By Amy Farina
BKJN vs. Partyraiser was my first rave of 2018 and now the bar is set so high for the remainder of the year and it’s not even festival season yet! But let’s start at the beginning, for those of you who don’t know, BKJN stands for Beter Kom Je Niet which is Dutch for “better you don’t come” (lol). BKJN, as one of the leaders in the scene, organizes some of the biggest highest production hardcore/uptempo raves in the Netherlands. Their parties are always massive with stacked diverse lineups and this one was no exception.
I arrived at the venue with my fellow American friend and contributor to this article, Isaiah around eleven, just enough time to explore before the opening show. This was my first time at the Silverdome in Zoetermeer and the place is massive. Thankfully for the first time ever I didn’t have to take three forms of transportation to get there, so ten points for that.
We started off the night with some good ole’ Nosferatu at the main stage. Looking out into the crowd it was barely midnight but the place was packed, sold out, wall to wall of sweaty gabbers. Next up was split time between the opening show (which was the perfect start to Partyraiser’s seven hours of madness) and Repix. Despite the fact the opening show was happening at the mainstage, Repix had the room extremely full and bumping, a well-deserved birthday present (Happy Birthday Repix!). Then we hopped over to see Para Italia, I was repping his “Allemaal de Moeder” shirt that he graciously gave me at Hardcore at Sea (yes I know what it means and I’ve seen the video!).
Following Para Italia it was time to take a dance break and conduct some interviews back stage and well let’s just say things got out of hand but what do you expect when it’s 2:00am during an epic party and you have the Sickest Squad, Andy the Core, Angernoizer, Rooler, me (MC Unicorn), and DJ Levenkhan (Isaiah) in a small space.
Here are some of the conversations we had:
Amy: With the Dutch hardcore market being so saturated, with multiple parties to choose from every weekend, what sets this party (and BKJN parties in general) apart from all the other parties that occur every weekend?
Para Italia: I think this is the hardest indoor party and very good for BKJN and of course the main man Paryraiser. I am very proud that I am a part of this extraordinary party and a proud member of BKJN. I had a very good time and I think it showed people how hard Frenchcore can be.
Aggressive: This party is awesome, I opened the main stage and within fifteen minutes it was crowded with people going crazy. Great atmosphere. I am honored to be a part of the BKJN family and Partyraiser crew.
Andy The Core: This party is absolutely awesome and every year it gets better and better and it’s something different because you have this main stage like this that’s usually a main stage for mainstream but it’s now full of underground artists and I love it.
Amy: If you were stuck on a desert island and could only bring one record/album with you, what would you bring?
Da Mouth of Madness: Can I not bring a USB stick? (Amy: No…) Well I definitely would do like the Hardcore 100 CD from ID&T back in the early 90’s the gold one with the two snakes on it because it has 100 of the best tracks ever but also would bring some Bob Marley too.
Amy: If you could collaborate with one artist dead or alive who would it be?
Da Mouth of Madness: I definitely need to say Three Steps Ahead because he was gone, he passed away before we could do this S#*T, but I definitely wanted to do something with him, because of the friendship we had back in the days. We were both breaking through in 1996 with the whole Thunderdome thing, we did a lot of tours together but actually we never came so far, and afterwards of course we all know the story, he passed away. It would definitely be great to have the opportunity to collaborate with him.
Repix: I have one big dream and that’s Angerfist, he’s been there since the beginning and all of his productions sound amazing. It’s really a good reference point for me to listen to and that’s one of my biggest dreams.
Isaiah: What advice do you have for up and coming producers/DJs?
Rob GEE: Definitely get your ass in the studio and perfect your craft and don’t listen to haters. And also don’t get an ego at the same time, keep yourself grounded, and reach for the stars you know.
Sickest Squad: Struggle a lot first and study. The way we came up in the scene was by being told repeatedly our stuff was not good, and it helped us out. If we were told it was good we would simply stop. Getting told it was bad made us invest our time fully in the studio to perfect the craft.
Repix: So f***ing much to do. Hours in it hours in it. Keep on learning, keep on learning. Everything you learn keep it close to you. If you don’t know something, figure it out. Compare to the greatest; compare it to Angerfist or Nosferatu. Listen to what they do with the sounds and if you get it it’s just a matter of time. Just practice and go for it. …Collabs with the big guys helped a lot. If you have trouble with something they explain it to you. … It’s like the beginning of an adventure just try to figure it all out.
