Inside The Crown’s tribute to the early days of rave culture - Features - Mixmag

Inside The Crown’s tribute to the early days of rave culture

As Netflix’s royal series moves into the 1990s, Faithless have remixed Hans Zimmer’s theme tune into a bona fide stomper

  • Words: Isaac Muk | In association with Netflix
  • 29 November 2022

1991. Princess Diana and then-Prince Charles took a trip to Italy, for what was dubbed by The Evening Standard as the royal couple’s “second honeymoon.” The trip was almost certainly tense, with the couple announcing their separation just a year later, and speculation has since swirled that the holiday was the straw that broke the camel’s back for the Duke and Duchess of Wales and their relationship.

At the same time, the UK’s free party movement was in full swing. Acid house was booming in warehouses and fields across the country, and the British authorities had yet to work out effective methods and legislation that could shut down raves.

The ‘90s was a dynamic decade in the United Kingdom – full of controversy, evolving identities and zeitgeist-defining change – within both the royal family and among the general population. As scandal and rumours of alleged infidelity began to circle around the royal family, Queen Elizabeth II would describe 1992 as her “annus horribilus”.

Much of the era’s spirit has been captured in a new music video, featuring ‘90s dance music legends Faithless remixing the theme tune to Netflix’s royal drama series ‘The Crown’. Created by producer Alice Isaac, the music video is a vibrant tribute to much of the cultural movements and energy that defined the ‘90s. “Being born in ’84, I remember the ‘90s pretty well,” she says. “But it made me reinvestigate what was going on – when you live through it, you experience it, but you don’t actually think about it that much.”

Read this next: Faithless: "Letting venues and festivals collapse would be utterly devastating"

While creating it, Alice found herself trying to understand the dynamics between those royals at the top of society – essentially the epitome of the country’s establishment – and the burgeoning anti-establishment movement.

“It’s an interesting commentary on what was going on at the time, with rave culture as a background of the counterculture scene,” she continues. “You’ve got these extremely wealthy people living very public lives, people were seeing a lot more into the royals at that moment than they ever had before.”

The remix itself is a banger of epic proportions, turning Hans Zimmer’s theatrical chords into ravey, trancey stabs – reminiscent of some of Faithless’s best work from the era in question.

“I can’t get no sleep (‘Insomnia’) was so important,” Alice says. “Those tracks [by Faithless] stood the test of time and were still being played in sets 10 years later.”

Read this next: Exploring the nostalgic treasures of the rave archive

Through a collage style edit, Alice hopes most of all to capture the fun of the era. “It’s almost in a tabloid [news]paper style,” she says. “[The video] is not taking itself too seriously and I’ve tried to cram as much stuff in there as possible.”

Cut with snippets from The Crown, featured are a number of moments where rave culture and the establishment collide. One such clip shows a BBC investigation into drug taking, featuring footage of some worse-for-wear looking partygoers at a rave, with the report ultimately being a negative portrayal “showing how people in that era were looking at the rave scene as a bunch of kids getting off their tits”.

But on top of references to the underground rave movement, her video ultimately sums up the decade in iconic moments and people. Gerri Halliwell makes an appearance in that Union Jack dress, alongside Nelson Mandela holding his clenched fist in the air following his release from prison in February 1990.

“It’s speaking to some of the broader, relevant moments of the ‘90s as well within pop culture, politics and across the board,” Alice says. “The music video from ‘The Macarena’ is in it, and all these pop bands where everything had a dance. Like ‘The Macarena’ or ‘Saturday Night’ – just these key, pivotal moments from the ‘90s.”

“Everything that was going on with the royals was so important in terms of how much newspaper space or how much coverage they got – it was front and centre of everything that was happening,” she continues. “But in the background, everyone was having a really fucking lovely time and going out and partying to music.”

Take a look at the video below:

You can watch The Crown Season Five on Netflix now.

Isaac Muk is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter

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