Rave Scout Cookies Releases Handbook on the Queer and POC-centric Past of Rave Culture

Rave Scout Cookies Releases Handbook on the Queer and POC-centric Past of Rave Culture

Rave Scout Cookies, a queer and POC-centered multimedia platform and electronic music community has released its first handbook, Rave Scout Cookies First Edition Handbook #001. The folx behind Rave Scout Cookies compiled the handbook to tell the history of the rave, explore dance music’s queer and POC-centric past, give tips on how to rave safely, and provide a list of books and recordings that you should definitely become more familiar with.  

The brainchild of Salman Jaberi of Boston’s VISCERAL techno and house brand, Rave Scout Cookies aims to preserve the rave counterculture and pay the rightful respect to those that started it. Their M.O. is to give a platform to and bolster underrepresented and marginalized artists, music, ravers, and their spaces. 

rave scout cookies mission statement

In the handbook, you’ll find an exploration of rave culture and the artists who cemented it, through a queer, POC lens. It will shed light on some of the collective’s favourite artists including Ariel Zetina and Justin Cudmore, showcase diary-like entries from those in the scene, and provide a snapshot on initiatives like ALKHEMY and POR DETROIT, that are doing their part to bring the underground dance scene back to its Black, Brown, and Queer roots. 

Likely the most important part of the handbook will be the harm prevention guide featuring DanceSafe. A cause near and dear to Jaberi’s heart, who has personally lost many friends to the drug epidemic of nightlife, this guide will hopefully help the community rave a little safer. Although the pandemic has pressed pause on queer nightlife, it has actually ramped up drug use in LGBTQ+ communities. Jaberi told them, “I think people are doing more drugs now because they’re home and stressed out. Especially the LGBTQ+ community, if you look at [the percentage of LGBTQ+ substance users], it’s way higher than among heterosexual folk, just because of stress factors and the things we deal with on a daily basis. With the pandemic going on and people losing their jobs, trying to figure out when they’re gonna pay their rent next, it makes sense that there are heavier drugs involved.” 

sneak peak of rave scout cookies handbook

Just because people can’t go out (sensibly and legally, at least), doesn’t mean they aren’t partying. However, without people around or friends keeping an eye on one another, the outcome can be less than favourable. Jaberi mentions that people are going to do what they want to do, but he can at least provide the tools and information for those to educate themselves on how to not put themselves and others at risk on the dancefloor. 

Rave Scout Cookies aims to entertain and educate and do it all within their futuristic, yet totally retro-1998-hmtl vibes. In addition to the historic story time, profiles, and guide, the handbook will also feature an archival selection of vintage party flyers for your viewing pleasure. 

The Rave Scout Cookies First Edition Handbook #001 is now available for pre-order here and will ship out on October 15. 

Partying in a pandemic? What’s that like? Check out our latest article and find out.

The Pandemic Party Scene: A Look at Nightlife in a COVID World

The Pandemic Party Scene: A Look at Nightlife in a COVID World

While partying in the middle of a pandemic might seem as logical a Matt Damon stopping for a pint part-way through Contagion, with numbers of cases dropping, government restrictions easing, and ravers getting restless, nightlife is making a slow and steady comeback. In a COVID world, where the safest idea is to stay 6-feet away from anyone and everyone and avoid going out as much as possible, clubbing, music festivals, and raves may seem outright impossible. However, as we adjust to this ”new normal”, nightlife mavens are adapting and getting downright creative in their ways of bringing people together for a good time.  

Back in May, German nightclub Coconut Beach with promoter TakaTuka held what may have possibly been Europe’s first post-pandemic event. Gerd Janson,  Steve Stix, Kai Lorenzen, and Thorsten Karger played for an audience of 100 in the 2000-capacity outdoor venue. Ticket prices were slightly higher than normal to account for profit-loss in the past months and the inability to fill the venue. Each partygoer was assigned a table and designated a chalk-outlined dancefloor circle. Masks were mandatory everywhere except for your assigned spots. Plexiglass partitions protected the bar staff and hygienic measures were ramped up. Although the small crowd and minimal payout weren’t quite what Gerd Janson was used to, he told Resident Advisor that he felt he needed to do his part to help the owner, venue, and staff. Coconut Beach has since held a second event with ÂME on June 6th and has an upcoming event on September 6th with Adana Twins, this time with a 200-person capacity and reduced ticket price.

 

In a less precautious and more illegal way, UK ravers are taking having a good time back into their own hands. Illegal raves across the UK have been making headlines all summer, but this past bank holiday proved some Brits are rearing for a rave, regardless of restrictions. Currently, in the UK and Wales, gatherings of up to 30 people are the limit. This past weekend, police were called to dozens of illegal raves, including one of 3000 plus people. Fines of up to £10,000 were given to organizers in Leeds, London, Norfolk, Banwen, and West Yorkshire and thousands of dollars of equipment were seized. Berlin, the city with partying in its blood, is also playing host to a number of these illegal raves. 

