New Haven Bounce and Adam X at Neubody

Zoe Jensen


"Push your tush against the speaker!" Leah Fox commanded me over techno-savant Adam X's thumping beat, making the floorboards of New Haven’s Cafe 9 shake along with the jumping Saturday night crowd.

How could I say no to the wife of Frankie Bones, Adam X's brother and fellow legendary DJ? I pushed my butt against an amp by the stage and felt some of the first electronic dance music ever made ripple through my back to my hamstrings. "We used to do this in the 90s," said Leah, who along with her husband and his brother, were some of the original US ravers. For Adam X spinning onstage, this Neubody show has an air similar to those sets from his South Brooklyn days in the 80s: a small club with a rowdy crowd hungry to dance. And dance we did.

Adam X was asked to headline the show by Antoni Maiovvi, who, by day, a horror movie composer and audio engineering professor at the University of New Haven, and by night, hosts monthly parties with the New Haven techno collective Neubody at Cafe 9. Adam X and Antoni, or Tony, first met in Berlin, where they recognized each other for their music production and being in the local techno scene. Tony noted they "both have an appreciation for classics, and we're both record collectors, like super serious diggers."

Tony also knew Adam for his iconic status in the underground electronic music scene. Growing up in New York, Adam organized legendary techno warehouse parties in the early 90s with his brother, providing a crucial platform for the growing music genre. Adam was also known for graffiti under the tag "PLUM" (Peace Love Unity Movement). This tag scrawled on Brooklyn subway cars evolved into the widely recognized rave saying "PLUR" (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect). Despite being wanted by the NYPD for numerous vandalism charges, Adam's reverence and dedication to graffiti matched his energy toward techno. He and his brother started Sonic Groove and Storm Rave, a series of renegade parties in warehouses across Brooklyn and Staten Island in 1991. These shows laid the groundwork for rave culture in the US, which collectives like Neubody still build from today.

Although Tony moved to the US and Adam stayed in Berlin, they kept in touch. When Tony saw Adam X was going on tour, he asked if he wanted to spin at one of his Neubody nights at Cafe 9. Tickets were pre-bought, posters were slapped across New Haven, and Adam X bridge and tunneled to New Haven.

Tony and Jentleman, a collective member and Tony's partner, opened for Adam, leaning into perfectly irregular-timed beats, piercing claps, and pulsing production that bled into Crown Street. BMX bikers cruised through the noise while smoke bloomed from the crowd outside. Tony knew this city would be good for Adam X to play. "New Haven must take him back to the old days when he would play in old school raves rather than playing a big Electric Daisy Carnival."

The night brought out storied techno heads, chewing on toothpicks and studying Adam X's transitions. It also attracted younger DJs from across Connecticut, giving props and learning from one of the first guys to do it.

This show was also a special moment for Patty, the owner of Cafe 9. He connected with Adam X as a fellow pre-gentrification born-and-raised Brooklynite. He would see Adam X's graffiti bombs on subways in the 80s as a kid. But Patty was a punk and didn't know about the techno scene until he saw the growing movement in New Haven. "I was a punk dude. I was going to like CBGB's and shit. Seriously, I didn't know anything about electronic music until I met Tony." As Adam was leaving the venue, he shook Patty's hand. "I love that New Haven Bounce! I never see dancing like that in LA or New York, never.”

After the show, I spoke with Adam, who confirmed the new term New Haven Bounce, the crowd's energy, and how he sees DJing as an art form. But he spent most of our conversation encouraging New Haven to start throwing more shows in warehouses, urging us to enjoy the same fruits of the early electronic music scene as he did back in the day. We can create the same raw, vulnerable, DIY spirit here—and maybe with a little extra bounce.