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Fans at a 2007 Klaxons gig. (Photo by: PYMCA/Universal Images Group via Getty Images) 

The Glorious, Messy Rise and Fall of New Rave

An oral history of the most colourful moment in UK youth culture.
February 24, 2021, 9:15am

“What would you call it? A movement? A fad? A scene?” asks DJ and producer Erol Alkan of the mid-2000s memory known as new rave.

Synonymous with bright, garish clothing, a fusing of guitars with bleeping synths, and driven by a small number of mostly UK bands, new rave was as revered and as it was reviled, as debauched as it was derided. Looking back 15 years, was it simply a summer or two of neon fun and far too much ecstasy, or a genuine and under-appreciated era in youth culture?

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Here, many of the key players – Klaxons, CSS, Shitdisco, Erol Alkan, Late of the Pier, Hadouken! and Test Icicles, among others – discuss the scene, the parties, the fashion, its rise, its fall and its legacy.

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Klaxons. Photo courtesy of Jamie Reynolds.

BEGINNINGS

Joe Daniel, co-founder Angular Recording Corporation: The first seed of an idea came when Jamie [Reynolds, bassist and vocalist in Klaxons] and I were doing up the rehearsal space we shared. We had a tape deck with the Fantazia Ratpack Castle Donington live set I’d taped when I was 12. Jamie used to have the same tape, and we listened to it over and over. By the end he was thinking about how you could incorporate that into a guitar band.

Jamie Reynolds: We wanted guitars, but for it to be completely tinged with early-90s rave. I saw that as an untapped area. The plan was to work in that rave element and pepper it with mysticism and esoterica. But first and foremost, we wanted to be a successful pop band. We wanted to sign to a major, do big tours… we wanted to be a pop group. That was our mantra.

Joel Stone, bassist, guitarist and vocalist in Shitdisco: The term new rave initially made us cringe, but you have to get over that pretty quickly, otherwise you’re taking yourself too seriously.

Jamie Reynolds: I was into krautrock, so the first gig poster we made, we put “neu rave” on it. But I was like, “No, this is new,” so we just changed it to new rave.

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Conor McNicholas, NME Editor 2002-2009: There was an internal battle over “new rave” vs “nu-rave”, because the idea of nu-metal was still hanging around like a bad smell.

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Joel Stone: The name was initially a marketing thing for Klaxons, but it identified an existing trend toward mixing rave influences with new wave/no wave. DFA in New York, Ed Banger in Paris, Soulwax in Belgium, DeathFrom Above 1979 and MSTRKRFT in Toronto, Optimo in Glasgow. New rave was just the London version.

Jamie Reynolds: I was obsessed with electroclash. I used to go to nights like Nag Nag Nag, and then the dance punk stuff that came out of New York – we were really into that. That was the lineage we were following completely, but I realised that a very British version of that didn't really exist.

Rory Attwell, guitarist and vocalist in Test Icicles: Electroclash felt a bit cold and austere for British sensibilities. There’s always been a need to be more daft and absurd here. What we were doing was quite confusing to people who took music very seriously. Those kinds of people actively disliked us.

Joel Stone: I was never an indie boy. The indie rock scene in Glasgow at the time was a bunch of absolute knuckle-dragging lads, and still is, so we never had a fucking thing to do with those people. Nor should anyone. We were going to [club night] Optimo in Glasgow. Keith [one half of Optimo, known as JD Twitch]’s background was at Pure in Edinburgh, so he was a link to all that 90s good stuff, but he was also the first DJ I heard playing “Out of the Races and Onto the Tracks” by The Rapture. When that track kicked in on the dancefloor, we knew we wanted to start a band that sounded like that.

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Victoria Hesketh, Little Boots, and vocalist / synth in Dead Disco: We weren’t new rave, but the sound of the band was indie guitars meets synths. I was in the street team for LCD Soundsystem and we used to go to a night in Leeds that would play [electroclash producers] Miss Kittin and The Hacker. I’d never heard anything like it at the time, so I wanted to channel a bit of that.

