By Steve Brennan
By Ashley Zimmerman
By Michele Eve Sandberg
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By Ashley Zimmerman
By New Times Staff
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The fable of "The Rabbit in the Moon" transcends cultures and ages, spanning ancient Egyptian, Mayan, Chinese, and Japanese societies. All of these traditions connected the rabbit's famed fertility and the the nighttime sky's ephemeral centerpiece. Rumor has it that electronic music outfit Rabbit in the Moonwas named after the ageless myth. Then again, the name could be a simple play off the fact that their frontman -- a fire-breathing, chain-saw-wielding, blond-dreadlocked powerhouse -- is named Bunny.
Whatever the case, the members of Rabbit in the Moon are not serving up any clues. In fact, it's never been clear whether the group, formed in Orlando in 1992, is striving to bring a deeper spiritual consciousness to dance music or simply creating trance-inducing beats for midnight ravers. As an act, they've shrouded themselves in mystique and Cirque du Soleil-style theatrics, and despite a few dance-floor anthems in the 1990s ("Phases of An Out of Body Experience," "Floori.D.A.") and an extensive number of remixes of artists from Garbage to Goldie, they've never released a full-length artist album.
That's about to change, says David Christophere (alias Confucius). He's on the phone from Los Angeles, where he's moving from Tampa, his home for the last ten years. He and Bunny are reinventing themselves as Angelenos, but they're also putting the finishing touches on their long-awaited debut, which has been in the works since founding member Monk left the group nearly four years ago.
"If we would have put a record out when we first wanted to, [it] could have easily been shelved," Christophere says. "There's been a lot of push and pull with us in our careers when it comes to this record. But for us, it wasn't about when it's coming out; it's about putting out good music."
Rabbit in the Moon is best known as one of electronic music's first live acts, having been a staple at events like the yearly Ultra Festival at Miami's Winter Music Conference and L.A.'s massive rave parties. Influenced as much by futurist films like Bladerunner as Bunny's background in performance art and industrial music, the Rabbits' stage show melds computer-age beats with kinetic fire dancing, video mixing, and Bunny's unpredictable antics, which blend horror movie elements with psychedelia. Wisely, they're planning to include an enhanced DVD with their album that contains live footage, interviews, and videos. This will allow even the most over-the-hill club kid to reminisce about the time they saw Bunny descend from the ceiling clad like a giant disco ball, or the dance-floor epiphany they had to Confucius' spiraling synth arpeggios.
Still, can the band recapture a dance music audience that's given up the consciousness-striving idealism that propelled electronica throughout much of the '90s? Christophere says he has no doubts.
"We've always been a mirror to the scene and to the world," he avers. "Some people [in the rave scene] thought we were too dark at times. It all just reflects how we feel about a particular thing. Light, dark, fast, slow, hard, soft -- it's all of those things. It's mainly about being in the moment."
Those moments inevitably arise when they play live, but the duo is also known to incite serious dance floor frenzies just by spinning records. Their DJ set at Sonar, a club that holds about 400 people, promises to be an intense, intimate affair. Confucius cautions people not to be disappointed that it's not the usual full-on, live extravaganza.
"We're coming there to have a great time and DJ and hang out with friends," he explains. "We try to disconnect people from saying 'Oh, you're just DJing.' I mean, you don't say that when you're going to hear [trance superstar] Sasha DJ! As a DJ, Bunny still puts himself out there as a performer, and we're still presenting music to our fans. It's just that we're also playing other people's records."
Don't expect to hear just one style of music all night either.
"I spin minimal tech house with anything that sounds evil!" interjects Bunny from the background.
"He likes big dark basslines and stuff like that," concurs Confucius. "But I've always had a problem defining my genre. I play everything from drum 'n' bass to breaks, electro, tribal house music -- whatever gets the floor off. I just read the dance floor when I'm spinning, and if they're going for something, I take them further."