„If you only step into other people’s footsteps, there’s no way that you will leave your own! And that’s what it’s all about: Make history! Don’t forget – when we will be 60 years old, we’ll be listening to Joey Beltram’s “Mentasm” with the same awe with which my parents are listening to the Beatles now!” (Marc Acardipane, Raveline 01/02)
Godfather, Pioneer, Creator, Legend … there are many names and titles that are connected to and describe this man. One thing is for certain though (and that’s what all great producers of the first hour agree on): Marc Acardipane, born in Frankfurt am Main/Germany, is the first person responsible for breathing life into Hardcore-Techno-Sounds.
The man behind PCP, currently living in Hamburg/Germany, stepped onto the scene 17 years ago under the monumental moniker of Mescalinum United and covered new, absolutely uncharted territory with “We Have Arrived”. Since then the German – whose name stems from his Italian grandfather – has released approx. 350 recordings under his name, which makes him the undisputed record holder in this scene. He owns the credits for countless brilliant tracks among which “Stereo Murder”, “I Like It Loud”, “Atmos-Fear”, “9 Is A Classic”, “Six Million Ways To Die”, “Drunken Piece Of Shit”, “Pitchhiker”, “Slaves To The Rave” and “Return To Zero” are probably the most famous.
His most prominent projectnames The Mover and Mescalinum United are only two of an endless army of nicknames (Marshall Masters, Inferno Bros, PCP, 6-Pack, Turbulence, Pilldriver, Nasty Django) which were used for literally hundreds of tunes – recorded for the now-defunct Frankfurt label conglomerate PCP/Dance Ecstasy 2001/Cold Rush. Marc’s material is mainly dark, brooding and mirroring the depressive emotions of its creator. It seems as if it is Marc’s destiny to use all means necessary to lift up the crowd with his music and turn their negative emotions into positive euphoria.
Being an unheard prophet in his home country, Marc still commands fanatic loyalty in the Hardcore-Rave-Community in Holland, Italy and Belgium. “Acardipane is Germany’s most lost son – always trying to destroy narrow-minded and boring attitudes in music!” (Simon Reynolds, Groove, December 1999)
But let’s start from the beginning …
Marc Acardipane started making music at the tender age of 8. He took classical guitar lessons for 10 and electric guitar lessons for 6 years. He was also enrolled in an academy of music in Frankfurt am Main – which is not something one would expect from a producer of this style of electronic music. He founded a band when he was 12 years old and stayed with that band for 6 years which was when he decided to buy keyboards and computers because he felt too limited by the possibilities that the acoustic instruments offered him.
According to an interview with Acardipane, Mescalinum United was not just a coincidence, a fluke or a lucky break. He had always been searching for something new and everything started with PCP. Don Demon and Marc already had had the idea to start a record label in 1987, when they met in a club in Frankfurt where both of them worked as waiters. 1989 saw the birth of the legendary PCP (Planet Core Productions) label and in the same year “Mescalinum United – Into Mekong Center” (PCP001) was released. From that point on there was nothing else in their lives except PCP. Back then Techno was still in its infancy and the differences between styles were smaller than today. Marc created the first distorted and overdriven Tracks (for example the classic “We Have Arrived”) and produced the first pure Hardcore-Track in electronic music history. Acardipane was also responsible for the majority of all PCP-releases. Producing tracks ranging from hardheaded rave-hymns to atmospheric hardcore with fast breaks to electro-style tracks to a genre that he himself calls “sick ambient” – Acardipane has forged a legacy that is (in its own way) as impressive as the complete works of i.e. Underground Resistance. Acardipane also recorded a number of records for the legendary label R&S and was the first German producer to be able to work in their studios. Without PCP – without this innovation – there probably would have never been a hardcore-techno movement in Holland or Italy!
PCP was the first hardcore label worldwide! Rotterdam Records (the first hardcore label in Holland) was started 3 years later. But since the German scene would only develop later the well-deserved success didn’t happen overnight. Still the respect that the PCP-mysterium generated became gigantic! Sadly Marc’s friends and fans were the only people in Germany supporting this kind of sound. So at some point in 1996 the time had come for PCP to seize existing. Don Demon and Marc split up without animosities and Marc went to Hamburg with his label-mate and producer Miro. That’s where he started the label Acardipane Records. The mega-success in Holland prompted Marc and Don Demon to keep working together for 2 more years although they never shared the same stage again. “PCP will always live deep inside of my heart because it wasn’t just a label or a live act. It’s like a fire in me and it will burn forever! My mission is not complete yet!” (Raveline, Jan 2001).
