Electric Independence

A raver’s half-remembered recollections from a decade of electronic music and all the drug parties that entails. Read The Full Article on Vice.com

1. Daft Punk trying their robot helmets on for size in Los Angeles, November 2000

I used to buy acid from an old trance DJ. Judging by his wispy demeanour, he was a connoisseur. I’d first encountered him at an all-night free party in the summer of 2001 in a derelict depot that backed on to the Thames, right next to Battersea Power Station. I was fuelled by powdered mushrooms that night, and remember sitting on a surprisingly plush sofa in the depot’s car park the following morning, glugging a bottle of champagne and thinking life doesn’t get any better than this.

3. Aphex Twin at Cocadisco, London, October 2003.

So the DJ and I would meet in the afternoons for a cup of tea in a café by Waterloo station, and as he would tell me softly about his most recent trip to Thailand with his mad staring eyes and boundless enthusiasm, I’d inspect the little plastic vial of Ice Drops breath freshener that contained 3.2ml of what he promised was “California Sunshine” and what I called liquid bliss.

A drop or two on the wrist of this brownish juice, when licked, would provide hours of pleasure: an ecstasy-like rush, giggles, the brilliance turned up on your senses – everything you looked at had the shimmering quality of satin. Everything was beautiful. Never a bad trip. No such thing as a comedown. Or so I thought.

5. Richie Hawtin DJing at some party on Beat Street, Berlin, in January 2005.

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