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Eternity (UK); issue no.34 September 1995
Drop Bass Network
by Mark EG
(page 91-92)


From that huge part of America they call the Mid West, Drop Bass Network has been an important component in the Techno scene for many years. A label that unquestionably represents a safe haven for messed up mind freaks all over the globe, there seems to be no sign of them easing the pressure.

Drop Bass Network had indeed become an institution, if not even a prisoner of war camp with sixty foot high barbed wire fences around it and huge grizzly dogs patrolling every corner. For those who know, lives are risked in order to get hold of the latest releases. Plenty of times I've felt like committing suicide because I've missed out on a release that was so limited, you could sell it on the stock market.

Tune in to the driving menace of tracks like Delta Nine's 'Hate Tank' that verge on the hardest Gabba you've ever witnessed and you'll see what I mean. Rip apart those new Warfdale speakers by passing 360 mega volts of pure Acid through them provided by bands like Mid West Hardcorps and Brixton, and you'll give me a huge gold medal with the words, 'I am always right' engraved on it.

Yet you may still doubt what I am saying. So, in order to prove a point to you all, I felt it was time to interview the one and only owner Drop Bass Network, known to his friends as Kurt.

"The label started because we'd been doing loads of parties over here for about two years", began Kurt. "We had something really special going on here, mainly harder parties, but we weren't getting much recognition outside of the Mid West. All these DJ's and producers like Astrocat and DJ Hyperactive were doing some really good stuff but not getting the recognition they deserved, except maybe Woody McBride. Actually the whole thing of getting the label started was Woody's idea. Me and my partner at the time talked about it but then Woody pushed the idea over the edge. At the time Woody didn't have the money to do it, so because we had a bit of finance behind us, we gave it a go".

Interrupting rudely, I asked Kurt whether that was why the first three releases on the label were by Woody McBride himself.

"Yeah, and we were just waiting for the other artists in the Mid West to come up with some tracks", agreed Kurt, "because we really wanted this to be a label from the Mid West with purely Mid West music. I think that is where Woody's label Communique is now, but we seem to have changed. Now we're getting much of our stuff from Scandinavian artists now".

Basically, the music Kurt is putting out now, is music that he likes. He's not an artist, so he doesn't know how the music is structured, he just puts out tracks that sound good to him and tracks that he would buy.

To me that's good, because sometimes if you are an artist you occasionally get too carried away with production and maybe you wouldn't put something out that didn't sound technically excellent.

Kurt Eckes
"I've always liked music, but mainly Acid music", Kurt pointed out, "I sort of went from the whole industrial/ alternative thing like Front 242 to the Acid House that was coming out of Chicago in 88. There was a club in Chicago that played Acid stuff one night a week and that was really cool for me, but six months after this whole Acid scene started dying out. Instead the Hip House thing took over with the New Beat stuff from Belgium. To be honest I don't like this at all, it was just too slow you know. So, I got out of dance music for about a year because there was nothing that striking about it. I'd bought the early Techno stuff like on the Metroplex label, but it wasn't something that caught me. I didn't like it that much. Not as much as Acid".

Techno sounded just too different from Acid for Kurt to like it. From what I remember of those early days, a lot of my friends involved in the scene were saying the same thing too. It was strange to hear strings and melodies in a track, when you'd only been used to rising and falling crazy Acid noises over a four/ four beat. Kurt didn't like it. It was too soft.

"I got back into dance music when I went to a few parties on the West coast", continued Kurt, "There was this whole new sound, you know that track 'James Brown Is Dead' and all the hoover stuff. It was hard, very hard and it was only a matter of time before I got into it all again. Then luckily Acid came back into the picture again. The time I heard that 'Acperience' track by Hardfloor, I couldn't believe it".

In 88, when Kurt heard Acid for the very first time, he didn't know what was making the sound. But when 'Acperience' came out, he found out quickly that it was none other than that little silver box, the 303. There was now no turning back. He was hooked.

Right after this was when these parties came about the Kurt helped to organize. They were a mixture of Trance, Breakbeat, Techno and the more commercial sounding tracks. He was buying a lot of records for these parties and within a short space of time, he'd figured out that Trance and Breakbeat were not what he was about.

"It was that C-tank album on Overdrive that really blew me away. When this came out I knew that I was listening to the best music I've ever heard. Totally hard and headfuck. Shortly after this I went to the last Storm rave in New York and heard DJ's like Lenny Dee, Adam X and Jimmy Crash. I'll never forget how this music made me feel. It was just right".

So predictable, Kurt found his way into the Hardcore Rotterdam sound. But, as he reminded me, Rotterdam started to go in a different direction by using Breakbeats.

