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As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Sunday, December 01, 2013

acid techno punk

"I was in a band called Hagar the Womb at this time and I got involved in the anarcho punk scene (Crass/ Mob/ Poison Girls and similar bands) playing at punk squats and anarcho activist centres, and loved the DIY culture it inspired.All this stuff from 77 to 84 is the glue which cemented everything that followed. The DIY approach to making music, and the attitude and anti-authoritarianism of punk came through in all the music I made, and was the blueprint and inspiration for the SUF labels, the SUF collective, and all the music we went on to create between us all. Julian and Aaron were both squatters when I met them and were friends of Hackney punks, who themselves were descendants of this same scene, just a generation on, and likewise one of the first squat parties with techno that I went too was part organised by old punk mates (Dan, from the Apostles and later Look Mummy Clowns, and Danny Blank). "

From a recent interview with Chris Liberator in LouderThan War

It is a good piece of continuing countercultural history which shows how different strands connect.The 'anarcho-punk stuff' can be traced backwards to the late sixties/ early seventies and then, as Chris does, taken forwards into the nineties and right up to the present. With a loop which sees Chris playing for Hagar the Womb again...

 Here is some more of the first draft of history..

Was it a political upbringing? SUF, and other UK techno labels like Prolekult and later Routemaster, were often overtly political, what drove this?
As I said, all of the punk stuff acted not as just as an energy kick, but as a political education. However, when the techno came along it was a massively hedonistic time, and you didn’t want to preach to people when you were all buzzing on a new vibe, feeling the rush and energy of the Ecstasy revolution. Punk rock was far from my mind during this period, and for a lot of the others probably of no consequence. But we did came from an alternative culture and the reason we didn’t want to go clubbing with the Mixmag crowd was because we were outsiders, all aware and ‘turned on’ if you like. By doing illegal raves you were challenging the status quo, but also making parties the way we felt they should be made, with a dirtier, edgier feel. They  were political by their very nature, and the ‘Fuck You’ attitude was always there. Lawrie’s Immersion rig was out every week, and he lived on a bus, parked up in a succession of squats.
Most of the parties and music sessions were done on the fly. It felt like we could do anything, and even though there were several run-ins with police and council officers, it did feel like London was ours for the taking. There were overtly political things happening alongside the scene, like Reclaim The Streets, and the M11 protests too. As for the labels, Lawrie’s label Routemaster definitely flew the flag for the squat scene, and Prolekult had Red Jerry behind it, who wasn’t really  part of our scene but was another who wore his politics on his sleeve and shared the same attitude and  musical taste. We were all pretty much on the same page. London/ UK techno was more than just music, it actually meant something, representing  a way of life and way of thinking. Unsurprisingly, it seemed to connect to the same kind of  people, the outsiders who had a similar view of the world to us.
I think being politicised via punk, especially anarcho-punk, where the Stop the City, anti war, anti vivisection marches and suchlike had already given us a taste of street protest meant that when the anti-CJA and Reclaim the Streets protests happened we just got involved as we’d always done. Fighting abhorrent legislation by showing your anger on the streets was an everyday thing, especially in the eighties where millions took to the streets against the Poll Tax and nuclear weapons. Whatever we have, they will always try and take it away from us, I think most of us knew it would inevitably happen. Most encouragingly of all the squat parties continued on unabated in London. Most of the rigs just thought , fuck it, we ain’t stopping, we’ll just have to become more under the radar. 


Anonymous John Serpico said...

Yes, the link between Techno and Anarchopunk is an interesting one. In the Nineties and just after we knew about the link but it was kind of unspoken and it seemed hardly worth discussing. You either knew it or you didn't. Techno was the new Punk but again you either knew it or you didn't. In Bristol those with any connection to Punk (in any of its forms) were divided between hating Techno and viewing it as simply Disco music or totally loving it. Personally I loved it, having first stumbled upon it at a festival - it may have been Glastonbury but I'm not sure which year. What struck me immediately was the atmosphere. People were dancing and really enjoying themselves, and after years of gig-going where the audiences were increasingly just standing there watching the bands whilst nodding/banging their heads this made a huge and very welcome change. Then at Treworgey festival, as the infrastructure fell apart and the festival descended into chaos other things started coming together: music, lifestyles, drugs and politics (or lack of) all began to merge under one umbrella: Techno.
Hawkwind had been re-mixed, Gaye Bykers On Acid were overloading on samples, Eat Static had emerged from Ozric Tentacles and Screech Rock were out-daygloing Rubella Ballet.
Like any social scene connected by music it soon seperated into different types but the input of Anarcho Punk into that original melting pot was crucial and Chris Liberator is an example of that strand. Sleeves for some of the 12" records I saw at the time were totally Anarcho Punk in their design - very Conflict. Talking of whom, were themselves (or Colin Jerwood at least) getting involved with Techno and illegal Raves too. And not forgetting the Hartnoll brothers in Orbital and their connection to the Centro Iberico. It's so very easy to go on and on - Crass label artists D&V and Hit Parade incorporating beats and samples, Mutoid Waste Company, Spiral Tribe, Crass themselves, Stop The City, Reclaim The Streets, June 18, etc, etc, etc.
This is our hidden history which I suspect is never going to be successfully written about because there's simply no end to it. And no real beginning either, come to think of it.

11:50 am  

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