Features Mixes

Pearsall presents Squat Rocking 5 + Forum Memories

One hour of vintage UK acid/hard trance, plus a tribute to the forums!

Squat Party

Pearsall presents Squat Rocking 5

right-click on the title and save as to download

Mixed in London in March 2012, using 100% vinyl on two Technics 1210’s and a Pioneer DJM600 mixer
(63:08, 144 MB, 320 KBPS MP3)

Click to read my Forum Memories essay

Large cover
Cue file
Zip pack (split into separate tracks)

Style: Classic UK Acid/Hard Trance

Direct link to the mix:


01. Fallen Angel – Little Girl (One Inch)
02. S-J – Estrella (Baby Doc Remix) (Arriba)
03. Distortion Level – The Emotion (Too Strong)
04. Mad Gay Mafia – Pioneers Of The Underground (Mine And Yours Favourite Porno DVD On Acid Mix) (Efadrine)
05. Sentience – Break The System (Full Blown)
06. Captain Tinrib – Changing The Haight (Frequency 8)
07. Dynamic Intervention – Bigger Kicks (Cannon)
08. Jon Doe – Return Of The Bass (Down South Mix) (Public House)
09. K90 – The Mind Of Man (Aquarius)
10. Lab 4 – The Witch (One Inch)
11. Mad Gay Mafia – Going To Hell (Hoovers On Acid Mix) (Efadrine)
12. The Seditionary – Logan’s Running (VCF)
13. DJ Choci – Strange When You’re Twisted (Jon Doe Remix) (Cannon)
14. Jon Doe & Flatfoot Sam – Cadmium (One Off)
15. Teknotyx – Walking Mutants (Acid Test)
16. Cai – Gadget (Primitive)
17. The Councellor – Drugs Are Bad (Jon Doe Remix) (Fair Play)

Note about the mix: This is a mix that I originally recorded as a guest mix for Yoko’s Analog Memories show on – it’s an hour’s worth of some of my favorite UK acid/hard trance from the late 90’s/early 00’s. My first idea was to write the accompanying post about Undertow, the awesome London party crew from that time period, as this mix is very much in the style that they played at their parties – hard, fast, and euphoric. However, with shutting down in the next couple of days, I thought I would write about that instead, because BT was a very important part of my life when I was younger. If you enjoy this mix and want to check out more like this, I recommend Paradise Lost and Squat Rocking 1.

Me, 2003

Fair warning time: this piece is long.

A few days ago I received some sad, but not entirely unexpected news, when I found out that the forum was finally shutting down after over a decade in existence: Say Goodbye

One of the old forum regulars, Jellyfish, handily put my reaction into less than 140 characters:

A very brief history, for those of you unfamiliar with the site: was originally an online record store, the online presence of Brighton’s Klik Klik Whirly Beep Beep record store (what a name, huh?), a hard dance specialist shop run by Superfast Oz, Kristian, and Jude (aka Slink). Superfast Oz also is well known as a dj and producer, both solo and as part of the awesome OD404 with Dom Sweeten. The forums were, if I am not mistaken, set up in around 2000 to drive more traffic to the store. As time went on the Bangingtunes forums (aka BT as we always called it) became among the busiest and most important forums for UK hard house/hard trance as the scene exploded in 2001/2002. The physical store was rebranded as Banging Tunes, and London’s Kinetec Records was purchased and also became part of the Banging Tunes family. By the mid-00’s vinyl was well and truly in decline, so the stores shut (or, in Kinetec’s case, reverted to the ownership of the staff), while the online store continued on for a few more years. The hard dance scene, which had always been BT’s bread and butter, entered a long period of decline from about 2005 onwards, with record sales in particular taking a hammering, so a few years back Bangingtunes shut down as a retail operation, with Kristian (the sole owner by this point) allowing the forums to continue under the control of a group of volunteer mods. Now, however, he has clearly decided enough is enough (a decision apparently driven in part by the fact that one of the longtime posters, Flymo, was convicted on child pornography charges – apparently the sick fuck had 15,000 images of kids on his computer) and so the site is going to be shut down.

Honestly, I’m a bit surprised that it has continued for this long!

My own personal connection to the site began when I left London to go to Edinburgh University. In London I had gone to many record stores for my hard dance fix (check out my old guide to London record shopping if you’re curious), but in Edinburgh there was a lot less choice when it came to keeping up to date with the latest acid techno, hard house, and hard trance, so I started getting records by mail order regularly. At first I was just phoning Kinetec to order over the phone, but I quickly discovered the Bangingtunes site, which allowed you to listen to short clips of each track using Realplayer (remember that terrible audio program?) … for 1999 this was pretty damn amazing! Very soon I was a regular customer, going on to spend literally thousands of pounds buying records from them over the years, and when they set up the forums I quickly became one of the most dedicated and prolific posters, as did one of my closest high school friends, Dan Durnin.

