Berlin may be seen as one of the epicentres for modern electronic music, but following closely in their footsteps is the German city of Hamburg. With its own insular scene running for years, the German port town has gained some of its own focus through a close knit community revolving around the cities musical heritage. Kollektiv Turmstrasse – a duo comprised of Nico Plagemann & Christian Hilscher and much loved by the underground house fraternity – are integral to this small & burgeoning scene, with the city’s rugged diversity and musical acceptance evident in their at times down-tempo, reflective aesthetic. Releases on Cocoon, Diynamic and Connaisseur (who unleashed the duo’s debut album Rebellion De Traumer to widespread critical acclaim) all point to a rich and eclectic approach to electronic music, a sound that refuses to be pigeonholed within specified confines or parameters. Malleable and shape-shifting, their sound regularly fluctuates between the dramatic and subtle, the vibrant and melancholic.
Nico & Christian took a few minutes out to catch up with us ahead of their show at London’s Oval Space on March 6th, to discuss their adopted city, their live show and the dynamics that have kept the pair working together for the best part of a decade. They also kindly prepared an exclusive mix for MEOKO, which can be listened to below.
Hi Christian and Nico, thank you for taking the time to have a chat with us. Where did the name “Kollektiv Turmstrasse” stem from?
Turmstrasse was the name of the street we were living years ago in a really small city. That was the beginning and we really didn’t know that this name will go along with us so long…
It seems you guys are inseparable – for how long have you known each other and has your relationship always been so close?
We met each other over 15 years ago and first it was the music why we got together.. Over the years we became close and lasting friends.
Can you share any embarrassing stories about each other ?
When you have lived together for so many years, you share the daily studio routine and travel together the whole weekend then there are for sure a few embarassing situations we could tell ― but who wants to know?? 😉
Knowing each other so well and having been in the game for several years – do you still prepare for each gig? Are there any rituals you share before going on stage?
Not for every gig, except we have to make big changings on our live set.. After playing live for the last 8 years there are certain habits. Our ritual is the vodka shot we drink before every single gig during our setup.
How do you typically work? Do you go into the studio with a full pre-set idea for a new track or do you play around until you find the right vibe and develop an idea around it on the spot?
Both.. Sometimes you have a concreate idea and sometimes you despair with the realization. And sometimes you play around and you get the dazzling idea.. The difficulty for us is to finish all these ideas and stuff we started and to convert to finished pieces.
You’ll be doing a live set at Oval Space on the 6th of March. Any new material you have in store for us Londoners during your set? Any new tracks or new equipment for the live show perhaps?
We worked out a perfect solution within the last years so we won’t come over with a new equipment or something like that. Our equipment is small, compact and handluggage compatible… New tracks or new little ideas will always be with us but it depents on the situation at the club how much we announce to the people or play…
Do you have other dreams, next to the ones you’ve accomplished already?
To finish the new upcoming album, to become and be a good father, to survive the Ibiza Season 2014 and to keep well and fit.
Finally we would like to finish this brief interview with something that is very special to us at MEOKO. We’ve known a lot of people who came across Kollektiv Turmstrasse by a certain video – referring to ‘Tristesse’, which means melancholy. Is there any subtext to the video? Any deeper meaning?
The video and the track is really special and behind this track there was a certain idea which was only known by us. When the video came up in the net, created by a fan as a thank you for us, we were totally overwhelmed… The story and cut of the video is similiar to the pictures and feelings in our minds. Tristesse and the video is a perfect example that you can facilitate something only with your music and a story beginns.. What you have to do is only listen to it!!
Kollektiv Turmstrasse will play live at Oval Space Music on the 6th of March. For tickets and more info about the event HERE.
Music Through Pictures is a special interview series, in which MEOKO gives an artist nine or ten images and asks for corresponding tracks in return; highlighting the relationship between art, sound, images and music, and at the same time gaining a fun insight into the musical minds of some of our favourite DJs and producers…
Amirali is at the forefront of cutting edge dance music and has been much loved and critically acclaimed since the release of his “In Time” LP on Crosstown Rebels in 2012. Well known and recognized for an avant-garde concoction of electronica, techno and house, he also released Melancholia” EP on Crosstown Rebels in 2013, including two remixes by the swiss producer Deetron, notorious for producing warm techno with the soul of Detroit. Always putting hard work first, Amirali is now preparing his second full LP for Crosstown Rebels, which promises to be a departure from “In Time”, whilst maintaining the uniqueness that makes him so special! Going forward with this new album, he is also working on a band project stage concept as opposed to the solo live show we have been used to for the past 2 years… Be ready to get surprised!
MEOKO decided it is the best moment to catch him for Music Through Pictures Sessions and try to get insight into the musical mind of this creative producer!
“It’s like trippin’ on Acid”
“It’s sad, classy and beautiful”
“Craziness of Southeast Asia, there’s so much energy!”
“Life is a cycle”
Lets go to New Orleans. Who wants an Old Fashioned?
Music Through Pictures is a special interview series, in which MEOKO gives an artist nine images and asks for nine corresponding tracks in return; highlighting the relationship between art, sound, images and music, and at the same time gaining a fun insight into the musical minds of some of our favourite DJs and producers..
Jerome Sydenham comes to you from Nigeria, via England, via the golden era of 80s and 90s New York House. He comes to you through co-productions with Dennis Ferrer and Rune, he comes with endorsement from Kerri Chandler and with stories from his sets at Berghain and Panorama Bar. He comes bearing sleek new techno EP gifts with influences from both Europe and The States and he comes with his own label, Ibadan Records. He’s seen it all on the DJ trail and he’s been through the business side in A&R, and now he comes to you through MEOKO – to put music to pictures.
