Blistering BPM and hefty harder styles come to Mannheim, Germany once again this very weekend; for the tenth year running, in fact. That's right: Toxicator is in town.
Never mind the penchant for ghoulish masks and toxic viruses, the harder styles communities pride themselves on being open and welcoming, so quite the contrary to their external image. These are likely the contributing factors as to why Toxicator has rapidly become a staple on the rave scene and has continued to grow in each of its ten editions.
Having reached a decade, we posed the same questions to both BMG and Partyraiser, both of which have been Toxicator stalwarts over the years, to get each of their valuable perspectives on how the festival has become the most unequivocally beloved harder styles event in central Europe.
How has the event changed since you were first on the lineup?
Partyraiser: Firstly, I'd like to congratulate the organisation and I'm thankful to be part of it. It's become bigger and more popular. I love the diversity of the rooms every year; the sound system is always great, and the stages are always packed! Besides this, I love the way Toxicator works and gets along with the artists. They improve every year!
BMG: We've actually played at every Toxicator edition, and we honestly don’t know if there is another act that has been a part of it every single time. But even after 10 years, we still get excited like little kids before our show. In the beginning, the event was much smaller and our stage wasn’t even in Maimarktclub. We also still remember quite well that it was pretty cold behind our stage because they were only using parts of the hall, but from the beginning, we felt comfortable and we're already excited about this year’s edition.
BMG at Toxicator's first outing in 2009
Ten years is an impressive milestone for a festival to reach. Why do you think Toxicator seems to grow and grow with each edition?
Partyraiser: People talk about it. When the organisation throws a night you can't forget afterwards, people start talking. I honestly do, and always say I'm honoured to play here. Toxicator has grown into a household name within the German party scene - I and my wife Savannah (DJ Bulletproof) party before my set as we love to check out all of the area's, especially the HardTechno stage.
BMG: The scene developed quite substantially over the past ten years, with harder sounds more in demand than ever. Toxicator offers a wide selection of styles from hardcore, hardstyle, frenchcore to hardtechno, and tekk, and now has become an integral part of the harder styles scene. We know almost everyone who works there, and every year the organisation is extremely welcoming. It feels a bit like a family celebration. Nowadays we are talking about 10,000 visitors which is quite a statement in Germany. We are curious to see how it continues and we are happy that we can experience this development up close.
What is it about hardstyle music that makes fans so crazily loyal?
Partyraiser: I can't judge other scenes so can't say if it's the same, but for our hardcore scene it's just a life-long family. We come for the music, to party together. Hardcore is just a huge family. No hate, just smiles and partying your ass off!
BMG: For fans of our scene it’s not only about music but a lifestyle. They delve into the music, and party wildly but peacefully. It’s a tight-knit community that is always open and cordial. Even our parents came along to a few events! But also, the majority of artists that we know live the music and always take a bit of time for their fans away from the stage. That’s exactly what the fans appreciate; every single one is part of the larger community and you can feel that too. Our love for harder music and our desire to give something back to our fans led us to start our own event series INURFASE. For us, it’s also not just music but our lives, which it's been for 16 years now.
Loyal Toxicator fans
Out of the Toxicator’s you’ve played, what would you say are the highlights?
Partyraiser: I've loved them all. Last year was great, but I don't have a particular favourite. The atmosphere has been great on every episode. For this year, I can't wait because we are also on stage with Scarphase, live!
BMG: That’s always a tough question. For example, you can’t compare a show in a small gloomy club with a show on a big stage like Toxicator has now. Both have their own appeal. Ultimately, it’s not only the location that makes the difference. The crowd is the most important factor, so for us, pretty much every year is a highlight. You can’t really decide on one.
Partyraiser giving it large
With the likes of Wildstylez and The Sickest Squad on the bill, it looks like Toxicator will again raise the bar come December. Do you have any tricks up for your sleeve for your set?
Partyraiser: Yes, you all need to be here! This is a party you cannot miss! My set will be so loud, diverse, and will bring the party! You know me. Oh, and make sure to check out our live set during Scarphase for new tracks..... TOXICATOR. IS. ON!
BMG: We are an act that lives on spontaneity. Of course, we think about what we want to play, but that’s not carved into stone. We always go with the flow, playing whatever comes to mind in the moment and what we believe the people will enjoy! The only thing that is decided on beforehand is our intro, which we always produce for the event. We just love to spontaneously interact with the crowd and be flexible. The result can sometimes be pretty funny and crazy.