T! Thats right, THE company that brings to you TomorrowLand and TomorrowWorld. We are yet to see if ID&T pull the trigger on the idea of India being blessed with a festival of such calibre but let me tell you this... I will not be surprised at all if India comes next, after Brazil, to receive the next franchise of the TomorrowLand festival. Though I didn’t get an opportunity to go to any events due to my familial obligations, I did hear EDM being played by the DJ’s during the celebrated parties that our family held. Seems to me the music has made its way to the major cities and is being remixed into indian music genres and becoming more accepted by its audience. I look forward to one day returning to this majestic country in hopes to attend a festival and also seeing how much the music genre grows by then. Unfortunately I can’t comment much more on India’s dance music scene but Europe on the other hand…
Ah yes, the ‘underground’ European dance music scene that I had wanted to plunge into for years… A place that many still argue being the leader of electronic dance music that I have longed to visit… I had finally come to seeing!
Though I did go clubbing in other cities in Europe, I want to focus on the two cities and experiences there that stood out in my mind: Berlin, Germany and Amsterdam, Holland.
On a cold christmas eve, I made my way onto the subway in Berlin and headed to a reputable nightclub that many locals had claimed was “Pure Berlin,” called “Tresor”.
As I finally arrived at my subway stop I wandered up the street where it was supposedly located. As I approached a giant square warehouse building, slightly surprised by the size, I could only imagine what it would be like inside… a massively big hall full of fist pumping action? Right?! Well surprisingly, I couldn’t of had been any more wrong!
I paid my cover and checked my coat… Now that my extra layer was off, it was time to explore! I set off down a long corridor and had passed by a room on my left that was empty and had almost slipped my attention. As I walked further I came to a fork in the hall and could of decided to go right leading to a pair of steps going up or I could go left, down some steps to a long dark dreary hall which seemed like something out of the “Blade” movie series.
Down the steps I go!! Instantly I was pulled by the energy coming from down the hall.. I hear people hollering at the end of a long tunnel… Lights flickering all around me in the dark and shadows whizzing past me. After some twists and turns and eager steps I made it to the end of the dark tunnel where I am greeted by a dark gust of smoke. I walk into it and can’t see much further. I see silhouettes everywhere dancing to a heavy bassline and techno grooves… This truly was something out of a movie! I can’t help but to join my ‘vampire’ friends (blade reference lol) as we dance to the music and setting that we were all sharing ...If this didn’t feel ‘underground’, I don’t know what does!!
The name of the club finally made sense to me, “Tresor” which I was told meant 'safe/bank' vault in German made me feel like I truly had found a sort of safe-haven. At one point through dancing I realized I had not seen the DJ booth or from where he was spinning from exactly. I slowly make my way through the smoke to the booth further ahead of a crowd and see the DJ behind a set of prison bars! How cool is that? The DJ was in a jail-cell like booth or better yet ‘bank vault’ ;) with people dancing to his selection just outside of it! It was packed at this point so I made my way over to the back for more room to dance. Once exhausted from dancing I decide to go back up (thinking I had seen everything I wanted to see) the steps and saw that the room on the main floor which I had once saw empty and barely noticed in passing was now packed with people listening to more upbeat house.
After seeing the main level room ...I decided to back-track a little and go up the steps at the fork I mentioned earlier which I had not climbed and went a level up… This is where another room was also packed and stretched out even further than the other floors! The DJ upstairs was throwing it down as well. The one concurrent theme going through Tresor was the endless sound of Tech-House… The vibe was penetrating from top to bottom and wall to wall. We were in "a State of Techno". I smiled ear to ear as I truly felt like my mission was accomplished and ‘felt’ what Berlin was about! Can’t say I didn’t love it!!
Next stop… AMSTERDAM for my birthday & for NYE!!! Woot Woot!!! This was such an anticipated moment in my life because I have been a huge fan of Dutch producers since I first started listening to EDM. I went out to a night club called “Escape” for my birthday that the locals had recommended with quite the enthusiasm. So ‘Escape' it was! I always try to get a consensus from the locals of places I visit when picking a ‘night out’ because it usually gives me what I’m hoping for… a 'genuine local experience’.
