No Rave Vs Clown Core

Niche Or Naff?

Niche Or Naff

New musical genres pop up magically like mushrooms. As the rip and burn generations seizing on Gangsta Trance and Gabba Goth smash into each other the fallout can be both spectacular AND a fertile breeding ground for spores of creativity to flourish into fresh and twisted sounds. Or not. You decide!


For every action there is an equal reaction. Our first case in hand is a perfect model of the chain reaction of dance music mutating into its own backlash. First there was Rave, then Nu Rave, then Post Nu Rave. Now inevitably we turn to face the architects of No Rave, Johnny Vitals and the Niallist, owners of Little Rock Records and purveyors of the Non-dance.

When did you first discover the concept of No Rave? 

Johnny Vitals: One morning when I leapt into a steaming full bath, and much of the water sloshed over the sides. I realised, like Archimedes before me, that I was displacing the water, and that the water that remained, while important in its own right, was nowhere near as interesting as the water that had escaped, for the water that escaped, that surrounded nobody, was exactly the same size as me. In the days of research that followed, I discovered what is now known as No Rave.

How would you describe its characteristics? 

Johnny Vitals: I don’t know, I mean… it’s such a dense thing, you know? It’s not so much about any one particular sound, it’s more about an attitude. So nebulous and yet so ethereal. I find it hard to label anything. I mean, what is rave?

The Niallist: Yeah, totally. And also what wasn’t?

Who are the scene’s main proponents?

The Niallist: The roots of this whole scene, the look, the style, the sound, goes back to the legendary MONG, who used to play orgy-squat anti-raves at the underground den of sin / “art hothouse”, the Chateau. MONG would basically just turn up fucked, get more fucked, and play whatever the hell they liked! Electro, country, balalaika, happy hardcore, concrete, baggy, beachcore… nothing was off-limits. Some of their gigs went on for days!

What do you think will be the main challenges to this new niche?

Johnny Vitals: I can’t really see there being any. It exists so outwith the pop-cultural landscape that it keeps on keeping on without any real driving force. I can’t see it ever dying, not completely. It’s freedom absolute; there’s no reason to be doing this, and there is no reason to stop.

What makes it different from its musical peers?

Johnny Vitals: I’m not sure there really are any peers. It’s such a reactionary thing. It’s almost anti-music, but more musical – in the best sense of that word – than anything else. I think it’s kind of the ultimate loner in the world of musical styles; it has no friends or family but stands among millions.

Niche or Naff? Check out their sounds below…


Take an old raver with a big red musical nose, spin him round several thousand lysergic free parties, give him an accordion and a drum machine and stand well back.

Ed Cox has been at the bleeding edge of his own genre of music for nearly a decade.

Welcome to Clowncore

When did your new genre first emerge?

The first time I played Clowncore outside of the studio and friends houses must have been around 2002, where I played some mini discs of the current Clowncore tunes I had been writing at a free party. Everyone went mental – the more this happened the more I became inspired to produce.

You must terrify and delight in equal proportions…  

A few misfortunate babies have been a bit scared! I have had many different reactions, but a Clowncore tune can change its mood suddenly at several different points throughout the tune, I try my hardest to get the balance right so the listener doesn’t get too much of one emotion for too long.

How has it developed over the years?

It has developed with the times, as the rave scene evolves so does Clowncore, it is a reflection of what the scene is doing but with a red nose scribbled over the top. Dubstep came along, Clowncore tracks started having dubstep sections in them, I’m sure as long as dance music develops Clowncore will take that as a incentive to make a version – there’s always going to be an instrument that hasn’t been played over it yet.

How far do you think you can take Clowncore?

As far as I can. We have recently started a Life4land band, a ten-piece band with many different instruments, some of the tunes have came out a bit clowny, maybe the band might play a role in taking Clowncore further, I think it’s hard to say, but as I stay driven to share this music to the world I will play it to people whether they want to hear it or not!

What do you think are the main challenges to this niche?

I’m not sure but I’m looking forward to coming across them. Challenges are here to help the whole thing evolve. I don’t mind if everyone stops liking it, it’s not the only thing I do, and it has changed shape so many times over the years I don’t think I need to worry about challenges, I will just embrace and deal with them when they arrive.

Niche or Naff? Check out their sounds below…

Ed Cox – Triumphant March Of Piaf

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