So there I was smack dab in the middle of Paris, checking into my first hotel, which kicked off my 1.5 month Europe backpacking tour. My father was with me, the first 2 days. I left Chicago the night before. The flight was long, and I was wired, or maybe I slept the entire trip? It was Saturday morning in Paris, the Sun was bright and shiny. I was glad, happy, on top of the world. I told my Dad I was going to explore. He suggested I take a nap. I said I would be back later.
My previous, brief excursions to Europe and more importantly the South of France via the US navy around 1996, brought me to chic record shop in Cannes. My ship was anchored offshore. After wandering around looking for a hotel, which were all way out of our budget, we got a train and headed west for 15 minutes. In Nice, we found an inexpensive hotel and a chic record shop for EDM. A flyer told me Richie Hawtin was playing that night at club in Cannes. How convenient, I thought. Also, I saw that France, similar to other European countries at the time, carried a magazine called Flyer.
Back to 1998, my love for Electronic Dance Music was 3.5 years old and running strong. By that time, I learned that trance was my favorite genre, and in 1996 I heard the first sounds of Goa from CDs at a mall in Haifa, Israel. I bought my first pair of 1200s in mid ‘95, etc, etc.
Wandering the streets of Paris that Saturday morning was an adrenaline rush. Speaking no French outside of Wi and NO, I listened to everything and was enchanted. I scoured for signs of the EDM scene. At 1100, I found a recently opened record shop. I wandered in the store to find that ever-true and concise mini-mag called Flyer, which was stacked prominently in front.
A quick grab-and-pull to this weekend’s date (which I can’t precisely remember, either first or second weekend of June 1998) allowed to see my current favorite genre Psy-Trance at an event that night. Total Eclipse(maybe?), some opener, and the headliner: some guy called Simon Posford, whom I never heard of before, were going to play at some Paris address.
The time for the Flyer event came, and I went to the address. I told my father I was going to club in Paris and wouldn’t be back until morning, probably 0600. Upon arriving at the address, I saw it wasn’t a club but the center of a traffic circle. Lots of youngsters looking the scene sat around. Great, I thought, a sketchy map point, the end of the line for this illiterate American. I waited and waited. And waited. Finally 45 minutes later, a car pulled up, and a guy emerged holding strips of paper. All the sitters stood and swarmed him, me included. Within 5 minutes, the 50 or so people vanished. My last thread of hope remained in a small group of 4, who sat unmoved.
I approached them, dumb and blind. English? English? Can I get a ride? Out of the four, one spoke enough English to communicate bits and pieces. They had 2 cars and agreed to drive me there. Sweet, we left 10 minutes later.
The drive along the highway at soaring speeds to the venue was at least 30 to 40 minutes. I thought of my father and how worried he was going to be in the morning when I wasn’t there. The car boomed a good trance DJ mix. Thoughts crossed my mind about walking back to Paris.
It was 2300 as we arrived. The venue, by American Rave standards, was HUGE! It was an indoor arena built for some other purpose. The security and door price were a breeze, compared to the large fees and near strip search, empty all your pockets, and stand over there while we poke and dump your bag all over this table in True American Style.
Inside the arena, hung the largest Psychedelic tapestries I, even to this day, have ever seen. There was a remote-controlled zeppelin snapping flash pictures at the crowd. A free fruit stand welcomed me. The beer was cheap. I was in Love: my first, outside of my house, Full-On Psy-Trance party.
The sound was good. The first act played Chillout. The 2nd act picked up the pace. The 3rd act who I believed to be you, really brought it all out, on the dance floor. There was probably a fourth and maybe a fifth, but after you everything blurred.
I danced until 1100, when the party ended, and we all exited the venue. I sat quietly in the parking lot and relaxed. There were over 10 of us that hung around. A few came up and asked me if I spoke French. I said no in English. Still out of the group, only the original one spoke English to me. I was grateful. He explained (I think) that cars going back to Paris had a different license plate, and I might want to catch a ride with one of them. Feeling safer with him, and learning he would eventually go back to Paris around 1400, I stayed with his group and made the nearby grass whistle.
I arrived back at the hotel at 1500. My father was a wreck but relieved to see me alive. I told him the whole story.
Thanks for reading.
It was probably around 2001, while reading the liner notes on my Lone Deranger LP, I spotted the name Simon Posford. I pulled out that Flyer to Verify and froze.
Since then I have seen you in the following places:
Puerto Rico 2000: large multi-act, all the headliners of the day, but only about 300 people showed up.
WEMF in Canada 2001: a large outdoor multi-genre event outside of Toronto I think.
Arkansas 2007: a dusty, rock laden place in a picturesque part of mid-South USA. It was my first Shpongle set. I saw you there waiting for your turn to play, while listening to the most wretched pre-Shongle set. The DJ was playing slamming Trauma Trance. Stupid Americans. I thought about telling you the above story then, but I was too shy.
Chicago 2008: the Abbey Pub, with ghastly sound, even your pleads to the mixing board for more Bass went nowhere.
If you play in Chicago again, and please do, Choose Smart Bar, they have Funktion One sound, and its so sweet. Also, they have no dress code. Sonotheque also has Funktion One, but their layout prohibits a good dance floor. Sound Bar also Funktion One, but their door turns away casual dress, especially my Keens.
Thanks for posting those Youtubers about your studio layout, very inspiring. I look forward to more of them.
You might like this guy from NZ: He has a good idea for a live setup too.
To this day, I use your sound creativity as a reference point when I hear everything else.