2010 was probably one of the most fun years of my life and my ever growing love of electronic music and attending “raves” played a big part in that. It was of course the music that brought me in at first but it became so much more than that. I attended several events that were thrown by various production companies over the past year but I want to take a moment to really give props to one in particular, B.A.D.ASS Raves. I am just so impressed with the amount of time, energy, and heart they put into their events. And, they’re in it for the right reasons, not the money. They take their party themes to the next level and really just create a whole alternate universe where you can be and do whatever you want. It feels like one big family at their events where everyone looks out for each other. I’m sure that the people I’ve met and the bonds created at their events will last a life time.
Chad (DJ 2Rip) one of the founding members of B.A.D.ASS agreed to share some his stories and experiences with our readers. I sincerely hope that if you’re a DJ, production company, club, record label, promoter, electronic music event attendee, or anyone involved with this scene in anyway, that you take the time to read the interview below and show your appreciation and hopefully lend a hand in helping them achieve their goals and vision for 2011. My hope is that as the electronic music scene grows, there will be more honest, passionate, and dedicated production companies out there like B.A.D.ASS. It’s important to be passionate about whatever it is that you do, because you’ll work a million times harder at making your dreams and goals a reality! Don’t forget….P.L.U.R.
How, when, and why did B.A.D.ASS get started?
B.A.D.ASS was formed in 2004 when a small group of dj’s in Pittsburgh came together to form a dj collective called “Broke Ass DJ’s Association,” which was headed up by DVS. They had asked me to join the crew for upwards of 4 years since I was tight with all of them but I was focusing on building up the District Ignition name in DC while running Glow at both Fur & Ibiza. In 2008, DVS told me about a very lofty goal he had come up with for the Broke Ass DJ’s Association which involved uniting the best promoters & underground dj’s around the country to form a network which would allow the crew to grow nationwide. I gladly accepted the challenge and started “B.A.D.ASS” in the DC/Baltimore region before shortly expanding our reach to 8 other states.
I understand that B.A.D.ASS is now comprised of several affiliated production companies and DJs all working towards the same goal. One in particular that I always see involved with your events is “Slow Kids.” Tell us a little bit about your relationship with them.
Various local production companies had talked about working together or developing the communication process between crews for years. As far back as I could remember, each crew was trying to monopolize their regions and competition was running high. When I brought B.A.D.ASS to the DC area I reached out to crews like 3D Productions, Buzzlife, Good Vibes, and Steez Promo to align our goals and find ways to help each other. My promise to them was that I would include them in my decision-making processes. Some were more receptive than others but we received support for everything that we had done and I made sure to reciprocate by assisting them with their promotional efforts.
I met the Slow Kids when I was asked to help promote a renegade party they were hosting with LowViz called End Of The Maze. The three companies joined forces shortly after to host a 4th of July renegade party called Fiyah Works. After that night, the Slow Kids & B.A.D.ASS team decided to join forces on one final renegade of the summer known as Divine Moment of Truth. There was so much that happened at Divine Moment of Truth on an emotional & spiritual level that the two crews became inseperable. We each occasionally do our own thing, but we will always have each other’s back.
Some of your events in the past year have been “ Big Dub Candy Mountain ,” “DMT,” “Psychedelic Dreamscape,” and “Mushroom Kingdom .” How do you come up with the themes and ideas for your events?
Our goal since bringing B.A.D.ASS to DC/Baltimore was to give people out-of-this-world experiences. The plan started off with us booking events in venues that have been used for other parties, but showcasing our own artistic ideas. Psychedelic Dreamscape was a play on awakening the conscious mind, which had gone hand in hand with some spiritual progressions some members of B.A.D.ASS had made around that time. We had become very interested in the processes that took places in the subconscious which led to conscious reactions – a lot of this can be discovered in dreams, hence Dreamscape. So we decorated the party to have representations of various dreams sequences. This idea took a turn toward the darker side when we hosted Psychedelic Nightmare for Halloween.
Mushroom Kingdom was simply an idea of throwing a Mario Bros rave, which has become quite popular lately around the country as other companies are throwing their own versions. Mushroom Kingdom was our spin on the video game, obviously making some stabs at what might have been the magical ingredient in those mushrooms.
Finally, the Big Dub name came from an old song called Big Rock Candy Mountain but we made a play on the name. We then combined it with the twisted YouTube adventure video of Charlie the Unicorn who was taken to Candy Mountain.
On average, how many people and hours go into putting on events like “ Big Dub Candy Mountain ” and “Psychedelic Nightmare?”
Those were two of our largest events and required a lot of set-up. We generally work with a crew of anything from 20 to 40 people. Our average light, sound & decor installations takes about 24 hours but we spend at least 2 months making the decorations for each event. The conceptual phase for Psychedelic Nightmare was 5 months.
What kind of issues do you run into when putting on events like this?
The issues can be limit-less. We’ve had major delays on installations, one of which was at Psychedelic Nightmare which caused us to open 30 minutes later than we had advertised. We had run equipment tests all day long and everything was working perfectly but just as we were ready to open the doors, we had a major malfunction. We also ran into a lot of issues leading up to Big Dub Candy Mountain when one of our promoters, who meant well, leaked the location information to the public. A malicious outsider used the information to contact the police and scare the venue, which led to us losing our location.