The more the German rave-scene scattered into countless sub-genres, the more Marc started visiting Holland and Belgium where he started a success-story that is still unsurpassed today.
1996-1998 all recognized Dutch magazines awarded Marc the title of “Best Producer”, “Best Live Act” and “Best Foreign DJ”. He also received two awards for “Rave Hit Of The Year” (“Slaves To The Rave” & “I Like It Loud”). “I Like It Loud” was and still is the most-sold hardcore single ever, selling over 70000 units in the Benelux countries. He was awarded a gold record in Belgium and scored a no.3-pop-hit with “Stereo Murder” which also charted in Holland. TV-Shows (that featured acts like the Vengaboys, among others) became standard procedure. The biggest Dutch booking agency ID&T ran a poll in 1997 and asked Dutch hardcore fans to vote for their all-time-favorite hardcore tracks. A little over 10000 people voted and the first eleven tracks were all occupied by Marc Acardipane! Number 1 was “Six Million Ways To Die”, by the way …
Despite the fact that the original rave-community has almost seized to exist (with a few exceptions like Mayday or Nature One) Marc’s music is still being played in the most different scenes – be it Hardcore-, Techno- or Trance-Parties. He doesn’t mind! His name represents his music and not a specific scene because he only produces for himself. Producing music is therapy and diary of his life for Marc and he doesn’t care if other people like is tracks. That doesn’t mean he isn’t proud or happy about the fact that other people get off on his music or see new perspectives in life through his music – but first and foremost Marc’s main goal when writing music is to satisfy his ego and defeat his depressions. The New York writer Simon Reynolds once described Marc’s sound with the following words:
“Vor allem aber gibt es da diese zehrende, verzweifelte Kälte der Sounds, die eine Atmosphäre erzeugt, bei der man beinahe den eigenen Atem in der Luft sieht. Aber für die, die es fühlen können, ist sie einer der größten Räusche, die man im Universum des Sounds erfahren kann.“
Or in the Rave Creator’s own words:
“Imagine looking at the earth after nuclear destruction and enjoying what you see! That’s what it feels like listening to my music. I will never stop making music. If you don’t hear from me anymore – I’m dead.” (Raveline 01/2002)
After conquering Holland and Belgium, Marc focused his concentration on Germany and founded the labels Acardipane Records and Resident E Recordings as well as the compilation series „Resident E“. With the successful start of these labels (mainly specializing in vinyl records) Marc celebrated success after success after success: best producer, best DJ, best live act, best label, hit of the year, etc. He slowly started assembling a number of very good producers which lead to Acardipane Records and Resident E Recordings being distributed worldwide via Intergroove from 2002. Both styles – the hard, monotonous Phuture-Techno on ACA and the energetic rave-sound on Resident E Recordings – seemed to hit a nerve with the audiences. Of course Marc continued touring Europe to perform on raves and parties and to push his sound ahead and ahead.
The next part of his unparalleled success story should come in the form of his “Resident E” compilation. In cooperation with Edel Music commercial success was achieved by entering the German Media-Control-Charts eight times. To add to the visibility of the compilation Marc organized “Resident E” events in Hamburg and throughout Germany. “Resident E On Tour” has visited all important cities and regions of Germany and set new standards wherever it went – obviously always featuring a live or DJ performance of the mastermind and pioneer of hard electronic music.
The „Resident E“ series reached a climax with the 8th and – so far – final instalment „Episode 8“. This release included (along with the music-cd) a DVD for the first time. This DVD featured footage of the last Resident E tour, highlights and interview of the “Slave To The Rave”-event in the Ziegelei, Groß-Weeden as well as never-before-seen video material from the vaults of the Rave Creator. This proved that the long lost son was actually alive and kicking … but everything should become even more exciting – and educational …
Besser ist das Wagnis, das dein Leben schützt, als stolzer Nachruhm, den du mit dem Tod bezahlst.
(Euripides) Habe keine englische Übersetzung dafür gefunden!
