Generally speaking there probably aren't too many Brits encouraging Romanians to come to London right now, but last Saturday at The End saw Waveform's 6th Birthday play host to the three most welcome exports of that country, as the Ar-Pi-Ar Soundsystem blew into town.
Rhadoo, Pedro and Raresh (not sure which R goes first) are some of the hottest property on the scene right now, associated with both DC10 and Cocoon via residencies and agency deals; in terms of career paths, they've arrived. But precious little is still known about them, even in the brash insular world of Ibiza, the trio has been remarkably low-key in their ascension, with no bravado to their style at all.
The camaraderie between them is evident from the way they play together at The End, covering the 6 hours between the start of their set and the end with a casual interchange, sometimes 1 record each, sometimes 2 or 3, with a steady supply of movement in the booth, as friends arrive to greet them with hugs. The crowd is plainly knowledgeable of the boy's music, anything on their label prompts raucous cheering and the high proportion of tall young boys sticking with the journey through some fairly outlandish leftfield moments, signals that this is a crowd who have been here before.
I catch up with Pedro and Raresh later, and after exchanging Ibiza gossip, we get down to the nitty gritty. Ibiza-Voice actually met these guys back before they'd even been to Ibiza. An article on Eastern European clubbing in 2003 led straight to Rhadoo, who already had a residency in the biggest club in Romania, and his friend at the time, who was also called Rhadoo. The Petre Inspirescu and Pedro names had been drifting around for a while, but as Pedro ruefully explains, 'I couldn't use my real name Rhadoo, cos Rhadoo was already using it and was getting to be quite a big DJ´. It's a good thing really, otherwise the label would be called RRR, or the 3R's or something...
First of all lets talk about The End. For what should have been the quietest week of the year, it was incredibly busy on Saturday. And you seemed to know a lot of the people in there? Was that a fair impression?
"R: Yes (laughs). Well there are a lot of guys from Romanians here, living in London. So they came, almost all of them. It's the first time that we played all three of us here."
"P: In Romanian we play all three together, if we do an ar-pi-ar night or something, but here was our first time."
Do you use any sort of special equipment at all?
"P: No, We're not trying to do some big set up or anything, its just DJs, but the 3 of us together."
"R: We don't think so much. It's not like we sit at home, and call each other to ask 'Are you going to play this ?' 'No, I'm going to play this one?'. It's just a natural thing; we just see how it goes…"
"P: We bring like, 2 cases each of vinyl…"
Hang on; you're still carrying vinyl around?
"R: Yes, I mean we might play some CDs, if it's one of our tracks, or an edit or something. But it's all vinyl for us. (cackles slightly manically) Crazy Romanians!"We don't even have one record store in Romania, even now! We're buying records when we travel...
"P: Yes, it's like with our label. We release only vinyl, most labels are releasing both on vinyl and digital now, but we are only doing vinyl. It's not that we don't want to support digital…(thinks for a moment) well actually it's true isn't it…we want to support vinyl. For me, oh, I don't know, again, it's because perhaps we see things differently….(shrugs) If I'm not spinning the record, with my hands…maybe it's because I began like this, but if I'm not spinning the record then I don't want to DJ. It's not DJ-ing for me. It's not disc jockeying anymore. It's computer watching, or CD viewing or something."
"We don't even have one record store in Romania, even now! We're buying records when we travel, and from friends that have in record stores in Germany, for example, or distribution companies. The market is shit in Romanian. It is still, and was even more before, a poor country, and I don't think that anyone has 10€ to spend on 1 record. The first parties I did when I was 14 years old, I was playing tapes and rewinding the tapes with a pen to make mixes, and then I moved to Bucharest to go to University, and I started to get records and have records in my house."
It's a big cultural difference really, that you just don't think of. So how do you get from there, to DC10? You and Rhadoo have been residents there for some time, in the inside room of the club.
"P: Well we went, Rhadoo and me went to Ibiza, or I went first 5 years ago. And then we started playing there the next year. The first year, I went to Ibiza, and you know, I went to see all the clubs, and after I'd seen everything, I realized that DC10 was the ONLY club I could play. Because of the music I play, and how it would fit with the crowd and everything. And next year, I came together with Rhadoo and we gave them some CDs and we started to talk to them."
There can't be many people that it's that easy for?
"P: We didn't just go and say, 'I want to play at your club' (laughs). We also knew Rene, (DC10 resident) and so we met Andreas (Circoloco co-promoter). But the first time it happened, was when somebody missed their plane or something, and so we got the call, 'OK you can come and play now'. And we played, and then that was it, we got the residency."
Now, I have a confession to make... I always thought you two were Italian. People like Matt Styles and Damian Lazarus were talking about these Romanians inside, and we didn't know who they meant… the inside took a little longer to become known…
"R: Yes. Well that's because generally everyone there is Italian!
But also DC10 is so well known now, and a lot more people are going now to the club and now both the rooms are working very well. The sound changed a little bit inside now…"
So Raresh, you played a few times there this summer, but you came into the international scene a little differently….tell me about that.
