Friend of Test Pressing Toby Tobias has joined forces with Klasse Wrecks to present KFAX8: Dance '91. A visual document of his formative years raving around London and the South West. Between 1990 and 1994, Toby immersed himself in the nascent rave scene, the music that powered it, and its attendant club culture. The young Mr. Smith made sure that he kept the flyers promoting the events he attended, rather than just using them for roach material like everyone else. As such, his collection grew exponentially before being archived in his mum's attic and then lying forgotten for over two decades.
Klasse Wrecks now presents a selection of this collection in the eighth of its KFAX series of books. Presented in all their glory over more than 100 pages, this publication faithfully restores these flyers in the highest possible quality. With the original paper flyers becoming rarer over time, KFAX8 serves as an archive of the past, presenting the material to a new audience and the next generation.
We had a quick chat with Toby about those halcyon days and how he feels about rave's ongoing resurgence.
Were any of the events documented in the book particularly memorable?
I didn't go to all of the parties in the book. However, the Dance 91 raves in Farnborough stick in the memory as they were right on our doorstep. Loads of friends and people we knew from the area were there.
Evolution was one of the first massive raves I attended. I remember hearing Joey Beltram's 'Energy Flash', The Gonzo - 'Lost' and 'Anastasia' by T99 (which I took an instant dislike to) there. The DJs were local heroes like Marvin Connors, Stacey Tough, and bigger names like Colin Dale, Colin Faver, Jumping Jack Frost, Loftgroover & Matthew B.
I drove everyone there.. a few of us had cars. My mate Mike drove his dad's massive Scorpio with leather seats so everyone wanted to be in his car, not my Citroen Visa! Evolution was a bit of a mad one, it was initially held in Park Prewett psychiatric hospital. It was active at the time, so you'd be queuing up and there would be patients in their gowns wandering around.
When did you stop collecting flyers?
In the main around 1994. All good things come to an end (or at least an enforced two-year break).
Do you feel vindicated by the return of the rave and its iconography? Or do you wish the new jacks would step off?
The fact is you can't beat that early 90s digital design - and even the more DIY hand-drawn approach before. It just has a unique charm and texture. Music-wise, I'm enjoying the drum n bass renaissance right now; it feels like more of an old-school 94 vibe with a modern twist.
Are you still in touch with your raving crew?
These people were my best friends so, yeah, in some way or another most of us have stayed in touch. Be it by phone, social media, or in person.
KFAX8: Dance '91 is available via Klasse Wrecks' Bandcamp page now