I-F Talks Upcoming Intergalactic Festival, and What It Will Take To Stream It This Year

Updated: Feb 18

Ferenc E. van der Sluijs aka I-F © Wikipedia

A prolific DJ and producer since the early 90's, I-F runs the Viewlexx and Murder Capital record labels, scored massive underground hits with his "Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass", "I Do Cause I Coudn't Care Less", and "Playstation #2", and was part of Unit Moebius and Parallax Corporation among others, and is also one of the main figures in the Dutch West Coast scene.

Having a pirate radio background, he also started the Cybernetic Broadcasting System online stream which "developed" into Intergalactic FM in 2008, and since then streams 24/7 with three different main programs and TV.

One of our European correspondents, Jacek Janiszewski, had the honour of chatting with him on the phone about the Intergalactic Festival, which was planned to be taking place for the third time in The Hague this weekend, featuring among others, Cosmic Force, Nukubus and Drug Culture, but because of a well known global incident, the party will come to you as a stream instead. Let's get started with the interview!

Jacek: Hi Ferenc, you're super busy with preparations I guess?

Ferenc: Yes, with videos. It got out of hand...again!

It's 97 artists, isn't it? That's a lot.

Yes we're just about South of one hundred. Some artists had to cancel because they couldn't record or didn't have time. Other ones came along instead. We recorded a couple more at the Panama Racing Club today. We're still kind of bummed out that we can't do this year's festival for real, because it was going to get really good. We had amazing artists, and also our organization got a bit more improved, compared to last year. We learn from the mistakes we make. Last year was already pretty good and this year would have been great I think. We're absolutely not going to change any of the feel of the festival or its idea, but things like organization for example. Each stage was getting its own floor manager because I can’t do everything on my own.

The hard core of the team is Igor and me. We both do the videos, the streaming and editing.

Someone else did all the graphical stuff, the overlays. Fancy animated name things with the location of the artist playing, so people can see who it is they’re watching. That will appear a couple of times on the screen. Another person did a lot of conversion for us and helped out with those tags.

With the overall radio activities there are usually about four people continuously around, and then some extra people are doing graphics and server stuff. For the festival stream we rented some extra computer power, because our own server will not cut this. So when you tune in in Japan, you tune into a server in Asia and the same for USA, and so on.

Our own dedicated server is not the newest one, but for our day to day struggle it's all fine for the television and radio. Everything is hosted elsewhere. Website is a separate server, we have a server for the chat, one for the downloads. It's all pretty solid. But if we get heavy loads on the TV server, I'm pretty sure it's gonna crap out. We expect a lot of viewers, especially in the beginning, and it would be really silly if the server blew up within a minute.

Last year's Top100 stream, I actually don't know how many people were there, but at a certain point it starts to sweat and we want to avoid that.

Do you remember the very first track that was played on CBS back then? The one that started everything.

No, but I do remember it was at my old ghetto flat in Delft, and I also remember that there were ten listeners or something like that and I had a direct line with Marco Passarani back then, he did also some stuff. It started off very small from one day to the next. I don't remember which track it was, but it must have been something Italo. We came a long way from there.

I-F live at the Intergalactic Festival © Discogs

Having the three separate streams on Intergalactic FM compared to one single stream of Cybernetic Broadcasting System you had before, the music style stayed basically the same, only now it's split over three separate streams. So it doesn't appear to be a huge alteration to the concept, still you went for it. And in hindsight, did it make a big difference ?

It is a difference, because we can concentrate better on certain styles of music. The styles we play on the three stations. We also had four stations at a certain point. We've always been working on getting it better in the end. I'm not afraid of changing, you know, because you can always do better and add a bit more oversight. And on top of that our database with tracks grew enormously. We have so much music here that is on rotation, if we put that all on one stream, you would never hear anything basically. So that's why we had to divide it.

