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Michael Tullberg featured in PHOBLOGRAPHER!

Great news! DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM author Michael Tullberg has been featured in the big photogreaphy blog THE PHOBLOGRAPHER!

In the article, Michael talks about his photographer, especially his classic rave material from the 90s and 00s. Great stuff!

DFTS 2018 Holiday Pricing 1 FLAT

HUGE holiday savings on “DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM”!

BIG NEWS! It’s once again that most favorite time of the year–the holiday season! And we’ve got an INSANE holiday price drop for America’s #1 rave coffee table photo book! You can now get a copy of “DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM” for only $19.99, plus shipping! That’s right, the ultimate rave holiday gift, for just twenty bucks!!

😁😁😁😁😁😁

This offer is ONLY good here on the “DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM” web site!

We strongly urge people to order ASAP, as the USPS shipping service we use is slower than Priority Mail or FedEx. Just go to the “Order Book” section in the site’s top menu. We recommend that your latest possible shipping date be December 18th, so as to give enough time for the package to arrive by Christmas. So don’t wait!!!

DFTS 2018 Holiday Pricing 1 FLAT

Some words of praise for the book!

THUMP (VICE): “Tullberg’s collection captures the spirit of the American ’90s rave scene in a way that transcends location. Perhaps it’s because his original style of using long-exposures to capture the kinetic energy of endless hours on darkened dance floors illuminated the scene before the introduction of the epic crane shot.”

LA WEEKLY: “Tullberg does a good job of capturing the scene — the superstar DJs, the club kids, the chilled-out crews, the pro-rave demonstrations — but more importantly, he pulls the viewer into the parties. Light refracts, piercing images like those moments when your eyes have been open for far too long. Scenes morph into vortices that blur at the edges, like your memories will the next day. In Tullberg’s photos, faces melt and hands multiply. They are photos that make you feel like you are in this moment that you hope will never end.”

MIXMAG.NET: “A photobook from electronic music photojournalist Michael Tullberg showcases images of the glory days of the American rave scene, before EDM was even a twinkle in Steve Aoki’s eye. ‘Dancefloor Thunderstorm: Land Of The Free, Home Of The Rave‘ charts the history of the underground dance movement during the 90s and 00s before it was dwarfed by the stadium EDM concerts that take place today.”

DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM lost chapter – raving in the EDM era

Hey all, got something interesting for you guys. We went digging through the archives recently and found this 2013 piece that was supposed to be the basis of the book’s “Rave Scene Today” chapter. When we put the book together, we went with a much smaller entry in the end, and as you’ll see we had a lot of Michael’s initial words end up being cut out. We’ve restored the chapter here for your reading pleasure.

 

“Although electronic music has grown and prospered, today the American rave scene is quite different from what it was in the Nineties.  It would be great to be able to say that the rave scene shot ever upwards, achieving success following unimpeded success until it reached the glorious heights it was always destined to.  Well, that’s a great story, but it’s not what happened.  Yes, today EDM is flourishing across America, but this didn’t happen overnight, and is in fact a fairly recent development.  Prior to this, however, the rave scene began to change in some very fundamental ways, which gradually brought the era of the Second Wave to a close.  What followed was a period of several years during which the focus of what would become EDM moved away from raves and more towards larger commercial success in bigger venues, even as it continued to come under attack in the press.

Many of the parties that flourished during that period are now gone, the ones remaining mostly being annual massives that have proved to be commercially successful enough to ensure not only their survival, but growth as well.  One of the reasons for this success is that most of these parties aren’t called “raves” any more, but rather “electronic music festivals”, taking place in enormous stadiums and expo grounds—traditionally the home of mainstream concert entertainment.  The most successful ones, like EDC and Miami’s Ultra Festival, have not only exploded in both size and production value, but now tour the country annually, bringing the party home to thousands of new fans.  Meanwhile, the current cream of artists that headline these festivals like Skrillex, Steve Aoki and Deadmau5 have finally begun to achieve success on the mainstream pop charts.

