Never Be Alone Again:
A Conversation with Lina Abascal 

31st March 2022
Writer, Creative Strategist, Bookclub Host and Cinespace Veteran,  Lina Abascal recently released her debut book “Never Be Alone Again (How Bloghouse United the Internet and the Dancefloor)”. We start the club in 2002 and start the label in 2007 so you know that all-over-RockersNYC hood stayed on when we were in the basement of a bar in Glasgow playing Hurriance Chris edits. Our founding father, Martyn Flyn, caught up with Lina to see what’s good. 

Includes club photography by Demian Becerra, alongside our own images from our events in Scotland 07-09


Flyn: Hi Lina, where are you? What are you doing right now?
Abascal: I just woke up in LA. I’m sitting on my bed with my dog. It's 9am so it's not like total piece of shit hours (laughs).

You're from LA originally?
Yeah - I grew up there then left for a bit for San Francisco and New York and then came back six years ago.



What were the first clubs or events you went to that opened that world up to you? 
I started going to this all ages night called Dance in Hollywood. I found out about it on MySpace flyers and a bunch of people were posting photos from there. So I was like, I gotta check this out! It was in this mega arena with three different rooms with a 3000 capacity. It was massive and it was on Tuesday nights. It was so fun because I'd never been to anything like that. I had been to concerts, obviously, but this was just this free for all dance party where people would get really dressed up and make it the highlight of their week. They were booking really good people and were actually in competition with other more “made for adults” nights in LA. Soon after that I started going to a couple other things in that same vein. That was definitely the first one.

I find LA pretty fascinating in the way there are so many different layers of underground music going on there.
Theres so much. There’s definitely a lot of scenes happening. There’s so many people how could there not be. Even If don’t know about all of them now by any means but I do have faith they exist.  


I’d love to ask about some of your writing besides the book. Specifically Around the World in 80 Raves
Oh you knew about that?

Yes I used to read it. Some of my favourite articles of the past were magazine club reports or scene reports. There's a really good Urb 90s San Francisco Rave one and a Fader piece about Ed Banger and Social Club in Paris 
Yes!



That was so exciting. It's like 70s rock journalism - capturing the experience.
Totally. You're actually putting people on to a new thing. I went to Social Club multiple times when it was in it’s heyday when I was on my early 20s Euro trip. It was earlier in social media - we had camera phones but you weren't getting live video from all these places all night at all times so you kind of had to rely on these pieces. They carried a bit more weight because there wasn't as much material to do the research yourself. I think something like 80 Raves would be unlikely to exist now unless it was like a documentary series. But that was really fun - talking to people all over the world and seeing there's obviously core similarities of just the passion but then also cultural nuances and differences in how people go about throwing parties and raves in their towns.

2008 Flyer from Ballers 5ocial Club: a LUCKYME party in Glasgow 


Yeah also the regional dance scenes really opened up. I feel like that that was a moment where, certainly from my side we were all over regional rap scenes and we were always looking at new things and always knew about Chicago House / Detroit Techno but I loved in that time every couple of months something regionally established would come into focus like Baltimore Club or Juke and it would just move around. I think it was really inspirational for a lot of people at that time. There was lots of new ideas and a different energy for production coming into a lot of the music.
Totally - the way something could move from its originator and original point to people that were inspired by it - or worse copying was so much faster just because of the internet. That's definitely something the book touches on a lot. Music moving at a new speed and through new forms of digital file sharing made it so the immediacy was there. You could make a remix, not master it - just fucking around in your house and then go on your laptop and send it to someone in another country or put it on a blog that someone else will find and then it's being played out like that same night. That is so wild.


Yeah, that network of sites was amazing - just tracks spreading out and the names coming up through that. Palms Out Sundays gets mentioned an awful lot in the office reminiscing obscure remix IDs. If anyone ever asks about some wild Dipset bootleg or something then its almost always was  from there or Discobelle or something.
There's a quote from A-Trak in the book about Palms Out  posting all of the Daft Punk samples - like they went through it and found every single one - and he was just being like, “yeah, that would have taken me eternity to do but then I could just download them all and they had just done all the work.” Yeah, Palms Out was a good one - Discobelle for sure and then there like you were saying different regional ones like Fluokids was from France and there were California ones and really the blogger as the tastemaker and micro-celebrity is not a thing anymore because now we have influencers and it’s silly that writers were ever popping but they kind of were for a little minute (laughs).





Then we ended up with a sort of weird mainstream iteration of a lot of this stuff as well. I mean certainly here in the UK every high street shop had a sort of Terry Richardson photography look for a couple of years and there were ads on TV for “Now Thats What I Call Mash Ups” type albums.
Yes. Oh my God.

It's funny how it sort of filtered through.
It really did - something I talk about in the book is that it was really this tiny five year blip. Sure - that mattered to me because it was my coming of age… this little moment every corporation was scared to get involved in music because of Napster. So there was no businesses trying to be involved in this really rich, curatorial moment. And this is unheard of now! If there's any trend, every fucking brand in the world is swarming but in this moment they were so put off by the illegality. It was run by the people involved and that is just kind of a cool moment. That's so against the way anything works these days. They really did seep into mainstream everything, like you said, the visuals, the fashion, the music. You started hearing that in like a lot of commercials. And then of course big stadium EDM comes out of this.



Because there was a sort of “we just want to dance !” kind of thing going on that felt connected to the indie rock club scene as opposed to just the band scene.
Definitely.


Drums of Death and Caspa at Thugs n Hugs, Barcelona 2008

I think they just maybe everyone started taking different drugs or something like that but there was a new energy for going out .
Such a new energy - whether you were coming from going to indie rock shows - which is  kind of where I was coming from - and indie rock starts getting like a little dancey - even like the Strokes and Franz Ferdinand are a little bit dancier and people are all trying to dress like Britpop and then it sort of starts veering into like funkier weirdo stuff like The Rapture and Chromeo fun 70s inspired stuff or you're coming at it from a headier other forms of dance music perspective whether it's like house or techno. That's kind of a cool kids club, at least in America, because I know in the UK and Europe dance music is pop music but it's not like that here and it especially wasn't 15 years ago. So if you were into techno you had to really know - it wasn't as accessible. So I feel like whether you're coming from that or coming from indie rock this was definitely kind of this light-hearted, easy to access thing that was blowing up online and you could kind of just tap in.

We were obviously approaching this more from a hip hop viewpoint as opposed to dance or indie rock so there a whole side of remix culture here that we didn’t engage with at all- but the abundance of versions made it a really creative time for djing.
Something else I've talked about in the book too is the remix economy when listeners become more interested in dance music a lot of record labels were like, “Oh shit! We don't want the indie scene to die out because it just made us a fuck ton of money in the last 10 years. So then they start asking all these DJs to do remixes of like one indie song, like one song would get like eight remixes. And then they would distribute those on the blogs. And then that kind of helped. Keep that sound getting played in these clubs everywhere.

Whats your next project ?
I am working on a fiction project. So that's what I'm kind of heads down doing now. Hopefully, it gets to exist and people get to read it.

Thanks Lina !
by Martyn Flyn



Lina Abascal is a writer from Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in The FADER, Playboy, McSweeneys, The Face, Vice & more