This week we had the amazing opportunity to chat with Drum n’ Bass legend and founder of the iconic festival, Rampage, to know a bit more about the upcoming edition, Rampage 2020!
WIDE FUTURE [WF] – Hey Hans (Murdock), thank you so much for taking the time and answer our questions!
[WF] – First, we wanted to know, how excited are you for the Rampage weekend after the overwhelming response to your line-up?
Good question! One of the things I love the most is putting the line-up together, so I’m very happy people like what they are going to get in March. But we have some crazy production ideas that we hope will blow people’s minds and it’s a huge thing to watch people walk in and watch their jaws drop in amazement. Next to that I will also be playing myself and doing something cool with the Rampage anthem is always a big thing to me, and something I look forward to.
[WF] – We know that setting up a DJ Set is already challenging, so we can’t even imagine how tough a live act must be to setup. What are your biggest concerns with this?
I don’t have many concerns there. We have a great production team, literally some of the best people in the industry, worldwide. Rudy Vorstenbosch is someone I’d like to namedrop here particularly. They ensure that the production side is something I do not need to worry about.
[WF] – Rampage started almost exclusively as a Drum n’ Bass event, which later welcomed Dubstep with open arms. What lead you towards this and do you feel like both genres complement each other?
The very first Rampage party had Sub Focus, Danny Byrd and Original Sin headlining, with the latter being replaced by Simon Bassline Smith when his flight got canceled. This was at a time when a lot of drum&bass dj’s were trying their hand at dubstep too, and often very successfully. This was the case for all of the acts on that line-up, which was a big reason why I picked them in the first place. Dubstep and drum&bass went hand in hand back then and this just seemed as something very natural at the time. D&B and dubstep later parted ways, but at Rampage, dubstep has always had a place.
[WF] – Your most recent project is Rampage Open Air, and we wondered, what differences do you have to take into consideration with an open-air event in comparison to an indoors one?
There are a ton of logistics issues that don’t come into play for an indoor event obviously, but most of them are not in my department. To me, the most important thing is the fact that we have several stages and I want to make sure they are all well-balanced. I try to gauge which type of visitor will want to see which type of act, and I want to make sure acts that are similar or will be appreciated by the same type of people are not playing at the same time. Still, sometimes it can’t be helped because of travel and other schedules that have to be respected. The site also offers a lot more room for extracurricular activities so to speak, and that is another big thing about the open air event: bumper cars, swimming pools, skateramps, mechanical bulls, just make it fun, you know? So many options!!
[WF] – How much importance do you give to the stage design? Is it equally as important as the Lineup itself?
Yes, it’s a big thing! I think Rampage made a name for itself by introducing that level of production to bass music, and we try to outdo ourselves every year. Again, we are fortunate to have people on board that love the music, love the event, feel very involved and are among the very best the industry has to offer. Leon Driessen deserves a mention here.
[WF] – Usually when people arrive at a stage, they never think of the amount of work and manpower there is behind such a structure. How many months of planning and designing go into every stage and roughly how many people are involved every year to make Rampage happen?
It’s simple, we work all year round and it never stops. We are already working on Rampage 2021 and thinking about ways to improve Rampage Open Air 2022. We have a small team that’s on it all year round (Tom Stoop, Eveline Cromheecke, Kristof and me), but in the end hundreds of people are involved in making it happen: tech staff, site builders, bar crew, backstage and hospitality staff, press officers, travel agents, promotion crew, security… You really do not want to know hahaha
[WF] – A name that has made a huge mark on the event is Noisia, that performed many times in the past. Is there a feeling of sadness knowing that this is the end of an era?
Yeah it is of course sad that they won’t be blessing us with more new music but I do understand where they are coming from. They have been doing it together for so long, they are no doubt different people than they were 15 years ago, with different tastes, ideas, preferences, so it’s inevitable they would want to try things seperately by now.
[WF] – Other than, of course, the lineup, what exciting things can fans worldwide expect different in this year’s edition?
We are going to do something really special that is going to throw people off completely and change the way they experience the event entirely. I can’t tell what it is, because I don’t want to spoil the surprise!
[WF] – This is the 11th edition of Rampage. What do you feel when you look back at the outstanding evolution and growth that you had? Did you ever expect Rampage to become such an iconic event?
No, never. And it would never have come to this had it not been for my partner Kristof Darcon, who had already done big scale events and had the know how to bring an event to that level. But I have to say, there was no big design behind it – I just like to let things happen organically. It has proven often to be the case that if you just do things as good as you can, that more good things will come from it.
[WF] – Is branching out to a different country a thought that has crossed your mind or is Antwerp the perfect location?
Many people from all corners of the world and pretty much every EU country have reached out but I don’t want to lose focus, which is indeed the main event in Antwerp and the Open Air one in summer. Working with people in another continent is tricky because I need to feel they are 100% aware of what it is that makes Rampage so special. It’s a community, it’s a mix of different music styles, it’s an attitude… you can’t just throw some artists together, rent a venue, slap the name Rampage on it and expect it to be the same as our main event in Antwerp. We put a lot of time, effort and money into making the entire experience as enjoyable as possible, and upgrade the entire operation every year. Cut waiting lines, add special deco elements, introduce meet & greet moments, whatever we can think of! You can’t just trust people 10,000 miles away to get it right unless you feel they are very much on the same vibe as we are.
[WF] – And to finish it off, what would you have to say to those who don’t intend on going to this year’s Rampage?
Obviously, they will be missing out on two spectacular nights with too many world premieres to mention and an audio-visual experience that they will never have seen, heard or felt before. But when they’re done feeling sorry they can start prepping for Rampage Open Air on July 3 and 4 of 2020 or Rampage 2021!
[WF] – Thank you so much for your time!
Thank you, anytime!