For those who tend to go for intimate venues and longer opening hours (and several more days of partying), OFF Sonar Barcelona stands as an attractive summer option, with the bonus of turning the whole city into a bespoke playground (with respect of course). But sometimes too much choice can be daunting and for those hundreds of parties that will flock to the city from abroad to showcase their sounds, it’s a challenge to stand out.
We speak with Unai Trotti, founder of London’s Cartulis Music, and Vera, co-founder of Berlin’s Melliflow which she set up together with Alexandra, to discuss their partnership during OFF Sonar and the beginning of a new ‘full OFF love’ concept: two-night events and 1 daytime in three different venues across the week bringing together a selection of artists based around Europe and South America who represent not just both labels but also a particular global music style and movement. That, and the added plus of a limited 12” compilation on their new label CRMLOVE which will be available exclusively at the events…
How did you come up with the idea to collaborate and do three events during Off Week?
Vera: I believe it was our idea, we wanted to so something at Sonar, and we asked Cartulis if we should do it together. We are friends and we share the same values and taste in music.
And uniting forces for OFF week is good, as there is a lot of competition, so uniting two strong teams with a similar concept makes a lot of sense.
Unai: We arrived at the idea quite naturally. I know Vera and Alexandra for a long time. They are the ones that helped me a lot and pushed me as a DJ. we have a lot of fun together and enjoy to party and also really important is that we have a common music taste.
How did this union initially start?
V: It started with mutual invitations to our the events. Plus one of our artists, Z@p, also released on Cartulis later, and as I mentioned before, we all kinda connect via different groups of people.
U: Easy one: Friendship and music.
Vera at Cartulis Music OFF Week ‘17
Unai Trotti at Melliflow
How has it been working together?
V: Great! In the beginning things moved a bit slow, because we are four people involved in the organization, and we all have our personal work to do, so we had to find our pace in communicating and taking decisions and also finding our roles in the group. For us it was also interesting to work with Cartulis, as they already have more experience dealing with the challenges during OFF week and work a bit more professionally when it comes to budgeting/ financing and PR :). I feel like we will do more stuff together in the future. It has been really nice so far and feels good.
U: Yes I agree, I am pretty sure that it’ll be the beginning of a series of more events. It’s been nice, fun and smooth working together. We are learning a lot and it is the first time that we are doing this. For example we worked together to define the full OFF love concept; that it is not only an event but also a label, CRMLOVE.
How did you choose the artists on the lineup?
V: Well, the idea was that all us residents are playing- Unai, Davy, Raphael Carrau, Alexandra, myself and of course Z@p, who is releasing on both labels. Then we made a list of artists that played for both our parties and checked who is available and up for joining us. Luckily almost all of them are usually happily joining us, but some already had commitments with other promoters. Eventually we had a selection that worked out nicely.
It was not only the line up of the party though, we also had to choose the artists for the “full OFF love” 12” compilation. For that it was obvious that Z@p had to be on it. And then we chose two Cartulis artists and two Melliflow artists. We are super happy with the track and artist selection- all very talented guys, that have a personal sound.
Unai: We chose it from the artists that we like. Most of them already belong to both or either one of the labels and all of them are friends.
And the venues?
V: The venues we partly chose with Alessio from Loud-Contact, who is also a friend of ours and helped us find a suitable venue and also Unai is well connected in Barcelona and organized some options.
Main criteria of course was to be able to put a good sound system, a fair deal and the line up we wanted.
U: Wednesday RED58: Omar from Red 58 liked the idea of full OFF love and gave us the venue. For us, Red 58 works really good because it is a small venue, with a warm sound system, that will give us the familiar vibe.
Sunday daytime ATIPICO: Sabri (Cartulis half) is a really good friend of the owners of Atipico (Isa & Teo). We know them from London and they used to run a venue called Peanut Factory. They are always looking at the small details and make Atipico a really special place.
Sunday Night CANDY (what used to be The Apartment). Alessio from Loud-Contact helped us to find this venue. We worked with him last year and is a person that takes care of running an event properly with a good sound system.
What are the main challenges of throwing a party abroad and how do you overcome them?
U: I think in this case for Sonar I feel like I’m home. I’m from Spain and I have lots of good friends there. And also nowadays it’s more easy: with the internet you can work from any part of the world.
What makes Off Sonar a highlight in the calendar- what makes you come back every year?
V: I guess the gathering of people from all over the world makes it interesting. Meeting people, hanging out, making connections, having an opportunity to present your work to a wider audience. It became somehow the annual business fair for labels and DJs.
U: Meeting friends from every part of the world, sun, party, food…Last year I also listened to too many good sets and Cartulis was amazing! I have great memories…
More on Cartulis – Facebook
More on Melliflow – Facebook