Missing the rave? Why not take solace in the touching ways D&B promoters Distant Planet, Innersoul, Moondance, Rebel Music, S2K, SINE and Stay at Home Festival have risen to the 2020 pandemic.
Drum & bass: you either get it or you don’t! But if you do, chances are our scene has added profound joy and meaning to your existence. But as this pandemic’s revealed, it goes deeper than that. Millions of people’s livelihoods depend on our community too, and on dance music’s in general. From artists and promoters, right through to nightclub cleaners and door staff.
Despite the industry’s uncertain recovery, what’s been beautiful to see are the ways our niche D&B community has held one another up. Here at Kmag, we want to shine a light on some of those people. So this week we chatted with some of the top D&B promoters, who’ve grafted hard to maintain our community platforms in the absence of raving. It’s no wonder these guys have provided us with so much euphoria over the years!
1) Promoters are staying motivated thanks to the D&B raver community
The sudden loss of income is devastating for rave promoters all around the world. And let’s face it, millions of us are struggling with money in lockdown. But the good news is, boosting artists and promoters’ algorithms with likes and comments is the number one way to support your scene for free.
It’s this crowd reaction that gives promoters the hope and morale needed to keep pushing out music and maintain their brand presence… Regardless of physical venue or income.
“The biggest thing that we’ve learnt from the lockdown is how amazing all the ravers can be by coming together to support the artists and music communities in this difficult time.” – Julian, Goat Shed (Stay at Home Festival)
Likes, comments, follows and shares make a huge difference
Like Nicky Soula (Innersoul co-founder) told us, “we won’t be able to run an event for pretty much a whole year. That’s tough for us. So if we’re putting on a live stream, come say hello! Share the live streams! Let us know you’re there”. Online interactions are the best way to support your scene, even if you’re out of pocket.
It’s been so encouraging for promoters to see how the ravers have reacted with online support. Moondance owner Funki told us how this pandemic has “really hit home how much of a family we are”. From lively DJ Whatsapp groups, to ravers keeping each other’s spirits up on comment feeds.
2) D&B promoters are sharing advice on how to stay afloat
“Do a bit more in terms of radio stations, online streaming, label podcasts. Anything that’s creating a bit more content that will allow your fans who like your music to get more of it and keep them interested.” – Ben Green, CEO at Rebel Music
Use this time to build your online presence
As Distant Planet managers Louise Plus One and DJ Hughesee told us, it’s essential to “keep a high profile and stay in contact with your fans” in lockdown. Similarly to Rupture head honchos Mantra and Double 0, who did a hugely successful three-hour live stream on the night that would have been their event… On 30th May, Distant Planet are doing an all-nighter rave. It’ll last in real-time from 10pm – 7am!
“Things move fast in our scene. So it’s important to reach out to your fans and let them know you are still there and not going away.” Simon and Louise – managers at Distant Planet
This rave crew have utilised their time in lockdown to deliver consistent, high-quality vinyl live streams on Distant Planet TV. Featuring crowd favourite DJs like Coco Bryce, Double 0, FFF, Equinox, Pesk, Hijack, Warlock and Dwarde who represent their old skool hardcore/jungle sound. You can catch their next all-dayer this Saturday 16th May, from 3pm-midnight.
Don’t sweat the tech!
Also, Funki from Moondance reminded us not to “sweat the tech. There will be lots of glitches on home setups using domestic broadband with feeds being taken down all the time”. It’s a learning process for everyone. So “just think of it like the early 90s when we had to move venues… and trust that the ravers will understand!” Everyone is adapting to live streaming, so don’t panic about glitches. We’re all in the same boat!
3) Promoters are running charity initiatives despite losing income
Live stream mega raves
Some of the big old school D&B promoters like Moondance, or the live stream experts behind Stay at Home Festival (AKA Goat Shed) have brought the mega rave home. Attracting over two million views and £30,000 for the NHS collectively! Whether Moondance’s old skool Lockdown Sessions is more your style, featuring DJs like Ratpack and Slipmatt, or Stay at Home Festival’s lineup of D&B legends like Sub Zero, Aphrodite and Bryan Gee – the quality of these sets are as good as any rave. And the best part is, after the events, everything’s immediately available online!
“Moondance is a fun event and you can really feel the energy on the night, despite being online. The volume of comments and videos of ravers having their own home parties tell their own story. It’s an escape from the madness and best of all we’ve raised thousands of pounds for the NHS!” – Funki, Owner of Moondance.
[Update]: Just in! If soulful liquid is more your vibe, on 15th May the guys at Innersoul are hosting a three day House Party for Refuge: the domestic violence charity. You can find all the details here.
Brand new D&B LPs
There’s been an influx of music production in lockdown. So it’s no surprise promoters like SINE and Rebel Music have utilised their labels to curate LPs to help those who need it most. The Rebel One LP features the likes of Tephra & Arkoze, Kolectiv and Taelimb, and is a “donate what you can” concept for the NHS. “A SINE of Relief” showcases artists like Villem, Subtle Element and Trex, with proceeds going to the NHS, MIND and some of the contributing artists who need the support.
Pyxis at S2K Publishers has also been busy raking in the pennies for artists, while simultaneously creating a series of albums for mental health charities. It’s called “Beats in Mind: Headsbass”, and features liquid legends like Ben Soundscape, Loz Contreras and Collette Warren. It’s a double win that we can still enjoy listening to our favourite artists while knowing our money is going to a great cause.
4) D&B promoters can see a light at the end of the tunnel
We rise together and fall together
S2K encouraged us to keep the faith, “because this will make us stronger in the end”. And Innersoul reassured us that “whatever the D&B scene goes through, we’ll get out of it – we rise together and fall together”. For all of us missing the rave, it’s comforting to know D&B promoters and organisers can see a light at the end of the tunnel.
“This is time to get on the decks, learn a new skill, so that when we emerge from this lock down we will have the best rave scene ever!” – Simon and Louise, Managers at Distant Planet
There’s now a more level playing field
As Andy Wade (head honcho at SINE) pointed out, “with people being online a bit more, the lockdown also gives artists a more level playing field. It gives more unknown DJs, producers and independent labels a better chance to come through”. Stay at Home Festival also noted that “the current times give newcomers a chance to get themselves noticed on what is now a more equal platform”.
And it’s true. With everyone’s attention online, and with more time on our hands, now is the perfect time for up-and-coming artists to get musically productive in quarantine.
Thank you, D&B Family!
“This pulling together epitomises what the D&B family are all about and always have been. As a veteran raver in the 90s, I can honestly say I have never known a stronger bonded scene”. – Pyxis, S2K Publishers
D&B and dance music generally has taken the biggest blow in the history of time. Its severity depends on what steps the government will take next. But COVID-19 has only revealed our D&B community’s beautiful true colours. Championed by acts of generosity, positivity, and motivation. Everything our promoters are doing to bring our scene closer together is crucial. So let’s continue doing everything we can to save our scene, so our promoters can continue to put on our favourite raves and support artists on the flip side!