"One of the main reasons why I didn't like Breakbeats in the beginning was because it all sounded circusy and childish. I was disappointed when a lot of these other labels started using more and more Breakbeats. Now a lot of it sounds very commercial, there's only the odd few records coming out that are any good. We just like harder music and that's all we play at our parties, and put out on the label".

Some exciting news from the Drop Bass Network, it that there is soon to be a sub label. Reflecting more along the lines of Kurt's genuine tastes, the new label will be putting out music that is harder and more evil in you head, than anything on the original label.

The label is going to be called Six Sixty Six, which many of you will realize is the number of the beast! And what a beast this is going to be. Expect manic sounds in the 150-180bpm range with plenty of distortion.

The first few releases that have been planned are by V.D.D Energize, from Belgium as well as two guys from the UK called John and Paul who go under the name Somatic Response. The sound is very close to labels like Praxis and Napalm.

"I wanted to keep Drop Bass Network as an outlet for good hard underground Acid music. You see there's this label in Holland called Re-Ference, and that's the sort of sound I want for Drop Bass in the future. I don't want to copy them or anything, but as the label is a reflection of what I like. I'm sure I'll be going in this direction in the future. It's just a problem at the minute because there are not a lot of artists making this music, so what tends to happen is Drop Bass puts out stuff that is a little harder along the lines of the Choose record. This release is exactly what the label is about."

If you're wondering what Re-Ference is all about, let me enlighten you. It's a label that reflects the scene in a place called Den Hag, in Holland. Similar to the Spiral Tribe situation (actually Kurt has recently put out a release by some of the guys from Spiral Tribe), it's a collective of like-minded people who all go around squatting and organizing illegal parties that play this weird and hard Acid music. The name people are starting to use for this place is The Bunker. One of the squats is called 'The Blue Attack' and already there have been a couple of releases from The Blue Attack label.

"As someone who organizes illegal parties all the time, it really sounds exciting to me. Even more so after the terrible summer we've had for parties in America. You see we've been evolving parties in the Mid West for years, building up a crowd into the music, but now it seems like there are kids coming along who don't care about anything apart from when and where the next party is. They don't care about the music that is being played and it's something that I never thought would happen. I've always accepted drugs like E's and Acid as being part of the rave scene, because people took them to get into the music. Now there's all these other drugs like Crystal Meth and Heroin that the kids are taking and drugs like this don't really relate to the music. Now, although I've never thought of this before, I'm thinking that drugs could destroy our scene."

This is the last thing that Kurt wants to happen. He loves music, but he also loves the scene that goes with it. All he wants is things to get back to normal and for people to get back that love, peace and unity motto. This can then form the basis of the club atmosphere again and filter out into people's every day lives. So, in the end, the world will eventually be a better place.

"We've just got to keep forwarding on with what we're doing. We're not going to change to sell more records or conform to any particular scene. As long as we can sell a few records to pay for themselves, then that is always going to be worth while because there are not a lot of labels that are consistently putting out hard Acid records",

And you can bet that Drop Bass Network will be releasing some damn fine tunes in the future. Number 38 will be another Speed Freak record, entitled 'Slaughter House Massacre Volume 2', apparently two of the tracks on this are out of this world. Kurt equates them to the early Zekt records that came out on Adam and Eve and Drop Bass. Then look out for the release by Ference of the Re-Ference label. It will be by Beverly Hills 808303, called 'Greatest Shit', telling you exactly what 'The Bunker' sound is all about. After this there is a track produced by someone called Fresh from Denmark (not to be confused with Freddie Fresh!) with an EP by the name 'Straight Outta Fargestrasse'.

Number 41 is going to be by Evo and the name of the EP is to be called 'We Are Evo'. Shortly after this you can expect something by two producers from the UK called Brandon and DJ Freak, followed by an EP by Formalities who is one of the guys from Zekt. This takes us up to number 44.

All this will prove that Drop Bass is the future of hard music (not that this hasn't been proved already!). I love some of the Gabba tracks, but sometimes it can all be a bit similar. One thing you can be sure of with Drop Bass is that every release will be different. What a label, what a philosophy and hopefully now you understand what I meant at the beginning of this article - music for messed up mind freaks all over the globe!

"As long as people remain 'true to themselves and true to the scene, everything is going to go forward", concluded Kurt, "It will all just take off from there".

KURT WOULD LIKE TO SAY RESPECT TO THE SPIRAL TRIBE, FERENCE, RICHIE HAWTIN, WOODY MCBRIDE, WHO'S TAKEN THE MUSIC TO ANOTHER LEVEL, CHRISTOPHER AT PRAXIS, THE SPEED FREAK AND ANYONE ELSE OUT THERE WHO'S INTO THIS MUSIC.

 

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