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Doing it old skool

Author: michelle pirovich
Thursday, 1 August 2002
From its humble beginnings with the dark throbbing of underground parties, to the hand raising euphoria of the late night anthems, Melbournes' techno scene has evolved and refined itself. As its popularity grew, techno became the choice for a new generation of clubbers. Emerging also, was a vibrantly talented group of djs and producers, their skills placing Melbourne right at the top of the global techno scene. From its very instigation has been Richie Rich, founder of Hardware. Countless successful events and club nights can be attributed to the devotion and sheer hard work of Richie and the Hardware team. I talked to Richie about all things techno, the changes, the music, the clubs and its clubbers and even the movie. In this first part of our 3 part mini interview series, Richie and I take a trip down nostalgia lane with everyones favourite old skool party 'Belfast.'

Belfast of course is Melbournes' longest running party, now up to number 10, it has become the definitive old skool party. Paying tribute to all those raw and harsh analogue sounds, samples of sirens and roaring crowds, bleeps, harmonic vocals, piano riffs and strings it always has us throwing down the talc and stomping our happy souls away.

It has been the ability to capture the true essence of the good old days that Richie attributes the success of the Belfast parties to. 'Alot of people have tried to do old skool/retro nights but they haven't quite been able to pull it off, something was always missing. Holding on to all your old records can actually be a big part of it. I know alot of djs who have sold most of their old stuff and now there are big gaps in their collections. I have kept every record I have ever owned, my records are like my photo album.'

With record boxes bursting and time rapidly passing us by what exactly constitutes old skool now- 'Well, we take it back to the old skool breaks of '85 and around '89 of course is where all the rave anthems really happened but now tracks from '93 are being deemed absolute classics, so its getting up there.'

It goes without saying that we all go to Belfast to hear the tracks that changed our lives and will never tire of and Richie knows them better than anyone. I asked Richie which tracks have stood the test of time and will probably continue to be played at Belfasts to come. Quite a task when you really think about it but once Richie got started, the countless tracks that had slipped my mind had me pining for my bandanna and smiley-t, 'There's Underworld who didn't just rise to fame after Trainspotting, anything by Orbital, Stacker Humanoid, CJ Bollands Space 3001, Papua New Guinea, Future Sound of London, Joey Beltram, Mantronix...' and we could just go and on. In fact, most people get so caught up in the nostalgia trip at Belfast that they end up needing to hear everything. 'So many people at the end of the night say to me, but you didn't play such and such or...well we cant play everything, we have 15 years of music and only 8 or so hours to cover it in, but I think we do it pretty well.'

Once again the Belfast dj lineup is a strong one. With all the usual suspects taking to the decks, as well as a few newer members to the scene. 'We want to make sure we give everyone a fair go so we are putting on some fresh new talent, we have Andrew Marsh who will be playing tracks that are a little more recent.' 'Downstairs we have the old skool breaks and hip hop, taking us right back to the days of James Brown and upstairs will take on a slightly different vibe this time, where we will be making trance the order of the day. We really want to make sure we cater to everyones needs.'

Whilst polishing up your old stompin styles don't miss the Wicked Force Breakers who will be treating us to their 15 minute demo which is to be performed in Sydney and Germany for the world 'Battle Of The Year.' and it wouldn't be Belfast without the usual eye candy, guaranteed to leave a smile firmly planted on your<
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