Guerilla till the end

By Joe Schaefer – Aftertaste Magazine

Sound system…check.


DJ for sonic hijinks…check.

…Renegade Virus is on line…

Forget about your verse, chorus, verse and put away your pop-princess albums – the Renegade Virus has an anti-corporate lolli to suck on. This time the revolution will not be televised.

Been to a good party lately? No, a really good party lately? Not if you haven’t caught the latest underground installment of Renegade Virus’ latest catch-all, bass heavy, sonic attack wingding. Seeping up from the underground is a virus and like any good virus, it’s contagious.

The “have gear, will travel” mentality of the Renegade Virus crew has been ripping up the aggressive techno scene for a while and there is no sign of stopping. Against the force-fed attitudes and the flavor-of-the-week radio-induced coma, this crew has somehing different.

Forget the rave and the corporate-sponsored dance contest; be yourself, be someone else, but just be there.

Ever wonder what is happening in those hollowed out parking garages on the weekend? Renegade Virus knows. Think throbbing bass lines that make your heart skip a beat and rhythms that will bring out the jungle-crazed primitive animal in you. All for next to nothing.

For less than the shitty corner bar overcharges for mediocrity, you will get you hours, maybe even days of non-stop festivities focused around a block-rockin’ beat. A bad-ass beat. It might not be a dance palace, but it creates an environment of hypnotic pulsations that are straight out of a techno wet dream. You can return to your golden slumbers after the DJ spins the last hardcore beat, but until then expect to slip into a music-laced trance-like state of euphoria.

Renegade Virus, a community of dedicated artist-loving, nice folks bring the event to you. Mostly advertised by word of mouth, nonetheless, it’s there to stay. Throbbing speakers and the Renegade Virus’ outlaw ethics can be found in NY, PA or even Canada. If the men in blue stopped shutting down the all-nighters, the dedicated following might be much larger. Most shows get a good turnout, sometimes in the hundreds. Unlike shows on European soil (where underground events are less apt to be shutdown and people are on their best behavior, unlike the States), which solicit much larger crowds, the Renegade Virus shows are well-worth even the minimal donation requested at a show.

Based in New York, Renegade Virus is ready and willing to travel for the elusive great time. Armed with sound systems and DJs (not enough venues), RV will shake the ground and ask questions later.

Luckily, Aftertaste was able to speak with Diannah (whose last name went unknown, but like most in the Renegade Virus tribe, a birth name becomes a moniker which in turn is no more than a secret codename), a member of the crew for the past few years.

Aftertaste (AT): What is Renegade Virus all about?

Diannah of Renegade Virus (RV): What it’s all about is basically a community of artists, DJs, and producers. We also have a sound system and basically we just try to throw as many, like, underground parties and events as we can. It’s kind of more of an outlaw thing. Renegade, like we’re trying to take back the land.

AT: So it’s kind of guerilla?

RV: Yeah, more or less. We basically operate through a mailing list and a close network of friends.

>AT: Renegade Virus…is there a structure to it? Who runs the whole show?

RV: Nobody really runs it. See that’s the thing. It’s a collective. There’s no top dog. As far as our sound goes we have one guy who owns sound, but everyone has their own gear and records. We pool our resources together to try and make things happen.

Unless a permitted techno partyis thrown in a big club, chances are that a private throw down, such as the kind RV assembles, is threatened to be shut down. Diannah let Aftertaste know that there is “a lot of opposition” to the underground scene and finding the right venue at the right time is key to the survival of the night. Reserving a club is costly and at an expense that can often rob the party-goers at a rate that is set to rake in the bucks. RV isn’t about captilization, it’s about staying on a “grassroots, community level,” according to Diannah.

So now you’ve scraped up the tiny donation (usually around $5 ducats) and you bring your adrenaline filled body to a show. What to expect? For one, it will be a “harder edged, more experimental, bass heavy, hardcore-techno, speedcore, breakcore, jungle” mix says Diannah, the underground girl with the underground sound. All mixed up in an un-commercialized flow.

Have no fear, you will fit right in. People rollin’ in from the ‘burbs and from the city. Anarchist kids, Candy-Ravers, artists and just about everyone else from every little label will be cuttin’ it up next to little ‘ole you. Most likely the funkadelic kid next to you heard about the latest Renegade Virus show through the grapevine or the electronic word of mouth – the Internet. But don’t confuse it with a rave, which has a dirty little reputation of rampant drug use. RV works overtime to keep that “shady element” from the shows by posting it on established RV-community style sites.

If you can’t find a show near you, you might want to thank the Cabaret laws and Smoking laws that have gone into effect in New York. Shows are getting shut down all over – even shows by bigger crews that have more to invest because venues are hard to come by. When a place does become available, RV jumps on it immediately. Since there is no real structure in RV, word goes out among the crew that this one or that one has a place to throw down and the reality of the show quickly falls into place like the domino effect.

AT: You mentioned having a crew, now how does someone become a member of the Renegade Virus crew?

RV: Well, it’s not even like what you can bring to the table. It’s kind of like a friend thing, a community. You don’t have to be a DJ. You don’t have to be a musician. You don’t have to own sound. It’s kind of like our friends. Our crew of friends. It’s a community of people that enjoy the same similar style of music.
AT: When and where was the best show?

RV: Where and when? Oh man.

AT: For you…or are they all good?

RV: They are all good. You know I can’t say it was just us either, because we work with other sounds and crews, like Havoc. They had a warehouse and I think their lease is going to be up this summer. We used to throw parties with them, the best thing that we did, we had some crews come out from Europe.

RV, at other guerilla-style shows, has workled with European crews such as the kktus Tribe from France. This show registers as one of Diannah’s perosanl faves. Since that show, those crews have been working their way out to the West coast to pump our nation up with the message of Network 23 (a network made up of hundreds of sound systems), “take back the land and create their own environment and community.” These parties aren’t your average kegger, they are serious attempts at having a good time without a ruckus.

America still has a lot to learn from European Teknivals about attitudes and behavior at events like these. Diannah says that the Renegdae Virus shows are just a “drop in the bucket” compared to the European shows. But that could all change as more people hear the message and support crews such as Renegdae Virus.

The hope of those involved with RV is to open minds by letting a little music with a thumping bass-line remove them from society’s at-the-moment ills. Far removed from chart-topping sounds and the trendy pitfalls of raves, Renegade Virus is an organic take on tossing a party. With low overhead and even more limited resources, it’s a party with a soundtrack.

No need for aggression, just bring your positivity and an open mind. Your ass will follow.


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