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Urb (US); issue no. 47 April 1996
The Next 100: Drop Bass Network
by David J. Prince
(page 30)



"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."

Kurt Eckes

Venture 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.

What 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.

"We're 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.

Part 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.

"The 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."

 

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