Over the next couple of years I made many thousands of posts, on everything from music to clubbing to politics to jokes and beyond. Those early years on BangingTunes were absolutely magical – we were a group of young men (primarily) from quite varied walks of life, mostly from (or based in) the UK but not exclusively so, with totally different outlooks, ideas, tastes and interests, but brought together by a common interest in the harder sides of dance music. It was awesome fun participating in the forum, and over the years I learned a lot about music, had many laughs, bought, sold, and traded vast numbers of records, got into some frenetically heated arguments (especially about politics – funnily enough I was a big bleeding heart liberal back then, quite different from now!), and generally had a lot of fun participating in the ongoing conversations.

Tyssen, myself, and Dan Durnin at (I think) Logic, The Fridge, Brixton in 2001

Most importantly, I made a lot of friends through BT, some of whom I would count today as among my closest friends.

Focused as the site was on music and clubbing, it was inevitable that our online banter would move into the real world, as we ended up meeting up at clubs around the UK. Since I was doing a lot of clubbing back then, this meant that Dan and I ended up meeting a lot of people from the BT board when we were out and about in London, several of whom (Jamie Renouf, Alex O’Neill, and Eric Luk) have become lifelong friends, along with loads of others who became good clubbing buddies, and whom we have kept up with over the years since through Facebook and Twitter. Many of the guest dj’s who have graced this very site were first introduced to me through BT’s hallowed purple and orange gates, including Tyssen and Flip, both of whom also became real world friends, as well as guys I have never met personally but contacted after hearing their mixes on BT, like DJ Meke, Girdler Synthetic, and Bongo.

Dance Valley 2001
Dance Valley, 2001, l-r, Colin Jones, Dan Durnin, me, random Dutch guy, Tony Reyes, random Dutch guy

Little Satan
Little Satan at the hard house stage


reach for the lasers
Reach for the lasers!

gurning ravers
Feel the gurn!

My personal BT highlight was the Twatted Tour, our summer 2001 adventure (click here for an archived thread planning it). The basic idea of the Twatted Tour was that two of the main forum regulars, Mike Roy (aka Little Satan) from Calgary and Tony Reyes (aka TRWicked) from Seattle, would fly over from North America for a couple weeks of partying, a process which would give a whole bunch of us that were based in London and the south of England a great excuse to meet in the flesh and party (I was back in London for the summer). So that’s what we did! A whole big group of us went partying in Brixton one night – one group, myself included, to Logic at the Fridge and the others to the TDV Memorial bash at Brixton Academy, then we all met up for the afterparty experience in the park across the street in Brixton (highlight of the morning: a twitchy ginger homeless guy coming up to beg and asking for a pound, “for a new harmonica! I promise it’s not for crack …” – we weren’t convinced), then on to Solid Sunday in Harlesden, before decamping that week to Amsterdam for Dance Valley, a monster rave in the countryside outside Amsterdam.

There was a whole big crew of us there for the event, and we definitely made the most of it. Dan, Mike, and I were all in the same hotel in the Jordaan, but we basically just slept there, as the rest of the time we were out and about with the other guys from BT who had made the trip, including Tony, Jon Hollamby (who later moved back to his native Australia), Colin from Ireland, Phil from Devon, Cuffy from Northern Ireland, some Dutch guys I can’t remember, plus a whole load of other people. Dance Valley was an absolute monster of an event – I believe there were 100,000 tickets sold, and since that year was the year that hard house had really boomed, there was an entire outdoor stage just for hard house, which must have had at least 10-15,000 people in attendance! Needless to say, that’s where we spent most of the day, dancing on the side of the hill, looking out over the crowd, stomping away without a care in the world. It was great! Even though I got pretty sunburned, and I was quite hungover (I stupidly got really drunk the night before), it was still an incredible experience, and I’ve included a gallery of photos from the day below.

Getting back to the Dam afterwards was also an incredible experience, but for very different reasons. Since the party ended at midnight, there were supposed to be buses taking people the roughly 25 minutes drive back to the train station, however a bus caught on fire, blocking the entrance and exit from the site, which meant that we had to walk back to the station. To make matters worse, after a day of blazing sunshine the heavens opened up pretty much right after the party finished. So you can imagine our misery, trudging for hours back towards Amsterdam in the pouring rain, having just spent twelve hours dancing. At about four am we finally found a cab to take us back to our hotel. That sucked!

But that was not the end of the Twatted Tour!

