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In The Midnight Lands

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24. It was surreal, horrible, the worst of all possible luck.



"NINE O'CLOCK check in boys, a few words for our adoring audience please." I brought my camcorder to bear on Joseph and Tim.

Joseph raised his arm in mock triumph. "It's nine o’clock, it's New Years Eve 1999, and it's fucking pissing down."  

"Yeah boi!" Tim added climbing over Joseph all gleeful. We collapsed into hysterics. It couldn't be denied, it was fucking pissing down.

The rain had been bad throughout the day but ever since the night it had turned torrential. Where we sheltered, beyond the light of the food tent, a silvery curtain now cataracted into the earth.

And this the bigger problem, for the sheer amount of water that had fallen, combined with the poor drainage and the enthusiastic dancing of the thousands of Gatherers - those undaunted embracers of all eventualities - had turned many areas into muddy bogs, especially the Trance Zone. 

In some places it was now calf deep and spreading, eating up the grass like erosion, like flesh eating bacteria.

A quagmire, actually, with most having given up the fight to stay clean, people sitting down to make mud castles or practice swan dives, even break-dance in it. And the water pooling, countless tents periscoping out of scummy ponds, and of course, the kicker, ever since the unseen sun had set, now bitterly cold.

It was surreal, horrible, the worst of all possible luck, and yet . . . and yet . . . I was having the time of my life.
The location, the open air, the good, the great friends, the dance arenas, the sound systems, the DJs, the sets, the drugs, the performance artists, the other Gatherers, it was all melding into one exceptional atmosphere - there was true-hearted connection, community, solidarity, beauty, truth, love, all of it, all of humanities better angels concentrated and improved - and nothing could break us or our resolve to see out the millennium in style.
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      By GALLEON
      In the lead up to their Australian tour and the release of their new album, Cut The Strings, Ozclubbers' @GALLEON chats with Booka Shade about their music, the album, and just life in general!

      We warmly welcome you both Arno & Walter back to Australia for your run of dates in March. You have frequented our shores regularly in the last 10 years. What is it that keeps bringing you back down under?
      Ever since we first came in 2007, we have found an enthusiastic and loyal fanbase who not only cherishes the classic tracks, but also embraces more recent songs such as LOVE INC .
      We played some of the biggest festivals such as big day out, future fest etc, but also enjoy the headline club shows, like Melbourne last weekend and the ones coming up in Brisbane, Auckland and Adelaide (during fringe festival) .
      As the new album is only coming out in a couple of weeks, we play a lot of unreleased album songs in Australia, and it´s great to see the reaction of the crowd.
      Your previous live shows have never disappointed and always left the listener wanting more. Can you let us in on a few secrets as to what we might experience this time around?
      I guess it´s not really a secret when I say that we simply LOVE performing on a stage. that´s what we are really good at (together with producing music I hope) .
      And on this tour, also because the sound of the album is more ´back to the club´, our setup is very condensed , we have all channels for synthesizers, effects, drums under control on stage, we can react quickly and can interact more spontaneously , which gives the set great energy .
      With your last album Galvany Street, you took a different approach to your previous albums, which included the use of more hardware and  featured various collaborations. Does Cut The Strings have any similarities to Galvany Street or have you gone back to a predominantly club approach?
      After our 2013 album EVE we had the feeling that we had said everything in terms of bass lines and riffs. we had the feeling we would only repeat ourselves if we continued in our ´usual´ way, and as artists, we definitely always want to progress, evolve, not repeat.
      Which sounds risky, because we have a career we could perhaps simply continue for years and years.
      But that would be too easy …. :-)
      So on GALVANY STREET, we made an unusual step and produced an album outside of the techno box, no techno 4/4 beats , no ´booka synth riffs´ , a lot of vocals, even pop song writing.
      Most of the vocal tracks are together with Craig Walker, former member of the UK band ARCHIVE. btw he´s got a new project coming up called THEM THERE.
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      After the galvany street the only guideline we had was that we wanna go back to more clubbier music and that we don‘t wanna work so crazy long on tracks as we did in the past.it should be more spontaneous and open minded.
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      But then the GALVANY STREET project came in between and we put the song aside for a while, and picked up work in the autumn of last year.
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      We used some instruments that we didn‘t use for a long time ,  for example an old EMS vocoder which we bought from Ian Stanley a former member of the 80‘s group tears for fears.
      You can hear it on tyrell and of course EMS love.this little box has a very special sound.
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      How do you both remain resilient and at the top of your game while touring given the long hours and continual amount of work needing to be done to make your performances so memorable?
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