For over 15 years, Albert van Abbe has been an established figure in the Dutch Techno scene. Apart from his nearly 4-year-old party series DRUM, the Eindhoven artist has also cultivated the ability to move easily between producing minimal, narrative dance floor tracks and continually developing his hardware-driven A/V live sets.
Lately, he has released his very first LP Champagne Palestine and also reactivated his first label No Comment, reinforcing his status as an exciting artist daring to push things forward. That is what we know. But as our new Off The Tracks aims at inviting artists to show a different side of themselves, his contribution superbly reflects that approach. Sure, we still don’t know why the Dutchman gives away his phone number on Facebook. Instead, he shares the adventurous story of why in 2007 he decided to sell his hardware and belongings in order to live in a van for two years, driving all across Europe making some of the craziest experiences in his life.
You’ve probably experienced this feeling of escapism at least once. This feeling of not feeling at home, the urge to go off the grid. To get rid of all your belongings and just hit the road, to see what life is like with this newly obtained freedom. To live like a true minimalist, a nonconformist breaking whatever rules life throws at you. My home was a squat, a former Lidl supermarket, where we hosted audio-video exhibitions. I slept in the former refrigerators. I was considering moving to Berlin, where I traveled regularly staying at this photographer’s apartment near Moritzplatz when he was out of town. This must have been 2005, 2006. I bought some hardware during this time and eventually found a proper room to stay in, but still felt out-of-place somehow, a feeling that never really went away.
This made me decide to sell the hardware and give away most of my belongings, including 176 copies of an electronic album (Ox Lahun Series). I quit doing music and hit the road with one bag and just a few backups of my tracks on hard drives. The move was partly inspired by my best friend (now my wifey), who hitchhiked across the US east coast and lived on a beach in Mexico for over a year. When I was about to leave, a friend of mine offered me an old camper van to travel with as long as I would give it back after the trip. It was an old Toyota with a heater, a stove, a comfortable bed and a fancy yet way too heavy wooden interior.
Over the next years, I drove that little camper van all across Europe, from Barcelona to the border of Belarus and Lithuania, and from Rostock to Pula. So off I went, first to Barcelona with friends of mine, who run the Pirate Kitchen from a big old Mercedes truck, a project they still run on festivals like Fusion. Luckily I never had any big problems with the van: pretty nice for a guy who’s just able to handle knobs on synths and DJ equipment.