Rory Attwell: I vehemently disliked The Libertines. That music was the antithesis of anything I wanted to be involved with. It made me so angry – it all seemed like contrived nonsense, and everything about them was so limp. Their guitar sound was weedy and lacked any personality or charm. Their lyrics were fanciful secondary-school poetry nonsense. I used to get so wound up when people would compare that guy’s lyrics to an amazing lyricist like Shane MacGowan. That, topped off with their crappy military jackets and bootcut jeans. Posh little twerps.

James Smith, singer and producer in Hadouken!: The indie crowd were knee-deep in leather jackets, winklepickers and trilbys. There was that hangover of the Pete Doherty vagabond that had crept into everything – it was an authenticism that was so forced and dry. Seeing stuff like Dev in Test Icicles rocking hot pink guitars in beaten up converse, and adding synths into the fray, suddenly made The Fratellis or whoever look like a bunch of embarrassing uncles. It was music for Top Gear CDs you buy in garages. Something had to give.

Rory Attwell: At the time, I thought it would be ridiculous for anyone to be influenced by us, but looking back, there are a lot of things we were doing that became prominent parts of the new rave thing – probably more behavioural and visual than anything.

Sam Potter, synths and sampler in Late of the Pier: We were trying so hard to make music that didn't sound like anything we’d heard before.

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Milo Cordell, keyboardist and vocalist in The Big Pink, and founder of Merok Records: The club night Trash [started by DJ and producer Erol Alkan] was so important. It was an amazing space to meet people.

Sam Potter: Hearing Erol play Gang of Four into Aphex Twin – it just blew our minds to hear such feverish eclecticism.

Erol Alkan, DJ, Producer: If Trash inspired people then that’s amazing. I always wanted it to be a really positive space for people, and I think if you can create that kind of space then you have a good chance of it being a breeding ground for something.

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Left: Guests at Trash in 2002. Photo: Everynight Images / Alamy Stock Photo. Right: Klaxons fans at a 2007 gig. Photo: PYMCA / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

THE RISE OF NEW RAVE

Jamie Reynolds: We booked shows before we knew what we were doing. We did two shows where we literally rolled on the floor and didn’t play anything. It was a punky mess.

Tony Beard, manager of Klaxons and Shitdisco: The early gigs were simultaneously brilliant and terrible.

Joe Daniel: Those shows were a total mess. James [Righton, keyboardist and vocalist in Klaxons] was always trying to play properly, Jamie was giving it loads and getting really sweaty, and Simon [Taylor-Davis, guitarist in Klaxons] was this demented Tasmanian devil making it all fall apart by throwing his guitar around and jumping into the drum kit and wrestling the other two into the crowd.

Milo Cordell: When I started a label, everything I wanted in a group was what Klaxons were. We had the same reference points – sci-fi, Ballard, Philip K. Dick, the band Liars. I just couldn't be more excited by them. I was head over heels in love.

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Jamie Reynolds: We told all our friends what to wear at the gigs, and we bought whistles and glow sticks to give them, so people would turn up at shows and see all our mates going crazy, and be like, ‘Oh fuck, what is this?’

Tony Beard: It was executed perfectly. They hadn’t put out a record, but had 200 people at their shows. Everyone was dressed up with air horns. It was a real vibe. The crowd probably put on more of a show than the band for the first few gigs. They felt like real cultural events. Everyone’s off their heads, including the band, and it just felt like a moment.

Conor McNicholas: It wasn’t that things were stale at that point, but that incredibly fierce electric buzz you get off the new inevitably wears off. That energy is the lifeblood of NME. Bands like The Killers, Kings of Leon and Kasabian all came in and then went straight into your mum and dad's playlist. Which was useless for us, as our title was set in opposition to the music your parents liked. So you have to find something more noisy and extreme for that teenage audience to grab onto and make their own. This is why Klaxons were great, because it’s easy to look at it and go: “This is absolute trash, what the fuck is going on here?” I was like, ‘Brilliant, let’s have some of that.’ Same thing with The Horrors: “This is unlistenable nonsense from people who look ridiculous?” Yeah, that's pretty much the bedrock of pop culture, I’ll have some of that as well.

