Saturday, 20 April 2013


Set up in 1992 by three white and Eurasian middle-class nerd punks who had just moved into the squat zone of central The Hague from the suburban new towns of Zoetermeer and Alphen a/d Rijn (where Rude 66 also hails from).

Set up in 1992 by three white and Eurasian middle-class nerd punks who had just moved into the squat zone of central The Hague from the suburban newtowns of Zoetermeer and Alphen a/d Rijn (where Rude 66 also hails from). Since no label was interested to release the music of Unit Moebius, their (now legendary) 'acid planet' squat parties in The Hague, with twelve hours of non-stop comatose acid-house music, no lights but heavy strobes and a very freaked out audience (partially due to the strong and pure LSD sold by one of the Unit Moebius members) of punks, squatters, junkies and patients from two nearby psychiatric institutes, made it possible to release Bunker 001 and 002.

The next two releases were paid for with money made from selling LSD (silver surfers!). Soon the fucked up standards for The Hague's hard, dark and crazy industrial techno music were set and the acid scene exploded.

More freaks, more drugs, more artists, more music, so Bunker started to release records by other musicians to support the local scene. Many records, CD's, tapes, comics and videos followed. Despite the downfall of Unit Moebius (a soap opera about drugs (speed!), women, money, psychoses and depressions) in 1997, the decline of The Hague's acid scene (more speed!, ketamin, heroin, crack, hospital admissions, overdoses, suicides and other unnatural causes of death, mind fucking, paranoia and all kinds of psychiatric ailments) and the financial bankruptcy of the label in early 1998 (due to non-paying distributors).

Bunker records has risen from it's own ashes with the new 3000 series (as the last 'old' Bunker was 029) to bring you the latest La Haia Bass/electro funk, Industrial planet rock, new wave techno-pop and La Haia coca disco from The Hague's electronic freak scene. Can you still dig it?

The Hague's 'Iets Vrijers' squat in 1991.

Labels such as Bunker and Viewlexx far from being 'new jacks' in the 'electro revival', never stopped making electro. I-F (Ferenc) and the growing number of artists around his scene in The Hague absorbed Cybotron, Planet Patrol, Pretty Tony, Adonis, Steve Poindexter etc., etc. and refashioned it in an entirely distinctive way, even during a period when electro had become the laughing stock of dance music enthusiasts. And what elevates the Bunker stuff above its lesser imitators is that none of the artists take themselves too seriously. There's a great sense of humor in the artwork, project names, track names, and their website. But, they make ripping electro funk tracks. 

Guy Tavares

There’s no good reason why the dark Flemish electro sound of Bunker, Viewlexx and Creme Organization (from which DJ TLR hails) wasn’t used to better effect as a gateway drug to techno in general and Detroit in particular. As Northern Europeans, these people held long-standing Eurovision Song Contest values of hooks, melodies and craft, embracing their Italo side without irony (whether they were aware of it or not). Proximity and affinity to the German sequencers - from Moroder to Schulze - gave their motorik dreams a panoramic view. While the weather (North Sea bullsh*t) and the landscape (urban Corbusier if we’re being adventurous, Post-WWII Stalinist Gothic if we’re not) shadowed it in bleak dystopian trappings. It’s perfect for any body who’s ever tried on black nail-polish or lipstick anywhere in the world. So it fully makes sense that the label Unit Moebius set up 20 years ago - partially funded by their LSD-fueled ‘Acid Planet’ squat parties in The Hague - would continue releasing music two decades later. The formula remains perfect, timeless in the representation of a specific moment, continuously roaming the trans-Atlantic alleys of the mind.
Raspberry Fields

It is no accident that Bunker Records happened in The Hague, known to most only as home to Europol, the International Court of Justice, and the Dutch parliament. The economic crisis of the 1970s had left the seaside city battered and scarred, and by the end of the 1980s The Hague had still not recovered. "Its centre and wide surrounding area had become almost like Detroit itself. Main shopping streets with half the stores closed, miles and miles of empty blocks, burnt, broken down, dilapidated, windows barred or shattered, and many heroin junkies, homeless people, and crazy freaks walking around," recalls Guy Tavares, owner of Bunker Records and founding member of the label's creative nucleus, Unit Moebius, the hugely influential group responsible for much of the label's early output.

In the suburban punk scenes of neighbouring towns Alphen aan den Rijn and Zoetermeer Tavares had met a guy called Jan Duivenvoorden, who owned some basic music equipment and recorded industrial ambient under the name of IMP Electronics For Defence. Tavares and Duivenvoorden moved to The Hague at the start of the 1990s. Together they began to produce music inspired by Chicago acid and Detroit techno, as well as organize parties in some of The Hague's notorious squats.

At the same time, Tavares' squat parties were becoming more and more popular. "We expanded the acid parties I had done before in other places with cyberpunk concepts: comics (Ranx by Liberatore), movies (Bladerunner, Akira), and literature (Burroughs, Gibson), resulting into 'Acid Planet'."

Acid Planet became a landmark party series, representing both the 'anything-goes' spirit of warehouse acid parties, as well as the dark and twisted aspect of urban dystopia. Tavares describes Acid Planet as "12 hours nonstop heavy smoke and strobe flashing, no other lights. 300 people on LSD I was selling, punks, junkies, psychiatric patients (freaking out on my f*in' acid!) and a few dodgy white trash hooligan characters in a basement, and no other music but heavy acid house and trax. Upstairs there was a cinema playing non-stop cyberpunk movies and sketchy speedfreak weirdos doing invited and uninvited 'performances'." Soon a 'scene' began to develop around the sound, with other people setting up sound systems and recording raw and analogue 'The Hague techno'. 

Bunker Records' primary source of inspiration however, the city of The Hague itself, has changed drastically since the label's inception. The city's centre has been completely remodelled, most of the squats evicted and torn down to make room for shopping malls and skyscrapers by architects like Rem Koolhaas, who Guy Tavares calls "our own Albert Speer, but much uglier in style". During the late 1990s many bureaucratic institution of the UN, NATO and EU moved to The Hague, further accelerating the processes of modernization and gentrification. The Dutch government have even passed new laws, effective from October on, which outlaw squatting across The Netherlands.

"I still can't believe how they cleaned up (and spoiled!) my dirty brown and miserable city for the brave new world", remarks Guy Tavares. Yet Bunker Records will continue to represent the dark side of The Hague for the foreseeable future - when asked what keeps him going, Tavares says, "I'm extremely compulsive, I can't help it (but the doctor's medication does!) - there's no art to it, really!".

Danny Wolfers aka Legowelt

The Ghost That Walks: You had a real education discovering Bunker records in your hometown in The Hague when you first started. What did they teach you, and is there anything you learnt that you still carry with you even today?

Legowelt: Yeah basicly just to not give a fuck about what anyone thinks of you or what you are doing, to not bow to any peer pressure…that pretty much the whole “dance” music industry is just a facade of the dumbest and stupidest people imaginable and that its pretty easy to exploit all that haha!

TGTW: What would you say to artists or labels starting now, as it is so hard to become established. What have you learnt that you think could apply to people starting today in electronic music?

L: Just don’t give a fuck about anything and don’t expect anything I have no further advice


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Play Audio: Sprinter - Vurdalak (Psychedelic Trance)

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