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  • Writer's pictureAidan Joseph

Raze On Road - Embarking on a Soundsystem Documentary Series

I am a big fan of Soundsystem culture, and I'm proud to live in one of the UK's premier speaker building cities where a thriving community operates in the underground.

Raze On Road Episode 1
Raze On Road

I approached my friend James, who runs Raze Soundsystem, with a proposition. Although we have been working together for years to capture videos for his various events, I wanted to produce some films unlike the ones we had created before.

The electronic music scene continues to boom across the UK, and the genre that got me into it in the first place - Drum and Bass, has been rocketing to the mainstream over the past 5 years. You have long standing artists like Chase & Status releasing multiple recent charting singles, and new wave junglists like Nia Archives paving the next chapter of the scene. Along with the evolution of the marketplace, social media has changed massively with it.

Zaron Mizmeras setting up a GoPro
Zaron Mizmeras

Reels, Stories, TikToks - they're all increasingly populated with short form live-event clips shot behind the DJ. Audiences go crazy for the huge drops, and the massive crowd reactions. The most creativity the videographer can have for this content is by flinging the camera around, zooming it in and out quickly and giving the viewer a headache. I have no issue with the videographers that pursue this niche in the market, but it was never what I foresaw myself creating as a filmmaker.

I strongly believe there is still a big marketplace for long-form content in the event promotion scene, but to keep up with the times, everyone has to diversify. This got me wondering... why is there not more behind the scenes content showcasing the people that make the events happen? That make the sound so weighty? That cause your organs to feel like they're being rearranged on the dancefloor?

Scott from Raze Soundsystem
Scott sporting a Raze Hoodie

You ask any raver that is invested in the scene - they will have their own favourite Soundsystem. You can guarantee anytime you are on a dancefloor or in the smoking area of a venue, there will be 5 conversations debating who's bass bins are the loudest. Yeah but have you heard Sinai's rig? Oh but they've got nothing on Elektrikal. Nah mate you need to hear RC1.

Soundsystems can make or break a rave, and when they are bringing the heavyweight business, you will turn to your mates as a particularly filthy song rips through the airwaves and scrunch your face in disgust and horror as if someone has detonated the worst fart you've ever smelled. This is in fact a showing of pure delight, for the uninitiated.

Raze Soundsystem new cab being painted
Painting a fresh speaker

There is so much artistry that goes behind cultivating audio on the dancefloor, and to a regular punter like myself, it all just seems like magic.

And beyond the science and techy stuff, there is a passionate community of music lovers with a vision and love for the scene. They are the beating heart of the underground, and together with the artists - they produce something special and unmatched. Rave culture is built on the foundations of connection and togetherness. We all want to be part of something, and underground sonics bring people together in a totally unique and special way.

James invited me to their lock-up to capture some footage of them painting their newest hand-built speakers. Just seeing the impressive array of boxes lining the walls had me a little giddy inside. I thought to myself... other fans of the scene are going to love seeing this stuff. What goes into building, maintaining, tweaking, tuning and powering these systems. It's an impressive operation, and beautiful in it's own right.

I want to bring this behind-the-scenes insight to a wider audience, show the personalities behind the system, the hard work and dedication it takes to bring the sound to the people.

Aidan Joseph shooting Raze Soundsystem
Filming at the lock-up

As a first experiment, we decided to shoot an episode that covered the load in, set-up and proceeding event on home soil here in Sheffield. This was to be when Big Fat Rave & Super Sonic Booty Bangers came to town. Although we have plans for bigger events to capture in the future, we wanted to start small and test out the format. I wanted to slowly introduce the concept to the Raze team and ease them into being in-front of the camera.

Luckily, they are a hilarious bunch with a great working dynamic that comes across really well on camera. Just like in filmmaking, being a decent person will get you a long way in the music business, and these chaps are just as lovely as the sound their system produces.

We learnt a lot from this initial episode. both in the response from fans and also in the way the shooting came together. It can take time for a rhythm to find it's groove and I firmly believe that the following episodes are only going to level up and continue to improve.

James from Raze Soundsystem
James watching the ravers on the dancefloor

The next event we'll be shooting is going to be up in Newcastle, and I'm excited to hop in the van and get to see how they truly take Raze On Road.

You can watch the full episode on their YouTube channel, subscribe to be the first to see the next, and stay tuned for future episodes.

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