With event promotion becoming an increasingly saturated landscape in recent years it has become increasingly harder for aspiring party throwers to cut through all the noise and make their mark. Rewind two decades and it was certainly a slightly different ball game. Before the days of Facebook ads, e-flyers an online promo videos, Promoters had to work on their feet, be masters of real social engagement but with hedonistic rewards much more of a reality for those who knew their craft well. One such man who has been on both sides of the fence is Tim Samsara, promoter of a legendary rave that captivated London at the tail end of the 90’s. With Escape from Samsara returning to Fire & Lightbox on the 28th April, DMC thought it would be a perfect opportunity to catch up with the seasoned promoter himself to find out what lies ahead on this very special occasion.
Hi Tim, how are you these days? You are bringing your legendary London event Escape From Samsara to Fire in April, you must be pretty excited?
I’m great thanks. A little tubbier but still bopping and grinning away. We are really excited to be bringing Escape From Samsara (EFS) back to the London clubbing scene. We felt that the time was right to put on a few events with our great friends at Hard Trance Europe and I Love Hard Beats.
Having run events during a glorious era for clubbing in London and capacity events at Heaven, Bagleys and of course The Fridge. Has there been a certain period over the last 21 years that is extra special to you from the Samsara story?
Speaking from my perspective I think I have to say that it’s meeting people where ever you go that have been to an EFS event. Especially when they say that those nights changed their lives. The club certainly changed me as an individual and I couldn’t have asked for a nicer bunch of people to party with.
From a crazy party point of view doing the Parish Techno Parade with 500,000 nutters was a pretty amazing experience.
You’ve got 5 tracks to sum up EFS, what would you play?
Wippenberg – Nurodancer
Out of the blue – System F
Stella Acid – Charles Fenkler
Reformation – Lab 4
Katrina and the Waves – Walking on Sunshine
Obviously a lot has changed in the time you have been active in the scene, will there be anything different about this next London event?
When we used to do our parties back in the 90’s we mainly did the events on our own. We often had help from other party groups such as Shambhala and Pendragon from a décor point of view but we very rarely did events where we had other party groups doing another room at the same event. This will be the third time that EFS has recently collaborated with other party groups and we think that this is the way forward as it gives the clubbers a greater choice of musical genres to listen to on a night out. For Elevated state, the EFS room with start with a techno vibe (Deegan & Smyth, Tim Samsara, Thermobee, Chicago Loop and Phutek) and then we will be progressing to the old samsara style with K90, Mark Sinclair and Beamish to finish things off.
Please tell us a funny story that no-one would know from your escapades as a seasoned London rave promoter?
So many entertaining stories to tell so I’m going to do what to us at the time was a slight scary story – I remember vividly when Richard and I (Co-promoter) got invited to represent the London Underground Clubbing scene in a meeting with the major club owners (post the introduction of the Criminal Justice Bill). We were two hippies who had probably smoked about an ounce of weed that morning rocking up to this basement venue in London with the dodgiest looking dudes in long trench coats. Virtually all twenty of the clubs represented had the owners and the bodyguards present. Most of them were blatantly carrying weapons of one description or another. Throughout the meeting, every time you got asked for an opinion you could feel your but cheeks clench for fear of being set upon by the security guards who were there to protect their bosses. That was one experience that I’m glad I did but not again.
As for an entertaining story it has to be when we did a trip to Kassel in Germany to do a party. So a quick bit of background here. We believe that a good party is not all about the music it’s also about the people that are present and the environment that they are in. So upon agreeing to do this party we organised four mini buses to take our core regulars and crew over to Germany on a two day drive via Amsterdam (of course). We also arranged for a Luton van to follow on having picked up all the clubs décor en-route. After all the mini busses had arrived safely and a few hours rest all 30 of us were very excited to hear that the Luton van had arrived with all the décor in. We could finally start to transform the old warehouse that we were in. We all excitedly rushed down to help unload after the driver had done a 14 hour straight drive. We open the back roller door. Empty!! Naddah!! No décor!!!. So we ask the driver who was a very close friend and fair to say a massive stoner “where is the décor dude”? his response. “Well I was wondering all the way over why you got me to drive an empty van”. As you can imagine a few choice words were uttered by all of us. He had basically got so stoned before he left that he forgot to collect any of the décor. He just aimed for Dover got on the ferry and drove (an empty van).
After a few manic hours of trying to work out what to do, as the party was that night it was all hands to deck and following a trip to a local bed linen shop it was sheet paining galore to cover up the walls and try to turn the venue into something that resembled a Samsara night. Needless to say it all went down a treat and we had a wicked night.
Outside of your own events, what have you been up to on the DJ front?
I’m really lucky as my DJ career has suddenly started to take off again. I have been doing loads of online radio shows and the party and festival bookings are rolling in. My diary for 2017 is looking pretty healthy with the first half of the year now fully booked up.
I have to admit that I no longer play Trance. These days its Techno all the way, (mainly with a funky acid bassline). The 303 has always been a sound that I have loved so getting the chance to play it out on a regular basis is pretty damn awesome.
What artists are you personally rating right now?
Wow, so many to choose from but I would have to say that the following are right up there for me (in no particular order):
Dave The Drummer
Dense & Pika
The introduction of the internet has obviously radically changed the way in which people promote events, what clever tactics did you employ in the early days to make noise for your parties?
Wow the days of flyering on a cold, wet morning how I don’t miss that. To be honest we were really lucky when we started. We did the first EFS at the Fridge in Brixton (now the Electric Brixton) on 15th September 1995 as a five pound door ticket, to try and get people down to Brixton. I think we had 1,100 in on the first night (of which 800 were on the guest list). Following the first night the word of mouth spread like mad and within three months we had reached our 1800 capacity on a monthly basis.
I will let you into a little secret we actually stopped flyering for about a year and a half as we physically couldn’t fit any more people into the venue on a weekly basis. We still advertised the line up in the likes of Timeout but no physical flyers. How lucky we were back then.
The line-up for the 28th April at Fire is quite diverse, was it hard deciding who to book for this super special occasion?
In one word “Yes”.
We believe that things have to change and that includes the musical sound that Samsara was so famous for. Any lovers of hard trance will not be disappointed as Hard Trance Europe has this covered with the likes of Scot Project and Sneijder in their room.
We feel that the massive resurgence of techno as a genre has to be noted and upon speaking to some of our old regulars they all wanted to hear that techno sound within an EFS environment. So we couldn’t tech-no notice of them and we decided that we would pull in the cream of the crop from the UK underground scene.
From a promoters point of view there is such an amazing selection of techno artists in the UK right now. I would almost go as far as to say that we are leading the way in many respects. Viva la Techno!!
Finally, you have one paragraph to tell people why they should come to Elevated State, London in April, Go!
Elevated State will cross boundaries that other parties haven’t managed to do for some time. The London dance scene has been monopolised by a few promoters for the past ten years and its time that things got shaken up and the clubbers have a bit more choice in a night out. Let’s break down those boundaries, cut out the politics and get back to what we all love and enjoy. The music (be it Techno, Trance, Hard Dance or Freeform)! Viva la Raveolution!
See you on the dance floor
Escape From Samsara, I Love Hard Beats & Hard Trance Europe
present Elevated State.
Friday 28th April at Fire & Lightbox, Vauxhall, London. 2300 – 0700
Featuring: Phutek, Chicago Loop, Scot Project, Sneijder, Beamish, Mark Sinclair,
Kevin Energy, K90, Kevin Energy, Nick The Kid, S.H.O.K.K. Nu Energy Collective, Rob Tissera, Guyver and many more!
For full event info: