When it comes to DJ talent, Nocturnal Wonderland 2015 is a convergence of old and new, paying homage to the forbears of dance music while celebrating the next wave of game-changers. In this three-part miniseries, we pair two voices together to paint a picture of just how far our culture has come over the past 20 years, and how much further it has to go.
“I feel like the new school don’t look into it enough and ask themselves, ‘Does this really need a release out there?’ That’s something they could learn from us. What I can learn from them is staying open and [not insisting that] ‘back in the day, everything was better.’”
One thing that remains as important today as it was 20 years ago is the DJ mix and the role of the DJ. Why is that true?
Tensnake: I think a good DJ is someone who can really read what’s going on. It depends if you’re playing at a club or a festival… [At] festivals, you have a limited amount of time, so you can’t really make a big buildup.
Eats Everything: The most important thing is the music. It’s so important to have a DJ that knows what he’s doing, that knows how to make the crowd move. It’s not about putting your head down and playing what you want to play. The DJ’s job is to make people dance, and he should do that by whatever means necessary. If he has to go out of his comfort zone, then he has to go out of his comfort zone.
What was your first rave experience?
Eats Everything: In 1994, I went to a rave called Dreamscape in Milton Keynes in the UK. It basically changed my life. I saw the effect the DJ had on the crowd and the effect the DJ had on me. From that point on, all I ever wanted to be was a DJ. What’s stayed the same for me was the love and appreciation for the music—not just for me, but also for the whole scene. The one thing that is constant in dance music is love and appreciation and everyone pulling together in unison in happy a way. At the end of the day, we only do it because we love it; it’s the only reason we rave, the only reason we DJ.
Tensnake: My first proper rave was maybe in 1994; it was Mayday Festival in Germany. I would say when it comes to capacity—Mayday was always about 20,000 people—there’s nothing else like that. Hearing that, in this huge hall with massive sound, was really like going to war. Everyone was in love. It was mind-blowing—a total game changer for me.
How do we as a culture ensure that we get another 20, 40, 60 years out of this movement?
Eats Everything: I don’t think it’s going anywhere. What other form of music that you can remember, in its purest form, hasn’t really changed? What other music has millions and millions of people [going out] every single weekend all over the world to various clubs, festivals and parties, week in and week out, for 30 years? No other musical culture has done that to that magnitude or scale. As long as everyone’s focused on the fact that it’s about music and fun, it will live forever.
Tensnake: It seems like you hear [the same sounds] all around the world. Back in the day, when you traveled somewhere, the music would be completely different in different countries, even in the same country. I think that’s missing a little bit today. I think it’s more important that people—maybe more the producer than the DJ—they don’t try and sound like the last big hit. People should try and be more unique, more creative, and dabble a bit more.
What is one element of the old-school rave scene you would like to continue into the new school and forever forward?
Tensnake: Back in the day, it was so much more expensive to produce. It was almost unaffordable to have a home studio; you had to go to a bigger studio. I love it today that every kid can produce music. It’s very democratic, doesn’t cost a lot of money, and everyone can do it. At the same time, I feel like the new school don’t look into it enough and ask themselves, “Does this really need a release out there?” That’s something they could learn from us. What I can learn from them is staying open and [not insisting that] “back in the day, everything was better.”
Eats Everything: Back when I started going to raves, you [had] the biggest DJs all in one club, all in one venue, one warehouse, and everyone would go there and rave together. Now, it’s all very snobby. There’s no point in wasting energy on bad-mouthing certain types of music and certain cultures because it’s not your thing. I think people of today should just take a step back and say, “Fuck it; let’s just have fun.”