Last week an article made the rounds online purporting to explain the origins of the word doof and sequentially bush doofs, you know those things where people head out of the city to cut some shapes to overly large soundsystems and a little spiritual embodiment.
The story sounded a little fishy at best so we tracked down Spiro Boursine, the brains behind earthcore, Australia’s pioneering bush doof for a little history lesson on the term doof and well, early bush doofs.
Aside from the history lesson you’ll definitely get a kick out of earthcore’s beginnings as a mere university assignment before hitting its stride and now over 20 years later is boasting Chris Liebing, Rodhad, Anklepants and more for 2015.
Spiro Boursine (earthcore creator) gives us the low down on the word doof and bush doofs…
We have read a interesting take from an ex DJ/producer by the name of Peter Strong, who has created a historical story claiming that doofs were actually a political activist movement stemming from the punk scene and warehouse parties in Sydney. Some neighbour came along with a noise complaint about the “doof” music thus creating a genre and subsequent scene around it 1993.
Peter seems to omit any reference to the actual doof scene (to which the name implies) beyond his take on this moment. No mention of the bush parties which were already happening several years before his “neighbour’s epiphany”. From my memory, warehouse parties were called warehouse parties, and funnily enough raves where called raves, and events in the bush were called doofs. In Peter’s take it apparently meant all free or donation based events from raves to warehouse parties were doofs. To be honest I have never heard of anyone say “I can’t wait to go to that activist punk warehouse doof”, and strangely enough the dictionary meaning tends to agree with me: The word is synonymous with bush parties to this day.
Doofs are (and have always been) dance music events in the bush, and they came about from the early 90’s by the process of banging a soundsystem in the middle of the bush. Early pioneers of the “doof” movement, in the context of outdoor bush parties (and the established, historically correct context), commenced with a few events by good friend Christian Diaz Summer in 1991/2 Brisbane Ranges VIC, closely followed by the pre-earthcore event Mystic Madness in 1992/1993 which set the ground work for the more coordinated event: earthcore 1993.
We don’t doubt that there were might have been informal gatherings of this type elsewhere at the time; however, we have been hard pressed finding evidence to suggest this is. The people that attended these events coined the phrase during these years as they approached the dancefloor. We did not coin the phrase, but accepted it as the current term for what we were putting on. We don’t doubt Peter’s neighbours’ moment, but attempting carry the ’we created the word “doof”’ via mainstream media and omitting everything around the subculture at the time -except the post punk scene in Sydney which certainly did not influence the movement we were part of- is historically biased and wrong.
Also on a footnote
The only inspiration I personally ever received prior to all this was from events in 1990 in the UK by the Spiral Tribe, followed by warehouse parties in Melbourne namely Soma, Imagineer, 22 Thousand Volts, and the Munster Terrace gatherings, none of which were doofs. Try warehouse parties. Raves maybe….
Regarding the first earthcore
earthcore was a uni project to create a product or service based industry from scratch. I was hitting warehouse parties and raves at the time so I simply decided to combine my love of camping with my love of dance music (all called techno at the time)
I submitted the concept and proceeded with doing the event. The 1st earthcore got several hundred people and was donation based $10 at checkpoint one. Great event was had by all, but the lecturer failed me stating clearly “This concept is never going to work”.
To be honest he was kind of right in a way! Who knows… 🙂
Check out some photos from last year before taking a peek into the early pieces of earthcore from a BBC documentary.