(US); issue no. 47 April 1996
The Next 100: Drop Bass Network
by David J. Prince
"I don't see myself going to a party, taking E, hugging people, and
screaming peace and love," says Kurt Eckes of Milwaukee's Drop Bass
Network. "I'm more of a person who'd rather go to a party, take a
lot of acid, and hug speakers. I want to have a good time and not
worry about anyone else."
out to a Drop Bass event in some remote Wisconsn warehouse or dairy
barn or tent in the middle of a field and you're quite likely to
find Kurt pressed up against the
towering wall of bass, right in the middle of thousands of young
ravers who have traveled to attend. The parties are for them - his
devoted "Midwest Hardcorps" following await the now infrequent DBN
events with massive anticipation - but they are also for him. Kurt
likes his music hard, loud, and extreme; his own parties are among
the few places in America where he can enjoy his beloved music in
the proper set and setting.
started as a few friends throwing parties to provide a previously
nonexistent outlet for hardcore techno music has developed over
the past into an internationally recognized home for the hardest
and fastest sounds on the planet. Drop Bass Network Records and
its new sub-label SixSixtySix, provide the relevant soundscapes
of hard acid and even harder industrial noise. Currently, on their
forty-second release, Drop Bass Records' releases are coveted by
DJs from Milwaukee to Frankfurt to Tokyo, and the artist roster
is a global who's who of hardcore auteurs. Frighteningly abrasive
and loud, the Drop Bass aesthetic combines intensity with a sly
and subtle sense of humor.
here to represent the dark side of the rave scene. In life, which
is everything, there's always a good and a bad, a bright and a dark.
Even within the rave scene, there's definitely some things going
on which to most people seem wrong. They seem right to us. We're
just pushing those things to the limit," he explains.
Ken Kesey, part Anton La Vey, Kurt approaches hardcore music, raving,
and the psychedelic lifestyle with the fervor of a true believer.
Current projects include "Decadence," Drop Bass' annual New Year's
Eve event, spreading the gospel of the record label and its music,
and preparing for a series of monthly events culminating with the
third Furthur, a four-day, three night techno campout scheduled
for early next summer. Their first two Furthur parties are legendary
for their size and scope, and Kurt expects the 1996 version to be
the biggest and best one yet. Furthur parties are not raves, but
full-on festivals with camping, cooking, and partying under the
stars. They are the closest Drop Bass has come to creating the psychedelic
community, which is just part of his extended vision.
ultimate goal is the raving community," he explains. "We're seriously
looking for the farm of choice we can purchase. We don't live in
California where we can get a big spread out in the desert. We're
in Wisconsin and farms are the thing here. We're looking for a place
where we can buy a farm and start having the people who make the
whole thing tick live here. I don't know what it will involve, probably
just having a good time for a long time hopefully. Until we just
make a big batch of Kool-Aid and say the party's over."