For more Jerome Sydenham, catch him playing this Saturday, 1st of February alongside Robert Hood, Luke Slater, Shifted, jozif and Fritz Zander at Oval Space Music.
More information about the event and for tickets CLICK HERE
If you’re even remotely interested in DJing and dance music culture, sooner or later you will stumble across Bill Brewster. One of the most respected dance music commentators around, he has contributed to almost every major music rag, co-written the dance music bible Last Night a DJ Saved My Life, runs the brilliant website DJHistory.com, writes biographies and liner notes for anyone who is anyone in dance music, DJs globally (of course) and has confessed to amassing between ten and twelve thousand records along the way. He’s basically a walking Shazam, but with a central nervous system and opinions. MEOKO grilled the living library about his years in the industry, how he feels about its progress, the beginnings of his seminal book and his undying support for Grimsby FC.
Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for us. We’re big fans of your work… You have been in the industry for over 25 years. Does it feel that long?
Actually, it’s longer. I formed my first band in 1981 and released my first single in 1982, so it’s over 30 years now. Obviously it is a long time, but I don’t generally sit down and think, “Wow, that’s a long time.” I’m more interested in 2014 than 1981.
You must have quite a collection of vinyl… Do you have an estimate size?
God knows. More than 10,000 less than 12,000 roughly speaking. I’ve been trying to slim it down, but the plan doesn’t always work. I got three records through the post this morning….
What about your own musical background? Were you ever taught to play instruments whilst growing up, or did your passion emerge just from listening and playing other peoples music?
I played E flat clarinet in the North Lincolnshire Concert Ensemble as a schoolboy, although that was completely separate from my personal interest in pop music as a teenager.
How did your musical background help you in your career as DJ and producer?
I don’t think it did at all. My interest and knowledge of music really comes from collecting records, more than playing it.
You’ve studied many musical eras throughout the 20th century. Which period do you think has been the most influential and inspiring for you?
There two that had the biggest impact were undoubtedly punk and acid house. I moved down to London in 1977 because of punk rock, so it had a massive bearing on the direction my life took from there. Acid house was important, because it shook up my musical interests, and set me off in all sorts of different directions.
The energy and warmth with which you speak about DJing certainly helped to inspire us. How does it feel to have worked on something so positive, and helped educate so many people?
Obviously it’s a nice feeling to know that the work that Frank and I have put in over the years has had some impact, however modest it is. Ultimately, that’s why we wrote those books, because we felt that money, daft DJs and ignorant journalists were submerging the culture and art of DJing.
Can you describe the process with which you and your partner Frank came up and pitched for ‘Last Night a DJ Saved My Life’? Did it start out as one thing, and turn into something else…were their any surprises along the way?
We wanted to write about our experiences and the things that inspired us both while we were living in New York, so initially the book we had in mind was mainly about New York. Our editor Doug Young suggested writing a history of the DJ, and it seemed so idiotically simple, we couldn’t believe we hadn’t though of it ourselves. The biggest surprise was probably the role that Jimmy Savile played in the 1940s and ’50s, though you do have to wonder what his motivations were now….
Social media hype and branding has become a powerful tool for today’s DJ’s and often seems more important than some of the music that gets played. Without wanting to generalise too much, do you feel branding has become more important than the music they play?
A good party is a good party and no amount of social media trickery is going to alter that. Social media is a very useful tool to get the word out about parties, but ultimately the alchemy of a good party is created by the people behind it, the music they play and people they attract. If you use social media indiscriminately, you can expect to get a less discriminating crowd. There is a lot of branding going on these days, but it’s not something I get involved in or particularly care about.
It’s easy to read and feel quite nostalgic, that things were better back then. How do you feel about the electronic music scene today?
Everyone always thinks it was better in the past. It’s human nature. If you’re 40 now, you will obviously think everything was better when you were 21. From your perspective, it probably was. There are always interesting things happening, even now, and there are loads of fantastic parties being thrown. Ten years ago, how many people had even been to Croatia? Now it’s major clubbing destination and a brilliant one, too.
You extensively discuss the history of technology and its role within the industry. As a DJ and producer, but also a highly respected writer, journalist and ex-editor of Mixmag USA we’d love to hear your opinion on the influence of technology and more notably the internet and social media and how you feel this has helped or hindered aspects of the scene…
Firstly, there’s the debate over vinyl and digital, which I find a little preposterous. I’d doubt there’s a single woman who comes to dance who gives a shit about any of it. They just want to hear great music and be entertained. I don’t have a problem with social media, it certainly makes promotion simpler, but the one thing that pisses me off is there are too many people taking pictures when they should just be enjoying the night. I know there are some clubs who don’t allow photography and I sort of think that’s a good idea.
We’ve heard so many crazy stories about other DJ’s from your work. You must have some good stories to tell yourself from your residency at Low Life? Have there been any notable highlights?
There have been many. Pop stars turning up and copping off with each other. Beating the smoking ban in illegal shebeens in Limehouse. Having half of New York’s dance music royalty turn up at the very first party we did in Harlem. But the thing that stands out is the happiness and enthusiasm on the dancefloor. It’s consistently brilliant and such a pleasure to play for.
You’ve been a music journalist and turntable savant for many years. Are there other aspects of the industry you’d still like to get more involved in?
I’d like to do more music production, but there’s a limit to how many things you can do, especially if you want to do them well.