By contrast, the smaller parties, many of which proved to be non-sustainable over the long haul, receded for several years.  Today, they’ve made a steady comeback, but like the massives, they’re not as underground as they were back in the day.  Even the Monday Social currently resides within the walls of one of Hollywood’s many upscale “ultra lounges”. The fact that more above-the-line clubs are now readily accepting this music is encouraging, but again, the underground hipness and edge has been eroded away somewhat.  Yes, the music has spread and become very successful…but it’s not the same.

There were several catalysts for these changes.  The three major ones coincided at the beginning of the new millennium, and their combined influence pretty much left the scene unable to operate as it was, kicking off the changes that would eventually steer the music in the direction that it follows today.  To start with, there was a new police and media crackdown, which was probably somewhat inevitable given the continuing success of the scene.  The police finally woke up to what was going on around them, and you saw more parties being raided and stopped.  This in turn made it more difficult for event organizers to locate good, “safe” locations that hadn’t been discovered or tainted yet.

Looking back, in a way it was amazing that the scene did as well as it did in L.A. for such a long period of time.  I mean, it all happened right under the noses of the L.A.P.D., and for the most part they seemed almost oblivious to the whole thing.  It only took, oh…about ten years for them to fully catch on!  They could have shut the whole scene down in a matter of months if they had just bothered to pay attention to the underground record stores who had the rave fliers sitting right up front on their racks.  It wouldn’t have been terribly difficult for the police to put two and two together, and just follow the phone information lines…but they almost never did.  I’d like to think it was because they had higher priorities at the time, like dealing with one of the highest murder rates in the nation!  But at the same time, I also chalk it up to being largely ignorant of sources of information that were right at their fingertips.

Second, following a media uproar that followed in the wake of increased drug confiscations and a small number of truly regrettable (and perfectly avoidable) deaths at various parties around the country, new legislation entitled the Reducing Americans’ Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act—a.k.a. the RAVE Act—was introduced in 2002.  Sponsored by then-Senator Joe Biden, this Act, though no doubt well-meaning in the minds of its authors, was seen as draconian by those in the scene as it went out of its way to target both venue owners and promoters for hosting events that authorities claimed were designed specifically for drug use.  In theory, venue owners could also be prosecuted for throwing parties containing “rave paraphernalia” such as water bottles, glow sticks and pacifiers. The Act was initially rejected by the U.S. Senate, but then was passed later under a new name, the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act, only after it was attached by Senator Biden as a rider to the bill that created the AMBER Alert system.

The fact that the Act has been faced with successful legal challenges since then is an indicator to some that it may well be unenforceable. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Act is still on the books, but has very rarely been used, perhaps for that very reason.  It is noteworthy that the Act has not been used even in the wake of recent rave-associated controversies, such as the unfortunate events (over two hundred arrests, one hundred hospitalizations and one death ) which occurred at the 2010 edition of EDC.  Nevertheless, in its early years it created headaches for several promoters, most notably the famous New Orleans promoter “Disco Donnie” Estopinal, whose troubles were chronicled in the documentary “Rise”.  Faced with the prospect of possible criminal prosecution (and the high legal bills that would accompany such prosecution), many would-be promoters decided that facing such a backlash just wasn’t worth it.  This was true not just in Southern California, but around the nation.

