(Toronto, Canada); issue no.6 Fall 1996
Kurt Eckes - a brief interview with the man behind Drop Bass
by Beverly May and Adam
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.
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
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
interview by Adam Marshall
Eckes, aka DJ jethrox. 29 yrs. Label owner/manager, rave promoter,
DJ based in Milwaukee's lower E side, USA.
made you start DBN?
Records: To get some recognition for everyone (artists) and everything
(raves) in this fine area--- for hard music it was formerly always
DBN Promotions: We just wanted to party & bring music we like here
and it blossomed into the hardcore machine that is is now!
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,
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!!!
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
at cafeteria (Even Furthur 96')
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.
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.
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
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.
is keeping the techno flame alive?
Artists, DJs, ravers, 'zines, Satan, promoters. We're all in it
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.
a top ten list:
Teenage Riot "1995" DHR
Energize "Belgium Frites" 666
is Now" 90 Aum
E vs. Valium "Macedoine EP" UFO
Freak "Slaughter House Massacre 2" DBN
Vogel "Defunkt" Solid
"357 Kcal" Epiteth
Server "Served Strange Effects" Fishkopf