Jamie Reynolds: We walked into major record label offices and told them we wanted worldwide success and I think that that was music to everybody's ears.

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Tony Beard: Everything came together easily. Saam [Farahmand, music video director] was a mate of theirs, and he did a video for “Gravity’s Rainbow” for £250. Although I think most of that was spent on drugs.

Saam Farahmand: They played me the first demo and I was blown away. They asked me to audition as their drummer, but I failed, so Jamie said I could make the first video instead. We were young and romantic and thought substances would give us access to another video dimension.

Jamie Reynolds: People were going crazy for “Gravity’s Rainbow” and “Atlantis to Interzone”. It was like, ‘Shit, we've actually got songs here.’ We made a video and all of a sudden we’re on MTV, Radio 1 and getting press. By the time our first single came out we were already talking with the majors. It took 12 months from our first ever interview to having our debut out. We toured endlessly, did loads of press and spent 2006 spreading the gospel of new rave.

Conor McNicholas: One thing that fucked me off about NME when I arrived was this sniffy male music journo purist culture. That there was some kind of aesthetic purity in removing yourself from all the trappings of caring about anything apart from the actual noise creation of a recording. So all the bands looked like shit and had nothing to say. My first ever cover was with The Music. It was horrible. An offensively boring photoshoot, literally the worst cover ever created. That experience left me scarred. As soon as we started filtering out the crap-looking boring bands and focusing on the crafted ones with an agenda, the record business soon got the message. After that, all bands turned up with a thing. Klaxons were dripping with it.

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James Smith: Being able to dance to the music suddenly became important. Soulwax and LCD Soundsystem certainly can take most of the credit, but we latched on. There were these awesome bands like CSS and New Young Pony Club who brought such a fucking vibe to gigs all of a sudden.

Erol Alkan: In 2006 I won Mixmag’s DJ of the year. That wasn’t an ambition of mine – I had no manager, no PR, no stylist. Things were changing in dance music. I came from the mindset that I didn’t really care what machines or instruments music was made on, as long as it sounds exciting. The medium is nothing and the message is everything. I was DJing up and down the country, and the energy was consistent everywhere. It felt like something was happening.

PARTYING

Joe Daniel: I used to go on tour with Klaxons because it was so much fun. Because of the connotation with rave, everyone just presumed that’s what the bands were up for, and so everyone's like, “Here, have some of this.”

Jamie Reynolds: We were constantly up for it. It was a non-stop weekender. I took ecstasy the night we formed the band and continued taking it up until the Rihanna show [at The BRIT Awards] in 2008.

James Smith: MDMA seemed to come in, and that’s when those Soulwax and Erol Alkan tracks started to make sense. Ketamine, I hadn’t encountered before new rave. Klaxons had a Kellogg’s Special K stencilled on their drum skin. I mean, I like ketamine, but it's no bowl of Special K. The other chemical vector that came into play was M-CAT. That got really big towards the end of the era – plant food; it was quasi-legal and cheap as fuck. Utter dirty shite.

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Jamie Reynolds: Fuck that. I never took mephedrone, because people stank of wee and I wasn’t interested in that.

Joe Daniel: I played in the band for a little bit when Jamie broke his leg. We played a private Topshop party for the staff in some stately home and The Horrors turned up with 100 pills. It was so debauched. We all got completely fucked off our faces.

Jamie Reynolds: I’d never done anything rock and roll before. As much as we were absolutely chaotic whirlwinds, I’d never done any onstage antics. One day I thought I would. But it was stupid, because I was wearing Prada slippers, and I jumped down from 12 feet and broke my leg.

Joe Daniel: I remember Jamie double dropping before he went on stage at Glastonbury. He was so high he kept forgetting to play the songs, and just kept telling the crowd how much he loved them and that it was the best day of his life.

