For this new Trommel feature, “A day in the life of…”, we oppose the conventional way of interviewing. Instead we try to blend into an artist’s daily routine, obtaining a more complete picture while staying curious. Let us take you back to a hot weekend in early May, quite a rarity in The Netherlands. What better way to spend the day than with talented Spanish label-owner Julian Perez. He has been invited to explore and play in the Netherlands’ second biggest city for the weekend. We are very pleased that submid asked us to document this Rotterdam-rollercoaster-ride for you from start till finish.
It does not happen every day that we see Julian Perez in Netherlands, so we were delighted to hear that he will treat us to an extended 4-hour set at BAR Rotterdam. The venue is well-known for its intimate vibe and quality sound coming from a muscular Void soundsystem, one of the reasons the Valencian born producer has come to see some more of the city he knew from recorded tapes in his teenage years.
Perez, nowadays receiving international bookings ranging from Offenbach to Paris to New York, cannot complain being short of international attention. Nevertheless, he picks his gigs carefully. He likes to keep his feet on the ground and in the studio. Staying true to his cause, he tells us about his considerations for finalizing project Fathers and Sons, the praised label that we know from solid releases by ROSS248 (John Dimas and Julian Perez), Brian Harden, Livio & Roby, S.A.M and Malin Genie, to only name a few. However, it is now time for a new challenge: Girada Unlimited. With a diverse, somewhat more experimental approach, he manages to once again catch the attention of the careful listener, focusing more on the deep end of house and techno. This is one of the many reasons we were so eager to meet Perez in person, especially in a promising setting like Rotterdam. Coincidentally a talented duo from this very city appears on one of his latest releases on Girada.
Rotterdam, being the absolute counterpart of Amsterdam, prides itself with a history of electronic music. In fact, this city was the undeniable founder of gabber-house music, more commonly known as “hardcore” and a sub-culture that penetrated every fiber of society. These guys preluded what would become known as raves. Strangely enough the local government has been discouraging this type of music culture. Where Amsterdam recognized the opportunities like Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), Rotterdam lingered in facilitating this type of culture. We are about to find out that this is no longer the case nowadays…
We meet Julian outside the prominent Marriott Hotel in Rotterdam. He proposes to start the day with a session in the gym at 8.00 AM. Regretfully, we had to pass on this very apprehensive offer and we will blame anything but ourselves…The promotors who invited Perez, a young and refreshing ensemble of six, decided to take us along on a tour, proving that their city was not to be underestimated. They proved themselves right.After breakfast we head out to the most promising location that Rotterdam will offer in the next couple of years. Things are finally changing for Rotterdam. The city council set out to finally give room to promising initiatives, like cultivating a massive old factory-terrain. This “to-be-fashioned” industrial spot has big things ahead, as we could see while riding children’s bikes, because it was literally too jaw-dropping big to do by foot. M4H, the new name of the old “Emaillefabriek” has been appointed for development by the organization behind “BAR”. After winning the tender by coming up with detailed, watertight plan for this location, they now face quite a challenge getting all noses in the right direction.
Next-up after all these impressions of the massive but (for now) empty new location, is a visit to one of Rotterdam’s most (in)famous record shops. The owner is one of the landmarks of the times that made Rotterdam to what it is now, Michel Steinbach. He was a presence during the times that made Rotterdam world-famous, he still is an inspiration today. He shows up at his (closed) record shop with a smile from ear-to-ear, lifting a heavy stack of records from the backseat of his car: “I’m a bit late, but you’re still waiting so it must have been worth it!”.
Apparently, it was worth the wait for people like Binh, Francesco del Garda, John Dimas, Nicolas Lutz and Andrew James Gustav. He has created a buzz and he never disappoints. He did not mind at all opening up on Sunday for Julian Perez exclusively ending the day with showing Julian Perez how to clean records using woodglue. Let’s be honest, who would not trust a guy painting your best records with glue..? See yourself the result here.
Being spoiled from start to finish, the wolfpack headed off to have some seafood by the Rotterdam harbor, followed by a Spanish diner in the city, which made Julian (and our lucky editor) feel right at home. Although feeling like a fish in the water in Ibiza, Julian points out that there are many places he would like to live in the near future. Lisbon comes out on top, because of the progressive character of the city. Julian confides us that he would not be in favor of being in the more arctic places like Berlin or Amsterdam for more than a couple of months. We can imagine.
After a well-deserved rest it is about time to head to the main reason we are here: the performance at BAR Rotterdam. The submid collective sure knows how to warm up for a DJ of this caliber by laying down a quality performance, which is clearly putting a smile on Perez’s face. We could tell that he is not only playing a few records, but instead putting his heart into a 4-hour set, clearly telling a story that ranges from intensely deep to uplifting hard kicks and merciless basslines that he is known for, taking every single dancer by the hand.
By the end of his set, everybody is following his every move on the decks, hoping he will keep going for a few more hours, but all that is good has to come to an end, a very satisfying climax of Detroit and US Techno in this case, leaving us impressed.
However, our friends from submid have one last surprise in mind for us: an empty school-like building behind factory doors where their own creativity and resemblance comes to show. Interactively letting every one of the six musketeers have their go at the decks, they made their homebase vibrate with pure class music, making Perez and ourselves feel even more at home.
A night, a weekend, an experience to remember for someone that always tries to expect the unexpected, but never expects anything upfront. Here at Trommel we can not wait to see what will happen in Rotterdam and especially what Julian Perez and his Girada label will throw at us in the coming years. One thing is for sure, if you cannot wait to see Julian in action, you might as well book a ticket to South America to catch a glimpse of what this artist has in store for us….
We would like to thank:
submid crew: our guides Colin Schram and Daniël van de Wege, lest to forget: Tijs Struijk, Tim Verhoeven, Sidney Bresser & Roy Lodder
Photo credits: Brian Lubking
That’z it records