As governments ease restrictions and more venues open their doors, we’ve seen more of a negative impact than anything. Back in May, when South Korea reopened nightclubs, they saw quite the spike in cases, after so diligently getting their numbers down. More recently, after the reopening of an infamous strip club in Toronto, Canada, with a look but don’t touch motto, a mini-outbreak occurred, affecting several staff and patrons. Rarely a day goes by where a video of nightlife fanatics breaking protocol doesn’t surface. Australian nightclubs in parts of the country have seen huge lineups and packed dancefloors since reopening and are now dealing with the repercussions. 

illegal nightlife rave in Berlin
Illegal Rave in Berlin. New York Times.

Last week in France, the Prime Minister eased social distancing regulations allowing for gatherings of up to 5000 people to take place, however, wearing masks is still mandatory. Large-scale events are still a no, but a 5000-person, socially distanced event will call for a lot of floorspace. 

Earlier in the summer, headlines blasted that Ibiza would be shuttered for the season, but we added that claim to the list of fake news surrounding the virus. While not all Ibiza hot spots are open, any open-air venue with seated areas for people to reserve and listen to Balearic beats at are a go. Just remember to maintain your distance from others while in the pool and wear your mask when you are anywhere but your table. 

Festival season isn’t a complete write-off either. While a majority of this summer’s big festivals were rescheduled to next year, some just postponed to a later date. Capacity has been limited and strict hygienic measures have been put in place, but across Europe, dozens of festivals are still scheduled to run, giving festivalgoers something to look forward to. 

In an attempt to help out the nightlife industry, Morgan Deane and a team of industry leaders have put together The COVID Nightlife Guide, a comprehensive guide created for clubs, bars, and music venues to help them navigate reopening. Titled “A Light In the Night”, the guide, complete with illustrations, aims to help small-scale venues adjust to the new way of operating with tips and tricks on how to reopen safely and effectively.

graphic from nightlife guide a light in the night
Illustration from “A Light in the Night”

The guide was created to inspire a global conversation about the importance of local, small-scale nightlife venues and keep them alive. From preparing the space to onboarding the staff, navigating artist relations, and ensuring guest experience is still as enjoyable as ever, the guide is clear, concise, and unbelievably helpful. With all the government regulations and uncertainty in the nightlife industry, Deane and her team reinforce the idea that we’re all in this together.  

Cover photo credit: LA Times

Dying to feel the energy of live music again? Check out this list of festivals scheduled to take place this summer across Europe!

Diplo Releases Ambient Album for Mental Health

Diplo Releases Ambient Album for Mental Health

2020 could use a little chill. This is a notion that must have resonated deeply with Diplo as we saw him release his first full-length ambient album on September 4th. For Diplo, self-isolation and productivity seem to go hand in hand. 

A week prior to the release of his aptly named album, MMXX (2020, in Roman numerals), Diplo exclusively debuted five of his songs on the popular meditation app, Calm. Calm provides its well over 1 million subscribers access to audio recordings that include guided meditations, ambient tracks, breathing practices, sleep stories, and more to help with sleep, anxiety, and overall mental wellness. On their Twitter, they revealed that Diplo’s tracks were produced to bring mental clarity, calmness, relaxation, and focus. Diplo isn’t the first electronic artist to partner with the app. Ellie Goulding and Kygo both released tracks via Calm in 2020.  

Although Diplo is mostly known for his upbeat club bangers, he said that he has been experimenting with ambient music for years. “In some ways, it’s a return to my roots — my first album Florida was all super chill instrumentals,” he said. Diplo described his production of this album as a huge stress reliever and hopes it will have the same effect on its listeners. The album features Good Times Ahead, Lunice, Mikky Ekko, and Rhye. 

In a statement on his Instagram account, Diplo announced that all earnings from the album will be directed to two foundations, BEAM Collective and The Loveland Foundation, in support of the mental health of Black people.