Not at all, my friends, not at all.

No, back in London for the next weekend we hit Frantic’s massive Hard House Academy at the Brixton Academy. Good times, good times.

A whole bunch of BT crew at a Retrip party, 2003 (I think), l-r, Ziad Dar (aka Mongoose), dunno, me, Ian Jay (aka Slacky), Jolene Redtrip, Dan Durnin, Dave Crawford

Classic picture from Redtrip, 2003! l-r: Jon Hollamby, Tantrem, Dave Crawford, Dan Durnin, Ziad Dar

Me playing at Redtrip, 2003

funny gurn
More BT crew at Redtrip, l-r Tantrem, Catjane, Al X, Wonga

A lot of my most cherished memories as a dj and as a clubber are related to BT. I got quite a few gigs off the back of being active on BT, both as an individual dj as well as part of collectively organized nights, like playing in an all-BT room at a World DJ Day party in Nottingham or getting booked to play in Wakefield, Yorkshire and Brighton by BT members who were running their own parties. In 2002/2003 we organized our own dj competition called Judgment Night, where board members split up into Team 303 and Team Hoover for a big showdown of sounds. Parties were organized around the country with a final organized at London’s Purple Turtle bar/club, with sets from BT staff Superfast Oz and Slink along with leading producer/dj Jon Doe and the comp winners Noo Noo and Milkman from the BT forums. I myself played at the first party (not as part of the competition, though), which was, hilariously, in the basement of a cheese club in Loughborough, Leicestershire. I wrapped up the night with a freeform set, which was both fun and hysterical – since people from the main club could come down to our floor, you can imagine the looks of absolute horror on some of the faces when they came in our room – vastly, vastly different sounds from the 70’s/80’s cheese they were playing upstairs!

During my set, I saw one girl in high heels, mini-skirt and deep orange fake tan take two steps in the door, look at the people stomping to 175 bpm freeform, and, with a look of total terror, turn around and leg it back upstairs. 😉

Best of all were the Redtrip parties – the Redtrip crew were a bunch of friends from the outskirts of west London who all joined BT at around the same time and who then went on to put on some absolutely wicked parties, first at the Electrowerkz in Islington, and later at the Telegraph in Brixton. Focusing on an open-minded approach to club promotion, the main room always featured a broad range of harder dance music, from techno to hard trance to acid to nu-nrg to freeform, while the second room would showcase drum n’ bass, breaks, electro, hip-hop, and house. I was very fortunate to play for them a number of times, both in the main room and the second room, and I was not alone in that, because they went out of their way to feature many dj’s and live acts from the BangingTunes community.

Bangingtunes General ForumBangingtunes Music Forum
The forums … screenshotted right before the end

Personally, in recent years I have stopped using web forums like BT regularly. I have not been alone in this, as over the last half decade internet users have deserted en masse tens of thousands of once-thriving internet forums, switching instead to a much smaller number of social networks, particularly Facebook and Twitter. Although in my professional life I am heavily involved in social media, in all honesty I don’t see this trend as a wholly positive thing, because there are a few ways in which internet forums, especially busy ones like BT, were superior to the massive social networks that now dominate internet social media.

Now, I won’t lie, I really like using services like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, but I also think that certain things have been lost in the transition away from message boards. Firstly, message boards offer a wider range of expression than the modern social networks. Twitter, by nature, consists of very short messages, and I have found that Facebook doesn’t work very well for longer discussions. Also, the structure of the Facebook news feed makes it difficult to participate in massive ongoing conversations in the same way as you can when you are a message board regular. Forums, on the other hand, can (it’s possible!) facilitate a very detailed level of communication, or they can just be about posting simple jokes, or images, or … whatever. You can do, and say, a lot with them.

Also, because most message boards were historically oriented around a single topic of interest, they offer a great method for meeting people you would not ordinarily meet, united as you are by a common interest. Music boards like BT (or some of the other clubbing boards I used to frequent, like Gurn or HarderFaster) were particularly good in that respect, because there was a real world social aspect baked in, i.e. you might have been communicating online during the week but on Friday and Saturday nights you were often physically present at the same clubs at the same time, so why not say hello? Indeed, I met a previous girlfriend through HarderFaster – I was in a club and I was saying hello to someone I knew from the boards, and they introduced me to their friend Vanessa, who was also on HF, and off it went from there … More prosaically, it was very common to either meet up for a drink before a club night, or to just arrange to meet at a certain point, i.e. all meet by the bar at midnight or whatever. Now, it could be that my lifestyle changes have influenced this, but since I switched to using social networks over message boards, I have stopped meeting new people from the internet – the reverse has happened, that I have met people in real life and then got to know them better through Facebook (i.e. met someone at a wedding and then ended up getting to know them through Facebook), but I have not met someone cold off of Facebook or Twitter.