I think our most notable issues that we’ve run into was with Divine Moment of Truth. We ran into problems with our original location and had to change to a new venue 2 weeks before the event was to take place. The new location was a clearing down a path in the woods that was full of debris scattered around 6 foot high weeds & thorns. We spent the entire 2 weeks, including the day of the party mowing the land and pulling weeds up with our bare hands. Since we had 2 weeks to promote the new location we were positive that only 150 people were going to show up. Out of nowhere we had 600 people in the venue by 8pm on the night of the party with the parking lot crammed nearly 100 cars over capacity and not enough staff to maintain order or fix the chaotic situation. By midnight we reached nearly 1000 people and people were parking on the streets. What almost cost us the event was when a patron shined a laser pointer at an airplane and the pilot took aerial photos of the rave and sent them to the FAA. We were honestly lucky that Divine Moment of Truth turned out the way it did. Despite the issues I mentioned, it was one of the best raves I have ever seen take place and the positive vibes were the most intense that I’ve ever felt in my life.
What is the most memorable or craziest thing that has ever happened at one of your events?
At Divine Moment of Truth, the police entered the party with drug dogs with a clear intent of shutting us down and clearing everyone out. I ran to the main stage to make an announcement that the police had entered the venue and that we were going to close the dance stages & clear the parking lot. At this moment, huge groups of our partygoers began barking at the dogs. The dogs sat down and wouldn’t move until the police took them back to the cars. The entire party then erupted into song, singing “Lean On Me” while the officer I was standing next to dropped his jaw to the ground, looked at me and said, “This was one hell of a party, wasn’t it?” The officer then started to walk away, turned around again and said, “It looks like everything is okay here. Just don’t turn the dance stages back on and everyone can stay.” This led to a massive drum circle that lasted until late the next day, completely saving the event and turning our rave into our very own magical, tribal gathering.
What is your favorite event (B.A.D.ASS event or other) that you’ve ever attended and why?
I really feel like all of our 2010 events had their own personality & story. My favorite event that I have ever attended was a cross between Big Adventure and Intergalactic Adventure – both were held in Pittsburgh and were just absolutely magical. These two events inspired some of the ideas that come out in our B.A.D.ASS events, like the balloon drop at Nightmare to the bubbles at Dreamscape.
What is the whole “Party.” thing about?
PARTY started as an inside joke between myself & Steve Bugbee. He was shocked that B.A.D.ASS would only release limited information like date & city but not announce venue or lineup and still get over 1000 RSVPs on Facebook. I laughed and said “I wonder if people would RSVP if we just showed them a blank piece of paper that said PARTY on it.” We wanted to see if the idea would catch on so we tested it by getting the B.A.D.ASS & Slow Kids teams to set their default photo on Facebook to a picture of them holding up a blank piece of paper that had “PARTY” written in arial font. The idea started spreading virally as Steve & I found ourselves looking around the internet and people we didn’t even know had made similar default photos. That was when I decided we would make that my birthday rave….the main flyer was also a blank piece of paper with PARTY on the front and then we released the lineup & RSVP info on the back.
I saw that you’re looking to expand outside of this region and already have some plans in place. What cities are you planning on going to next and how can other inquiring promo companies join the cause?
Great question! We are actively looking to add Minneapolis, Phoenix, San Diego, Boston, Chicago & NYC but we would never limit ourselves. We currently have chapters in San Francisco, Florida, Ohio, Pittsburgh, and obviously Virginia/Maryland/DC.
We are open to any promotional crew provided they meet the following criteria: They are in the business for the right reasons, they throw reputable events, respect their contracts, and throw enough events in one year that they can be considered “active.” I handle the majority of all expansion inquiries so anyone can message me at badassra[email protected] to discuss their plans or ideas.
What advice do you have for individuals or groups looking to start their own promo/event companies?
I’ve been through the best & the worst and have witnessed the same for others. Be creative & push the envelope, don’t over-saturate the market, and leave the ego behind. The best advice I can give too is that the world can sense how much passion you put into an event. If you half-ass it, then you will see a half-ass result.
What do you think makes this scene so great?
There is the potential to change lives from a promoter standpoint. Each production team has the capability to be the underlying source for a lot of friendships as well as amazing memories. Sometimes it goes past just throwing a party.
What events do you have planned for 2011 and how can those interested get more info and an invite?
We have a fan page on Facebook if you search “B.A.D.A.S.S. RAVES” but all of the real information is kept secret for our email list subscribers. You can subscribe by emailing me at [email protected]
And lastly, anybody you want to give a shout out and/or thanks to?
I want to thank everyone we’ve come in contact with this past year. A lot went into making our events what they were this year and a good portion of that was the people that attended or lent a hand in even the slightest way.
Join the B.A.D.ASS Facebook group here: B.A.D.A.S.S. RAVES . Make sure to check out all the fun pics from their past events!
I want to thank Chad for taking the time to share his stories with us and for everything they are doing for the scene. I can’t wait to see what B.A.D.ASS Raves has in store for the future! Much love and respect!
As you can imagine, Chad (DJ 2Rip) brings the same passion to the table when he DJS. He’s not afraid to switch things up and cross through several different genres and emotions while taking his crowds higher and higher, annihilating the dance floor with every transition. Make sure to catch him on his Annihilating Rhythm 3.0 tour. Below is a flyer with just a few of the confirmed dates for the tour.
Here’s a link to his summer mix and keep an eye out for Vol. 3 coming soon: Annihilating Rhythm Vol. 2
-EA ([email protected])