But CBS (one of the three Intergalactic FM streams still carries the name) sometimes does its old style thing. I mean we had for a couple of months what I call Classic CBS, there was also the disco and the soundtracks playing in the stream. And now it's a bit more back to the electronics: Dark Wave, Electro, Techno, Chicago. Concentrating more on that, I think that fits all very well. And Dream Machine is all the soundtracks and obscure electronics. It does also very well.

It seems that people absolutely love that concept. And Disco Fetish is of course disco fetish, there's still really good stuff being discovered. The whole 7" scene and obscure album stuff, you know like a track 3 on a B side that really rocked, we don't want to miss out on that.

What I also like about your radio is that the track ID's are all there for anyone who listens.

Yes. By the way, Intergalactic FM is not mine anymore, we made it a non-profit organization, so that it is an entity of its own. This way it's also easier sometimes to get funding. I mean the festival, we get help from the city council, they sponsor us a bit.

Where there's people, there's stimula. It is as old as people are. They are all doing something. You will never ever get rid of that. There's always something.

Nice that there's a bit of recognition and support from official places. Has Intergalactic FM ever been approached by Dutch radio to do something on the ether?

No, not recently. I used to play heavy Acid and Techno at night on national radio in 94/95. It was still possible back then. Now the national radio here is all sold out. It's so bad. There is a bit more now regarding public radio stations and local stations of course. And there's stations for young people, but there's too many rules involved with that, and I absolutely do not like that, because it messes up our concept and it will get in the way of playing good music.

There's too much politics involved. If there's one thing not an issue on Intergalactic FM it is politics. I mean, I don't need to like you to play your track if it's really good. You know what I mean? We don't care about that sort of thing, and that's why we call it Robots for Robots, so we don't have issues like gender and race and all those things that get people silly.

Makes sense, especially if we take into account the background of it all, where you and the people around the radio come from, the alternative scene, squatters and all. Which reminds me of the Acid Planet parties. Apparently there was homemade LSD distributed at the parties. Did that always go well ? I mean people tripping having those harsh sounds and dark atmosphere surround them. No freak outs?

Everything went well, you know as long as you don't have enforcement gorillas all around. Those are always the aggressors. If you just have public and good music and not too many rules, shit goes. I've been DJ'ing for, well, forever I guess, and the festivals and clubs where I play, the really nice places, there's never any problems. I mean, never say never, some shit was perhaps going on that I don't know about, but the atmosphere has been great for the last thirty years.

If you go back in time, hundreds or thousands of years, all the people, from the Mayas to well you name them, all kinds of tribes and they all had their thingy. One tribe was chewing on something, the other one was smoking, the third one made an elixir and drank it, the forth one ate mushrooms.

Where there's people, there's stimula. It is as old as people are. They are all doing something. You will never ever get rid of that. There's always something.

A human thing: the desire to alter the consciousness or perspective on the world.

Yeah, nothing is as fake as reality. Reality sucks. Watch the news and get depressed.

Just another interface, reality, isn't it?

Totally another interface!

Also the drugs have changed a bit.

Yeah, Holland is getting Crystal Meth distributors, I read in the papers today. That's bad shit, really.

When you think of the Electro revival in the 90's, is it comparable to what's happening nowadays?

For me it has never been away or hip or not hip, because I grew up with that stuff. The Rap, the Electro from the early 80's, that went hand in hand for me with Italo and some Wave stuff, electronic stuff and the hardcore disco sounds of the 70's.

For me that was like one thing. The whole philosophy is: A good record is a good record, and that's why I'm a bit weary of thinking in styles. It's all Techno to me. When I grew up at school, you had people actually really looking like wavers, others looked like discos, you had the punks, you had the rockers. You could often tell the music somebody listened to by their appearance. And that is a bit less now and I don't know if that's good or bad. That's not really important, but what I do like and which I think we managed, is to break through all the squares of styles, and that people started to appreciate music for music. A good track is a good track. It's as simple as that, really.

Thank for your time, good luck with the stream!

Interviewed by: Jacek Jan