View this post on Instagram

First all the flights got canceled then schools, restaurants and shops closed.. slowly people or their family members got sick and lost their jobs and eventually we regained some normalcy but it was through the American way… A wake up to the racial problems that don't wait for a pandemic to slow down and in return protests and riots carried on as a last resort in search of some kind of change. Some kind of realization that made us feel normal.. I think it was a reaction to all the anxiety that we had to deal with this year.. 2020 was fucked. We're only 3/4s thru.. who knows when the aliens are going to arrive. This album is the only music I made this year .. it's called 2020. "MMXX" it's about being here this year. For me it's all I had inside me. I didn't want to have zoom sessions, I didn't want to write pop songs. I was just stuck in my house with keyboards and a guitar I barely ever used . I would walk outside Los Angeles and see empty streets and see nervous people and this is what I heard .. but to me this year isn't dark it's not about the negative .. it's about hope . We are all going to remember we did it together and remember what we take from it .. we can look back in a few years and say it was tough but I'm tougher… Everyone might need something different, you don't have to do it alone ..  mental health is something that we don't speak about enough. I'm giving to @_beamorg & @thelovelandfoundation because they can give you a little help where you need it most. I'll be donating proceeds of what we're making from this album .. also working with calm app because they can help find a way for people to listen to these tracks… Making ambient music might be a lot different than what you would expect from me but actually if you know me you probably know it's not. I hope you can tune out for 40 minutes next week when the full album is out but for now.. check out some of the tracks on @calm

A post shared by Thomas Wesley (@diplo) on

September 8-11, Diplo also teamed up with the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum to play his ambient tracks from MMXX to an exclusive crowd as they learned about astrology and stargazed. 

We could all use a little more mindfulness in our lives. Check out how festivals are making the switch from wasted to wellness!

Virtual Mega-Club, techno-club.net, Opens This Weekend

Virtual Mega-Club, techno-club.net, Opens This Weekend

An idea born out of uncertainty, techno-club.net, a new virtual club with 10 rooms, an opening lineup of 25 artists playing more than 50 hours of non-stop techno, house, and electro, will change the way we party amidst a pandemic. For the last 7+ months, artists, DJs, producers, and fans, have been finding creative ways to share and consume electronic music and keep the scene alive. Through social media platforms such as Instagram Live, Twitch, Facebook Live, and Mixcloud, artists and DJs have brought music to their fans, hosting club nights and live sessions. If you’ve ever witnessed one of these live-streamed sets, you know the struggles that come with them: annoying ads, poor audio quality, lack of atmosphere, and copyright infringements that lead those streams to become unavailable. techno-club.net is the answer to these woes.  

A completely independent venture, co-creators Cisco Ferreira (one half of The Advent) and Dave Bate crafted the idea of this virtual club after a show in Leeds (Ferreira played, Bate, his guest) in February. Over breakfast, with reports of impending worldwide pandemic smeared across the televisions, the two began discussing what they thought the future would hold for electronic music. Predicting venue closures and cancelled shows, the guys couldn’t have been more spot on. Bate, a savvy computer programmer, told Ferreira that he thought they could build a program that ran as a club environment, with rooms, production, the whole nine yards, and that artists could all stream independently. 

The plan originally was to host five different rooms but has since expanded to ten. To support the venture, the team has grown to five, bringing on promoters Tom Mitchell and Chich from Portland and Luxembourg respectively, and designer A.Paul from Portugal.  

techno-club.net will operate like any brick and mortar club. As a user, you’ll come in and pay your €5 entry fee. With that you’ll gain access to all ten rooms that you can visit as you please for the allotted time you paid for. €5 will give access for five hours, €10 for ten hours, and so on. The ten rooms are named by colour with visuals to match. The lineup is listed on their site with set times. No two DJs will start at the same time, so you’ll always be able to catch a set. 50% of the DJs will be streaming live while the rest are pre-recorded. As soon as a set is done, it will go directly into the archive for users to watch back. In between sets, which last anywhere from one to four hours, the system will do a quick recalibration before the next DJ is up.  

Each room also has a chat function where users can mingle. Rooms are moderated and no hate will be tolerated. Unlike platforms like Boiler Room that are open and free and unfortunately attract trolls, techno-club.net requires users to sign up and pay. Those that spew any hate will be removed and permanently blocked.  

As techno-club.net will be earning revenue, they are also paying their DJs. At the end of the weekend, all revenue will be totaled (costs and expenses deducted) and divided amongst the rooms, split 70-30 in the room’s favour. All music is licensed as well, so original artists will receive their royalties. Currently, techno-club.net has licenses for Europe and America that doesn’t allow you to stop, rewind, and replay the livestreams, but users will have complete access to the archives that they can watch, pause, and re-watch at their leisure. This solves the copyright issues that so many of the other streaming sites have come across. Operating as a radio station would, all DJs are required to submit a full set list to ensure that all licensing checks out. 

The entire lineup is curated personally by the creators. Currently, there is a list of 45 residents that will play once or twice a month. For now, the music played will be techno, electro, and house. They’ve mentioned that is how it will stay for now with the potential to offer more variety of sound in the future. This weekend’s launch will feature 25 different artists. The lineup for next weekend (October 2-4) is already posted on their site. 