If you had to choose between music and Grimsby Town FC, which would it be? I can imagine one has brought you more joy, and the other more heartache 😉
Well obviously if I wanted to eliminate a lot of the misery from my life I’d choose music, but Grimsby Town is in my blood. I love it. As much as I love music, there’s no better feeling than an away win. But that’s counterbalanced by the many, very many, abject performances I’ve watched over the years…. Losing 7-1 away at Sheffield Wednesday springs to mind, though we did score the best goal. But the absolute worst was losing 5-0 away at Braintree two years ago. I wanted to kill someone after that. Probably myself. But not before turning the gun on the first team.
Finally, who would be on your ultimate DJ line-up? Which Jock would you feel most privileged to play alongside?
I’ve been lucky enough to play with many of my heroes, and I also get to select the line-ups for the Low Life parties so I already indulge my fantasies enough through that.
Words: Paul Fluks & Nick Maleedy
Bill Brewster will play at the Double Denim Disco night amongst James Priestly and DDD residents on the 1st of February in the Former Bells of Shoreditch. For more info and tickets about the event: CLICK HERE
I’m sure I speak for most who’ve been lucky enough to attend, that venturing to one of the many music festivals dotted along the Adriatic coast is definitely one of these experiences. For me, there is something justifiably addictive about the following scene (if you can picture it): a writhing, sweaty mass of beautifully tanned bodies, thousands of pairs of feet gently stomping from side to side on a grand stage of pebbles, necks and shoulders glazed by the Croatian sun, limbs pulsating to the vibrations of looming sound systems, and smiling faces as far as the eye can see. It is an image that will burn the back of my retinas throughout the winter months, basically until I’m back on that beach and can witness it once again. The beautiful thing about Croatian festivals? There’s no need for dance workshops, thousands of metres of bunting, or towering Block 9-esque installations. People survive happily on three basic things: music, sun, and some inhibition removers (if you catch my drift). It’s just perfect.
Dimensions Festival has all of these features in abundance, and for the second year in the row it is proving to be one of the most, if not THE most, perfect settings for experiencing them. I have tried with all my might to write a balanced account of the various pros and cons of my four days at Dimensions, to outline as objectively as one can, the musical highlights and the organisational successes. But, truthfully, all I want to write is just how utterly magical the whole festival was, how my expectations from its first year were not only met but exceeded, and how I will definitely be returning next year, and the year after that, and the year after that.
In my opinion, there are three key reasons behind the beauty of Dimensions Festival: the insanely picturesque Istrian location (beach front during the day and abandoned 19th century fort at night), the fun-loving, not too posey, and musically-educated crowd, and the superbly-curated lineup. It’s these elements that informed the countless moments, on all four days, where I would stand and look out in amazement and think how lucky I was to be in such a beautiful setting, listening to such mind-blowingly good music, and surrounded by such beautiful people. I remember vividly walking out on to the beach party on the very first day and leaping with excitement, seeing the sprawls of happy people dancing and swimming, hearing chilled lo-fi soundwaves travel over the water, and exclaiming to my friends “ISN’T IT JUST BEAUTIFUL?!”. We all knew from the start that we had made the right decision to return to Pula this year, but throughout the weekend it we were continuously astonished at just how much fun we were having.
Despite relatively large success after their debut event last summer, the organizers still pulled out the stops this year making clear efforts to place Dimensions as one of the best electronic events in Croatia. Noticeably more thought was put into the production on many of the stages especially the Beach Party and the addition of The Clearing stage was, I think, relatively successful in limiting some of the human traffic in the main part of the arena. Obviously, one of the biggest additions to the fesival was the Opening Ceremony party on the Wednesday night, that invited some massive headliners down to party in, undoubtedly, one of the best concert venues I’ve ever been to: The Pula Arena, a Roman amphitheatre in the centre of town. The only remaining amphitheatre of its kind with four remaining walls, this Colloseum-esque construction is naturally acoustic and was consequently an incredible arena in which to see the likes of Portico Quartet, Mount Kimbie, and, of course, Bonobo with a full live band. It was pretty cool, to say the least.
But the real musical treats came over the following four days; so many in fact, that I couldn’t even possibly outline them without going into full blown essay-mode. From the educating Giles Peterson to the sublimely soulful Eglo Records showcase, the sun-kissed beach party led by Romare to The Analogue Cops’ brain-melting techno fest in the Moat, the predictably life-affirming hours of disco and old school cuts from 3 Chairs to the out-of-nowhere set from Moxie that blasted her Deviation colleagues completely out of the water – the variation and the quality was consistently astounding (if you can imagine such an oxymoron!) Plus, we need to take a moment to give praise to the brains and brawn behind The Outside the Fort arena, whoever they may be, for providing the most intense and crisp sound on site and for basically being THE SPOT four nights in a row – never stop what you’re doing, team, you da bestest!
Interestingly, many of this year’s acts were invited to return from their performances last year, resulting in a strong sense of continuity and progression, a feeling that some labels and collectives have deservedly become part of the Dimensions fabric. Having spent almost six hours watching the Eglo family feed their delicious soup of soul, disco, and hip hop to the Outside the Fort Stage, and then again for another three hours on the Eglo Records boat party – the team headed up by Alexander Nut definitely felt like a little slice of home at the festival. There was something beautifully cyclical about returning to the same site at the same time a year later, watching some of the same artists embodying the Dimensions’ musical ethos. Certainly, it was an extraordinary moment when, once again, I was handed a glass of straight liquor by the one and only Kenny G (Moodymann) on Sunday night, just as he had handed me one in exactly the same place the year before. I was even standing in the same place with my front right speaker crew, the exact same friends who I had stood next to last year, who were photographed in the exact same place by the same photographer. It was a kind of serendipitous perfection that blew my poor little mind, as I stood lapping up the beautiful, light rain that came and blessed us on the Monday morning, and continues to do so as I sit at my laptop watching this evil, miserable rain pour down my window back home in the UK.
