What style of music is Vanessa hearing for the first time as she attends her inaugural rave in Code 45? It’s a question I pondered when originally penning the script, because while electronic dance music is currently enjoying widespread mainstream acceptance, in the early 2000s era in which the graphic novel is set it was still in many ways an underground phenomenon in North America.
Montreal’s rave scene at the time I participated in it was one that went through regular cycles of boom and bust for specific dance music genres. Typically, a popular style would surge for several years until the group of kids that were into it began to age out of one-off all-night events and began to trickle into the clubs, where they would trade whatever they had been listening to previously for the progressive house and burgeoning electro sound that were standard commercial fare at the time.
To keep things true to my own experience, when I see Vanessa on the dance floor, in my head I hear the pound sounds of hardcore and happy hardcore in one room, and the melodic rush of trance in the other. Stuck between those two worlds is the jump-up of jungle and drum ‘n bass, which was another frequent headliner at many of the parties I went to during that time.
Each of these genres came with their own fashion and lifestyles, which blended together to create the general raver populace of the time. This gave us a wide license to dip into different looks and vibes when creating the visuals for Vanessa’s rave experiences, but it also offered a chance for me to go deep into the aspects of the subculture that were important to me, and which helped define my own musical taste and inspiration during the period in which I was a producer and a promoter.