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If a brutal, steamy clash of crushing synths and percussion, battered by trauma-inducing ear-bleed techno doesn’t sound like your thing , then you may not have heard of gabber.

It is not only a sub-genre of hardcore techno, with its origin in Rotterdam in the early 90s, but also a birth of an entire youth culture. One with its own set of social codes and visual signifiers. Identifying as a gabber was both empowering and dangerous. With the music being so loud and in your face, it draws inspiration from hardcore sounds.

Shaved heads, shiny fluorescent tracksuits, flags on sleeves of bomber jackets and militarised rhythms in laser-lit sports hall. And it’s not just fashion. Photography, graphic design and even typography have drawn on the visual extremes of gabber cultures. Over the ensuing decades, gabber culture is surviving spectacle due to the diehard devotion of its fans.

Who are today's gabber?

To get more insight into the longest-lived subculture of recent years, we spoke with @xtcippo, who identifies as a gabber.

Member of the Gabbers community on a surreal background

photo courtesy : @xtcippo / edited by - Tanita Cocito

How old are you ?

I am 20 years old

Where are you from ?

Venice, Italy

What do you do in life ?

I am an Italian pizza maker and a dancer on "the hakke show" by Gabber Eleganza.

What does being gabber mean to you?

For me, being a gabber means being part of a group (or rather tribe) that has the same passion for hardcore music of the 90s. For me, being a gabber also has its own particular way of dressing. Gabbers dress in gaudy tracksuits, for greater flexibility in dance (hakkûh), bomber-jacket and Nike shoes. Also shaving your head is a non-verbal communication of belonging to the group, as I said before, we are a tribe. Moreover, if you are a gabber, “You're not Gabber for a moment, you're Gabber for life!” It's not like in everyday life you are an ordinary person and on the day of the party you put on clothes to go dancing and only there you are a gabber, No!  "A gabber is always and forever."

How did you first get involved in the gabber scene?

I was first introduced to the hardcore scene by my ex-girlfriend. I was 13 and listened to a bit of everything (hip hop, metal, deathcore, deathmetal, grindcore, psytrance). One day she made me listen to a hardcore track, "3 steps ahead"- it was delicious, and from there I knew this was my music.  I was getting informed everyday about what hardcore music was and who the gabbers were, so I knew it was my destiny, to be a gabb