We have said this many times before, but Amsterdam Dance Event is and always will be a very special time of the year. Falling just after the madness of a packed-out summer of events for clubbers, promoters and DJ’s alike this is a time to reconnect. As well as the sheer multitude of events happening around the city it is time to really push the boat out when it comes to size of events and really showcase what each brand and the chosen venue can really do. Often venues that don’t get used as often again throw their doors open for one hell of a party. In advance of our hook up with Breakfast Club at their huge weekender at Hemkade we touch base with organisers Brent and Pieter for a deep dive into one of Amsterdam’s premiere day time events.
Notorious for their off-beat opening hours, clued in crowd, exuberant ambiance and quirky programming, Breakfast Club has taken its own share of the pie within Amsterdam’s vast ‘night’ culture. What started off as a small scale afterparty in Canvas has developed itself over the years into a leading day-time event with international allure. A free and fresh breakfast is at the pinnacle of their morning ritual. Taking care of one and other, making sure every punter starts his day repowered and refreshed. The breakfast is carefully selected and prepared by a true chef (Bryce Steba!) who uses a plant-forward circular way of cooking.
Breakfast Club has long had a love affair with ADE but before they were throwing multi room events at the city’s biggest electronic music festival the sole efforts of each of BC’s promoters were wide ranging. Brent explains is beginnings, “I was DJing and promoting several concepts. Most relevant and still running is Drift in Nijmegen, which celebrates its 20th birthday this year. I was also partying (after) a lot when I was not working and DJing. I was also finishing my study to become a teacher in history. It was around that time that I chose to go full force for becoming a full-time entrepreneur, DJ and promoter.”
Pieter had a slightly different lead into his current life, “I was going to parties for a little while back then and around that time started to promote my own events in Tilburg (Klub Tilt) and I just started out DJing. Brent and I were not in touch back then until we would meet at a Drift Afterparty where he came to me saying that the last track I played made him teary eyed (he had just cancelled half of his festival due to a heavy storm)”. Pieter gords on to explain how he became part of the BC team, “I’ve been to Breakfast Club many many editions – always enjoying the fact it had a broad programming yet with a focus on more flow and depth due to the longer sets and specific programming. Not something that’s always been widely put down at more popular Amsterdam clubs/institutions. Fast forward ~ I was looking for a small job on the side and Brent was looking for someone to pick up the marketing side of things. This is little over 3 years ago – from there on I started getting more and more involved with programming, the creative vision and strategy until now we are starting a process where I’m becoming co-owner of the company.”
Breakfast Club as its name suggests came from a love of day parties and beginning the party with the most important meal of the day. This sort of event was not always so popular and a major part of the clubbing landscape, “Amsterdam did not have a 24-hour permit at that time, so there were a lot of strong clubs and some day-parties, but it was not a big thing at that time. So, clubbing was especially taking place in the night, and then there were a lot of after parties at home and there were a few illegal places in Amsterdam. There was a big demand though for after parties as the scene was very vibrant.”
We move on to the discussion of the clubbing experiences and influences that drew them both to Breakfast Club. Brent recounts a series of fallen institutions, “I’ve been clubbing from a very young age in Germany as my uncle was a club house dj playing a lot in the Nordrhein westfalen area. When I was just 16 years old, I regularly joined him on tour and also visited my first after parties. It opened my eyes. I also visited festivals like Sonne Mon und Sterne, Nature One and later on Nachtdigital where the music did not stop. I loved this endlessness of raving where you lose track of time and space. We also went clubbing in Berlin. In Amsterdam you had a place called Havana, that was a squat where illegal afters were organized.”
Pieter goes on to explain his influences, “I’ve been drawn to music (events) from a young age. I’ve always passed upon holidays with friends and I would visit multiple music concerts/festivals instead starting from a young age. I dabbled in playing the drums and ‘singing’ in a deathcore band but eventually found out the ‘electronic music’-scene is my big love. Travelling back and forth between Brabant (the province I lived) to Utrecht and Amsterdam to party became a habit}. I’d say the experience of both Nacht Digital and the club Trouw are my two biggest inspirations when it comes to arts/music/culture/programming/party experience.
He continues, “Of course, after this I’ve seen many dancefloors and other festivals but these were the ones that gave me my biggest aha-moments and opened my eyes towards clubbing culture. After organising my own events I got asked for a music/events organisation to help, from there on, I’ve actually never did a non-music related job on the side after (except for some minor design stuff – which I’m not good at.”
Over the years there have been many highlights over the long and esteemed history of Breakfast Club but the first edition could perhaps be the most important, “The first edition of Breakfast Club was in Havana~ in 2010, in that time the place was changed into a new strange posh club. Everything was white and new and it felt very cheap and dirty, but it had the right strange vibe. It was during ADE and it was an instant success. I remember Axel Boman was there as a visitor. Besides that, we played with all the residents (Jaime Frias, Tommy Kornuijt, Tom Liem and Aron Friedman as our main guest). Everybody was full on; the atmosphere was amazing. And that feeling has for some reason traversed to every edition after. We really have our own exuberant crowd that wants to go all the way with us.”
Since that first fateful party the BC crew have seen several milestone events, from their first big sold out NYE edition at Undercurrent, their massive ADE event at Melkweg, an impromptu jam between Donato Dozzy, Neel from Voices From The Lake, and Peter van Hoesen where a power outage set the stage for a historic jam at ADE at Closure. Last year’s ADE gathering at Radion was of course a very poignant edition at just a flick through some of their footage will give a slight inclination as to how special Breakfast Club really is.
