What's the Flavor?

But the Cage's notorious, arbitrary dress code lives on. I saw four 30ish white guys in garish, short-sleeved dress shirts and flabby guts spilling over their belts get in with no hassle. A few minutes later, some younger blacks in hip-hop gear that probably cost twice as much and looked five times as good showed up, and the door bouncers ordered them to tuck their jerseys in. Come on, now. That just sets a bad tone for a club where everything's otherwise all lovely.

Get on the Hardfloor
Right now the family tree of electronic music is growing like Jack's beanstalk. And way up there at the top, like two or three branches below Philip Glass and Kraftwerk, is Hardfloor. A German hard-techno duo, Hardfloor started pounding out recordings in the late '80s and pioneered many of the now-trendy sounds centered on the Roland 303 synthesizer, including that real squelchy acid sound popularized by DJ Josh Wink. Hardfloor--keyboardist/programmers Ramon Zenker and Olever Bondzio--came to the States in early June for their first U.S. tour, the last date of which is Saturday, June 28, in Phoenix. I caught up with Zenker for a little Q&A right after sound check for Hardfloor's show in Denver last weekend.

Coda: Now that you've been here, what are the differences between the scene in the U.S. and Europe?

Zenker: Oh, there is not a big difference. Everywhere the same, yah? The whole world, they're dancing the techno thing. It is smaller here, though. We hear all this about the electronic music growing big here, but it is not a thing like in Germany, where it is very big. Lots of raves with five, ten-thousand people. May Day rave with 25,000 people. Big-selling records in Germany coming from the underground, so, no, it's not really growing so big here.

But I will say that in Germany, there is not so much drum 'n' bass. It's only in small clubs there, and here drum 'n' bass is a little bit more. We played yesterday in Waupaca, Wisconsin, and they had Frankie Bones playing techno, and then we went on, and then after this they had a drum 'n' bass DJ. It was a strange combination, but it worked out good.

Coda: What would you say has been your greatest single influence on electronic dance music?

Zenker: Well, that's hard. Maybe we influence the whole sound of today, yah? On our first record, we had a long break, we had a snare roll that just grows louder and louder, things that are in every record today. People say we are only a 303 band, but that's not so much anymore. We're moving more away from those machines. At the time we first began in Germany, everything we did was hard, fast techno, like 125 bpm. Now everything there is like that.

Coda: What are your songs about?
Zenker: Ooof. Nothing special, you know? We do what is in our minds, but we have no specific expression in them. We go into our minds, and then we put music onto computers, and then onto tape. It's not for meaning. It's for dancing and listening. Then, if you imagine something, it's your own thing.

--David Holthouse

Hardfloor is scheduled to perform on Saturday, June 28, with DJ Icey, Nigel Richards, Emile, Gary Menichiello, Alex Ruiz and eight other local and national DJs. Info lines are 1-602-495-8181 and 1-602-452-000.

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