The 1990s rave scene was an era in club culture that would forever change how clubbers danced and their music evolved. From drugs and sweat to warehouses and bucket hats, this vibrant movement had global repercussions.
Recently, there has been a rebirth of 90’s rave music with more and more DJs and producers taking it up. So why not take a stroll down memory lane with us and discover what made this dance craze so unique?
Ecstasy has been an essential element of rave culture for years and played a major role in its evolution. It not only transformed the sound of music played at these events, but it also altered how people danced during these occasions.
The 1990s rave era saw a meteoric rise of electronic dance music in the UK. This new genre provided young people with an outlet to get together and party. Rave parties became hugely popular worldwide, drawing people from all walks of life. The music played at these raves was quite distinct from what could be heard on radio at that time.
Due to its more electronic nature, electronic dance music was introduced and included many of the drugs popular at that time – such as ecstasy and MDMA/mephedrone. These substances proved highly effective, making the dance music played at raves sound even better than before.
At this time, it was easy to obtain drugs and frequent for people to go out partying where they could easily buy a few pills. This made the rave scene so successful and also provided clubs hosting these parties with an opportunity to make money.
Ecstasy was the main drug of choice during these raves. It had an incredibly potent effect that could take control of someone’s mind and was highly addictive; unfortunately, it could also prove fatal quickly if not used responsibly.
This drug was widely available during this era and remains one of the most sought-after substances today. Although some countries have made it illegal, its popularity remains strong.
In the United States, it’s not a difficult drug to obtain and can be found in most stores that sell medications. It has also become very popular within the rave scene due to its strong addictive qualities that could potentially lead to death very quickly.
The 1990s rave scene offered a variety of music to choose from, but one of the most iconic and recognizable styles was breakbeat hardcore. These tracks featured relentless percussion coupled with sweet vocals to create an addictive soundscape.
These songs were a mainstay of the 1990s rave scene and continue to be played today. Perhaps the best-known example is Hixxy and Sharkey’s “Toytown,” but there are plenty of others to choose from as well.
In the 1990s, rave music became heavily influenced by drugs. Ecstasy, a powerful stimulant drug, and speed were commonly used to keep attendees ‘up’ and dancing for extended periods of time.
Methamphetamine was another drug making its way into the rave scene. This stimulant can be hazardous to your health and its effects can linger for hours. Furthermore, taking too much of this substance could prove fatal; therefore, be cautious when using it.
Speed was another popular drug used in the 1990s rave scene, alongside ecstasy. It’s a potent stimulant that can be taken in large doses and often combined with ecstasy for an enhanced ‘high’.
Ravers often took marijuana to stay up late and enjoy themselves; however, it can also become highly addictive.
In the 1990s, rave music experienced one of its most exciting and creative eras in its history. There was much innovation within dance music genres like drum-n-bass, jungle, progressive trance, and happy hardcore; all contributing to shaping one of music’s greatest eras.
At that time, there were various DJs playing music being created. While some were highly talented and had a good reputation, others weren’t quite so well-known.
Some DJs had a major impact on the rave scene, while others barely made an impression. Dutch DJ Speedy J in particular had a profound effect on gabber music during this era.
Many remember raves from the 1990s as a time of magic, where drugs and music came together to form an unforgettable night. Though some raves continue today, nothing quite matches that euphoria of that era.
Various drugs were popular during the 1990s rave scene, such as speed, Ecstacy and ketamine. Each substance has a distinct effect and can have detrimental consequences for those taking them.
Ecstasy (MDMA), one of the most widely consumed drugs during the 90s, was an illegal stimulant that amplifies dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin levels in your system. This drug can heighten one’s sense of wellbeing and even give them a feeling like they’re flying!
Addicting and dangerous, cocaine often contains addictive ingredients like fentanyl that have the potential for lethality.
Another club drug was gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB). This powerful stimulant can cause rapid heart rate, hallucinations and euphoria. It’s often combined with other club drugs or found in crystals or powder form.
This drug inspired people to move, sway and sing along to the electronic music beats. Although it had been around long before the 1990s, its newfound popularity among raver culture gave it a fresh lease on life.
Throughout the 1990s, there were several tragic deaths linked to ecstasy that further compounded moral anxiety. These events often involved either water intoxication or drug-laced substances, making it a highly hazardous substance.
At that time, media reports about ecstasy use created a moral panic. Tabloid papers were the main source of news in Britain and their coverage caused parents and the general public to fear their own children could become the next victims of drug overdose.
Numerous psychiatric disorders and addictions were associated with the use of these drugs, with many young people suffering from a combination of issues. These issues could be further compounded when combined with other substances like marijuana or alcohol.
The 90s rave scene produced some iconic dance tracks. These timeless melodies still resonate today for fans of electronic music from this era, bringing back fond memories for many.
Acid house was undoubtedly the biggest influence on rave culture during the early 1990s, but it wasn’t the only type of electronic music to play a significant role. From techno to eurodance, trance and IDM, various electronic genres emerged during this era that would soon become widely popular.
Music from this era tends to be quite dark and moody, featuring minimal, futuristic beats and Auto-Tuned vocals that sound distorted or non-stop bass. These sample packs often incorporate elements from various genres of ‘dark’ music such as hip hop, metal and techno.
Music of this style wasn’t well-known until two London producers called DubTurbo and Dub Psycho created hypnotic anthems about broken hearts. They became huge hits among rave OGs, with songs like Why still holding a special place in their hearts to this day.
Classic breakbeat style rave tracks from this era have become highly collectable. One of my personal favourites is “Exodus From The Brothers Grimm”. This three part monster opens with an open sample from The Exorcist, moves into a breakbeat heavy mid-section and finishes with hands-aloft dancehall singalong.
Another popular tune from this era was “Rave”, by Eon. This was one of the early breakbeat style rave songs to hit UK charts and featured an amazing combination of beats but it was its vocals which truly made this song timeless.
Many of the greatest breakbeat-style rave tracks were produced by Eon, but Production House also released some incredible classic records. Run by Phil Fearon (UK chart topper with his band Galaxy), Production House allowed musicians and producers to create long tracks that broke away from traditional genres.