Isaiah: What’s up next for you?
Rob GEE: Rob GEE You Got What I Need: 25 Years of Harder Styles. We are doing multiple cities around the world. This week we just booked Moscow, Sydney, Milan, and BKJN will be doing the one in Holland, I’m looking for a good New York promoter so I can play in my own home little area. LA already reached out to me so it would be sad if New York didn’t. What I would like to do is represent a little of everything I do. Meaning, I would like to tag team with an early guy then go into hardstyle then rawstyle then of course into some mainstream, uptempo, frenchcore, maybe a little bit of terror … So basically, I would like to have a little bit of the old, a little bit of the new. Just give a big hardcore enchilada of all the harder styles. A hardcore cornucopia.
Isaiah: What do you think of the current state of hardcore, uptempo, mainstream?
Rob GEE: To me it’s all hardcore … I work with this one, I work with that one, it’s not because I’m trying to whore myself out; it’s because I have an open mind. If I’m going to do something at 150 with Adaro and with Partyraiser at 200; for me its just music. I’ve done some metal and melded it with some hardcore with members of Slipknot and System Of A Down. Again for me it’s just music. I’m not about building walls; I’m about breaking them down. There are no boundaries in music.
Crypton: (On Frenchcore) At this state I think Frenchcore is evolving in a way and becoming more diverse. One is focused more on the harder side and the other is the more melodic/euphoric side of Frenchcore but with both different fanbases it will make the scene much bigger than what it is already.
Amy: Where do you see the American scene going?
Sickest Squad: America has the potential to be a huge scene for hardcore. I think it’s just a matter of time, I see that slowly some European DJs are getting their chance to play there. We played in Brooklyn and it was “BANGING.” Even if the scene isn’t massive yet, I think next year hardcore will grow. The important thing is to not just bring the commercial stuff, listen to the music and don’t follow the trendy sound, it’s not about DJ Mag, create your own personal taste about the music and not be heavily influenced by mainstream S#*T. This is the most dedicated crowd. People who listen to minimal techno or house they only listen to the music. People who listen to hardcore they live and breathe hardcore, wake up listening to hardcore, they dress hardcore, they are very dedicated and devoted. And that’s truly a beauty and the best thing in the scene.
Now back to the music, after wrapping up the interviews we ran over to see Sjammienators vs Cryogenic who played a brutal set. This was one of the highlights of the night for me, the beats were so fast and bass so loud people literally could not keep up so the only logical thing to do was to have everyone stand on top of the barricade (sorry Bassnectar fans we do it better and sorry to the barricade). Then, Sefa as always brought a ruthless Frenchcore set way beyond his years.
As the night came to a close, we next went to Partyraiser vs. System Overload vs. Rob GEE, there were so many amazing moments in this set, where to begin. First, getting to see one of my close friends and fellow Americans play never gets old. Second, Rob GEE dropped his new track “IAMME” which was so amazing, the lyrics are incredibly inspiring, and are a good reminder that no matter what life throws our way we always get back up. Rob has an incredible story one of bravery, recovery, and perseverance and his ability to put that energy into his music to inspire his fans is something so beautiful. And third, System Overload dropped Tim Shopp’s track ON THE MAIN STAGE! Nothing makes me happier than watching my friend’s dreams coming true and being right there front and center for all of it.
Squished like a sardine on the barricade raising my fists in the air next to my closest ten thousand friends was one of those coming home moments for me, those moments where you realize why this is so important to you, so special, so sacred. It’s the ability to be able to completely let loose, to find the truest form of yourself that ordinarily is not socially acceptable according to society’s standards and to do it next to your friends (or strangers who are not yet friends).
Everyday life is tough, so much stress, so many responsibilities we all need to find a way to escape, a way to set everything aside for even just a moment. For some people that’s through exercise, others through video games, but for us it’s raving, it’s this music that keeps us going. BKJN parties are always the perfect cocktail of great music, amazing vibes, incredible production, and an insane sound system (need to get new ear plugs remind me later). I highly recommend to my American friends when you’re thinking of coming over for the usual big Q Dance parties this year add a few BKJN ones on your list, you will not regret it. Thank you again to BKJN, Partyraiser, Rob GEE, and everyone who contributed to this article. Until next time!