Joel Stone: Things were no more wild than when I lived on a council estate, but money and notoriety enable you to scale things up. There was as much ketamine going around as ecstasy, or 2007’s hottest cocktail: CK One – cocaine mixed with ketamine. I was never into any of those, especially mixed together and taken with alcohol. Highway to the fucking danger zone. We played for a Channel 4 show called Transmission and brought 150 fans on acid. They raided The Fratellis' dressing room and drank all their champagne, trashed the place and threw all the cutlery in the room into the ceiling once someone realised knives and forks would stick in the ceiling tiles and just stay up there indefinitely. They had to edit carefully so as not to show the entire crowd with visibly dilated pupils.

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Shitdisco in 2008. Photo: Annabel Staff / Redferns

Jamie Reynolds: My drug habit went absolutely through the fucking roof. I just went around talking absolute nonsense to the music press the world over for two years. I don’t think my feet were on the ground at all. I was higher than I’ve ever been. I was full blown “give me all the drugs I can get my hands on”. I absolutely lost the plot.

Joel Stone: We played the NME New Rave Revolution Tour and it was hilarious. We were riding a wave of some kind, and whatever it was had to be grasped and experienced to the fullest. We played at house parties after nearly every gig, and that was when it became apparent that there now existed a UK-wide new rave subculture. We managed to bring various kinds of relatively underground music to a very mainstream audience.

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Jamie Reynolds: Our tour manager’s first job was to go to the venue, before we’d unloaded any gear, and ask if there was any way of getting drugs. Shitdisco’s sound engineer, Ravey Dave, invented this drink called Rewind – half a bottle of Strongbow, half a bottle of red wine and some substances – that we used to have before going on. That tour with Shitdisco was the peak of chaos for 2006. Lots of stupid behaviour and constant ecstasy. Somebody was trying to surf on top of the tour bus and fell off and broke their arm.

Joel Stone: Darren, our drummer, was on ketamine dancing on top of our splitter van. We saw him fall and it was brutal – he landed on his wrist and broke multiple bones, it was fucking horrible. Drummers should not take ketamine.

Tony Beard: If you remember that tour you weren’t on it.

Lovefoxxx, lead singer in CSS: At the time, all we did was drink Jägermeister. I never got into the ecstasy phase, since I have a tendency for moral hangovers. Up until today I thought they were doing coke.

Saam Farahmand: When Simian Mobile Disco asked me to do my first major visuals show at Sonar, [someone involved with the duo] gave my girlfriend and I pingers for the party. I took mine before the show, thinking I’d timed it to start working towards the end of the set, but they kept delaying the start. All I remember is gripping on to the console, on the floor, rushing to this incredible set, not sure what was going on, looking up at a Spanish lighting engineer just shaking his head at me. I looked at the stage and realised that for the last God knows how long – I think most of the set – that the giant screen behind SMD had the Samsung DVD player floating screensaver 40ft high behind them. I kept trying to get up and change it, but just ended up on the floor again with the engineer shaking his head slowly at me. I’ll never forget the combination of euphoria and shame.

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Left: Guests outside Boombox, Shoreditch, 2007. Photo: PYMCA / Universal Images Group via Getty Images. Right: Guests at Anti-social, London. Photo: Paul Hartnett / PYMCA/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

FASHION

Jamie Reynolds: Early on, we went to a marketplace and found this basket full of children’s clothes. We rummaged through it and pulled out something that looked stupid.

James Smith: I can’t tell you the thrill of seeing the Klaxons in purple hoodies and coloured Nikes. That was an aesthetic I could get on board with. I lay absolutely no claim to inventing new rave, but fucking hell, Hadouken! took it and ran with it. Think of us like a fluoro Forrest Gump. My parents bring out photos of me at Christmas in a complete clash of fluoro hoodies and white jeans and New Era hats to take the piss. If you don’t look back at yourself as a teenager dressed like a complete idiot, I don’t think you were having enough fun.

