09.01.2020 | Words by: Elisa Luengo and Luc Mastenbroek
Luc: Heya! Last few conversations we did more like a general music-we-like chit-chat, for this one, I thought it would be cool to go back to the making off format. A week ago, my roommate asked me: when do you take the time to really listen to a set that someone sends you? With all the lists, all the emails, all the mixes that people post etc., how can something stand out?
Elisa: Many people say that gatekeeping is dead, but I don’t believe so. I think that with the overload of music and information, having some trusted sources has actually become more essential than ever. They pre-filter our options in this digital world of infinite choice. When value is something totally subjective as is the case for the arts, how do you decide? I’ll probably sound too nerdy, but I find this topic fascinating. I wrote my master thesis about selection and certification mechanisms of cultural goods. It comes down to finding those people whose opinion you’ll listen to. I rarely check out mixes that come out of the blue. Do you?
L: Last few mixes I listened to were CCL for Discwoman
, this Physical Therapy live recording
from Honcho, Tutu for Dekmantel
. Often there still has to be someone in real life tipping it for the mix to stand out online. Oceanic and you told me about Tutu, Elias told me about Physical Therapy and then I went back to this mix, and upsammy told me about CCL at Unsound. But then again, yesterday I was listening to this mix
on repeat, and I have no idea how I got there. The soundcloud wormhole. This probably doesn't sound authentic, but often I just get excited about the music friends tell me about. If you think of the artists you got really into lately, can you remember how you found out about them? The internet or somewhere else?
E: Mostly the internet. I wish we could do more field trips to discover new artists, but we both work on the weekends hosting the dinners so we don’t travel as much as other bookers do. I can give an example of the February line up to illustrate what I said earlier. I found out about Animistic Beliefs when NTS posted a video of them playing live. Since I trust NTS’ choices, I paid attention to this duo from Rotterdam which I didn’t know and sounded super sick. Since it can go so fast in the Dutch scene, it’s always thrilling to discover someone so close to home that’s not hyped yet. So I shared the discovery with you and then we waited for the perfect moment to invite them. Timing is an important factor in our decisions and it’s not easy to get it right. In the end, they were not only great performers, but also very nice people to be around. I guess we both value that. It’s not just about the music, that’s a big lie. There are more things that matter in an artist’s persona. Judgements are also made upon other factors that, consciously or not, can bias or influence your final impression.
L: It's something I like about the times we live in: deconstructing the idea (again?) that artists and their art should live a separate life. You can read every Murakami novel as an autonomous work drifting in space, but you can also read them and see they are all about outsider guys that likes Radiohead, John Coltrane, going to the cinema, beer, and young girls, and then realize: hey that's a bit like Murakami himself! Not sure what this tell us about the DJ world though. When I went to uni in the first year it felt like it was the stupidest thing to say that an artist's work was related to their background, but I'm happy that idea is on a comeback.
I'm going through the February program now and connecting the dots a bit. I think it was Sandrien who told me about Wata Igarashi first. I remember Oceanic telling me about Batu, how Batu is now hosting a Timedance night in the basement, and how Batu asked if Jasmín could play too while we were dancing to Powder at Sustain-Release. I remember all the stories about Theo Parrish playing A Love Supreme at Trouw on Kingsday. And I remember seeing him play Outkast at Lente Kabinet while it was warm and really busy and really great. And how we read an interview with Carista where she said her dream night would be with Theo Parrish. So glad this is happening! And for Het Weekend we're gonna turn De Aula into a really nice chill-out space where Grand River plays live and our former driver, great DJ and style icon Ron van de Kerkhof plays a long set. (and he was the first one telling me about Phoung Dan years ago!, who you can see February 21st with I-F and Identified Patient). Any more bedtime stories?
E: For me is not so much about the background or the identity thing as much as certain personality traits. Social intelligence definitely makes an important distinction between the ones who make it and the ones who don’t. “First you need the talent” they will say… but that’s also subjective. To reach consensus about it you need a few gatekeepers to grant their “certification of quality” to stand out from the rest. Fair or not, that’s how it works.
Bedtime stories: Donna Leake. I first heard about her when that Boiler Room went viral because of the horrific hate comments. The music she played had tons of personality and she seemed to be enjoying herself while many dudes attacked her relentlessly online. I can’t wait to see her opening for Jayda G. And in the case of Neon Chambers, I really enjoyed their release for Dekmantel. They make that sort of melodic techno I sometimes miss. And the first weekender of 2020! We finally got to invite Hieroglyphic Being. Not sure how I discovered him since he's been making music for decades now, he’s such a prolific artist. But what I do remember feeling inspired by watching the RA documentary about him
Hope to see you this Saturday getting low at Garage Noord with DJ Moortje and Felix Hall!Tickets for all our February nights are now for sale here.