In the 1990s, a culture of rave parties and club drugs emerged. This new counterculture was centered around fast-paced techno music, dance and house music, psychedelic experiences, and in particular the drug ecstasy. Ecstasy is a psychoactive drug with amphetamine-like effects. It became popular as a club drug because of its ability to stimulate sociability and provide users with an extended period of intimacy often referred to as “cuddling” or “ Touching From A Distance ”. For many ravers, taking ecstasy at nightclubs and raves was not just about getting high but also about being creative while under the influence. It was widely believed that listening to fast techno music while on ecstasy would make you move faster which in turn would induce a state of hyper-alertness and creativity as well as making your senses more acute.
The artist’s perspective
The relationship between creativity and drugs is complex, and it is difficult to determine whether a creative work was produced while under the influence of intoxicating substances. An artist’s drug intake can affect creative production in several different ways. Drugs can alter psychological or physiological processes that are necessary for creativity, like attention and concentration, and can also cause the user to focus on different things than they would without the drug. With these in mind, it is difficult to determine how much of the resulting creativity is actually due to the drugs and how much is just a matter of being in a more relaxed environment where ideas can flow without inhibition. That said, some artists openly admitted to having been significantly influenced by certain drugs while working on their art.
Musicians embrace of using ecstasy
Ecstasy was not just a drug for ravers. It found its way into many other subcultures as well. Ecstasy became a part of the creative process for many musicians. The drug’s effects of increasing sensory perception and feelings of empathy made it particularly popular among musicians. For many musicians, the idea of being able to feel what your audience would feel while listening to your music was as exciting as creating new sounds. Although there have been stories of musicians like Jimi Hendrix and Keith Richards using drugs while working on their music, it was arguably the rave culture of the 1990s that made the embrace of ecstasy by musicians more prevalent than ever before.
Ecstasy Culture in the 90s
While some believe that the culture of ecstasy found its origins in the 1980s with the rise of house music and acid house, it was more likely to have emerged in the 1990s as rave culture became more mainstream. Raves were essentially large, all-night parties where people would go dancing, take ecstasy, and listen to techno music. People would often take the drug one or two hours before the party would start so that the effects would kick in as the party was at its peak. Because of the drug’s long-lasting effects, ravers often continued to take ecstasy well into the morning hours after the party had already ended.
DJs collaborated with ravers while on ecstasy
Some of the most iconic tracks of the 90s were created by DJs collaborating with ravers while on ecstasy. There is a myth about the creation of the track “Ecstasy” by DJ Sammy and Enrique Iglesias. The myth states that the song was created while Enrique and DJ Sammy were in a hot bathtub together with a few models and a bottle of champagne. The myth is false, however, as the song was created while Enrique was under the influence of ecstasy in a studio. The myth of the song’s creation is a true reflection of how common it was for DJs to work with ravers while on ecstasy.
Rave artists used electronic instruments to remix tracks
Many rave artists used electronic instruments to remix tracks. However, there are examples of ravers remixing tracks with traditional instruments under the influence of ecstasy. Some of the most iconic examples of this are “the Cranberries,” “The Cure,” DJ Spooky, and Moby. The Cranberries was a live act that consisted of two vocalists, two keyboardists, two guitarists, a drummer, and a bassist. The band spent the majority of their shows while on ecstasy, which influenced their music and live performance. According to Keith Duffy, the bassist of the Cranberries, being under the influence of ecstasy magnified his senses, and he found it easier to get into a groove. When the band released their debut album in 1992, they did not have the funds to record a studio album. Although the album is an eclectic mix of instruments and sounds, it is primarily a live recording that features the band members singing and playing their instruments while on ecstasy.
The relationship between creativity and drugs is complex, and it is difficult to determine whether a creative work was produced while under the influence of intoxicating substances. Although there are examples of artists who openly admitted to having been significantly influenced by certain drugs while working on their art, it is difficult to determine how much of the resulting creativity is actually due to the drugs and how much is just a matter of being in a more relaxed environment where ideas can flow without inhibition.