By Nicki Escudero
By Amy Silverman
By Brian Palmer
By Chris Parker
By Troy Farah
By Lauren Wise
By Lauren Wise
NT: Change of topic. How important are rave fliers to the success of a party?
R.C.: Well, no flier equals no people equals no party, so I'd say they're vital--right up there with DJs and the sound system. Also, when you remember a great party from a couple years ago, a few things will come to mind--who you went with, DJ, a couple of particularly vivid moments from the experience, and the flier, because it's so visual. I can spend 60 hours designing a flier, easy, because rave culture is about cutting-edge. The music comes out, and, two weeks later, DJs start throwing it on their turntables. And the design of the fliers has to keep up.
NT: What do you think of drug references on rave fliers?
R.C.: Well, I've done them. My opinion is case to case. It depends on how blatant they are. Like, on a flier for a party called Planet of Drums, I put a little marijuana leaf in place of a star in the sky, and most people probably never noticed. But you get these fliers where there are little "E"s everywhere, and, you know, the promoters would have you believe they stand for "Entertainment" or "Energy," but, come on, right? Basically, I have a problem with drug references that are obvious, just because they're crude.
NT: But you did the flier for FryDay, which showed a sheet of blotter acid.
R.C.: Right. Well, first of all, design-wise that was one of the best fliers I ever did. Second of all, I had nothing to do with the name of that party. And thirdly, the promoter insisted I put a sheet of acid on the front.
NT: So you advised against that?
R.C.: Oh, God, yeah. I mean, after that flier came out, there were police calling Swell [records], trying to be all hip, saying, "Hey, man, can you get acid there, or do you have to bring it yourself?" So, whenever the situation arises, I lobby against it, but in the end, it's the promoter's call. I don't like them because I think they're just sort of childish. On the other hand, the scene in Phoenix is very young. I've never seen 14- or 15-year-olds at parties in other cities. Here, ravers think they're over the hill when they hit 21.
NT: What's the scene like in Canada now?
R.C.: Well, Montreal is massive now, and the age range is wide. The scenes in Vancouver and Victoria are thriving as well, and they're still very housey. They all have hard-core scenes, and jungle, but it's still predominantly housey. Just like the West Coast. L.A.'s all about hard-core, but San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, it's this lovey-dovey, hippy vibe. I played Canada in August, and it was fabulous. I performed at Connect [a three-day outdoor rave in Saskatchewan's Oyama Regional Park], and the crowd was exceptional. It reminded me a lot of the old days, not that it was a sexual, older, gay vibe, but just in the way people went off and enjoyed themselves. I mean, first of all--and you rarely, rarely see this at parties in Phoenix--everyone was dancing. If people are standing around the edges at a party, it draws away from the energy. But when everyone's on the floor, it explodes. Also, everyone was hugging, and it was a very tribal vibe. There were tiki torches on the dance floor, and DJs playing all kinds of music. At one point, they cut out the music entirely for 20 minutes and had an MC rap over a live drum circle, then went back to the DJs. I haven't been able to stop talking about that trip since I got back, because it was just so refreshing to know that somewhere, things aren't getting stale. Kids around here, you know, if their E isn't good, they're not happy with the party. If the DJ who's on is playing drum 'n' bass, well, then, they're not dancing, until the DJ who plays their style of music comes on. We all need to forget about all this division and labels. It's like we've reached a point where we know too much about the music. It's like we gained all this intricate knowledge and fell from grace somehow, and we've forgotten what this was all about in the beginning, which was just pure-hearted celebration. You know--just shut up and dance.