CGNY: How did you get interested in electronic music?
JG: I started going to underground raves in 97/98 in Colorado. Then I started producing some of these raves and some of these night club events with a couple of partners in 2000. I did several large scale events and I did many night club events in Colorado.
CGNY: How did you end up in Colorado from the Netherland?
JG: I was born in Holland, from Dutch and Pakistani parents. I moved to Bangladesh for two years and Tanzania to Holland and then Jakarta and then moved to America – to Colorado for college. My father works as a water management consultant so I travelled a lot which exposed me to many diverse cultures.
CGNY: You started off producing raves in Colorado?
JG: Yes. Producing the raves took care of my entrepreneurial side but I became more interested in not just bringing a DJ over here. I wanted to create a full immersive event. The first big events that I did I brought in 5 headliners from around the states. I invested money in having a full color white light laser. We had it synced to the decks which was also pretty special so that when the DJ scratched, it cued up a different laser pattern. When I came to NYC, I noticed the scene here was very different – it’s definitely more tech, tech house, minimal tech and more influenced by Europe – quite different from the West coast.
CGNY: So how did the Techno Travelers project come about?
JG: I’ve been going to WMC for the last 8 or 9 years and the Love Parade since it started every year. I picked these couple of different festivals which I really liked. I think I’ve been to over 35 festivals over the last 10 years averaging 3 or so a year.
I was becoming less and less excited by going to clubs; that scene stopped doing it for me a long time ago. I’d also given up on making a business out of promoting – it’s a lot of stress. I’d been the main promoter for a club in the west called Osiris. And that experience left a bad taste in my mouth. The amount of effort you put in versus the amount of return, well I just found there are a lot better ways to make money.
I was really thinking of ways that I could continue to be involved in the industry even if I was going to directly monetize it. I began to look at the EDM scene through a focused lens of festivals. And I’m fortunate that I have a job that allows me to travel very easily.
CGNY: So what did you end up going to?
JG: I wanted to go Awakenings and Exit Festival. Exit is Serbia. Exit is 4 days – Awakenings in 1 day. Initially I was going to land – go to Awakenings and then go to Berlin. I decided not to do Love Parade this year. (Editors Note: this year was the tragedy at Love Parade in Duisberg)
Love Family Park was going on in Frankfurt – Sven Vaths party – always wanted to see Sven and I was also disappointed that I didn’t see Ricardo at Demf. And he was bringing in all the Cocoon people – it was his 15 year anniversary as well. Villalobos, Loco Dice, Magda and Oner Ozer as well as Richie Hawtin.
I and my friend who traveled with me also managed to get into to some of the best clubs in Berlin, Panorama Bar and Berghain. Berghain is a tough club to get into. So we decided to give ourselves 2 nights – we would try Friday and Saturday. We got into Panorama Bar on Friday – the coolest clubbing experience that we could imagine at the time. You can’t buy a ticket! You just get there and hope that you get in. The bouncer is like a darker Goth version of St Peter! Very intimidating. They cherry pick who they want inside to make up their profile of what they think the crowd at Berghain should look like
CGNY: So after you had decided on all these festivals – why did you decide to make a blog on it and why how did that part of it come about – did you have to reach out to festivals ahead of time to get clearance etc.
JG: A friend of mine had Internationalclubber.co.uk which is kind of like a global clubbing directory. He’s a web designer and was planning to use it to market t-shirts for some of the clubs he was listing but that venture fell through and he was only periodically updating it. I had been interested in videotaping clips that were really cool from festivals. So I decided to take video because no matter how good your still camera is – it never quite captures the feel of an event.
I had about 50 different clips that I’d posted on youtube and all these hits and comments from people that viewed them. I had a camera that picked up the sound really well too.
Knowing that people were interested in seeing all these clips from these parties and knowing that I was travelling – the trip started coming together and seeing my friend had this website with not much unique content, it was a good fit. In a matter of a week and half we put the entire techno travelers thing together.
So I’d already planned the trip out – bought a professional camera, microphones – all spent the time marketing putting it together – build some interest up and get some stuff before I took off and because I was doing this I was able to get press passes for the festivals. For a lot of people it might be their only chance to see what’s going on at some of these more out of the way locations. I don’t want to calculate the amount of money I spent but it was by far the coolest thing I’ve done in my life so far.
CGNY: So did you feel that because you were ‘working” it took away from your experience a little?
JG: Sure that is definitely the trade off – you have to put a lot of effort into capturing these events. I was less interested in getting into the press pit to snap pics of DJs and interviews. For me the press pass meant I got to take in my equipment and got prime spots to take video.
So I picked the most interesting djs and then plotted a course throughout the day. I want to keep going to festivals and not just go and get f’d up and party and this gives me a chance to go and see it through - to appreciate that experience and to keep appreciating it.
I used to be a popper and a dancer back in Colorado and as I’ve gotten older the capability for me to go to a party and dance all night - to look at it through that angle has also left. The reasons I would have gone to these events have become not interesting or feasible and old but I can still love the music and appreciate the experience even though there is a trade off, it’s a welcome trade off.
CGNY: So your video is uploaded where?
JG: All on youtube.com/quantumgroove. Quantum Groove was the name of my production company in Colorado. But for the really hi def ones – I’ll be using Vimeo.
CGNY: Would you undertake this project again?
JG: Well I think I’ve figured out a way to formally capture this experience and organize the information and really put some energy behind it to create a narrative out of it and hopefully something people will be interested in following. The level of readership and level of interest and awareness in this is going to take some time to build. But I’ve got a huge kick start of content. And since I do this for fun anyway, I’m going to stick with it for the immediate future and continuously build up awareness and interest in it. I’m not going to quit my day job but I’d like to get some sponsorship behind it – figure out ways by which I can get the project to fund itself.
CGNY: Any other aspect to the site you want to tell us about?
JG: We just collaborated with DJ/producer Deepak Sharma on the website and were able to showcase a track that he’d done a remix for. And that was really fun and that’s another side I’m going to take with this. So essentially there is the Techno Travelers project and then on top of that I'll be working with Mark to be the front man to generate content for international clubbers site.
CGNY: Were there any festivals that stood out for you?
JG: Different festivals had different qualities that stood out. Exit had the coolest location because it’s in a fortress in Serbia. Love Family Park had the friendliest crowd and Sven Vath – tossing out bottles of Jaegermaeister to partygoers in the front; the ultimate master of ceremonies. He had an 8 hour set on the main stage. And he’s sick and so over the top!
Best music is Awakenings if you like techno. The line up, stage set up, the laser show, flame throwers, fireworks non stop on two massive open air stages. Amazing spectacle.
For more information on Techno Travelers go to: