burek

Croatia’s become known for more than just the new destination for marauding British festival makers; local label & bustling hotbed of exciting, underground talent Burek Records represents just a slither of the country’s – and further surrounding region’s – love for the dance floor and the music centred around that culture.

Run by Pytzek and Mislav, two life-long friends, Burek Records is a fun imprint, putting its stamp on the international scene with knockout releases and remixes from the likes of Toby Tobias, KiNK, Esa  and more, all showcasing Burek’s super cool, bass heavy output. MEOKO thought it a nice idea to get deeper with Pytzek and offer him a mix – or Mario to his friends – as the label approaches ten solid releases. Proof of a successful, rising imprint springing from the ground up, check out Pytzek’s exclusive mix and read on.

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Obviously you have a striking logo for your label – what’s the ethos behind Burek Records? Putting the fun back into house music?

There is nothing deeper there, no mystery or anything else, Burek was just a fun idea from our friend Sergej who said it will be great to sell records as they sell “burek” here. Greasy, fat beats in white paper. It was great so we ran with it. For the logo, the man in charge was our friend Goran Zmaić who is an amazing illustrator so that’s his vision. You can check his stuff at https://krekhaus.com/

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When did you start the label, and how did you get the wheels in motion to release the first BUREK EP001?

The Burek label was brought to life around 2010. Mislav, my partner in the label joined the project a bit later. At that time we were all into DJing, music and clubs for over 15 years, so a label was a logical step for us. I was good friends with KiNK from his early days and was a huge supporter so he said “if i get well-known and if you will ever open a label I’ll make music for you”. So, that’s how it happened and now we have a label, booking agency and a growing international team (Joe, Kentaro, Filip, Georgie, Jan, Neno)…so we’ll see what the future brings.

https://soundcloud.com/burek/esa-serenity-in-a-forbidden/

The Croatian scene – and Eastern Europe in general – has become a real hotbed for emerging electronic talent. But can you remember a time when it was not so fruitful? What was it like growing up in area?

To be honest, if I look back to the 90s the scene in Croatia was much better than it is now, so actually an inverse of how many perceive it. Maybe not in the sense of producing music, but if we look at how many local events were happening, how many people were into it and who played here for small local happenings, I have to say that the situation was much better back then. I think that countries in the region didn’t have such a huge scene at that time, so that’s why some countries, like Romania for example, have had this recent big explosion. When I look at them I see how Croatia was in the 90s. By the 00s dance music here became so main stream in a way, and people had gotten used to it, that there was nothing new or exciting about it thus making it much more difficult to put events on at a local level. Sure, there’s loads of festivals happening here nowadays but none of them are primarily Croatian festivals. Nor is there that much local talent at these events, when we are there we are kind of hidden away sometimes. We’re not ungrateful though, it’s massively appreciated that we do get to take part in these festivals (it’s great to see friends, old and new, and to play to people from other countries) but we know that we’ll never be the main pull for the predominantly UK audience. It’s still all about UK festivals for the UK market at the end of the day.

However, I should add that there are still some good nights run by DJs here. Ekstrakt crew (with amazing guests like Traxx, John Heckle, Surgeon), Jogarde’s Frailauf night, Reform crew, Confusion crew, Sirup Club…the list goes on.

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If I look at things in terms of music production I need to say that there’s some good things going on here in Croatia. Petar Dundov is well known around the globe, Ilija Rudman did some extraordinary disco stuff (and he is back to studio by the way), Homeboy has released some great music on his own “House Is OK” label  (and a new track on WOLF Music is on the way too). Also there are new artist emerging, such as Josip Klobučar, Tomislav, Yunnan Sound, Darko Kustura, Examine…

https://soundcloud.com/burek/kink-leko-burek-001/

What’s the best thing about Croatia’s music and festival scene in your opinion, and how do you see yourself as part of this?

Well I guess all these festivals bring increase the popularity of music I dig to the younger generations here. They can easily be up with modern, recent and quality electronic music. I think I also covered some points in the last answer. We play at almost every festival here but this year we will try to stick to just a few choice events, those that we feel most in-tune with…but I can’t talk about it now as these are being arranged.

Have there been many highlights (and low-lights) of running the label so far? You also held your first London showcase not long ago…

Like in every business there are some good days, and there are some bad days. We are still doing well, but it would be better if we got a bit more media attention for sure ha; I think we all know about a lot of the highs and lows of the dance industry (at our end, effectively a cottage industry with minimal returns), so I think there is no need to talk about it too much.

The showcase went really well, great people showed up and we had a fantastic time. I need to use this opportunity to say a big thanks to Dance Tunnel’s Matt Wickings and Dan Beaumont. It’s not easy to get such an opportunity if you are from Croatia as people still don’t have Croatian DJs or labels on their dance music maps. We will try to change this.

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After releases from yourself, KiNK, Toby Tobias and many more, what can we look forward to next on Burek as you approach ten releases?

Right now the next EP on the way is from a guy called Information Ghetto. Complementing the original track we have a pair of gorgeous remixes; firstly from one of Chicago’s finest masters of the deep, Specter, and the other has been supplied by the techno pioneer and don who played such an integral part of the evolution of the genre in Europe, Aubrey. After that we have an Inkswel EP which features Dave Aju as a guest vocalist on the track. There are some amazing remixes from Dj Nature, IG Culture and Iron Curtis to go with the originals. The 9th release has been prepped and will be an EP from Marco Bernardi, our favorite Italo-weggie Bristolian.

https://soundcloud.com/burek/information-ghetto/

There are few more great artists in the pipeline too. We also will be starting two new labels; one will be tougher techno stuff and the other will be going for a more boogified disco/soul brand. These labels are still in development so more details about them will follow in 2014.

https://soundcloud.com/burek/sets/burek-004-toby-tobias-ep/

You’ve released EPs, but are you planning to release any full length LPs from anyone? And are you vinyl purists?

There is an LP on the way from an Australian producer but it’s still too early to talk too much about it.
Am I a vinyl purtist? I would need to say no. I think my partner Mislav and our UK colleague Joe are much more into that. I’m really quite liberal about format and I’m looking on that with a very open mind. If people like to DJ, they should just do it. From laptop, CDs, vinyl…I don’t care, they are free to choose. Who am I to tell them what they should use to DJ.

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Give us a heads up on this mix you laced together for us… is it full of your current collection or favourites?

I did quite a house angled mix. I’ve done quite a few podcasts for people recently, one was more techno, another was deeper, one was really eclectic – so this was good chance to do a straighter house mix. For sure there are always some tracks which you prefer more than others at any given moment, but that can’t be a lead when you are doing a mix. I always consider that a good mix is one big compromise. You will like to put only the best tracks, but it’s never like that. They just don’t fit perfectly. And as I’m still old-school when it comes to mixes (I still care about flow, tonality etc…) so doing a mix can be really hard work for me…

**EXCLUSIVE MEOKO BUREK HOUSE MIX **

 112 Pytzek MEOKO

Words: Joe Gamp

Burek Records