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Transcendance (Toronto, Canada); issue no.6 Fall 1996
Kurt Eckes - a brief interview with the man behind Drop Bass Network
by Beverly May and Adam Marshall
(page 44-45)


Our Q&A was conducted by fax a few months before the last Even Furthur with Kurt Eckes, the force behind Drop Bass. DBN was featured in an extensive profile in the last TransAtlantic 2; the last Even Furthur, held in May of this year, also hosted the New York Times, Rolling Stone and many other national 'major' music/ entertainment mags. Most of the attention of the major press is on Even Furthur, which is an annual 3-day techno campout held in May of every year somewhere in the Midwest. DBN also stage other, generally smaller regular techno events that focus on very hard techno and acid, as does their label.

Many see Even Furthur to be a pivotal annual event; it is well-organized, reliable, and increasingly attempts to make techno accessible to a larger audience: this last event even had 'rock' bands in the daytime in main stage. However, although 3-4000 people attended this last Furthur, no one can really call DBN 'sellout', as the predominant musical focus remains on low-cheese hard techno and a sarcastic devil-worshipping theme to their promotions organization. It's all about pushing people's boundaries, putting them in challenging situations, making them listen to gabber, industrial-tinged techno or uncompromising acid. House is thrown in for good measure... Even Furthur continues that focus: 3 days of camping in sick quantities of mud, cold rain, cars that couldn't be moved... and everybody loved it!

If you can't face the challenge, DBN isn't for you. It's an uncompromising, gritty mentality that is sure to appeal to the next generation in much the same way that Skinny Puppy and harder industrial appealed to the last. It is a focal point in the tight community that CAN BE the Midwest scene (was?) and the 'hard, harder' almost 'techno-xenophobic' Midwest techno mentality. It is definitely a grassroots, 'act locally' kind of organization--- and that is exactly what draws attention to DBN's tight grasp on 'anti-commercial' and 'underground' promotional techniques are also a real anomaly: how many people can mastermind a large-scale devil-worshipping organization over a period of years? This is the essence of good-kid bible-belt backlash, saying, 'FUCK FAMILY VALUES', fuck that whole pussy-footed, regressive, closed-minded fear that represents a lot of the archetypical American Midwest. There is no denying that DBN are extremely successful at what they do.

--Intro Bev May

 

fax interview by Adam Marshall

Kurt Eckes, aka DJ jethrox. 29 yrs. Label owner/manager, rave promoter, DJ based in Milwaukee's lower E side, USA.

What made you start DBN?
Woody McBride Mixmaster Morris

DBN Records: To get some recognition for everyone (artists) and everything (raves) in this fine area--- for hard music it was formerly always Brooklyn.
DBN Promotions: We just wanted to party & bring music we like here and it blossomed into the hardcore machine that is is now!

Describe your label's sound:
Definitely hard-- not fast, but aggressive. We've slipped sometimes, but that's usually to mix it up a bit, almost exclusively acid or psychedelic. [Artists include ESP Woody McBride, Hyperactive, Astrocat, Delta 9, Freddy Fresh, Adam X, Speed Freak, Frankie Bones, and others. Artists from the Midwest, NY, Germany, Denmark, UK, Sweden, Finland, and Switzerland]

How did you get into techno?
Through acid house in Chicago clubs, it's a gradual thing: Alternative dance>> House>> Acid>> New Beat>> Techno>> Acid>> Hardcore!!!

Describe the Midwest scene.
As fucked up as anywhere, it's always a roller coaster ride of good & bad. Our contribution is the dark & heavy side of things, it's a strong scene as a whole, ravers put up with a lot of shit to get the goods.

peacocks at cafeteria (Even Furthur 96')

What were Furthur & Even Furthur?
Techno campouts, 3 & 4 days long respectively, you either loved 'em or hated 'em! Weather is not the thing (it sucks), music & people & family is what they meant to most.

Is the concept of 'rave' dead?
HELL NO, there's so many 'ravers' these days it's crazy, now instead of just underground events, there's many facets to the scene, all of which CAN be good as long as you don't compromise your ideas & the music.

Who are your favorite artists/ DJs?
Artists: For sure there are many: Speed Freak, Alec Empire, Ference (Hotmix), Choose, Zekt, ESP Woody McBride, Pure, Spiral Tribe, Richie Hawtin...
DJs: there are so many, it's hard to say, if they make me dance & enjoy life, then they've done their job, and if they didn't, then maybe it was a bad night.

Who is keeping the techno flame alive?
Artists, DJs, ravers, 'zines, Satan, promoters. We're all in it together, hopefully.

What is the future of techno?
Heavier for me; just broader for everyone else who's trying to make it always sound different, it seems. Everyone comes full circle before going back to the experimental land again.

Include a top ten list:

  1. Atari Teenage Riot "1995" DHR
  2. Micropoint Beast
  3. VDD Energize "Belgium Frites" 666
  4. "This is Now" 90 Aum
  5. VDD E vs. Valium "Macedoine EP" UFO
  6. Speed Freak "Slaughter House Massacre 2" DBN
  7. Christian Vogel "Defunkt" Solid
  8. INGLER "357 Kcal" Epiteth
  9. Cipher "01.Figure 8"
  10. P. Server "Served Strange Effects" Fishkopf

 

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