The third reason was the most important one, as least as far as Hollywood was concerned: the major clubs finally began to allow rave-quality music within their walls.  One of the main instigators of this shift was Dave Dean, the club producer and promoter who is the brains behind Giant, the superclub that opened in 2000 which really kicked the doors in.  This was thanks to the extremely high caliber of talent they brought in on a regular basis—the cream of the crop of the rave DJs.  Starting out in Circus on Santa Monica Boulevard, Giant became a raging success very quickly, sending a clear signal to the other venue owners that yes, they could indeed make money off dance music that wasn’t the musical equivalent of flat, warm diet cola.  Big-name DJs would indeed draw large crowds, who in turn would run up large bar bills.  This led to the opening of new big clubs like Avalon and Vanguard, and eventually to the eclipse of the rave scene.  After all, it was no longer necessary for city-dwellers to go out to some distant location for the music—it was finally right in their own neighborhoods, especially when the smaller clubs eventually began jumping on the bandwagon as well.  With the demand for such high-quality music finally being met in the city, the rave scene became less necessary as a musical outlet, and it began shrinking as a result.

The makeup of the new superclubs’ audience began to change as well.  At first, it was made up mainly of hardcore electronic music fans that were intimately knowledgeable about the music and the scene…in other words, transplanted ravers.  As time passed, however, the audience began to change as more and more “casual” clubbers found their way in, turning the crowd into an increasingly mainstream one that bore less and less resemblance to the following that had made the rave scene as successful as it was.  And although all music scenes change and eventually run their course over time, it was still difficult for me personally to watch an incredible moment in West Coast pop culture slowly pass by the wayside.

There seems to be a sort of re-evaluation going on nowadays by certain senior members of the electronic music scene that the whole thing was all about the drugs.  Sorry, I don’t buy it…I was there.  I’m not going to claim that the rave scene was some idealistic musical and social crusade for the betterment of mankind or anything, but to state that it was all about Ecstasy is like claiming that the Sixties were only about LSD, or that the Eighties were all about cocaine.  An easy pat statement to make, but not true.  There were plenty of ravers who didn’t do drugs at all, and besides, if the music was shit, there would be no reason for all these people to gather regularly in the first place.  I mean, did all those devoted fans keep returning week after week, simply for drugs?  Would people like Jason Bentley have staked their professional reputations on this music if that was the case?

Where are the rave DJs now?  Many of them are still out there, making their rounds across the globe, living as high-tech traveling troubadours.  The most successful of the lot now do soundtrack work, commercial themes, and play to super-opulent clubs in New York, Las Vegas, Dubai, and other big cities around the world.  It’s a long way from where they all came from, and although I recognize that one of the points of commercial success is to get out of the dirt and into a decent place to live, all the same it’s become something that at times seems to share little in common with those glory days when the community all pulled together and pushed forward.

The fans who made up the Second Wave are still around, though almost none of them still call themselves ravers today, if for no other reason than it’s incredibly hard to lead a lifestyle based on partying.  Most of them are still fans of the music, and many still go out from time to time.  Some of them fell out of the scene for one reason or another, and some of them simply grew up and moved on.  This change was inevitable—after all, no scene remains the same in the end.  However, the rave scene proved to be resilient enough so that it could survive the loss of some of its earlier fans…which enabled it to produce a Third Wave, which is driving EDM forward today.

As the second decade of this millennium progresses, America has finally joined the ranks of countries that feature electronic music as a significant part of their pop culture.  Big-name DJs that cut their teeth in the rave scene now play regularly in cities nationwide, and the up-and-comers in Southern California now have a stable local circuit where they can hone their skills.  A new generation of dance music fans has established itself, a generation with little or no experience with the rave scene as it was in the underground days—though that doesn’t appear to be much of an issue.  Even though the conditions that existed that spawned the First and Second Waves no longer exist, this new rave generation has grown and adapted to this new environment just fine.  The fact that mainstream mags like Rolling Stone, SPIN and others are finally featuring electronic music artists on a regular basis is proof that the days of EDM not being able to carve out its own niche are long gone.  The fact that this generation has emerged and started this Third Wave that we’re experiencing now is pretty clear evidence that in the end, the rave scene has done its job, and done it well—and that American pop culture is better off for it.”