Escape, like Tresor, did not disappoint! The Dj’s that had played were transitioning between big-room, tech and even some trance… It was interesting to see how the crowd was so comfortable moving between sub-genres as well. The key thing that stood out to me was the use of live-instruments such as a saxophone player integrated into the DJ’s sets. When the sax player had the crowd singing along to him play ‘Don’t You Worry Child’ by Swedish House Mafia… I was in complete awe by how well the DJ, MC and saxophone player all meshed in unison. They truly did an authentic job to make the music in this nightclub a ‘live’ experience!!
Now NYE had taken place at a venue called the Gashouder and was headlined by none other than Dutch producer Carl Cox! I managed to get my hands on some tickets though the event was sold out well before the night which lead me to anticipate this event much more! A friend of mine who lived in Amsterdam had told me to make sure I go to ANY event at this venue simply because, and I quote: “Its something out of a movie”. With such a pulling description, How could I say no?! Haha…
The venue was shaped like a giant dome and had an unforgettable light show. The promotion company is one that you may have heard of that held this event is called “Awakenings”. They are a well re-knowned Dutch company that has a diehard following and throw the most anticipated techno events in the Nederlands, hence why it had sold out fairly early. I got right up to the front of the dance floor which was much easier than it would be anywhere in North America and managed to get the duo DJ’s, "Pan Pot" to take a quick picture of me with the crowd in the background with my phone! Not an easy task to do but I managed to get what I want by being adamant and (The Picture Above Is what I got Pan Pot to Take) it was NYE after all! Haha… Lets just say I tried to get Carl Cox to do it but that didn’t work out as planned. He was too busy throwing down an EPIC set that my yelling wasn’t able to carry over his strong vibe and dirty beats. :-P
To say the least, NYE was on point and I enjoyed myself tremendously! The force is strong in Europe when it comes to tech-house! Truly, a following that can’t be ignored.
After taking it all in and thinking about it from my own opinion... I really did love the experience and am thankful to finally have had the chance to venture out to Europe. In fact the next time I come back I already know that London, Barcelona and Ibiza will be the cities that I want to visit for clubbing and to hit up TomorrowLand and Ultra Croatia for the European festival experience. Am I running to come back though? Not so much... the mysteriousness of the European scene has faded for me a tad. I am thankful for everything I got to take-in, and it was great but I truly feel like what we have in North America is also something special, in its own way.
The one notable thing about North America electronic music events compared to European experiences is our willingness to engage with strangers at our events. We welcome everyone and I think that it may be perhaps because we consider these events not only as a chance to engage with the music, but also with each other. I am what many would call a “social butterfly” and I love meeting others at events, as I approached others and spoke to them at each of these events I found that I wasn’t feeling reciprocated as much as I would back home (Canada & United States). I did make a few friends on this trip at these events but not nearly as much as I do on ‘regular’ EDM nights at clubs, which took me by surprise. The people in Europe are diehards and I can see how much love they have for the music and thats what they are there for. I really mean it when I say that I can appreciate that but I learned that I am one person that does enjoy the music but also socializing with others just as much... we share our love for this scene as we unite and dance together. Maybe the people I am coming across in Europe aren’t used to socializing as much as I am at events? Perhaps the english language being more widespread in North America, no matter where you’re from also helps breaks barriers in communicating when compared to those in Europe? Setting all my own preferences aside in regards to the dance music scene, I am encouraging all of you to experience parts of Europe that you want to visit and enjoy taking in all the rich culture and lifestyle that they have to offer here. After I arrive home and attend the next event, raving with you all, I am sure to be more thankful for all that we are spoiled with at our events… sometimes you gotta leave home to really see what you miss about it the most
Before I leave, I will leave you with the official after-movie of NYE 2014 in Amsterdam at the Gashouder, Enjoy!! :)
Peace, Love, Unity, Respect