Society & Raindance's Underground Culture

The music collectives join forces for the third instalment of their celebratory Acid House and Hardcore raves in London this weekend

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Celebrating underground dance music circa 1986 - 1993, music collective Society has been founded on the idea of bringing back a true rave mentality in the UK. The next instalment of Society 003 sees them join forces with Raindance Jenkins Lane to take over a four-room warehouse complex in London, with over 30 DJs playing Acid House, early breakbeat Hardcore and New Beat. This weekend will see the likes of Jackmaster, Trevor Fung, Colin Dale, Kenny Ken, and Ragga Twins playing a secret warehouse location with original artwork and projections influenced by the Acid House era, plus a cinema area and their very own record store to encapsulate all that is exciting about this unique period in dance music history. Dazed speak to Richard Raindance behind the group about their rich past and the future raves to come.

Dazed Digital: How did Raindance come about and why?
Richard Raindance:
Raindance started in September 1989 at the Norwegian Sailors sports ground, Jenkins Lane Barking, Essex. Paul Nelson (DJ Slipmatt’s brother), Lou Lewis (the caretaker at Jenkins Lane) and Ray Spence (a Rare Groove music promoter), were the three people who had an idea to put on a rave. This they did. The name came about from a brainstorming session but some say it was because of the 'rain' dripping in the tents - the condensation.

From there, Raindance went on to stage the first legal rave, and legendary events like Raindance - Egg (8000+ people) and Big Bad Head. Raindance provided the platform that launched the careers of the likes of The Prodigy, Carl Cox, LTJ Bukem, Mr C, Rap, John Digweed, Kevin Saunderson, Slipmatt, Fabio and Grooverider.

DD: Do you think there is a necessary 'British element' that makes these raves what they are?
Richard Raindance: Of course, the original House music of American inner-cities was taken on by our multi- cultural citizens and 'grown'. Morphing into a whole myriad of musical styles, including Jungle, UKG, Grime, Dubstep and every other style you will see at 'underground' events today. The British have taken it and remodelled it to such an extent that the Americans are now 'repackaging' it for themselves.

No-one knows how to party like the English, and Acid House never took off elsewhere to the extent of the UK. Every weekend we would have thousands of people converging at ‘meet-up points’ and then driving in convoys around the M25 looking for parties – it led to the Government changing the law and led to a complete change in the way British people acted to one another – before Acid House, the idea of a ‘bloke’ hugging his mate was unheard of. Acid House parties are still the most fun and friendly parties you’ll ever go to.

DD: Do you think rave music from the 80s-90s is still relevant today and does it work for today's DJs incorporate or emulate that?
Richard Raindance: A new generation of producers and DJs are just beginning to pick up on Acid House and Hardcore, and you can hear elements of it in tracks from the likes of Bok Bok, Lone and Neville Watson. We invited some of these artists down to play at our next party, including Jackmaster and Slackk who are taking elements of Acid House and Hardcore and making a new sound.

DD: Who would be your dream headliner, dead or alive?
Richard Raindance: Most of them have been ticked off, like The Prodigy, N-Joi... Ok, maybe Micky Finn (Some Justice) doing One Family with a gospel choir on stage!

DD: What's next?
Richard Raindance: Our event this Friday is in association with SOCIETY, taking over a massive warehouse complex with four rooms of music – we’re also going to have a cinema room showing footage from rave history as well as a record store, exhibition from flyer-designer legend Pez plus original artwork, 80s projections and laser displays, human gyposcope and general madness!

After that we’re hoping to re-establish the Raindance Rave Festival at a new home at the Coronet, after the recent loss of our home of 12 years - the Drome/SeOne. Also taking over more interesting and unusual spaces with SOCIETY. Ultimately we want to go outdoors again - Jenkins Lane stylee - maybe next year would be brilliant. Watch this space.

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