(final chapter, pt. 2)

“If you thought back then that there were no opportunities for advancement in the rave world, you were dead wrong.  Consider this list of people in the scene who made a future for themselves…”

  • DJ Paul Oakenfold: Not only the biggest DJ/producer in the world, but assembler of film soundtracks galore.  Often opens for Madonna on her world tours.  Residences in Las Vegas at Rain.  Jets around the world on a constant basis. Almost certainly the biggest recognizable name in electronic music today.
  • Pasquale Rotella: Went from being the biggest rave promoter in Southern California to one of the biggest promoters of any kind in the music business.  Still does EDC and the Nocturnal Festival, and continues to rewrite the rules on how mass electronic music entertainment is run.  Also married Playboy’s Holly Madison, too.
  • Reza Gerami: fellow promoter, head of GoVentures – still throws at least two massives a year in L.A.  Runs the Love Festival tour.
  • Mark Lewis: Longtime supporting DJ & producer who became a full-time A&R guy and event producer. Currently in the process of launching EDM TV shows.
  • Brett Ballou: The B3 CandE promoter is still around doing parties, although his main source of income nowadays is through manufacturing surfboards.  I dunno, in Southern California it makes sense.  Cowabunga, dude.
  • DJ Rap: went from queen of the jungle to mainstream commercial house success…and did that Twix candy bar campaign, too.
  • DJ Jason Bentley: the host of “Metropolis”, his cutting-edge radio show on KCRW, where he also serves as Program Director.  He’s also done loads of film and commercial scores, including the “Matrix” Trilogy soundtracks.  His musical tastes are analyzed by Hollywood producers to see what the Next Big Thing is coming around the corner.  Oh, and he also serves on the Grammy Committee, and was directly responsible for getting electronic music categories entered into the Grammy Awards.  Not too shabby if you ask me.
  • DJ David Holmes: now a big-time Hollywood film scorer.
  • Moby: Little to say here, his success speaks for itself.
  • BT: Producer and songwriter extraordinaire, works from anyone like Britney to Elton John.
  • Vello Virkhaus: visual artist who went from live visual mixing at parties to a fruitful partnership with Sandra Collins.  Today Vello provides cutting-edge visuals for music videos, concerts, clubs and the like.
  • Sound production guys: created the best portable sound systems in the country under sometimes the very worst of conditions.  These guys are probably the most professional of all the people involved in the scene—if the PA doesn’t work, there’s no party.  Now they apply their skills to acts of more mainstream artists.
  • Rave flier graphic designers – these people were often on the cutting edge of marketing design.  They could afford to go places visually that mainstream advertising agencies couldn’t.  Some of them are working at those very same agencies now.
Mark Farina and a happy fan, from a fantastic chapter in dance music history.

Mark Farina and a happy fan, from a fantastic chapter in dance music history.

 

NEW promo video for “DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM”!

Hey Folks!

Just added a new promo video for the book up on YouTube!

Thank you Paul Oakenfold, Frankie Bones, Richie Hawtin, Junkie XL, DJ Rap, Christopher Lawrence, Swedish Egil and DJ Snails for their awesome support!

Enjoy, and please feel free to spread the good word around!!

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DJs – THEN & NOW, Week 5: FRANKIE BONES!!!

Wow, is Week 5 upon us already?? Well, let’s get down to it, then! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to godfather of American rave, and the creator of PLUR and STORM…the one and only FRANKIE BONES!!!

Frankie Bones FINAL JPG

Keep rockin’ it, Frankie! We owe you a huge debt for making this whole scene we love possible. For those of you who haven’t seen this man spin, correct that mistake immediately!

Mister Bones naturally appears in the pages of DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM…several times, in fact! Go to the Order section and get a copy for yourself today!

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A stunning letter from a customer

I won’t kid you, there are times when it’s tough being a book publisher and seller. I don’t mean to make this sound like “woe is me”–I did get into this quite voluntarily, after all–but there are more than a few aspects to this line of work that can sometimes become genuinely frustrating. This is why I get such a sense of relief and satisfaction when I receive letters from the readers (and, dare I say, fans?) of “DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM“. It reminds me about one of the reasons why I wrote the book in the first place–to reach out to the people in this wonderful rave community that we share.