In 2003 Marc would make an important decision: his (up till then) biggest Hit “I Like It Loud” should bring him new fame and new notoriety. The track was released worldwide under the new title “Maria (I Like It Loud)” in cooperation with the highly commercial dance-project “Scooter”. The song immediately went to number 4 on the German Media Control charts which was the highest chart entry for Scooter in years and the proof for Marc that his track didn’t only have “potential”, but was a massive hit. “Maria” was sold a few million copies worldwide, received a gold record in Austria, became the most-played dance-track on Viva and MTV and dominated the ringtone and download charts for weeks! It also helped Scooter win another “Echo”-Award – which seemingly made Scooter so happy that they totally forgot who had written the song in the first place …
Sadly, a certain part of Marc’s fans could not understand this collaboration. The hate for the “commercial sell-out dance project” Scooter was too strong. They also could not understand that the creator of “I Like It Loud” was not going to sit back and watch for the third (!!!) time that someone else was trying to be successful with his own song! Additionally it was hard to understand that Marc needed to face a truth that George Orwell had already formulated: “To survive you often have to fight, and to fight you have to dirty yourself. War is evil, and it is often the lesser evil”
And a war was already raging: the war of the music industry against illegal downloads, stalling sales and fewer hit records. Especially the dance scene, whose music videos were eventually kicked out of the rotation of major music television, was suffering from this war. Circumstances that Marc also had to come to terms with – but that didn’t matter to a number of his fans. This led to the so-called “split of Marc Acardipane and the hardcore scene”.
Unphased by these negative vibes and far away from his disgruntled fans it was Marc’s idea to promote hard electronic music under a different name. Who said it always needs to be called “Hardcore”?
Boosted by the success of “Maria” and inspired by his new-found love for the just-developing genres like hardstyle and jumpstyle, Marc began to release countless tracks under new names like Children Of E, Marc-E-Bwoy, Ultra-Tech, Dusty Angel, Dr. Atomic or Dancehall Terrorists. He also recruited his MC and vocal-provider Dick Rules for new projects which culminated in 3 releases of the the cd-compilation-series “Resident E” – the last of which only included tracks that were written by Marc. But (as always!): nothing lasts forever – and that’s why Marc and Dick Rules parted ways in the beginning of 2004 to pursue different musical visions on their own.
From that point things started quieting down and Marc concentrated on moving into a new apartment and a new studio to focus more on private and important things. During that time Marc only did the occasional remix here and there or lent his equipment or knowledge to other producers. He only released very few songs that were born as a collaboration with DJ Balloon. A short, but effective teamwork whose first track gained support from DSF (German Sports Television) and was immediately made the anthem of the German U21 National Soccer Team. The follow-up single was similarly successful: it was made official UEFA-Cup-Anthem by DSF.
Much more fateful than his work with Balloon was a telephone call that Marc answered in the end of 2004. When screening his old works, unfinished productions and demos, he found material that was recorded with his former MC Shawn Mierez in the mid-90s. When listening to the songs that he hadn’t heard in almost a decade he couldn’t help but think “These fragments need to be put together and made into a whole!”. As fate would have it: at this very moment, thousands of miles away, Shawn Mierez picked up the telephone and called Marc! Was this prophecy, divine intervention or just pure coincidence? We don’t know, but they both instantly noticed that there was still the same trust and understanding that they had so many years ago. The fact that Shawn was going to move to the UK prompted them to reunite and to work on something new.
One one hand Marc’s creative drive was sparked by the desire to do something new, but on the other hand his old love for hardcore techno was also reborn! During the course of 2005 and after celebrating some euphoric “oldschool”-performances, Marc decided to revitalize his Resident-E party-series. With a new location – the NewBambu in Neustadt, Germany – the powerful Marshall Masters live act and along with old friends and supporters the events are now more successful than ever before! In September 2005 the Ultimate MC set foot on German soil for the first time in 8 years and they both started work on what they are planning to be “the best album of all times”. It’s a long (and still continuing) journey during which they rented a large studio to record for 4 weeks with 10 professional musicians in their quest to create unheard-of music that fuses electronic sounds with classical instruments, impressive songwriting and deep pop-elements.
It’s hard to deny that the Rave Creator once again has his hands full with new projects. Especially now that he decided to release a new CD-DJ-Mix because he wanted to not just collect a bunch of tracks on a cd, but make them work like only he can. Along with the advent of this new Resident E chapter there will be a restructuring of the vinyl label. Resident E Recordings is entering the next phase to conquer the world and the charts once again! Marc has assembled new and original talent to form a conglomerate that is going to make an undeniable statement. The upcoming European-Release-Tour will certainly be proof of that!
There’s a lot to do for techno’s forgotten son. By summoning all his energy he will continue to give everything he has to ensure that his vision will forever remain in the hearts of countless people. Because as the legendary coach Vince Lombardi put it: “The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender!”.
See you in 2017!