(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)
ww: now what in blazes is the cottonpickin story here, mister?
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.
what's your fanaticism now in Wisconsin?
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.
what necessitated you starting this..."dbn"...whatchacallit?
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.
how big is yer congregation over there?
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.
do you yourself dj at dbn events?
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.
any musical influences for you?
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.
do you think them kids at the college radio have a future in
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.
what's the future for dbn?
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.
any words of wisdom for someone starting a scene?
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.
anything we didn't ask you?
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.