By Michael Eilers
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tucson is known for
having many things maniac city supervisors, pipe-eating CAP water, having more palm trees than Miami but a major dance scene is not apparent. When people think "rave scene," their mind will wander to San Francisco, L.A., Vegas, even Berlin. Aside from a few scattered clubs, the Old Pueblo seems to be a few dance tracks short of a scene. That's about to change.
Six months ago a 2,000 person dance party called Legacy changed all the rules in Tucson and broke ground for a series of similar functions that premiered some very hot DJ talent to extremely enthusiastic crowds. Vibal Funktions, the crew that spawned Legacy and has promoted other events, is preparing to do it again this Saturday with another blowout event: Babyfat.
Chagai (his last name) sums up the goal of Babyfat this way: "We're creating an atmosphere that people can be engulfed in and be a part of. We want to set out a name, to expand the scene to show that this scene will prevail."
Featuring ten DJs, two rooms, laser lighting and 30,000 watts of sound, this is no backyard kegger. Spiced with local talent in all areas, the rave should be a showcase for both Tucson ingenuity and the dance subculture. Billed as an alcohol-free, all-ages event, this all-out dance party will try to blow the Tucson scene wide open.
I asked Theo Panasopolous, another member of the Vibal Funktions crew, what went through his mind when people dismissed dance music as "that techno computer-generated crap." He was enraged.
"People think you just punch in a logarithm and out comes music that is total crap. Techno is not like fractals or computer programs it is creation. The synthesizer is just a tool to create music. Do they think that a computer just fucking cranks out the music automatically? There are human beings behind the beat, with feelings and emotions, trying to express themselves."
While he cooled off, I asked Chagai about his take on techno.
"The bass serves as a hypnotizing, motivating factor, and it puts you in a trance-like state the music functions on a cerebral level. The DJ doesn't have lyrics or singers to get the message across, so they have to create emotion with sound and levels of intensity.
"Oh, and it's really freaking cool," he added with a smirk.
The art of the DJ is arcane and mysterious. Picking from huge stacks of vinyl, they blend, mix, and overlay different sounds and tracks to generate improvised, original music and they do it in the dark, surrounded by smoke machines.
Each has an individual style. "We chose each DJ because of their styles and skills, and we wanted to create a light, happy, energy-filled atmosphere. People are going to hear straight techno, acid jazz, and breakbeat, and they are going to be blown away," Chagai continued.
What about the other raves in the past few months, and more events coming up is there competition? Theo says:
"No, we all talk, say hey, and help promote. At this stage it is more important to grow the scene than outdo everyone."
"Competition is necessary to continue quality events and create a standard but we're not out to get anyone. We're creating a vibe, an energy, and that's an art, and everyone should express themselves," Chagai chimed in.
Inspiration? Chagai said, "We were very influenced by an event called 'Love Parade' in Berlin, that gave us an image of unity and harmony on a huge scale 400,000 people dancing in the streets with a unified purpose"
"Gettin' laid!" Mr. Panasopolous shouts in the background.
It is very important to the Vibal Funktions crew that this be an all-ages, alcohol free event.
"This will be an event for everyone," Theo said, "ravers, teens, students anyone with positive energy and ten bucks."
"Unlike alcohol-related events, our parties promote a positive vibe of cooperation, not anger or competition. Never has their been a fight or a disruption at any of our events," Chagai continued.
What should the first-time raver expect? "You walk in the lights are beautiful 30,000 watts of sound," Theo improvised. "You think, how is this possible? Where the hell have I been living? Why haven't I done this before?"
Where is the event? "The location is kept secret to increase suspense and add mystery to the evening people have to call the number and find out, and that's another level of involvement."
This Saturday the Tucson dance scene continues to evolve, and there are many more events on the horizon. Grab your Halloween costume and jet to the show prepare to experience what Theo calls "the ultimate, kick-ass dance experience."
Call 321-VOID or 321-UFO for more info, or web out at
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