High Rollerz

Discovering the world of High Rollerz: Ragnarok

This concept brings all subgenres together as one

Meet High Rollerz.

What started as organising a party for a group of friends has now brought Harriet Jaxxon, Jon Void, Waeys, T & Sugah, and Tantron to Belgium. “All of those artists at the same party,” I hear you think? That’s correct. Organiser Carnivore wants ravers to get in touch with as many subgenres as possible. He was sick of events putting the same headliners on every time. With High Rollerz, he wants to colour outside the lines.

That’s not the only thing this Belgian party is known for, though, as ravers get a full experience. Carnivore and his girlfriend are both very big into mythology, and they thought, “Why not combine our love for mythology and organising raves?” And so High Rollerz was born.

On the 27th of April, they celebrate once again. We spoke with Carnivore about spreading the love for drum & bass, the early beginnings of High Rollerz, and where they are heading now.

Hi Carnivore, how are you doing? That’s quite the line-up and quite some subgenres you’ve got on there!

Drum & bass has a lot of subgenres, a lot of variations. But if you don’t know much about the genre, you might know Netsky, Rudimental, Chase & Status, and that’s it. It’s always motivated me to get drum & bass out there and let people get acquainted with the full spectrum. Since I was 14, I’ve been mainly listening to drum & bass, and with High Rollerz, I now want to submerge the visitor in as many of these different styles and different subgenres as possible. That’s actually the core goal of the event.

I want to introduce the audience to the multiple subgenres that are out there instead of just one or two, which is the standard these days. In Belgium, for example, you will get dancefloor combined with liquid, and neuro with deep, but never more. So, if you only listen to jump-up, you won’t get introduced to another subgenre by going to events because it’s only interesting for you to attend events related to that subgenre. Raves not booking the full spectrum of drum & bass artists was one of my biggest frustrations.

What surprised me when I spoke to bass heads was that many people are actually very curious about the other subgenres. Most of the scene is open to discovering new subgenres because they like the drum & bass scene. So I thought, why not be the change myself?

Line up High Rollerz

Have you seen any changes in the scene since you started five years ago?

Yes, I actually have! When you look at some line-ups from five years ago, raves were constantly just booking one subgenre, and that has changed now. People are becoming more open-minded, which is reflected in the line-ups. In Flanders, I think High Rollerz has been a bit of a pioneer, and I’m proud of that.

You told me you started listening to drum & bass when you were 14. What attracted you to the genre?

I remember it very well. In high school, I studied Latin and modern languages. I also remember studying for a Latin exam and listening to ‘Visionary’ by Rameses B. The track was used in an edit of Modern Warfare 2 montages, and I happened to come across it. I had heard about drum & bass, had heard about Netsky, and I already loved that. But this song really got me. I love the playfulness of that song. Combined with the energetic rhythm, the melody really drew me in. From then on, I started looking for more drum & bass on YouTube.

What was the moment when you thought, “Let’s organise a party”?

I’ve always been the organiser in my group of friends, the one who brings people together. Over the years, as you age, I noticed that it’s harder to keep in touch with people. Everyone has their own life and difficulties. Those moments, be it small or big, you spend with family, friends, whoever… Those are very precious. Over the years, I have started to realise that more and more. Time is extremely precious. Money can be recouped, but time is gone, especially with the people you love. This feeling sparked something inside me, wanting to bring people together even more, creating memories with the music we all love.

The first party I threw was when a friend of mine went to live on his own. He was 18 at the time. I think there were 40 of us. We had some drum & bass playing, some house music… Back then, not a lot of my friends listened to drum & bass, but after that party, I think almost all of them were sold on the genre. The next party I remember throwing was one in my hometown, Rupelmonde. It’s a village near the river Scheldt. There used to be a boat on the river there, and when I was 19 years old, I was able to organise a party on that boat. Honestly, it was something out of a dream. We managed to get about 200 people on that boat. It was absolutely full of people. We rented some smoke machines and lights, a DJ deck… That was the party where I realised I wanted to keep organising parties for as long as possible.

How did you share your passion for drum & bass on these parties?

The thing is, a lot of the people in my neighbourhood didn’t listen to drum & bass. They all loved house music way more. I organised a party with one house stage and one drum & bass stage. People came for the house music but also got introduced to drum & bass in that way. That’s how it started to spread. Some people in Waasland, the region I grew up in, know the genre because of my parties, which started as ‘Viberation’ back then. I changed the name to ‘High Rollerz’ when I decided it would only be drum & bass on the line-up. The name was something a friend of mine came up with. He said it’s a trick in poker. It sounded like an amazing name to me anyway because drum & bass also has a rolling sound. It was as simple as that.

We threw our first edition in Beveren, with Empire and Larigold on the line-up. It was a good location, in a youth centre, but we managed to grow from there. In 2021, we had an edition in Temse with Polygon and Used. Last year, we managed to put Feint and NCT on the line-up. It was amazing to be able to book Feint because I have always been a big fan of him. This year, we’ve got Harriet Jaxxon, T & Sugah, Jon Void, Waeys, and more on the line-up in a new location called IKON. I’m super proud of that.

You’ve talked about how important it is for you to spread the love for drum & bass. Why?

I love meeting new people, be it at my own events or events of others. When talking to people, I regularly ask them what their favourite subgenre is and who their favourite artist is. Most people I talk to rarely visit an event that’s not related to their favourite subgenre, and I want to change that because most of the time, they just have some sort of prejudice about certain subgenres. Don’t knock it until you try it.

High Rollerz is known for its decoration. Last year, the theme was Medusa’s Maze, but this year, you chose Ragnarok. How does having a theme change the rave?

As I said earlier, I studied Latin and modern languages in high school. I’m a real history nerd because my favourite time was when we were learning about mythology and history, and my favourite holiday destination is Greece. The country has beautiful beaches and lots of pretty spots, but it also has a very rich history. I love learning about the ancient battles, as well as their philosophy, their art, their sculptures… Combine this with the fact that having a theme at your party brings another dimension to it, and I was completely sold. I want to create a full experience with High Rollerz at an affordable price.

This year, we went with the theme ‘Ragnarok’. Bo, my girlfriend and partner in crime for High Rollerz, came up with the idea. In comparison to Greek and Roman mythology, I know quite little about it, and I was interested to learn more about it. There’s a darker aura around Nordic mythology, which gave me the idea to book Harriet Jaxxon and Waeys, who both play darker drum & bass. The artwork is also a bit darker and more chaotic than in previous years. The High Rollerz feel is still there, but it was nice to experiment a little bit.

High Rollerz Crew

Any last thoughts?

I’m really thankful that I’m able to do this. High Rollerz started out as a hobby, organising small parties for friends, but look where we are now! I can only keep doing this because of the ravers, people in my promo team, and my friends. You can’t do this all on your own, and you need people around you. Another thing I’m really proud of is the volunteer group I have built around High Rollerz. This group has been the cause of no less than four relationships, and that’s something I’m really proud of. I love to preach familiarity, friendship and love within the drum & bass scene, but to actually make it and see it happen is beautiful.

High Rollerz: Ragnarok takes place on April 27 in Antwerp. Get your tickets here.

Follow them on Facebook | Instagram | TikTok | SoundCloud

Power your creative ideas with pixel-perfect design and cutting-edge technology. Create your beautiful website with Zeen now.