2020 has redefined how we consume our music and has forced creators to get innovative on how they share their work with the world. As great as the social platforms that have been playing host to the DJs and producers out there are, their purpose was never to be a stand-in for music venues. techno-club.net was created because of a need for a platform where fans and artists alike can feel good about playing and listening. No gimmicks, no ads, no big corporations- just good music and good company. In a time of separation and isolation, techno-club.net is bringing the electronic community back together. 

Love livestreams? Check out the Beirut fundraising livestream hosted by Beatport and Electronic Labour Day.

Music Festivals Shift from Wasted to Wellness

Music Festivals Shift from Wasted to Wellness

In 2018, the global wellness industry generated over $4.5 trillion. Worldwide, people are genuinely more focussed on living healthy, stable lives and are certainly putting their money where their mouth is. Although some may look to wellness and healthy living as a trend, it is an industry that has been on a rapid incline for many years and shows no signs of slowing down.  

It’s no surprise that millennials are the main consumers of wellness, in its many forms. From fitness to sound healing, meditation to mindful eating, breathwork to cryotherapy, millennials are opting for a more holistic way of living.  

Music festivals are another landscape associated en masse with millennials. In 2015, over 14 million millennials in the United States alone attended at least one music festival. Combining the two seems like a no-brainer. 

Ecstatica Festival

Not that holistic living and music festivals are a new idea (we all recall the one-love, hippie-laden years of Woodstock, etc.), but the entanglement of wellness and music festivals has become an entirely different beast. These days you’ll be hard-pressed to find a festival without a dedicated sustainability manifesto, daily yoga classes, areas where you can unwind with some mindful meditation, or partake in various workshops dedicated to self-improvement and self-fulfilling practices led by industry leaders.   

For a while there, electronic music festivals in particular were getting a bad rep for being weekends of heavy alcohol consumption, party drugs, and late nights.  Your options for having a good time were reduced to popping MDMA to give you the endurance to dance and stage-hop in the hot sun and party until the wee hours. Not to say that festivalgoers have completely opted out of being under the influence, however, more and more festivals are providing alternative ways to spend your downtime and take a much-needed breather from a weekend of debauchery. 

While some festivals are as short as a single day, some last as long as two weeks. Festivalgoers spend their year looking forward to their time, racking up their vacation days to spend quality time with their friends while listening to their favourite artists. Perhaps as the generation ages and matures, the idea of a solid week of partying has become less appealing and a day of dancing followed by meditation and yoga is a little more enticing.  

Festival organizers worldwide have certainly caught on. Whether you are in the US or a small island in Thailand, music festivals have made a conscious shift from wasted to wellness. 

A pioneer of wellness-focused electronic festivals, Shambhala has dedicated its 20+ years to creating a community-based and holistic environment for its attendees. The Shambhala experience has always included yoga and workshops in its schedule and has a reputation worldwide for its emphasis on human connection. 

Shambhala Festival

Ecstatica Festival in Koh Phangan, Thailand is a 5-day festival dedicated to unlocking our full human potential. The festival, heavily rooted in spirituality, offers its attendees opportunities to learn practices surrounding breathwork, yoga, ecstatic dance, and meditation from highly regarded practitioners from around the world.  

At Jai Thep in Chiang Mai, you can partake in moon circles, cacao ceremonies, womb massage therapy, Kava African dance, and pebble mandala creation. Bali Spirit Festival, heavily rooted in yoga, also offers sound healing, kirtan, dance therapy, and dharma talks. Envision Festival in Costa Rica operates with adherence to their 7 pillars that include sustainability, music, movement, health, spirituality, art, and education. 

Bali Spirit Festival

Given the current situation and lack (but not total lack) of festivals happening worldwide this season, these well-fests have gone online. Festivals like Luna Digital Yoga and Music Festival put their programs on the Internet, offering a good time to the world wide web. Days start as early as 7am with a healing ceremony, followed by meditation, yoga, seminars, workshops, more yoga, and an evening full of DJ sets. Arise Music Festival didn’t let COVID get in the way of their 7-year streak and brought their yoga, sound healing, and talented musical acts online. Abracadacra TV in cahoots with BYE BYE PLASTIC, presented a 3-day virtual festival that celebrated music, magic, and self-love through sound-healing, chats on magic mushrooms, yoga flows, and sets by favourites like BLOND-ISH. 

This idea of wellness music festivals not only relieves the sense of existential dread and weeklong hangover that looms following a week of heightened endorphins and serotonin levels, they almost force you to be more present during the festival in totality. Music festivals have always been about bringing likeminded people together through the power of music. Adding activities that help us learn about ourselves, open our minds, and vibe as a community can never be a bad thing, right? If well-fests are a trend, we’re here for it. But, this seems like more of a movement. As we become more of a conscious community, so will the spaces we occupy. Plus, everyone could use a little more yoga in their lives. 

Longing that festival life? Check out these festivals that are still happening this summer.