Most of the time, the messages I receive are short, little positive notes about the pictures, which I truly appreciate. However, I recently received word from a customer who took this thing a step further with one of the most heartfelt and genuine letters I’ve received in a long time, which I’d like to share with you here.

The correspondence was from Kristen Brown, the author of the e-book “What Didn’t Kill Me“, and who has graciously allowed me to reprint her words and name here. Kristen has a boyfriend (whose name I have changed to David to respect his privacy) who is presently in a rehab/treatment program, and who needs all the support he can get. David is a part of the electronic music community, and his enforced isolation from it has apparently been very hard on him. To help lift David’s spirits, Kristen just recently bought him a copy of “DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM“, which is on its way to him at this moment.

The following correspondence from Kristen is an amalgamation of different parts of a conversation with me that took place over the course of a few emails. None of the words have been changed, but I have rearranged some of them for the sake of clarity of reading here.

…………………………………………………..

“The circumstances under which I purchased this book for my boyfriend, David, are intense at the least. Things are one breath above rock bottom for David right now, so it’s only up from here. He is not expecting this book, so it will be a huge, well-received surprise. In the privation of his current situation, his love of music as a former DJ, and his interest in this book, I can assure you, David will enjoy this book more than you can imagine. I’m sending him this book as a vibrant rainbow in the middle of his gloomy thunderstorm. He will probably cry when he receives it. I’m dead serious.

I know for a fact, DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM will absolutely be a tremendous comfort to David right now, which is why I ordered it for him. I have limited access to him, which I have been using to play all the EDM in as many sub-genres as I can, including my personal fav…vomitstep, via phone and video chat in 10-25 minute increments three times a day. The music brings him to tears, that’s why I know this book will really reach his heart right now. Addiction takes everything without apology, and in his current restrictive environment, all I can give back to him for now is the music. I’m sure you know what that can mean to someone who loves music the way we do.

Thank you for your prompt response to my purchase, current updates on the status of my order, and your personal touch in the tenor of your emails. Next time I need to order a book on Amazon, I will search by seller, because you have just made a friend for life with me.”

…………………………………………………..

Wow. Kristen, you are to be congratulated, because you’re succeeding in making two people very happy and grateful with this purchase. I don’t mind saying that these are the things that keep people like myself going. To know that someone thinks highly enough of my book that they would use it as a tool to give comfort and solace to someone in need–that’s the sort of thing that puts a great big lump in my throat. I mean, every author dreams of getting fan letters, but when someone in the community takes it a step further like this…that’s a powerful feeling.

Thank you Kristen, for making all of us here at 5150 Publishing feel that much prouder about what we’re doing, and more certain about our motivations behind our work. It’s hard work, but responses like yours make it all worthwhile. And David, we all hope that you find the strength and the wherewithal to get out of the dark place you’re in right now. You have fans here in L.A. and we’re all pulling for you. Don’t give up, because you can do this. The scene believes in you…never forget that.

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NEW INTERVIEW! Michael appears on EDMIdentity.com!

Screenshot EDM Identity

Great news–Michael has yet another interview up on the Net now! It’s on the web site EDMIdentity.com, where Michael and interviewer Grant Gilmore talk about the history of electronic music photography, how it and the scene have changed over the years, and of course about DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM! The conversation took place back in June in Las Vegas, right after Michael had delivered his presentation about photography at EDMbiz. Here’s the link:

http://edmidentity.com/2016/08/29/featured-interview-michael-tullberg/

Here’s a really nice opening quote from Grant: “While you may not always know the name behind the lens, you’ll definitely recognize the photos. Over the past twenty years, Michael has made a name for himself in the rave scene. Whether he’s capturing intimate moments with artists in undisclosed locations, dark venues with limited production, or festivals that leave you stunned, his shots are up there with the best of the best.” Wow. Thanks, Grant. That means a lot.