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Victoria Hesketh: I wasn’t big on the neon thing, but if you didn’t own a pair of American Apparel lamé leggings, who even were you?

Lovefoxxx: I had fun with multi-coloured fashion, although I never related with the label new rave. CSS were all over the place, and I was the only person to put an effort into dressing up. Sunshine Underground dressed like Oasis, New Young Pony Club were each dressing however they pleased. The fashion was a media thing.

Joel Stone: The dynamic was similar to punk; in the beginning, people were customising or making their own stuff. The most new rave item of clothing ever was Ollie from [the squat] SquallyoaksTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles bed sheet hoodie. That thing should be in a museum. Carri [Munden, founder and designer of the fashion label Cassette Playa] was around a lot of the !Wowow! parties [in Peckham] and drawing influence from some of this stuff, then came out with a more camped-up and theatrical spin on it for Klaxons.

Carri Munden: I hated being tagged a new rave designer, because the style was depicted as ironic and crazy and a bit of a mess. I’m not saying some of what I was creating wasn’t pretty mental, but it was innocent and playful and also authentic and considered. First I was making monsters, weird subverted oversized sportswear with cartoon ears and teeth and eyes. I was selling in Japan to Harajuku kids before I had stockists in the UK. By the time I had my first catwalk show at London Fashion Week in 2006, it was still psychedelic, but harder and more high end: British streetwear styles, tracksuits, hoodies and Nikes, but on an acid trip and in silk digital prints and other luxury fabrics. My references were 90s rave and gaming. Some of my graphics – including the bleeding eye – ended up associated with new rave because Simon from Klaxons was shot wearing it, but they were also worn by grime MCs like JME and Skepta. A lot of the dressing up elements came from queer or club kid culture – nights like Kashpoint, Super Super or Anti Social.

Sam Potter: The clubs were pretty flamboyant, and when you’re young and you see that stuff, you associate it with cool people. The logical thing for us, coming from a very working class village to then being on the road, was to wear your grandma’s old cardigans or to find shiny colourful stuff in secondhand shops. But I’d say the fashion was a distraction and it was a stick to beat new rave with in the end.

Joe Daniel: If you live in Middlesbrough and you’ve got a Topshop and you read NME and find out about Klaxons, then you can look like that yourself. Which I think is nice for kids, to be able to wear their identity.

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Jamie Reynolds: We pushed the aesthetic, and wherever we went it followed us. It was easy to replicate. It wasn’t expensive. You could look like us for next to no money, and you could come to our shows looking like us and join in.

Saam Farahmand: I remember one girl dancing at [the VICE-organised] Tales of the Jackalope [festival] while chewing several glow sticks. They were bleeding out all over her neck and chest like a neon Carrie.

Carri Munden: I have to take responsibility for some of the elements that ended up as mainstream and high street new rave culture – the neons, the big cartoon chains and glasses. Maybe blame me and Klaxons for the glow sticks too. Much of that goes back to early shoots where I had no money, so made props and accessories from cardboard and random ephemera – baby toys, Lego, food packaging. I was deliberately referencing both B-boy and Buffalo styles, but also US club kids and UK rave culture.

James Smith: The fashion was a rejection of that tired, retro vagabond bullshit that was ingrained in indie music. New rave at least had more of that masculine feminine balance, from tenuous little things like me being able to wear a pink Hello Kitty guitar strap, to a much greater gender balance in bands. I always loved colour, so I was like a pig in shit.

Jamie Reynolds: We nearly fell out once because one of the band was wearing black jeans.

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Klaxons onstage after winning the Mercury Music Prize in 2007. Photo: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

KLAXONS WINNING THE MERCURY MUSIC PRIZE 

Tony Beard: We thought if Amy Winehouse didn’t turn up then we’re in with a chance, but she did and it was amazing.

Jamie Reynolds: Amy Winehouse’s performance was absolutely fucking incredible. After that, it was like, ‘There’s absolutely no chance,’ so we went to the hotel and got smashed. We came downstairs out of our minds because we’d been getting fucked, thinking, ‘We haven’t won this thing.’ The shock that you can see by watching the footage is real – we did not know. We were just out of our minds and delighted.

