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Swiss Electronic Music interviews Arnold Meyer

We’re proud to have an interview with Arnold Meyer, the organizer of the legendary Energy raves in Zurich. 


Can you say something about the origins of Energy?

In December ‘91 I was at Mayday at Halle Weissensee in Berlin, a warehouse party where all techno djs and live acts have performed, everybody 1 hour: Westbam, Sven Väth, Dave Angel, Tanith, Speedy J live and others. I wanted to do something else: a big rave with all major techno acts like Richie Hawtin, Joey Beltram, TNI/Space Cube (Ian Pooley, DJ Tonka) and all Swiss DJs like Gangsta. It took place 5.9.1992 at SRO Kugellager, opposite OXA where the afterhours took place. Student Marek Krynski with whom I went to Mayday at Westfalenhalle Dortmund on 30.4.92 and Love Parade Berlin 4.7.92 had the idea to make a Parade in Zurich. I suggested him to do it in the afternoon of Energy. 1000 people came to the parade, 6000 to Energy in the night.

What was your path as music fan?

It started ‘74 with glitter rock: Sweet, Slade. Then hard rock: Kiss. And punk rock from ’77. On 78 Kraftwerk “Man Machine” LP and “Saturday Night Fever” movie, ‘79/’80 rap with Sugarhill Gang and Kurtis Blow, and groups like Clash and Blondie who worked with rap and disco. Early ‘80s New York underground disco like D-Train and Visual. ‘86 Chicago house, ‘87 acid and Detroit techno. ‘88 first Chicago house party at GZ heuried. From 1990 first techno parties at locations like Kaufleuten and parties wirh DJ Djaimin (Couleur 3 “Dream Sequence”).

You were a music journalist at the time…

I’ve started in ‘78 with punk fanzine Shit, from ‘80-92 I was freelance music journalist for various newspapers and magazines. I’ve interviewed many musicians like Gary Numan, Kraftwerk, Mick Jagger, Divine, Kano, Albert One, I was at the press conference of James Brown when he played in Frauenfeld. I also interviewed club owners, promoters and djs in Zurich in the late ‘80s.  From ‘92 on I was so busy with the raves that I had to stop with journalism.

How long you worked Energy?

1992-2013, always after Street Parade, from ‘93 on at Hallenstadion (except 2004 when Hallenstadion was under construction).

What kind of festival you had in mind working Energy?

I had in mind the concept of a mega rave. In 2000 there were 36000 ravers divided in 10 venues including Rohstofflager and Hallenbad Öerlikon.

What kind of music are you listening now?

Always all kinds of electronic music: melodic like Tale Of Us, Maceo Plex, Stephan Bodzin, but also harder like Amelie Lens, Charlotte de Witte. But also Atlanta trap, reggaeton from Puerto Rico and Columbia, rock like Tale Impala. But also styles from the ‘70s like krautrock, p-funk and ‘80s like italo-disco, dark-wave, synth-pop, industrial, electro-funk, Minneapolis funk, swing beat.

How do you think will change clubs and festival in the near future?

It will need 2 years to recover, to get to the status pre corona. It will be hard years.

Do you think to return to Energy one day or another Swiss electronic festival after covid?

When everything has recovered we can think about a big event again, not under the name Energy (which is now a radio station with annual events at Hallenstadion) but with a new name.


Arnold Meyer Joey Beltram Roggwil 1995

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