AND…some more good news. We’re going to be featuring a new weekly running bit here on this web site. Can’t tell you all the details yet, but it involves DJs and their longevity. Stay tuned for updates as they come! Now, get on back to what you were doing…after ordering a copy of DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM for yourself, of course!

NEW PHOTO EXHIBITION in DTLA! July 9 at Pop Obscure Records!

Good news! “DANCEFLOOR THUNDERSTORM” author Michael Tullberg is going to be taking part in a group photography exhibition at the brand-new Pop Obscure Records in downtown L.A.! It’s co-run by Michael’s old friend and colleague Sherry Lee from Freestyle Photographic Supplies, and it’s part record store (vinyl only!) and part art gallery.

The show’s theme is Music, so appropriately enough Michael went and pulled some of his good vintage rave material. Here’s one of them:

Frankie Bones, 111999

The other participants in the show are first-rate artists, so you know there’s gonna be a great selection of works to admire! The show opens on Saturday, July 9th. It’s gonna be a great night , and we hope that you can make it down!

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More EDM Press Takes Notice! XLR8R Puts Out New Interview Article!

Oh yeah, this is good news. One of the great old-school rave media outlets, XLR8R.com, has just put out a new interview article with Michael. It contains not only the usual number of great classic rave photographs, but also a bunch of insightful comments from Michael about his photographs, rave history, and Rave vs. EDM. Here’s the link to the story:

https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2016/05/interview-dancefloor-thunderstorms-michael-tullberg/

Here’s a clip from the opening paragraph: “Southern California was on the ground floor when rave culture and dance music exploded in the 90’s and, thankfully, the archival tales and photographic relics of that time are now seeing the light of day. In a new book titled Dancefloor Thunderstorm—released in October of last year—electronic music photojournalist Michael Tullberg gives the reader a voyeuristic look at some of the biggest and most outrageous parties and underground raves from the 1990s and early 2000s. Reporting from the center of American rave culture during that time, Tullberg amassed an enormous library of photos, news articles, interviews, and memorabilia—the best of which make up the contents of his book.”

Sounds pretty accurate to us. Oh and by the way, it’s not only ONE WEEK until Michael speaks on the discussion panel at West Coast Weekender in San Diego!

West Coast Weekender flier

Michael will be taking part in the “Music For Positive Social Change” panel discussion on Friday, May 13 at 4:00 PM! We very highly recommend that you attend this new electronic music conference, since there are not only several very thought provoking panels taking place, but also numerous great parties in the evenings, as can be seen in the flyer!

And of course, only two days later it’s the big book signing at Dr. Freecloud’s Record Shoppe! It starts at 1:00 and “officially” ends at 3:00…but of course, if we find any reason to keep it going longer, we see no reason not to take advantage of that! Be sure to make your way down for a day of fun stories and more than a little of old-school rave history! SEE YOU THERE!

Amazon back up; new speaking engagement on 5/13!

Hey everybody,

Good news on two fronts! First off, the book is back up on Amazon and sales from both there and this web site are chugging along! That’s what we like to see, people, so keep it up! :)

Secondly, author/publisher Michael Tullberg is going to be taking part in a panel discussion at the new West Coast Weekender electronic music conference in San Diego! He’ll be appearing onstage on May 13th at 3:30 alongside a group of great speakers who really do represent the electronic music community. Topics for discussion will include Music As Catalyst For Social Change; Music, Consciousness & Activism; Social Community Responsibility; Voter Registration; Drug Policy Reform; Recycling Festival Waste.

And don’t forget that a mere two days later, Michael will be doing a book signing at Dr. Freecloud’s in Fountain Valley–see the previous post in this News section for details!