"It was never my intention to become the father of some music style. But one thing i have to say: I play music, I don’t make music, I select the music and try to create an atmosphere with ups & downs. Thats what is missing nowadays, there are no intro’s anymore or a nice ending, only beatmixing. In past you could play, a strange undanceble record just to clear the dancefloor and start again from zero. There were always weirdo’s who kept dancing while that undanceble record was playing. I loved the atmosphere in those days it was dirty, decadent, strange & uneasy." -Ronny Harmsen, former DJ at Ancienne Belgique

—Interview by Benny de Konick for In&Out Magazine, exact date unknown but late 80’s.

New Beat Flashback. This video depicts the opening night of Club Prestige and interviews some of the key people in the New Beat scene.

All photos of Prestige taken by DJ b-fficient, posted in Club Prestige facebook group at: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=69336791544

The New Beat of Belgium: Boccaccio, Ancienne Belgique, Club Prestige: 1985-1989

The Belgian musical movement known as new beat was in its hey day during the late 1980’s, a contemporary of the British orbital rave and acid house scenes. Like acid house, new beat brought more and more people into the clubs, received national media attention and spawned commercially successful musical acts and nightclubs that reached an ever widening audience. What made new beat significant is the fact that it was a home-grown scene, a rarity in Belgium which is so often influenced by it’s nearest neighbors France and The Netherlands, as well as England and the United States. When new beat started to make waves in mid-eighties Belgium, it heralded the first time that modern Belgian music received significant radio play or appeared in great numbers in the Belgian pop charts. The sheer amount of records that could be called “new beat” that were produced from 1986-1989 is in the thousands. Three nightclubs were at the center of the new beat movement —the Boccaccio in Destelbergen (a town just outside of Ghent), the Ancienne Belgique in Antwerp and Club Prestige, also in Antwerp.

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(Source: sites.google.com)

Light-up dancefloor at the RoXY for the “Night Fever” theme, early 90’s. Photo from http://bintphotobooks.blogspot.com/2010/02/nightlife-club-roxy-amsterdam-in-90s.html

Light-up dancefloor at the RoXY for the “Night Fever” theme, early 90’s. Photo from http://bintphotobooks.blogspot.com/2010/02/nightlife-club-roxy-amsterdam-in-90s.html

The roXY, Singel 465-467. Amsterdam, 1987-1999

In the year 2000 I was living in Amsterdam and spent most of my time at a coffeeshop whose name I don’t even remember. This was definitely a locals’ spot, with a lot of comings-and-goings between the shop and the tattoo parlor across the street. I was about a foot shorter than anyone else who frequented the place and I tottered on a stool at the counter for hours every afternoon, drinking looza juices and chatting with people. This is the first place I ever heard about DMT. One of the house dealers told me that when he smoked it he met his dead father on the other side. A skinny, bugged out looking dude, the DMT guy was my favorite dealer there and he would often regale me with tales of his wild youth wasted on the Amsterdam club scene.

The number one club in the old days, he told me, was a semi-mythical place called The RoXY. Revered by gay and straight alike, the RoXY was opened during the Netherlands’ second summer of love in 1987, an extravagant discoteque that stood at the  geographical heart of the city where the Singel canal meets the Muntplein. The club both began and ended its life according to the motto of its main impresario, the artist Peter Giele. Ab igne ignem capere —a latin phrase stating “one fire ignites another” —eerily prescient as the club burned to the ground at Giele’s memorial celebration on June 21, 1999.

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Footage of N.A.S.A. and Liquid Sky, 1994 Australian TV show

Scotto’s awesome footage of everyone leaving the party at 6am, only to find it’s been snowing.

N.A.S.A. at The Shelter 157 Hudson, 1992

N.A.S.A. stands for Nocturnal Audio+Sensory Awakening. The N.A.S.A. crew was among the first in New York to bring the rave experience indoors. Started in 1992, N.A.S.A. took place every Friday night at Club Shelter which was located in the Soho loft building that had previously held Area and would go on to host a club called Vinyl. The music played at N.A.S.A. is a total time capsule view of America’s early 90’s romance with rave: Moby, The Prodigy and DJ’s like Josh Wink, Keoki, Frankie Bones, Soul Slinger and Scotto, who organized the party. Integral to N.A.S.A.’s success was its lack of alcohol, which made it accessible to teenagers. A young Chloe Sevigny worked the coat check and most of the downtown cool kids came through at one time or another. For $9 before midnight and $14 after, N.A.S.A. was open until 8 or 9am and provided breakfast. Sometimes there would be an afterhours until noon the next day at another club on the West Side. The scene at The Shelter on Friday nights was pure unbridled insanity and the drug of choice was Ecstasy.

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That night showed me how far you could take people through the combination of music and drugs. Right to the extremes, that’s what rave is for—Storm rave, a kiddie candy rave, any rave. You are alive! Alive! Alive! Us ravers, we were just a buncha dumb American kids. We weren’t historicizing; nothing really mattered to us except for the present. We had no fear of our future, and our past was irrelevant. All we wanted was what we had.

—Tommie Sunshine, speaking about his first Storm Rave experience in Staten Island, 1992. From the book Rave America: New School Dancescapes by Mireille Silcott