Around the turn of the millennium, countless Rabbit in the Moon tracks were in the electronic music community’s collective queue. The Tampa-based duo garnered a worldwide following for their experimental arrangements and epoch-making stage shows.
Shortly before dance music became the all-pervasive force in entertainment that it is today, the duo parted ways. However, when Ultra Music Festival 2016 released its phase 1 lineup late last year, rave scene veterans were thrilled to discover that they would play a special reunion set at the Miami massive.
Of course, until now they’ve remained relatively quiet in regards to what the reunion means for their future after the festival. Dave Christophere and Bunny were nice enough to sit down with this week though to discuss their past, present and future – and by the looks up things, they’ve got plenty on the horizon.
Check out our interview with them below, and enjoy!
Both of you have so much history in Miami. What emotions come up when you find yourselves back here on occasions like Miami Music Week?
Dave Christophere: It does feel like a second home for sure. We’ve spent so much time here, more probably than anywhere else we’ve been, that yeah, it’s like a second home.
Bunny: I actually grew up here. Later on we moved to Tampa, but when I was a kid we were in Miami. Doing the first Ultra was like seeing Miami come to this place, because Winter Music had been kicking for a while but there was nothing to really sum it all up. When Ultra came into being in ‘99 it kind of stamped Miami as the center of where things were happening. Before it was Orlando for Zen Festival, and having it go from just a Florida thing to an international thing where the world was looking at South Florida made it even more special.
Dave, you played a set at Future Sound of Breaks last night where another DJ from the inaugural Ultra Music Festival lineup, DJ Icey, also played. Do you guys find that your paths cross like that very often?
Dave Christophere: I probably have more over the past couple of years because they’ve done a few club reunions, like the one at The Club at Firestone in Orlando that Kimball Collins used to run. These were all people who really started the scene. We did have a couple of what I used to call “high school reunion” parties because it was all these people from the old scene coming back together for one night.
Let’s talk about Rabbit in the Moon. I’m sure you’re tired of telling the story, but for the uninitiated can you explain what led to you breaking up in the first place?
Dave Christophere: I always described it as the Titanic. We were sailing along and we hit an iceberg. To have a definitive, one-statement answer about our breakup, we just took a break. We toured extensively for 18 years, we weren’t going any further at the time, and each of us had our own desires to branch out and do other things. It just kind of led to us putting the Rabbit to rest for a while.
It was something that we didn’t think would last as long as it did, but it lasted quite a long time. I think where we both are now, and with where the music scene is now, we can both come back and play again – and not really keep going where we left off, but actually advance and progress ourselves.
Bunny: From 2000-2010 our music hadn’t progressed as much. It wasn’t just coming out the way it did in the beginning. I think that having a break makes you hungry again, and we’ve written more music in the last two months than we have in the last ten years of us being together. That’s what’s makes getting back together exciting – that the music is flowing.
What series of events led to you guys getting back together?
Bunny: Since 2008 I’ve been working for Insomniac as their creative director. [Ultra Music Festival owners] Adam [Russakoff] and Russell [Faibisch] always come to our shows and I talk to them because they’re friends of mine, and they came to EDC Orlando, and they were like, “So what would it take to get Rabbit in the Moon back together?”
Dave and I hadn’t seen each other in two years until a month or two before that, but we were working on a documentary on Nocturnal Wonderland. I ran into him at a club called Monday Social and again two days later at DJ Dan’s birthday, and we hung out and it felt good to be around each other. Afterwards I called him up and said, “Hey, we’re doing this documentary and I’d like to have you on because it’s not like Rabbit in the Moon is just me; we did this together.” I didn’t think he’d do it, but he came down and answered questions, and again we felt good to be around each other again. So when the Ultra guys asked that, I said, “I’ll talk to Dave.”
Both of us talked about it and agreed that we weren’t gonna do it if we weren’t gonna do new music, and not try to be prolific and make this matter. We didn’t wanna do it if it was just to come back and play more shows.
So you’re going to stay together and start making new music after your reunion performance?
Dave Christophere: 80% of the show tomorrow is new music.
Bunny: And there’s not one old song that hasn’t been remixed. Completely redone songs.
Any song titles you might be willing to share with me?
Dave Christophere: “I’m Your Drug.” That’s one song.
The timing of this is interesting, because there’s been this big EDM explosion that’s propelled everything into mainstream awareness, but it’s taken place the entire time you guys have been on break. Where do you see yourselves fitting in now?
Dave Christophere: Honestly, I think we’ve never fit in. People would try to be like, “Yeah, you’re an Orlando Florida breaks thing!” No. “Oh yeah, you’re like a techno thing!” No. It’s like we’ve always kind of been out of the box, so we’re not coming in here to be in anyone else’s box. We’re here just to show you our box. (Laughs)
We always try to suck people into our world, and that’s what we’re doing. We’re creating another version of our world.
Bunny: We’re storytellers through performance, video, and music. It doesn’t matter what you do to tell your story, so in show we do have techno and breaks, as well as old school electro. What ties it together is telling the story.
Like you mentioned, Bunny, you do a lot with Insomniac Events – now mostly behind the curtain. How did you transition from being a performer to becoming their creative director?
Bunny: We’ve done shows with [Insomniac founder] Pasquale [Rotella] for years and developed a friendship, and I moved to L.A. soon after in 2004. We lived next door to each other and went to Vegas to see a Cirque du Soleil show, and he was reeling after seeing it and said, “Bunny, could you do something like this for me?” and I was like, “Hell yeah.” That following EDC I started doing it for them as well as the whole video production side for all their commercials. I’ve been directing all their commercials since 2009.
DJ Monk worked with you guys a lot, but he left a long time before you two disbanded, didn’t he?
Bunny: He left in 1999 or 2000. In the early days when we toured, DJ Monk would open up for Rabbit in the Moon and we would tour that way. It would be DJ Monk before the show, and he was never a big part of the show. He was never, like, onstage with Dave playing keys or anything. His focus was the label, Hallucination [Records], and DJing, and at that time he wasn’t feeling spiritual music. Dave and I have always been of the mind that you have to feel something deeper than just it being a party, and he wasn’t feeling it anymore.
Dave Christophere: Y’know, people’s tastes change, and he felt at the time that he was able to branch off on his own and be just fine. It was just a natural progression. It wasn’t a big “I hate you” kind of thing, it was just a natural progression. It was like, “Hey, I’m feeling this way, and there’s no real reason for me to be involved with you.”
Also, I didn’t really wanna work on the label with him anymore, because he wanted to sign artists and I just wanted to focus on Rabbit and perform, so Bunny and I just teamed up closer on that, and it was just a natural departure.
Bunny: We’re all actually really tight. He’s got twin daughters now, and I’m having a child in two weeks. Dave and I both go play his Hallucination Before Christmas party every year. I still have a lot of love for Monk. He’s actually sweetened over the years. You find out what’s important.
Do you guys have any more releases planned out for after your reunion performance?
Bunny: We don’t really know what’s gonna get released first, or whatever.
Dave Christophere: Before we broke up we had a double album in the works.
Oh, so is a lot of what you’re going to play tomorrow from then?
Bunny: No. For the most part it’s music that was made in the past two months. But a lot of it back then, we didn’t know what to do with it because it was ambient and more experimental. People would be like, “What the fuck is this?” Especially back then. It was more like the Massive Attack kind of vibe, and some of our fans would dig that now.
That concludes our interview with Rabbit in the Moon, but we would like to thank Bunny and Dave Christophere very much for their time.