All I can say is that I hope with all my heart in 49 weeks I will be standing in that exact same spot, having danced for hours on end, drinking the sweet nectar given to me by Moodymann himself just as the sun starts to slowly rise on Dimensions Festival 2014…because I know that at that moment I will be blissfully happy.
Διονύσης, or Denny as we know him, is the newest addition to the MEOKO family. Only 21 years of age and recently moved to London from his hometown in Greece four months ago, Denny has a neverending passion for all things HOUSE and TECHNO and his enthusiasm is infectious! Having studied sound engineering and music technology in Athens, and working as a radio producer and DJ for Proton Radio, Denny lives and breathes dance music and we love that!
Hence when we discovered Denny hadn’t actually yet been to Ibiza, we concocted a plan to make his dreams come true. Sending him off to the big bad island (but armed with a bit of VIP access), Denny will be documenting his adventures, as he experiences some of the most iconic locations and nights in the underground music scene.
So I saved my pennies, booked the flights, bought some crazy outfits; and I even had another week’s holiday at home after I came back, to recuperate. Everything seemed perfect. Destination? Ibiza! Ibiza is known internationally for being, perhaps, the ‘Clubbing Capital’ of the world and nightlife in Ibiza is something that you have to experience to truly appreciate! It’s been a few weeks now since I popped my Ibiza cherry as my disappearing tan keeps reminding me, but it’s what happens in Ibiza that makes the whole experience unforgettable and that’s something that will last longer than any tan! The unique cultural diversity, warm temperatures, friendly and beautiful people all contribute to creating a magical atmosphere. Every single day in Ibiza feels like the weekend anywhere else in the world (for four months of the year anyway). As soon as you drive out of Ibiza’s airport, it becomes very clear the predominant industry on this island is nightlife culture & clubbing thanks to the many billboards plastered with DJ’s faces, club branding, CD advertisements and events!
Playa d’en Bossa, Ibiza Town and San Antonio are the most musically alive areas you will find on the island, with Playa d’en Bossa the main destination for the more party-focused tourists who come to the island each season. I booked my accommodation in Platj’a Den Bossa, in the heart of Playa D’en Bossa, where all the island’s clubs could be reached on the disco bus which stopped just meters from where I was based. The legendary ‘Space’ was 10 minutes walk and ‘Sankeys’ just around the corner! I couldn’t have found a better location to be honest! I had 8 days to explore the island’s party side and I was determined to attend as many parties as possible…
The result; a total of 72 hours spent in clubs, beach bars, basements, terraces and any other location you can imagine! As long as there is a Jockey, turntables, speakers and booze there is nothing more you need to have a great time!
Wednesday: tINI & the gang @ Sirocco Beach, FUSE @ Sankeys
Photo Credit: Tasya Menaker
Playa D’en Bossa is a two-kilometer long beach; rich in sun loungers, umbrellas and watersports. But the stretch really comes alive with the abundance of impressive bars; where drinking, dancing and sunglasses meet to mix a perfect Balearic cocktail.
On the north end of this astonishing beach you will find “Sirocco Beach”, the home of “tINI & the gang”! With a season-long residency, a solid line up, a free-entry beach party and a crew that kicks ass, tINI easily got me in the mood for an amazing Wednesday night to follow! The ‘gang’ meets up every Wednesday in Sirocco with incredible results; the ‘join our gang’ philosophy creates a friendly vibe where you feel comfortable enough to enjoy the party even if you’re on your own like I was! Both the crowd and dj’s share the same excitement and by the time the night falls, you can experience the ‘peak’ of what tINI & the gang is all about! The party kicks off around 5pm and goes until midnight!
After tINI’s beach party we rolled onto FUSE at Sankeys! Fuse is a London institution built around a strong ethos of quality music, quality sound system and no messing about with stupid gimmicks – all with a committed group of followers! Running since 2008, Fuse parties have become the stuff of legends in recent years thanks to the crew’s simple but effective policy of presenting extended sets from their core residents and friends…Enzo Siragusa, Seb Zito, Rich NxT, Rossko, tINI, and co. A couple of hours in this amazing basement were enough to witness the essence of everything FUSE does in London being transported to Ibiza. Enzo and the FUSE family play sounds and create vibes that are difficult to experience anywhere else on the island – it really is the polar opposite to the glamorous side of Ibiza clubbing that you might see on the TV or in the magazines. Down in that basement it, feeling the incredible sound system, everything was as it was supposed to be…deep, dark and intimate!
Thursday: ENTER @ Space
Photo Credit: Space Ibiza
Space Ibiza is synonymous around the world as one of the temples of electronic dance music. Unique through many of its years by offering unadulterated daytime clubbing! Space or ‘Ibiza’s power clubbing’ is at its finest and gives a particular emphasis on bringing only the best international DJs across the genres. While it is the world’s most awarded club armed with a sound system that will literally blow your head off, you will be crazy to be on the island and not to go there at least once! Every Thursday ENTER takes over Space and delivers an unforgettable high-octane experience of quality Techno (amongst other styles), innovative design, an inclusive atmosphere and plenty of Sake week after week. ENTER.Sake is the island’s first true Sake Bar experience – an intimate Japanese inspired room with surprise DJ sets from major guests starting each Thursday at 10pm. The party vibe was apparent as soon as I walked through the doors and it didn’t take long until I noticed Richie weaving through the early-bird crowd pouring Sake and meeting friends and fans. The transformation of Space into Richie Hawtin’s visionary concept takes 11 hours every week whilst the decoration is totally changed from the previous night. This gives ENTER an almost festival-like atmosphere and was one of many highlights during my Balearic adventure.
Friday: Flying Circus @ Sankeys
Photo Credit: Tribal Mixes.com
The residency at Sankeys for Flying Circus, which is run by Luca Saporito / Audiofly, is their first on the island forming part of the club’s new seven day weekly roster. Developed six years ago, Flying Circus is now a tried and tested party formula dedicated to keeping these underground fun times a simple, friendly and quality affair. Pure and deep unconstrained house and techno, was supplied to you by the clubs phenomenal Void sound system; taking over all of Sankeys 3 main spaces, Flying Circus aims to create a dynamic, immersive experience for all party goers. Simple concepts, are often the best ones: good friends + good tunes = good times 😉
Saturday: Kehakuma @ Space, Wisdom Of The Glove after party with Guy Gerber
Photo Credit: Max Lawless
Following on from the collaboration with ENTER in 2012, Kehakuma is now holding it’s own residency, with a new home on Saturdays at Space. The underground night showcases only the best in deep house & minimal sounds retaining with it the atmosphere that Kehakuma has built up over the years; a seriously good fun party! A post apocalyptic cave of hungry rhythm and creeping ghosts, Kehakuma presents itself with unflinching style! Dedicated to a boldly artistic vision of waxy ghosts and blood-red propaganda, all guests are invited to lose their minds and find their souls! The energy sparkled as the party developed with some of the most respected artists on the underground scene taking over the decks. Lot’s of people say that Ibiza is not yet ready for this kind of music, given the more underground nature of the lineups in comparison to the ‘big guns’ showcased on Space’s other nights. But I would say if you like your beats deep and underground then Kehakuma won’t disappoint.
After Kehakuma it was time for Guy Gerber’s secret after party somewhere on the island! I don’t have a clue where the location was all I can remember is a beach 100 meters away from a villa! The location was astonishing, one of the best after parties I’ve ever been in my life, and I’ve been to a few! About 150 people were feeling the love of Guy Gerber’s music in this super amazing dark room full of black lights and Buddha decorations! Although I didn’t make it to Pacha for Guy Gerber’s ‘Wisdom of the Glove’ main event, at least I had a taste of what this party is all about! Wisdom of the Glove sees Pacha transform into a very bizarre dystopia, with spinning wheels, sparkling hands and disembodied eyes peering out from all corners. This is definitely one of the most creative and musically sophisticated nights Pacha has to offer.
Sunday Viva Warriors @ Sankeys
Without a doubt Viva Warriors is among the best parties Ibiza has to offer on a Sunday night! On the back of a cracking first season last year and sell out shows all over Europe, the Warriors smash the arse out of the Sankeys basement every week, led by Ibiza veteran and all-round club legend Steve Lawler. This is one of Sankeys’ most successful nights, and definitely a favourite amongst island workers, with Departure (the quintessential workers party) hosting a room each Sunday. With a marketing plan inspired by 1979 cult movie ‘The Warriors’ and the raw identity of the night , Viva Warriors has become one of the strongest parties of the summer. The ecstatic vibe created by both dj’s and crowd was something that made me feel like I was actually in a war; a techno war where smiling faces and amazing music was the most powerful weapon to be found. As usual I stayed until the very last track! The magic moments I experienced during the last hour (where the toughest ‘warriors’ remained on the dance floor) were the ones that made Viva Warriors such a successful mind blowing party!
Monday: Cocoon @ Amnesia
By Monday I found myself contemplating the previous 5 days of unadulterated fun I’d had having hit up nearly all the parties I’d planned to; I really understood why people get so excited about Ibiza. There is nothing in the world to be compared with Ibiza’s night life, the venues, the crowds, the sound systems, the quality of music, the vibe and excitement! Everything had been top notch! No bullshit stories, no drama, just mind blowing music sneaking to your ears every single day. As an Ibiza virgin I thought it couldn’t get any better than that but … on Monday night I was proved wrong. An Amnesia sized ‘slap’ came out of nowhere to wake me up and take me to another dimension of musical experience! Even though a whole month has passed since that day…I can remember even the smallest detail because that day I was feeling 100% alive. Monday was my Ibiza highlight…
Photo Credit: White-Ibiza.com
The time was getting closer to become a Cocoonero and to pop my Amnesia cheery, excited doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. Huge thanks to my beloved ‘Rebel Butterflies’ Alice and Clare who made the whole thing seem like a fairytale before it even started! Even though it was a last minute decision the girls did their magic and Jesus Sierra the press director of Amnesia happily agreed to show me around Amnesia … so you know what that means right? What happened at fabric and Fuse for my very first ‘My first time’, was about to happen at Amnesia for Cocoon. Could it get any better? I’d seen many pictures and videos but was curious to find out how Amnesia really looked, how it really sounded, how it really feels to be there I the middle of an epic party. And I was about to find out…the lineup: Sven Vath all night in the main room, with Ricardo Villalobos b2b [a:rpia:r] in the terrace. Too much.
Photo Credit: Katya Smolina
I was outside Amnesia with my mate Gary when Jesus came and picked us up from the entrance. Like the great host he was, Jesus took us inside the venue to show us around and from that moment my heart started beating like a drum! The first thing I saw as I passed the doors of the venue was the legendary terrace, which is considered to be one of the best dance floors on the globe! If that wasn’t enough Ricardo was already spinning records with his Romanian mates [a:rpia:r] and the terrace was almost full of people! Having this mind blowing combination of Jockeys behind these specific decks was more than enough for me to feel like I was at a workshop and having a proper lesson of “how it should be done”. When we talk about underground electronic music and what it represents, these guys really are at the very forefront of what they do and what we love!
Jesus continued to show me around the venue, giving me information about the history, the culture and everything Amnesia related! A few minutes where enough for me to understand that Amnesia was way more than just a club. There’s a private restaurant on the 1st floor with bars, where we could observe in detail what was happening on the dance floors and dj booths; that floor took the Amnesia experience on another dimension! My favourite spot, however, was the glass balcony just above Terrace’s dj booth. From that balcony I had the best observation point with the jockeys, the turntables and the mixer, everything just a couple of meters
nder me. It was literally just a glass floor separating
s, giving me a chance to really witness some masters at work…
It was about time to find out what was happening ‘behind the party’ so Jesus showed me the rest of the facilities of Amnesia (the ones that I couldn’t access if Jesus wasn’t there). One of these was his office, which was nothing less than what I expected. There was a proper studio in there with so much equipment and an awesome radio station with all the equipment needed to broadcast the parties in real time! It was my dream office! As we were having a really interesting conversation with Jesus about Amnesia’s current season Alice and Clare from Rebel Butterly showed up. These two extremely beautiful girls conspired with MEOKO for ‘My First Time at Amnesia’ when I actually met them it felt like I knew them already! Now we were all together we had an amazing conversation about Ibiza, it’s clubs, the life style, the crowd … everything that has made Ibiza what it is for so long. What Amnesia has been offering on this island and the industry since 1974 is without doubt one of the best experiences I had in my short stay.
After my outstanding tour of Amnesia it was time to leave Jesus to continue his work whilst Alice, Clare and I headed to the main room to witness Mr. Vath in action! Although it wasn’t strictly allowed, the Cocooneros gave me 5 precious minutes to spend in the dj booth while Sven was playing! The feeling being next to the man himself, observing him interact with the crowd was one of a kind, priceless and unforgettable! You could see that the crowd had turned into a big mass of bodies, moving and breathing to Vath’s techno sounds. After witnessing that magic connection Sven Vath and his crowd had, I was ready to head on the terrace and see what the other maestros were up to…
Photo Credit: Amnesia.es
Ricardo and [a:rpia:r] were delivering an exquisite set of deep minimalistic house and techno, an ecstatic b2b session if ever I saw one. I recognised so many dj’s among the crowd…the Apollonia trio, DJ Sneak , Enzo Siragusa & Seb Zito from Fuse, Bella Sarris and Crocodile Soup were a few I saw and chatted to; sharing the same excitement with all these artists made me realise even more the greatness of Cocoon! The music coming through the massive sound system developed in such a way that I really couldn’t have asked for any more! But I was given more regardless, every single track was perfectly matched to the previous one and the result made me feel like I was listening to one track which constantly changed with new sounds coming from nowhere. That experience took me into a total sound trip where I lost the sense of time for good, and I was thrilled to realise it was 7am already! It had gotten bright on the terrace, like someone had turned the lights on, something that worried me because I was thinking the music was soon going to stop. When I saw the ceiling I noticed the enormous gaps which where especially made for the natural sunlight to invade the room. It was a real moment! I could see clearly every single person in the terrace from the dance floor to the first floor and what I could see was just incredible! The crowd was amazing and the terrace was still jam-packed; did I mention Amnesia is a 4000 capacity venue?? Amongst the chaos it felt like everything was in perfect harmony. The dedication of Cocoon’s crowd is something every label or promoter could wish for, and the skill of these masters of music is something every crowd could wish to experience…a perfect balance.
Photo Credit: ibiza-spotlight.de
By now the terrace had loosened up as some of the crowd realised the time, Ricardo and the [a:rpia:r] guys however seemed intent on playing on. Alice had already gone and Clare … well I lost Clare as I lost my mate Gary, but that didn’t worry meat all; I was sure they were enjoying the party wherever they were. All I was worried about was the music and the electric atmosphere, I wished it would have lasted forever! 4 hours of non-stop dancing felt like just one…I won’t ever forget that moment. That’s what makes Amnesia unquestionably the best club on the island for me.
After half an hour or so it was time for the party to end, unfortunately nothing lasts forever. Heading to the exit was something I didn’t want at all but there was no other choice. Cocoon’s mentality is based on quotes like that “We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once” nothing more was left to be done! I want to thanks Jesus Sierra for being an amazing host and showing me around the whole of Amnesia, Alice and Clare for arranging that tour and of course my crazy MEOKO family for sending me into the wildest and craziest jungle of the summer!
Few names these days are as synonymous with house music as that of Darius Syrossian. Following in the footsteps of the forefathers of the sound he loves, Darius has learnt from the very best of Chicago and Detroit. Luminaries such as Kenny Larkin, Danny Tenaglia, Carl Craig and DJ Sneak teaching him the true nature of house music. Our 97th instalment in our mix series was recorded live from Viva Warriors at Sankeys Ibiza. It’s an hour of high-octane fun fuelled house music that will keep you firmly tied into your dancing shoes throughout! Impressive stuff. We caught up Darius to chat about all this electronic.
Hi Darius, thanks for taking some time out of your hectic schedule to speak with us. We spent the afternoon last week listening to the stream from the ViVa Warriors opening at Sankeys Ibiza… it was sounding fierce! How did you find the party?
Hi Guys, thanks for the kind words, yeah it was as I expected! I remembered how good Sankeys was last summer and I didn’t expect it to be any different this year, it has a great crowd and I was really pleased with it. It was a great way to start the summer.
Your sets are always brimming with an energy that seems completely limitless! Do you have any rituals before a gig? Any essential pre-drinks or anything?
Haha, no not really. But yes well obserevd when planning my music, thats what I want to happen on the dancefloor I want energy. And I want it to be relentless but relentless without having to play bang bang heavy mindless music, so i have to search hard for my tracks. There is a fine line between playing too heavy and forcing energy on the crowd and trying to play cool but not having any impact. For me when making a track or DJing what I try to aim for is a full on energetic vibe, those basslines that grab you by the scruff of the neck and say, here yo go, dance, and dont stop! hahah
RE rituals: Well i dont like to come 5 mins before I play like some DJ’s I like to turn up and assess the situation, the crowd, the venue, the vibe of the place, the sound system, the DJ before. Then I take notes, if you ever see me before a gig I am jotting notes on paper with a pen, and keep it by my side throughout my set. I never plan a set as i need to see what vibes are going on first, so I pretty much do that once I arrive, I know my music, I see what’s going on before I play and plan from there.
You’re incredibly vocal about your love for the music, the scene, and of course the crowd. Who is to thank for getting you hooked on music in the first place?
For anyone to love music it is instilled in them from the day they are born, it is an instinctive thing. Some people love music more, some people love other things. For me, I couldn’t live without music, and not just house music, I love ALL music. But yes when I was younger I was surrounded by it growing up. I have sacrificed a lot for it, but it is paying off now, I dedicated my life to it. I have a degree but i didn’t pursue a career in art & design because I just loved music too much and for 15 years worked in vinyl record shops for hardly any money, like hardly ANY money, but i loved it,.
I was with a girl for nine years but she said I was married to my music and that also ended because I couldn’t give up my dream. Then again I was with another amazing girl who was full on marriage material, but when both the shop and my relationship ended I turned to producing, and it got me to here now where i am. Its like a dream come true, i’m sat in a hotel in Berlin and about to go play Watergate. Its not even about the money, I still live in the same house as I did 5 years ago, and still dont drive a car. I’m earning great money but I dont even care about that, that money can go towards making sure my parents are looked after well at old age and my kids have a good upbringing. If i meet a girl worth having kids with of course, hahA.
Looking at both your discography, its clear you’re equally at home behind the decks or in the studio, having played everywhere under the sun, and with releases on Get Physical, OFF Recordings, 8 Bit, VIVa and of course your fresh release on Hot Creations… would you say you’re more a DJ or producer first and foremost?
My answer to this is I LOVE MUSIC, i love it all, can’t even compare the two. Hahah there is a first, a one sentence answer from Darius.
You have a very particular style when you play out – very dance floor orientated. Are there any tracks really doing it for you at the moment that you wouldn’t necessarily play out for whatever reason?
YES, Massimo Girardi, called “75/6” on Little Helpers. Damn this is exactly what i’m about, the energy of it but still full of groove and rhythm and not just bang bang mindless noise. And those snares and then just as you think it’s breaking down, it isn’t, it is just a little break, and snares roll and boom your back to the full on assault of rhythm and groove and bass. I’ll play this for a long time. Also Sidney Charles has done a good track called ‘Need’ but really i could go on forever, so many good tracks out.
2012 was a massive year from you, culminating in your nomination for DJ Mag’s ‘Best Breakthrough Producer’ award. You’re by no means a newcomer to the scene, but things recently are progressing very fast. Where would you like your career to be in 5 years time?
I am happy how I am, I dont need to be some mega famous huge DJ that people come to see because magazines said I’m cool. I just like it when people are coming because they like my music. Honestly loads of people know my music but no idea what I look like and I like it that way hahahah. But then again recently in airports I keep getting stopped for pictures, hahaha but no seriously, if things progress more cool. if not, i’m happy as i am. All I want to do is enjoy my music and share it with like minded people. That’s what I love about Sankeys ibiza, proper music heads, underground real music heads, not like some super club full of hype and champagne tables and all that nonsense. I just want to enjoy music and make people feel what i’m feeling when i’m hearing the music, that’s it. For example, I was totally shocked I was voted in the RA top 100 poll. Totally. I really didn’t expect it. Of course it was an honour, thanks to everyone who voted, but honestly if im not in it this year, no worries. It is not about that, it’s about people who KNOW my music loving what I do, if thats 5000 people fine, if it’s 500 hundred thousand people fine… i’m NOT hungry for the power lets say, hahaha.
Leeds and Ibiza seem to be very special places for you. What is it about places like this that makes them so magical? Are there any other cities that have this magic which are generally underrated?
WOAH! DONT MISS OUT MANCHESTER, I LOVE MANCHESTER, and it’s where I started clubbing loads at raves and clubs like the hacienda. Manchester has been one of those places that has always had the REAL clubbers, straight talkers like me. I admire that in people. But yes i’ve done some ace parties in places like eastern europe, you can have some of the best parties in places where people have less. The beauty of house music is that it is like a release, takes you away from things and when your really in the zone nothing else matters.
Where are you most excited about playing this summer?
Eveywhere, any gig can be good. I’ve done so many awesome gigs lately. Sometimes I have had such a good time I just wanna say so on my Facebook. But it’s like every gig i’m trying to thank the crowd and i’m sure people on my facebook are thinking “oh shut up darius”, hahahah. But I really do wanna thank them. I see some people in the crowd really buzzing from the set, you know, really feeling it, and i just wanna say, “Yo, thank you mofo!”. This is exactly why I do what I do, to make people feel like that on the dancefloor, lose it and go some place for a couple of hours.
I have some ace gigs coming up, Love fest in serbia, Eastern Electrics Festival in Knebworth, Vertigo festival in Italy, a gig in Barcelona with Carl Craig, of course every Sunday at Sankeys ibiza.
What is your favourite non-electronic track of all time?
Joy Division, ‘love will tear us apart’
Thanks a lot Darius, we look forward to seeing you tearing it up somewhere soon!