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Conor McNicholas: I was on the judging panel that year. It was about recognising excitement. Nothing else sounded like Klaxons, and they elevated the whole thing to much more of a rock and roll event, rather than it just being a pure critical music event. 

NEW RAVE GOING MAINSTREAM AND EATING ITSELF

Carri Munden: I never wanted all the hype or exposure. l didn’t connect with a lot of what I was being associated with, especially much of the music and styles that the press would associate as new rave. Some of the characters on Skins wore Cassette Playa. 

Bryan Elsley, co-creator of Skins: My kids, who created the show with me, were teenagers in Bristol. That’s where that affinity to new rave came from. Plus, the music supervisors in the show were like 19 years old. They came in while that entire scene was happening and brought it into the show.

Jamie Reynolds: The banning of glow sticks happened at our Brixton Academy show in November, 2007. We’d gotten to the point where we could play a venue that size and then members of our band banned the things that got us there. The group was already turning its back on it.

Erol Alkan: It can be pigeonholing and conflicting to be labelled as part of a scene, but I try to think of what it’s like to be a kid in the middle of nowhere, reading about something and seeing there’s some kind of movement they can relate to. It can be exciting for people on the outside looking in. You usually find it’s older generations that will roll their eyes and sneer at it – I never want to be that person.

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Milo Cordell: The whole thing was one summer in 2006 for me. I really feel that new rave was what took place pre-mainstream explosion. I would have been embarrassed to be seen as part of it at that point.

Erol Alkan: I’d read Late of the Pier written off as new rave flash in the pans before they’d even made their first album. That really made me feel [as the band’s producer] that we had to prove those people completely wrong. There was so much more to them than that. I knew what was inside of those four kids. Looking back on that record, I feel we caught the magic I knew was there.

Sam Potter: We were making patchwork quilts of inspirations and putting things together that we’d not put together before. So as soon as some journalist comes along and says you’re something you’re not, it adds fuel to the fire and you try even harder to make music that they'll struggle to put a name on.

Conor McNicholas: People underestimate just how much the music press was driving forward these things. People always say to me I was incredibly lucky that there was so much going on during the time I was NME editor. And I'm like, “Are you fucking kidding me? We built that shit.”

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Lovefoxxx (right) at a CSS gig in 2007. Photo: PYMCA / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Lovefoxxx: We made fun and never thought we fitted in with new rave. Journalists all around the world ate it up. It’s a way of putting an expiration date on bands. I never liked it. It was dumbing down all our creativity into a very small box. I still don’t like NME; they are sensationalist and twist information to get headlines. I have bitterness towards NME new rave journalism.

Jamie Reynolds: I want to apologise to other bands. Clearly some bands didn’t want anything to do with the media representation of what they were trying to achieve. No artist wants to be told who they are. I feel bad for artists who look back on their youth and think that they were put into something that they didn't want to have anything to do with. I was out there preaching this thing, and I didn’t realise it was creating something that other people weren’t happy with.

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Conor McNicholas: What killed it was that everybody that did stick it out to second albums weren’t up to scratch. Nobody gave a shit about the second albums by new rave bands because they were all crap, and the Klaxons one struggled to turn up. There was a feeling of: ‘Fuck, if the Klaxons can't release a second album, then there isn’t a true momentum behind this movement.’ It turned out to be a bit of a dead end, and then what was left just started eating itself in the most awful way, and you’re left trying to get excited about the Pigeon Detectives. From 2008, it really started to smell. By 2009, the whole thing was clearly over, so I just got the fuck out of there.

Tony Beard: We did a million records on the first album. It’s a shame it took so long for the second one to come out. Maybe they over thought it, maybe they partied too hard, but three years is a long time in pop culture, particularly when you’re so defined with a movement.

