Rave culture’s been inspiring music, people and art ever since it first emerged in the late ‘80s, but it’s also had a seismic influence on fashion too. To celebrate the launch of Armani’s brand-new rave-inspired SmileyWorld collection, we headed to A|X Armani Exchange in central London to catch NTS resident Lupini in conversation with Ploy and re:ni (two of our favourite left-field techno producers) to talk about some of the rave tunes that have meant the most to them.
Playing some of their top cuts on a single Technics deck (before laying down a set each to a packed crowd later on in the store) we found out which records filled them with joy, made them cry, pulled them out of a tight spot in a DJ set and heard which tracks first ever got them into raving. Here’s what they had to say.
A record that got you into raving
re:ni: Chase and Status – Take Me Away. I’m not going to pretend it’s some super trendy thing that got me into raving. I grew up in the countryside and I remember the first time I managed to go to a rave and this tune was playing. No one forgets their first rave so this track always stands out for me!
Ploy: Adam F – Brand New Funk. A friend’s brother lent me a CD compilation when I was around 14 and this was the first track on it. It’s drum ‘n’ bass and I didn’t really understand it at that point but I’d listen to it on the bus all the time. Eventually, it led to me going to a rave.
A record that encapsulates the joy of rave culture
re:ni: Andrea Parker – Melodius Thunk. I bought this in Rarekind Records in Brighton and whenever I get asked about influences and what inspired me to do what I do, I always bring this record up. Raving for me is about going into a different world, behind a cloud of smoke and this record sums that feeling up. It’s so simple, stripped back and minimalist but the sound’s so amazingly designed.
Ploy: Paul Johnson – Give Me Ecstasy. It’s super sad that Paul died last year. This is an amazing track about taking ecstasy that came out on Dance Mania in the mid ’90s. Paul is such a massive loss for the scene.
A record that makes you cry in the club
re:ni: Urban Tribe – Her. This is by DJ Stingray under his Urban Tribe guise. I was working an office job when I first heard this on my headphones and I remember reloading it instantly and thinking, “I can’t wait to hear this in a club or play it out.” It’s so deep and technically sharp but has a lot of emotion.
Ploy: Oh Yoko – Seashore (DJ Sprinkles’ ambient ballroom). I’ve never actually cried in the club but I find this record to be super emotional. It’s the kind of track I’ll play on a warm-up sometimes. It’s absolutely beautiful.
A record you use to rescue the dancefloor
re:ni: Airgoose – Outernational Wah. This is actually a record my dad and his production partner made in the ‘90s. They wanted to make a house banger and I think they succeeded. I was playing a party in South London and someone posted this on the Facebook group for the party and one of my friends commented: “Oh my god, that’s re:ni’s dad!” Eventually, the guy who posted it, who runs the record label Seven Hills, ended up reissuing it. Nicholas Lutz played it at Houghton. There’s been this weird serendipity to it.
A record you love ending your set on
re:ni: Swayzak – Illegal (BiggaBush remix). This is another record my dad made. It’s a remix of the Swayzak tune Illegal and has this spoken word bit by the poet Benjamin Zephaniah. Whenever I’m ending a set, I always feel it’s good to really bring the tempo and the energy down and this works perfectly.
Ploy: YT – England A Me Yard. This is a track I finished on recently when I was playing in Japan. It’s a UK-centric, dub reggae record and if you’re abroad, it’s nice to bring a flavour of where you live.