Having been in operation for a decade and is constantly evolving it was interesting to hear how the concept has developed over the years, “A minor swift in programme but with the same kind of concept of longer sets, experienced DJ’s behind the wheel and presenting artists in different interesting contexts. It all started small but in the years, that followed it evolved into bigger events, more days during ADE. We also set up a festival called Wave festival that in the end did not work out. It was our ambition to create a full force after party festival that changed a bit more into a daytime festival, starting in the morning. First very big edition was at Melkweg covering 3 area’s and presenting a dream line up full of favourites. We even started with a Yoga session and we had an audio-visual performance of Conforce in a special movie area. The dynamic of several areas, sounds and atmospheres is something we really like.”
Getting down to business on the topic of this year’s ADE event and the line-up is as big as the venue that it will be taking place in. “The concept of the Saturday started off as a new step we wanted to take during the winter. We felt there was more to Breakfast Club than the dates (and size) we were already pushing. To us, the ideal Breakfast Club line-up consists of several elements, all of them accurately balanced. We love our atmospheric techno, our thumping house music, vinyl diggers, and artists pushing experimental boundaries. We also love our legends, BFC favourites, upcoming talents, and extraordinary B2Bs. It’s a matter of selecting, cherry-picking, and adjusting until the program feels exactly right.”
“Having the entire Hemkade at our disposal for two days, we’re able to create ten musical journeys throughout the ADE Weekender – each with its unique vibe and build-up. Basically, we’re continuing on our RADION heritage with 3 rooms. Another key ingredient for a great Breakfast Club line-up, we believe, is giving the artists more than enough playtime. We want them to take us on a journey, and to be as versatile as they wish to be. That’s why Ivan Smagghe & Vladimir Ivkovich are getting five hours, D. Tiffany & Roza Terenzi are getting four, and the Closer crew is getting a full-day takeover. Only when time isn’t of the essence, can the true BFC spirit thrive.”
For those not keeping up Breakfast Club will be taking control of the mammoth Hemkade venue for the weekend this ADE and the images don’t do it justice. The industrial behemoth will be playing host to a multitude of different styles and genres with truly unique programming. We get the lowdown on the venue itself and why this is the location for one of the biggest events of the week, “Location, location, location!’ is one of BFC’s most treasured mantras. We believe that a location is the starting point for any event. Scouting venues is one of our favourite pastimes. Even if we’re visiting a location for the first time, it has to feel like a homecoming. The moment we feel that click, the party starts unfolding in our mind’s eye. This is one of the most exciting parts of being a promoter… That, and throwing the actual rave, of course.”
“After a girlfriend tipped us off about a fetish party she’d attended at Hemkade, we decided to pay the place a visit. This also aligned with a hazy recollection of mine (Brent). After Dance Valley in 1997, I ended up at the Hemkade as a 17-year-old boy. I remember being completely mesmerised by the place, but also falling asleep on a couch and still remember my bewilderment when I woke up to a thumping beat. It’s memories like these that stick with you for a lifetime, and it was also what planted the seed for BFC at Hemkade.”
“As soon as we walked into Hemkade in 2020, we knew this was love at first sight. Butterflies in the stomach never lie. It was clear to us that this was the vibe we’d been looking for. Just a few minutes in, our fantasy was already running wild. Five areas, a myriad of possibilities, a humongous main, all these strange small rooms, booking huge names in tiny places, an outdoor area on the water. It was the perfect place to lose track of time and space: defying all logic, and therefore making perfect sense. Hemkade is one of a kind. Rave history, rowdiness and morning glory are seeping from its every seam. With this venue as a canvas, we’re ready to create our best works yet.”
There is little chance that you will have missed the massive line-up announcements for both days but the now sold out Saturday session will feature a typically diverse array of artists. From the booming Main Hall there will be four high octane back to back’s from Hylke and Rey Colino, D.Tiffany and Roza Terenzi, DJ Stingray and Marcel Dettmann. Radek will feature Nathan Kofl, Sansibar, Saoirse, and Bambounou. Area 48 will play host to an extended set from Ivan Smagghe & Vladimir Ivkovic, Jane Fitz b2b Spekki Webu and DJ Nobu will close out the room. The Back Room will be boucing to the sounds of Pelle, Z@P, Caim b2b Peier Jansen and Carl H will round out the action. We will be presenting a day of the finest beats with Doudou MD, Ivano b2b Jocelyn b2b Tom Liem, Sugar Free, and Evan Baggs b2b Quest will bring up the lights.
Moving over to the business end of the weekend and true to previous editions this is where the magic happens. The Main Hall will again be thumping to the biggest beats of the event with Tsepo, AceMoMA, Carista, Robert Hood (live) and Jeff Mills completes. Radek will provide all manner of sounds with Sixsixsixties, Paramaida, Eris Drew b2b Russel EL Butler and Peach will finish things off. Area 48 will be equally as diverse with Van Anh, Deadbeat b2b Om Unit, Sunju Hargun, Convextion (live) and Helena Hauff will pummel the crowd to the last beat. The Back Room will be dedicated a day long showcase from Closer Kyiv where Ponura b2b Timur Basha, Karine b2b Shakolin, Borys b2b Noiizar, Volodomyr Gnatenko (live), and Sasha Zlykh b2b Trippsy. We will be back again in the Side Room for a showcase featuring Andy Luff, Silverlining, Daan Donk, and Ethel b2b Melody. While Saturday is sold out you can still grab the last remaining tickets for the Sunday session.