Jamie Reynolds: That period came with the biggest bag of drugs I’ve ever seen in my life. I didn’t know what it was, but I called it grid and it smelt of Johnson and Johnson. That’s where it all went weird. I think we clocked off. We went to Italy for three weeks and came back with zero songs. From a band that had this pop mantra of worldwide success and a bunch of top 40 hits, we came back from the first intensive recording sessions with no songs. Then I shipped out this fucking bag of don't know what to France and we made this whimsical record that didn’t come out. We’d completely forgotten our mantra of being a pop band. We weren’t thinking about anything other than being in a psychedelic whirlwind. I was out of my fucking mind. I was noodling about, having fun, doing weird shit, I wasn’t writing songs or thinking about the group. I just lost the plot. When we returned in 2010, EDM had kicked in. Music had definitely moved on. Although, I think if you listen back to EDM and listen back to the second Klaxons record, I know which one I prefer, and I know which one doesn't make my skin crawl.

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Erol Alkan DJing at Glastonbury in 2009. Photo: Everynight Images / Alamy Stock Photo

REFLECTIONS

Sam Potter: It’s a shame there wasn’t more of a sense of unity and a rallying behind the thing, but it was just a bit gauche because it felt like the people who were in control of the narrative weren’t the bands. So that made it really hard to unite under the name.

Rory Attwell: The most confusing thing about new rave was that none of the bands sounded in the slightest bit rave-y – but I guess it was more about attitude, stupid hair and colourful trousers, which is exactly what any self-respecting slightly obnoxious and excessive youth movement should be about.

Joel Stone: The production lets a lot of the music down. Loads of these records have a fucking horrible digitally clean sound to them. Fantasy Black Channel by Late of the Pier still sounds great.

Sam Potter: New rave was beautiful because it was a logical collection of lots of disparate things. It was the crossroads between the indie kids and the dance music kids. File sharing forced younger kids into a broader and deeper taste in music, and then we were all in one room. It’s hard to create a language to describe that kind of coming together. It did go beyond tribalism. It felt very free, colourful, open and full of potential.

Milo Cordell: I work for Young Turks records now, and that label was born out of that scene.

Jamie Reynolds: I can never be anything but proud. I’ve got nothing but love for the entire thing. Also, there isn’t very much documentation of the wildest time of my life. That’s a good thing, because we get to cherish it in our hearts and look back on it and not ridicule each other and have our actions turned into memes.

Lovefoxxx: Being young and partying feels epic. That new rave tour could have been called the bubbly farts tour, or the whole thing the nu-wet fart movement, it doesn’t matter. It was simply the period in everyone’s life of being at the age where you can drink, not sleep and keep going, while still feeling cute. It was the last breath of not having social media and smartphones in our pockets. We were lucky.

Erol Alkan: There are some YouTube clips from that era that are so chaotic and exciting because of the basic cameras and the intense condenser microphones on the old phones – it makes the sound so aggressive and futuristic.

Milo Cordell: No one had smartphones. You could go out on Monday at Trash and you’d know 20 or 30 people, Tuesday at White Heat the same. New rave was the last great musical movement before social media – it was really physical. If you type in “Erol Alkan Trash” into YouTube there’s four videos.

Carri Munden: I’m not a fan of the term or my association with it, but it was a special and culturally significant time. It was too fragmented and diverse to term it as new rave. It combined multiple youth subcultures, fashion styles and music genres. It was a rare time when anyone could put on a party and promote it online – there were still cheap or illegal spaces around in east London. Boundaries were starting to dissolve and subcultures and genres were clashing. Things were less tribal and less localised. Identity was being redefined and groups that were previously separate were mixing online, but also crucially in real life in clubs and warehouse parties.

James Smith: At least it was an original, organic subculture. I dressed like a twat, made some awful music, and I’m happy to have played my small part in it. Sometimes the best music is wildly ephemeral, but then crystallises into classics. There’s that 20-year cycle in fashion that hasn’t quite come back round on new rave yet, so I’m not sure which tracks will survive, but I defy anyone to go put on “Golden Skans” and tell me it isn’t a fucking banger.

@DanielDylanWray