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Toronto Star article: Say goodbye to the Hullabaloo! era

dillpickle

TRIBE Member
Say goodbye to the Hullabaloo! era; Chris Samojlenko calls it quits at No. 44 One, last blow-out party this weekend
The Toronto Star
Thursday, July 7, 2005
Page: G5
Section: What's On
Byline: Ben Rayner
Source: Toronto Star

Even if fun-fur finery, glo-sticks and happy hardcore were never your thing, you can't be a raver past or present in Toronto and not feel a twinge of sadness at the looming retirement of the Hullabaloo! brand.

Although neither the largest nor the longest-lived of the party-promotion outfits once so numerous in this city by the close of the 1990s, Hullabaloo! - the brainchild of cherubic happy-hardcore DJ Chris "Anabolic Frolic" Samojlenko - has always staged the "raviest" of raves, colourful nighttime playgrounds where the childlike whimsy, elaborate costumes and unabashedly upbeat sounds that characterized the scene's U.K. origins have never gone out of fashion.

Hullabaloo!'s singular brand of cultural idealism, not to mention its championing of rip-roaring, 150 bpm hardcore sounds, has earned it a faithful following that has endured over the years while most of the other promoters who came up alongside it have vanished. Yet late last year, Samojlenko stunned the Hulla hordes by announcing that he would soon be getting out of the party business and putting the Hullabaloo! name to rest for good.

The moment of truth is upon us this weekend. Sometime during the wee hours of Sunday morning, the lights will come up on the 44th Hullabaloo! event and that will be it.

"It's gonna be rough," concedes Samojlenko, 30. "But it's run its course. I sort of came to the hard conclusion that brighter days weren't ahead, and Hulla is such a brand that I sort of owed it to go out while it still meant something rather than to beat it into the ground. Ever since I made the decision, I've felt really good about it because it sent shockwaves around the world. Literally everywhere."

Indeed, while hardcore parties have been a mainstay of the European party scene since rave's inception (and are even slightly resurgent these days), Hullabaloo! and Anabolic Frolic have pretty much owned North America since the franchise began in 1997.

Samojlenko, an Ottawa native first introduced to electronic dance music via the University of Ottawa radio station, started throwing parties for much the same reason he stumbed into DJ-ing "Out of necessity." He simply wasn't hearing the music he liked - specifically, the pathologically giddy, oft-maligned genre known as "happy hardcore." So he took matters into his own hands, first as an importer of hardcore vinyl, then as a DJ and finally as a promoter.

"I literally starved while I was doing this in the beginning," Samojlenko says. "I knew if I had a job, I would not be able to focus while working. So basically I couldn't afford a place to live. I had an office that was 10 by 12 feet, no windows. I slept on the floor of this thing for two years. When my wife, Robin, moved up here from L.A., we lived in there together for three months until we got our own place. It was trial by fire. If you can make it through that ..."

It has, of course, paid off. Anabolic Frolic and Hullabaloo! have occupied a fairly unique niche in the North American market ever since. And, thanks in part to Samojlenko's hugely successful Happy 2 B Hardcore series for the long-lost Moonshine Records (at 400,000 units moved, it's the bestselling electronic-music series ever), the Hulla name has gained notoriety amongst ravers around the world, regularly drawing curious partiers from points as far afield as the States, the U.K., Germany and Australian to Toronto.

But Hulla and Samojlenko wound up being in the wrong place at the wrong time when one of three much-reported Ecstasy deaths to occur in the city in 1999 happened at his "A View to a Thrill" party that October.

Called before a public inquest into the unfortunate death of 20-year-old Ryerson student Allan Ho, Samojlenko wound up bearing the brunt of the media's anti-rave pillorying when the city's rave hysteria hit full force in 2000. It's still hard for him to talk about the time.

"Anybody who knows me knows I was very passionate about what I did and I never messed around in anything bad. It was just bad luck, I guess," he says.

Samojlenko - who suffered through another crisis a year later when a Hullabaloo! partygoer was stabbed through the heart - says the whole thing was an "eye-opening experience about the media."

"I remember the morning after our party when the police were giving their spin on the whole thing," he says. "They were painting this terrible picture of, like, kids sleeping in trash and stuff. And it turns out my mother was in Toronto that weekend - it was Thanksgiving weekend - and I'd invited her to our party because she'd never seen what I do. So she came at 5 in the morning, she got up onstage and I introduced her to the crowd and everybody went crazy. My wife, Robin, gave her some glo-sticks and she danced onstage with glo-sticks for my entire set, and afterwards some kids took it upon themselves to escort her through the building and get her a taxi.

"She was so impressed by the whole experience, it reminded her a lot of things she did in her youth. She was there, she saw it with her own eyes and all of a sudden we saw what they were reporting."

In the midst of this dark period, Samojlenko nevertheless resolved only to end Hullabaloo! on "my own terms." And while the parties have grown smaller since the heyday, but a stable core of fans has remained.