Thank you for asking me to do the interview and the kind words in some of your questions 🙂
Catch Darius Syrossian next at Viva Warriors in London Friday 4th October – More info and tickets > HERE
If you are attending ADE , you can also dance to Darius at : Sankeys at ADE Friday 18th October 2013 – More info & tickets > HERE
It is almost the weekend and you’ve been looking for a nice place to hang out in London, something different, something unique, somewhere you can put your feet up and finally relax, somewhere that you will remember forever. Where is such a place? Well, MEOKO knows and has got just THE recommendation for you! One of the coolest and most impressive projects we have witnessed in our beloved East London; a pop up night market specialising in the best food, craft beer and cocktails accompanied by a vibe and edge like no other. This ladies and gentlemen, is what they are calling Street Feast.
Upon arrival at Dalston Yard for what would be my very first Street Feast experience. I was taken back by what I witnessed, an old abandoned industrial type looking car park had been trasformed into something so spectacular. Inside, its colourful walls covered with graffitti, the venue hosts chefs, bakers, wine connoisseurs, ice cream bars, pubs, trendy people, kids, sofas and kilometres of checkered tablecloth; a veritable microcosm. As the people started to flock through the doors of Street Feast, (approx 3000 per event) – I started to make my way around the market taking it all in. A great sound system with DJ’s playing wicked music helped the flow of people along, as they moved from stall to stall feasting their eyes on all the treats layed before them. At Street Feast there are no rules except to come and feast on an experience that will have you coming back for more and taking advantage of the endless options provided. This was the collaboration of food market meets festival; quality meets culture; East London hipster meets city professional, all rolled into one. This was a VIBE.
The biggest (and most enjoyable) problem when entering Street Feast is trying to choose the food. With such a large selection my senses were confused by the likes of the RIbman (really does do what it says on the tin), Rotary (hot buttermilk fried chicken wings, mmmm) and . My first port of call, however, was the Redhook stall. To start, Jess the head chef, prepared his signature popcorn shrimps with temprura batter and a chilly mayonnaise; they didn’t disappoint! Whilst on the Redhook stall I couldn’t resist trying the 2012 award winning smoked saddleback belly ribs; truly delicious meat, served with a refreshingly tasty pinapple, red cabbage and carrot slaw.
Next the ‘Special Waffle’ allowed us to nibble into some German heritage. Totally different in taste to the Belgian waffle, this particular variety is made with a very small amount of sugar, some salt and the key ingredient of butter milk. The result is a ‘not so sweet dough’ which was complimented with either some fresh strawberry, cream and chocolate sauce OR slow roasted duck, fresh plumb sauce and a fried egg on the top. It’s this kind of unique but flavoursome variety that really helps Street Feast stand out.
For me, the desert was a no brainer, the salted caramel cheescake was genuinely delectable. But with so much choice I know I’ll be back to try one of the other heavenly cupcakes or cheesecakes with flavours including popcorn, pistachio, peanut butter and Oreo to name just a few…
Lucious food, stunning surrounding and an almost euphoric energy really did make for an unbelievable experience. Five Stars for this one! Street Feast London is only open for another three more weeks at Dalston Yard, every Friday (5pm – Midnight) and Saturday (Midday – Midnight), before moving onto warmer condiitions as the summertime slowly leaves us for another year…
MEOKO has teamed up with Street Team to offer one of our lucky readers the chance to win themselves a WHOLE Keg of their own. (50 pints!) Yep, thats right, you get to bring your mates and drink for free, WHAT? To win, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with
Music Through Picturesis a special interview series, in which MEOKO gives an artist nine images and asks for nine corresponding tracks in return; highlighting the relationship between art, sound, images and music, and at the same time gaining a fun insight into the musical minds of some of our favourite DJs and producers…
Polish duo Catz ‘N Dogz have been making people move since their first release on Trenton in 2005. From intimate local parties in Poland to the main rooms of some of the biggest and best clubs in the world, they’ve put a mix of street bass, disco, R&B, deep house and hip hop through a blender and come out on the other side with a failsafe recipe for infectious tech-house cuts that can bring a dance floor to its knees in minutes. Their own hugely successful imprint PETS recordings acts as a platform for fresh talent coming out of Poland, and have a close relationship with Claude von Stroke’s dirtybirdRecords. We caught up with them for the most recent edition of our Music Through Pictures series…
All you Ibiza heads can check out dirtybird at Sankeys every Thursday until the 12th September, and catch Catz ‘N Dogz doing their thing on the 15th & 29th August, as well as at the closing party on the 12th September!
Music Through Pictures is a special interview series, in which MEOKO gives an artist nine images and asks for nine corresponding tracks in return; highlighting the relationship between art, sound, images and music, and at the same time gaining a fun insight into the musical minds of some of our favourite DJs and producers…
The infamous Parisian trio made up of Dan Ghenacia, Dyed Soundorom and Shonky recently put together the latest edition of fabric’s esteemed mix series, marking the 70th edition (which we reviewed here) and simultaneously showcasing two tracks off their debut EP, ‘Trinidad’ and ‘Visa American’. In anticipation for their appearance at fabric on July 20th as well as their DC10 takeover on the 24th August…we got in touch with the boys, and challenged them to take on our ‘Music Through Pictures’ interview series, giving them ten interesting images and in exchange for ten of their chosen related tracks. Pleasantly surprised by the sheer diversity and chronological range of their choices, the trio replied with some truly iconic artists and sounds; showing quite clearly the influences that make their own productions so unique!
Catch Apollonia playing alongside The Mole Live, Nicole Moudaber, and many more at fabric on July 20th. More info and buy tickets on their website.