library / interviews / wetware_summer94

Wetware (New York, NY); issue no.1 Summer 1994
Drop Bass Network: jethrox
by Mark Snow
(page 0.3, 0.4, 1.1, 3.9, 4.0, 4.1)

now what in blazes is the cottonpickin story here, mister?

jx: me & patrick are dbn. we both come from the same town in central Wisconsin called Marshfield, but we didn't really know each other there. i moved to Milwaukee to go to college and pat moved here i believe for the same reason. we hooked up through music. he was into techno and new beat & i was into acid house and we ended up moving in with each other out of necessity. we got this warehouse and figured it wasn't too hard to throw raves. we had always been waiting for this movement to come here. we were really into the music so we just threw a party. basically it was a success and we just built off from that.

ww: what's your fanaticism now in Wisconsin?

jx: my function now is drop bass. it's a f/t job doing parties, the label, and we also make some shirts. it's not bad throwing parties for a living.

ww: what necessitated you starting this..."dbn"...whatchacallit?

jx: it just sort of happened. we had gone to some Chicago parties and were taken back how intense the original energy of the event was. it was just crazy. i had worked on some acid house parties in Chicago in 1990 and knew a bit about getting lights & sound. Milwaukee being a big beer city, we didn't think it was possible to do a party without beer. some other people threw a small beer party in Milwaukee with techno dj's. they weren't into the scene and as it turned out the people were interested in the music so then we did our first party in a warehouse. we both were interested in clubs as far as going to them but had no interest in working or running them, but we were interested in doing mobile parties like acid house type parties.

ww: how big is yer congregation over there?

jx: right now it's probably one of the strongest scenes that i've been to. our events consistently pull over 1000 people in a city of 600,000. the people here are really really into what's going on. i mean, a few events have lacked a really good vibe but the majority are just intense as far as people getting into it. a lot of people are involved with the scene through zines; there's probably 8-10 here. an entourage of people come and work their asses for the whole time. all they want to do is help to make sure things go well. between Milwaukee and Minneapolis there's a really really strong scene. there's also a good scene in Madison mainly due to the college town. Chicago doesn't really have much of a scene: there's just too much going on as far as clubs and bad promo in the past that people aren't into it. that scene is nothing compared to what goes on up here. i'm really impressed what's going on here.

ww: do you yourself dj at dbn events?

jx: we try to dj at our own events but it's hard running an event and dj'ing but this and next month we're dj'ing a lot of parties. when we first started, we wanted to remain anonymous since we both came from a so-called "hick" part of Wisconsin. we figured jethro and jedediah were pretty hick names.

ww: any musical influences for you?

jx: i've always been into heavy metal (slayer playing in the background) and there was always a side of me that was drawn to Chicago house clubs. we'd go there every weekend/ when acid house came out, it just blew us away it was so intense. it evolved into a new beat there and pretty soon it got boring again. end of 1991 we started hearing these songs that this guy was playing on the radio; we had no idea what was going on. i guess what drew us into hardcore is the fact that it's an aggressive style of music. we both listen to judas priest and black sabbath outside of techno, though. when we go on road trips, we don't listen to techno because you're going to hear music like that at the party anyway.

ww: do you think them kids at the college radio have a future in dance music?

jx: not really, because it's so faceless: everything that has gone mainstream has had a face associated with the music. i guess that's what makes it so popular with kids. they can associate seeing this star or whatever that makes this music and being able to see them live. when they're just hearing a song, the way music is marketed it's hard for people to have that association. there have been songs that have gone top 40 but they're few and far between they're just songs that have a catch to them that people can remember.

ww: what's the future for dbn?

jx: what we wanted to do was keep getting the Midwest more recognized as a place for music. Chicago & Detroit have always been there but when you go to either of those cities there's nothing really going on. nothing is coming out of Milwaukee in dance music except for our label right now. this year we plan on doing some really big events: more or less sequels to some we did last year. the police are pretty hard nosed about things here and they have a pretty good finger on what's going on. it's impossible to do a warehouse party in Milwaukee but we occasionally manage to get a warehouses where on saturday morning we tell a few people and by that night there's 250-300 people showing up. that's what we try to do during the winter just to get us through 'til summer when we go back outdoors and do parties on farms or anything out in the country outside of Milwaukee.

ww: any words of wisdom for someone starting a scene?

jx: the biggest thing is, just don't expect everything right away. when we first started, we did them with simple color-copied flyers and had minimal sound and lighting. i see a lot of people who assume that just because there's a scene going on somewhere that all those people from that scene are going to come to their party. they end up spending $4-5000 on a party and lose out right away. its discourages them. the best way to go about doing it: start small and move up from that. people are going to be happy just because there's something going on and in these smaller towns where there is no scene or just starting, people are going to be ecstatic to know that they don't have to drive three hours to go a big city when it's in their own town. some of the best scenes around here are in smaller towns. there's a little town called Appleton two hours from Milwaukee that will never get more than 400-500 people at an event but they are always the best parties. these smaller parties also give a chance for a lot of new dj's to display their talents. it's hard for them to get on these big bills when you're talking about adam x & lenny dee. there's a lot of kids with turntables and that's good because now people actually understand quality dj's instead of hearing just good songs. they know when a dj's good and when he/she's on. people appreciate bring in good dj's a lot more.

ww: anything we didn't ask you?

jx: i hope everybody that's really into hardcore techno gets a chance to come and experience the Midwest sometime because it's not too many places where there are hardcore parties going on anymore. we're doing a three day party april 29 mainly to get people to get people together and give people a chance to experience each other as people rather than just people dancing, realize that we're all one big family, we can all count on each other because there is a really really good thing going on with the rave scene. a lot of people realize it and i think a lot more people can once they experience it. through our record label and our larger events we want to try to get the Midwest as much recognition as it deserves as a place where more than just milk comes from.


return to top