„Wherever the music comes from, if there is no focus behind it then it’s just noise.“ – Derrick May –
Having these words by techno pioneer Derrick May stuck in our heads we couldn’t wait to discover the „real techno experience“. We ultimately started to run around the city trying to capture the difference between techno as a form of art and techno which is simply noise. It didn’t take us long to understand that our mission wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be. The reason is simple but complex at the same time: Music is an experience which is strongly tied to emotions. The exact same piece of music can affect two people and their state of mind in a completely different way.
So the question is: How is it even possible to describe music with words?
Well, it is possible if you are able to express yourself in a certain kind of language. A language which can be spoken by every music enthusiast in every single country in the world. What we found were people who were happy to talk to us about what music makes them feel like – not using words but their very personal body language. Let the show begin!
Music get’s you moving as well as it can make you feel lost. It can be emotional, it can be pure. Music is happiness or simply love.
As powerful as music might be, in the end it is not the only aspect that makes people experience a techno event in a personally different way. A tourist who is visiting the city for the first time might get excited about every club and every single party impression he or she can get. It seems to be the same for Erasmus students, at least until they get familiar with the city and their favorite places. As a local, however, the situation is not comparable at all.
The Erasmus experience
Being an Erasmus student in an overwhelming city like Budapest, means discovering the best spots for oneself and coming across places on the way that one would never go to again as well as some spots one would never want to leave again.
Asking our peers what actually makes a good party for them, we got lots of interesting feedback. Lina, 21 years old from Germany, explained that especially new tunes that she has never heard before are the key to a great party since she does not like to listen to the same playlists over and over again, as it is the case at „90‘s/2000‘s events“ with the same old songs. Partying at Corvin Club Lina told us: „Techno is a kind of music that I can never get tired of. I don’t need lyrics to sing along to when I can dance to melodies that make me forget my surroundings!“
The techno scene that she is experiencing in Budapest differs a lot from the one that is present in her hometown in the South of Germany. „You could say that I live on the countryside. At home, not many people seem to be big techno fans.“ This is why these kind of events are usually taking place in tiny bars or the yard of a farmhouse in summer. „It is nice to experience that there are so many people here that I can share this love with. We get lost together and to be honest, it is great to be able to do that in a bigger space.“
At the same event we asked Peter, a 26- year- old Erasmus Student, what drove him to this party. To our surprise we got a completely different response. In the course of our conversation, we realized that the music played at a party does not really matter to him or is at least not a priority. „Having fun with my friends, I can dance to every music. As long as it isn’t punk rock I don’t really care if they play techno or mainstream. The DJ only has to be able to make good transitions and get the people on the dancefloor no matter how.“ When it means that he can be with his friends and they are as many as possible, he even enjoys going to stereotypical Erasmus parties. „I like it when they have different dancefloors and offer us to move from one to the other. The party becomes a lot more diversified and you don’t even feel like you are staying for such a long time.“
Lili about being a local and a music lover
Having been brought up in Budapest, I kind of grew up liking techno, going to techno events and finally loving techno. It is the same with my friends: we are usually going to electronic music parties together and we all know the places that are cool. It is interesting how the party scene in Budapest works: a place becomes popular among the “cool kids”, the ones that you would call social media influencers or party animals. They would start attending this place frequently, tell everyone about it in real life and in social media as well. A few months later a wider group starts going to these places, because they think it is cool. That is when a place gets crowded and mainstream, so the “cool kids” will not visit it anymore. I have seen this happening to a few places in the last few years, Aether, Secret Room or Nomuri for example. Only a few clubs can stay authentic, and are not getting too mainstream for many years, I believe Larm is one of them.
If I asked my friends about the electronic music, they would say amazing things about it. Eszter, for example, started listening to techno only recently and she just can’t get enough of it. She would dance, she would talk to people and she is socializing. Soma, on the other hand, has been listening to electronic music as long as I have known him, I doubt that he has ever been to an R’n’B party. And he never really wants to, he sticks to his music choice: he would go to clubs and festivals, get wasted and listen to the music. Áron, another friend of mine, would only go to the underground events, illegal open-air sessions and house parties, where they play old- school techno with bakelites, listen to artists no one ever heard about or mix their own songs.
What I am trying to show here is how diverse the electronic music scene of Budapest is. As for me: I would go to any party, talk to as many people as possible and make friends from all of these kinds. I believe that this makes Budapest so amazing: the diversity, and how these different people would still be friends and occasionally go out for a drink.
If you want to gain more insight into the scene, read our previous article about how two professionals experience the world of electronic music in Budapest.