So why end it now? The way Samojlenko sees it, the scene, now well into its 15th year in North America, is only going to keep fragmenting and contracting, as the infrastructure that allowed it to get so big in Toronto no longer exists.

"For years and years and years, there wasn't a single weekend in Toronto where there wasn't a big event going on. I'd say with any given Hulla, there were 500 new kids experiencing their very first rave. And if you think about that going on every single weekend and just gaining momentum, that doesn't exist anymore ... For the past two or three years, I've sort of felt like I've been carrying the whole scene on my shoulders."

Samojlenko, who recently became the proud father of a baby boy, will continue to DJ "as long as Anabolic Frolic's bookings do," while pursuing his curious second calling as a trained stage hypnotist on the side. He's also working on a book about his experiences.

But Hullabaloo!, he vows, is done. Following a pre-party at the Marquee Event Theatre tomorrow night, then, the final Hullabaloo! - fittingly called "All Good Things ..." - goes down at the Opera House on Saturday, featuring a DJ roster of Hulla residents and concluding with a two-hour "history of Hulla" set from Anabolic Frolic.

"The sound and lighting budget exceeds anything we've ever done, even in our biggest days," he laughs. And for a place like the Opera House, it's totally overkill. On paper, if you saw what we had planned, it's totally crazy. But I think for a lot of people there, it's gonna be the last rave they're ever going to be at. So I'd like Hulla to personify what the rave scene is and was ...

"What people don't understand about raving is there was such a community. They're the ones who made it what it was ... Every Hulla was sort of this really creative celebration of fashion and culture and music, and that came from within. That came from the people who came to it."What Hullabaloo!, with Anabolic Frolic and MC Storm, Frisky, D-Minus, Elixir, Silver 1, Subsonic Chronic and more.

Where The Opera House, 735 Queen E.

When Saturday @ 9 p.m.

Tickets Sold out.

Pre-party Friday night @ 9 at the Marquee Event Theatre and Shamrock Bowl, 280 Coxwell Ave. Tickets are $18.

Info www.hulla.info

Illustration:
• Charla Jones TORONTO STAR DJ Chris "Anabolic Frolic" Samojlenko warms up the turntables at The Beat record store on Spadina Ave.
 

basilisk

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by dillpickle
Even if fun-fur finery, glo-sticks and happy hardcore were never your thing, you can't be a raver past or present in Toronto and not feel a twinge of sadness at the looming retirement of the Hullabaloo! brand.
Sure I can.

Samojlenko - who suffered through another crisis a year later when a Hullabaloo! partygoer was stabbed through the heart - says the whole thing was an "eye-opening experience about the media."
This makes my eyebrow wiggle.

Is rip-roaring hardcore really just 150bpm?

Anyway, good article - Ben Rayner does a respectable job of this sort of thing.

Adios amoebas.
 

LivingRoomPornstar

TRIBE Member
I'm really looking forward to this party on Saturday.

I've been to quite a few hulla parties(i think this will be my 15th or 16th hulla), but haven't gone now for a couple of years.

I met so many great people at these events, and in some ways, they profoundly changed my life for the better.

Dan
 

finary

TRIBE Promoter
CONGRATS MALGLO!!!

...on his first public DJ appearance in quite some time! Catch his opening set @ Hullabaloo 8:30 to 9pm!!!

YEAAAAA DAVE! :D

can't wait to hear you rock out some trance on a big system.
 

lucky1

TRIBE Member
I haven't been to a hulla party in 5 years.. but b4 that I went to a bunch and always had a good time. The free whistles they used to give out damaged my hearing just that much more though! have fun and thank you hulla for the good times!
 

The Tesseract

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by bucky
I wish I hadn't sold my tickets. :(

So many great memories at Hulla's......
A buddy of mine regrets selling his too... but he sold the 2 off at $80 each
so... he's happy about that, but sad that he sold them off.






wow... 44 hullas...
the last one i went to was #9
 

joey

TRIBE Member
i havent been out to a party in a long time...
hulla totally was my raving experience.

looking forward to this party on saturday

and as it says in the article, this very likly will be my last rave ever.

it started with hulla 7 and ends with hulla 44! (i think like 4 or 5 of those were @wemf) ya, too bad i went to like 20something
 

Moez

TRIBE Member
HAPPY HULLABALOO!

It is going to be such an incredible party and I feel so lucky that I will get to be a part of it.

PLUR! :)
 

miss mariss

TRIBE Member
I was/am very upset that I missed out on the tickets. I would have killed for them....

..maybe I will....;)

I wish all that are going lots of fun!
 

stargurl*

TRIBE Member
I took that at Rhythm of Life.

The weirdest bit is that I didn't photoshop it to get the colours to go that way.
 

Klubmasta Will

TRIBE Member
^ I will be attending this Book Launch/Reunion event at The Opera House on Tuesday. I expect it will be a lot of fun to see old friends/faces. I've heard of folks travelling from far away to attend this, so it will be interesting to see who all shows up.

:)
 
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