Possession: 6 years of sleepless nights told by the members of the collective

Anne Claire: Possession gradually became a reference evening, until it became known internationally, especially after Dax J’s set, in Ivry in May 2018.

Francois: You should know that he is a rather shy person. He is of Anglo-Japanese descent, two very corseted cultures.

Anne Claire: The day before, he had played in a very well organized festival in Belgium, and there he landed with us, in the old safe of a bank which had become a squat. We had spent the day cleaning up the trash lying around, but it still smelled pretty bad.

Naila: Frankly, it was a bit disgusting. He really arrived in the shallows of the depths of the underground pick-up.

Dax J: It was literally underground, since you had to descend concrete stairs to reach the main room. I had never seen that, I had the impression of reaching a new world under the city. I vividly remember the stifling heat, the darkness, the sweat beading on the walls, the half-naked dancers. I felt like I was in a movie, maybe a horror movie. Two minutes after taking my place behind the turntables, I took off my t-shirt and started playing shirtless. It was one of the best nights of my life and one of the best places I had the opportunity to play.

Francois: He had never done that, his girlfriend was so dumbfounded that she wanted to film it. The next day he posted the video on his Facebook page and it surpassed 200,000 views. The last locks that prevented us from booking certain big techno stars have been lifted.

Dax J: Possession took the French techno scene to the next level. You can find atmospheres similar to those of Berghain, in Berlin, or Bassiani, in Tbilisi (Georgia), with this particularity that the place changes every time, which means that you never get tired. It has really contributed to this renaissance of the Parisian techno scene over the past five years. Come to think of it, I don’t know of any city other than Paris that has such a developed warehouse scene.

Matilda: By switching to traveling evenings, we were entering into a form of illegality. We had to face the police several times, but we managed to get by. There was also this evening in Saint-Denis, in 2017, in a former art school that had become a squat. A police team arrived in the middle of the night, I was completely high, but I think it made me talkative and rather funny. I introduced our security guards, explained that everything was well organized. The cops started to relax, but the best moment was when their warrant officer arrived. A bomb. I couldn’t stop joking, I saw she was laughing, watching me out of the corner of her eye. She and her team eventually left without causing us any harm, but I regretted not taking her number.

On the trail of the squatters

Anne Claire: The hardest part is finding places to settle. It is the sinews of war. I remember this time in April 2019 when we were completely in trouble, a week before the event. We were following the trail of squatters. For that, I went to meet them in Vélizy. Types a little picky, but super nice. At home, it was too small, but they advised me to go and see a completely abandoned Conforama warehouse five minutes away. It was going to be destroyed, so the owners had left everything wide open. To make sure it wouldn’t be squatted, they just covered the floor with rubble. We had to rent dumpsters and employ about twenty people to help us clear everything.

Matilda: It was infamous, a real waste dump. We spent the whole day cleaning up.

Naila: But it was an amazing night (his eyes light up). I remember that in the middle of the morning, I had a sort of aesthetic shock. These hundreds of people dancing like mad in this landscape of ruins where nature was about to take back its rights… I will never forget this image.

Anne Claire: Around noon, of course, a police patrol arrived. We explained to them that we were doing nothing wrong, that there was no noise pollution, since we were in the middle of an industrial zone, and, above all, that we were ensuring the safety of the participants. and the management of any waste around the site.

Naila: (she laughs) And there, the mayor of Vélizy landed, beside himself. He was screaming, wanted to stop the music himself, said he would never let his children take part in such a show of debauchery. Either way, the party was over. The next day, we had an article in The Parisian. Below, residents commented: Ah! But is it them, these strange birds that we met in the middle of the morning at the RER station, with their dog collars and their leather clothes? »

Lina Guiguet, 28, cashier in a clothing store: It was during this period that I started working in the Possession locker room. I was unemployed, I needed money and my sister, Naïla, offered to help me. I don’t listen to techno at all, it seems like a totally absurd world to me. Once I told one of my colleagues in the locker room that I was sober. He looked at me with wide eyes and asked, ” But wait, it’s not possible, do you want me to bring you a drink? Me, I don’t need anything, apart from the little survival kit that I always bring in my bag. Baby wipes, a thermos of tea, hydroalcoholic gel and compotes that I distribute to revelers in the morning if they seem a little too pale. When the evening is over, I go home with Naïla by taxi. We fall asleep next to each other in the back seat, it’s our little moment between sisters.

Naila: My mother, my brother, my sister, almost all my family has already come to lend a hand. I can even say that my son has already participated in a Possession, since I was five months pregnant when I played for our Boiler Room in November 2019.

©Mariana Matamoros

Matilda: This time, it was the ultimate consecration. There were a lot of people crammed into this gigantic hangar at Blanc-Mesnil.

Perc, DJ: It was really huge, and the line-up was magnificent. I remember having played in an overexcited atmosphere; the dancers pushed me, glued themselves behind the turntables. Some DJs like to be separated from the crowd. Me, I like being immersed in it, especially when it has incredible energy like this time.

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Possession: 6 years of sleepless nights told by the members of the collective