Why is this?

My guess is that because message boards allow you to slowly but consistently get to know someone it is, from a psychological standpoint, easier to make the jump to meeting them in person, especially if your mutual topic of interest is something as inherently social as music. With modern social networking conversations with strangers are much more disjointed and intermittent – it’s much harder to build an active relationship over time in the same way, at least in my opinion.

Obviously, though, forums are lacking something in comparison to Facebook, Twitter, et al., which is why they have been slowly dying. In fact, I can see it here at Sonicrampage when I look at traffic patterns over the past three years. From 2010 to 2012 this site has seen only a modest amount of year-on-year growth in unique visitors and pageviews, yet the composition of the referrals has changed quite substantially. Today, a much larger proportion of my traffic comes from Facebook, Twitter and Reddit, and a much smaller proportion comes from message boards like BT. The dynamics of this traffic have changed too – a link on a message board can continue to send regular traffic through for days, weeks, or even months, whereas now with Facebook and Twitter most of the traffic a new blog post will get will arrive in the first day or two and then that’s it. Therefore whenever I post a new mix it does not seem to get as much attention as it would have a few years back. Admittedly, part of that may be down to the fact that dance music lovers have an unbelievable cornucopia of mixes to access (for free!) 24 hours a day, 365 days a year through sites like Soundcloud and Mixcloud.

So what do forums lack, exactly? I suppose the first thing to mention is design – not many people have thought deeply about making message boards look better from a design standpoint, and it shows. In comparison to modern gold standard web or mobile services, most message boards look, by internet standards, archaic. The user experience of most message boards has remained the same for about ten years, despite massive changes and improvements to the user experience of other parts of the internet. As addictive as message boards seemed to be, they also are clearly not as compelling, in the end, as social networks. I’ve been wondering why that is and my guess is that message boards always needed lurkers and casual posters to keep things ticking over, so that it wasn’t just the same stale group of people – my theory is that with the rise of the big social networks many of these less dedicated users were among the first to stop looking at message boards. As the casual users drifted off, message boards became the same people, the same recycled topics, and just the same old same old in general, and so the more dedicated users started leaving to go elsewhere. Thus did so many forums slowly die off.

It’s also worth pointing out that venture capital-backed social networks have the advantage of being able to use high levels of analytics to deeply understand their audience, and they have the resources and engineering talent to put that information to use by constantly improving their product in order grow user level as well as increase the length of usage sessions. By contrast, most forums were set up to service a specific community, and were built with off-the-shelf software without any real desire or need to constantly upgrade the user experience.

This is something Virginia Heffernan of the New York Times touched on in her excellent piece, “The Old Internet Neighborhoods”:

The Internet forum, that great old standby of Web 1.0., has become an endangered species.

Many boards are stagnant or in decline, if they even still exist. Several once-thriving boards on the women’s site iVillage have closed up shop. Big fan-fiction boards haven’t seen real action in years. Last month, a once-popular eight-old-year British board about mental health went dark with a note: “The Internet has changed significantly.”

These are serious signs of the digital times. Message boards were key components of Web 1.0 — the Web before broadband, online video, social networking, advanced traffic analysis and the drive to monetize transformed it.

If urban history can be applied to virtual space and the evolution of the Web, the unruly and twisted message boards are Jane Jacobs. They were built for people, and without much regard to profit. How else do you get crowds of not especially lucrative demographics like flashlight buffs (, feminists ( and jazz aficionados ( By contrast, the Web 2.0 juggernauts like Facebook and YouTube are driven by metrics and supported by ads and data mining. They’re networks, and super-fast — but not communities, which are inefficient, emotive and comfortable …

(The) forums were spontaneous, rowdy and often inspired Internet neighborhoods. For millions of users, they quickly became synonymous with “The Internet.” … Still, for all their importance to individual Web users, the boards were almost invisible to anyone intent on profiting off Web traffic — and so they’ve been nearly written out of the history of the Internet … Sure, funny and stirring things happen on Facebook and Twitter, but their protocols, which stress accountability and striving over anonymity and play, tend to make social exchanges routine.

That’s about it from me – if you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading!

If you want to check out the old days of the BangingTunes forum (and see some hilariously immature posts from myself), the Wayback Machine has an archive here, and if you want something a bit more up to date, some of the BT forum users have set up a sequel forum, which can be found here.

And of course if you want to share your own memories and favorite moments from the BT forums, please leave a comment below.

To finish off, here’s a gallery of pics from Dance Valley 2001:

[nggallery id=11]

That’s it! RIP

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