Monday, August 01, 2005

technomaha

story by Brent Crampton ~ Omaha, NE - “Back in the days when things were cool,” as Erykah Badu says, Syquil was the queen of the big-panted and glow-stick wearing subculture of the 90’s. With the demise of that site came a fall out in communication amongst many in the Midwest scene. Subsequently, many smaller communities sprouted up.

For Omaha, it took one Nolan Gaskill, aka Dr. Mindbender, to step up and break it down. He has been a positive force in the IDM scene of Omaha, binding people together through an internet community through a very active message board. Danny Maze, transplant from Florida to Omaha, has relied upon the site to become familiar with the 411 on the Omaha and Lincoln scene. The site, “has really pulled together a good group of people together with the same interests in music and lifestyle,” Maze said about Technomaha.

And here’s Gaskills 411 on the site, why he started it and where it’s going. . .

When was technomaha founded, and what inspired you to do it?

The website was started in January 2003. It was a project that I'd thought about for quite some time and after some discussions with some key players in the scene here, I decided that it was worth pursuing. There were three main "inspirations." First, I was motivated mainly to work on building the site after realizing that while folks in almost every other city in the midwest had their own regional site to visit, us Omahans were left either using the Yahoo! Groups, which have never been very popular, or to go post on sites from other cities. The second reason is that I realized that there was a tremendous pool of talent from both DJs and producers that went largely unrecognized and that that needed to change. Finally, I believed that after the rave scene really collapsed in the Midwest that things were not ever going to progress again until there was a genuine sense of community developed amongst the people that cared about where the scene was headed.

What was the reaction to the community, and how has it affected the Omaha scene?

I think that it slowly caught on. Some of our earliest members are still among our most active, which I guess is a good sign that things are going well. I think the site has definitely had a positive affect on Omaha's scene. For a long time, there was this group of people that never really interacted outside of their own little social clique. Now, in no small part to the interactions on the computer, people have become better friends at events and just in general.

Would you say Technomaha is a place where the industry people and fans of electronic music go? And why?

I'd say by and large most of the people active in the industry locally visit the site from time to time. To some people, message boards are just not their thing, so I don't really ever take it personally when someone isn't involved. But as one of the big promoters recently told me, his job would be a lot harder were it not for Technomaha. It does definitely help everyone, both the attendees and promoters to have one point of reference to post their events. The nice thing about Technomaha is that it does have a pretty niche following. There are lots of Web sites dedicated to music and nightlife in one form or another in the city, but I think we pretty much have the corner on the electronic music market.

I know the site has taken a bit portion of your time. Is it worth it and what do you do to keep the motivation? Where would Omaha be without the site?

The amount of time that I spend on the site varies a lot over the course of time. One thing that is nice though, is since it is such a community driven site, I can sit back and see what people have to say about things before devoting a lot of resources and time to an idea. I think my main motivation for continuing the site though, is that I would probably have a certifiable riot of our post addicts on my front lawn if I ever stopped.

So there used to be a Syquil where people from all over the Midwest went for their raver connection. Do you think the smaller, more intimate sites are better or worse than the massives?

Things change with the times. When the Midwest could have a massive somewhere within driving distance, a regional site like Syquil was a good thing. As those events gradually became more local, there became more of a need to draw in smaller sites. I think more locally oriented sites tend to draw people together and (though we've had our moments) avoid stupid internet drama.

Any plans for the future?

I am still hoping to get more submissions for local and regional artists wanting to feature their music. It’s a pretty good deal, having it hosted on the site. I haven't dedicated the resources needed to effectively market it nor make it easy enough for the common user to upload. Hopefully that will come sometime soon. I also want to return to the featured artist section. It was a nice way to get new people involved in the site and I think the users generally enjoyed it.

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