"R: Well it started when Ricardo came to Romania, to the club were I was playing, and we played together there in the main party, and in the after, and the after and everything. And when he returned to Germany, he said to the guys there, 'listen, we must do something with this guy' and he introduced me basically to the Cocoon guys."
Which is quite an impressive thing to happen to you!
"R: Yes, it's pretty amazing."
And have you found that an easy thing to do, to move into playing with those guys?
"R: Well, I don't want to say that it's not a big deal… don't get me wrong…if you have the chance to play with special people, special DJs, of course it is. But if you likeDC10? we got the call, they said OK you can come and play now. And we played... what you do, if you're really devoted to what you do, then you're not afraid of something like this; you're not feeling the pressure. Pressure there is, every time that you play with big artists, but you just have to handle it.
You're still living in Romania. You have your parties back there?
"R: We don't organize parties, but we have a residency, we're working with the Sunrise group in Romanian, Cata is a really good friend of ours. (Cata is Sunrise, the booking agency responsible for bringing the likes of Villalobos to the country)
Have you noticed a big change in the last year since Romania joined Europe?
"P: (bit of mumbling… not really it seems) But economically yes. There is big development there, construction, offices and the same shit that happened in the rest of the world after the communism period.
And what do you think of the way that Romanians are being viewed right now, in countries like Britain, where there is a lot of immigration…
"R: And in Italy... Worth!
"P: I think they're migrating everywhere..."
"R: I think the problems of the Romanians is everywhere…"
But do you think they're getting a rough deal?
"P: Yes, but the problem is the image of the Romanian across the world, from years ago. It's like it was the Romanians that were doing bad things, you know stealing credit cards and fraud. But you don't have to be racist. Every country has its bad people… (laughs). You know, now it's ok, because we are in the European Community, but before, I would go somewhere and go to the airport, and you can see the look on the people's face when they see the Romanian passport, and for me this is racism. It makes me really angry, you just want kick their asses! "
Did it make a lot of difference to you when you were traveling before?
"P: I have never had problems, but I notice the face changing and the reactions."
"R: I remember the first time that I played at The End, in 2006, and Romania wasn't yet in the EU. And I had to get a Visa, and it took almost a day, from morning until end of the afternoon, and in the end we were still trying to get a Visa. It was completely messed, and on the form the people (at the Embassy) were saying…Oh You're Playing…You're a DJ and 'you're making money' and writing stuff on my Visa.
But then the woman in the Embassy, just got on the Internet, and then she said 'Oh you're playing with Sven Vath!' and that was it, it was stamped."
"P: Yes. Was the same, when I went to get my Visa. The girl at the Embassy, was a young girl and she was into music and stuff, and she knew the agency that I was going to play for in the UK, this was 2 years ago, and she said 'ah, wow, yes, you're going to play (here, here and here) and that was it. She gave me a stamp. Actually it was much quicker than you. (Small pause as Raresh goes outside to answer phone then manages to lock himself out of the room.)"
So tell me things that people don't know about Romania.
"R: Things they don't know!"
"P: Yes, but everyone knows about the girls…"
"R: Food, girls and mountains!"
"P: I think everyone knows about the girls."
"R: Almost all the foreigners know that Romanian girls are nicest. You didn't know that?"
So apart from girls, what should Romanian be famous for?
"P: No, we're not famous for food.
"R: Should be famous for Henri Cuanda, the inventor of the jet engine (1886-1972), not a lot of people know about him… he moved to France after but he was Romanian."
"P: Gymnastics. Or the best tennis players, Tiriac, or Nastase. Lately I can see some changes, like last year for example, the movie director, Cristian Mungiu, won a lot of awards for his movie ("4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days"). But, the biggest change still, is the price of real estate!
Back to the music. Tell me about the label, and what you've got coming up…
"P: Yes, we have a release in February 29th… (brief discussion as to what it is that they're putting out… which isn't really resolved)"
"R: We don't want to rush things you know…" We want to help, as much or more than we were helped, you know. I'm willing to give all my help, to try to help the next ones.
And you're still releasing on other labels…
"P: Yes, of course."
Are you saving the label for things that are really special?
"R: Yes. I think that was the idea."
"P: Yes, tracks that we like, tracks that we think are good and that we want to promote…we are also trying to keep it in a small group. We also have some young Romanian artists that are coming now, like Dan Andrei, who was on the 2nd elease, who is really talented.
Ok, who are these next wave of Romanians then… give me some names.
"P: well, people like, Praslea, Cezere, Atena, Dan Andrei, Bool…"
"R: There's a lot of DJs that are playing really nice."
"P: Yes. We want to help, as much or more than we were helped, you know. I'm willing to give all my help, to try to help the next ones. In this business, well, I don't like to call it a business, in 'this thing that we are doing now', in the DJ and music lifestyle, its like teamwork and helping one another is the key."
Next week then...?
"P: Next week back in Romania, at Midi, it's this really really nice club there. It's beautiful; it's all white and projections all around the inside of the club, Funktion One system, amazing place. And that's an ar-pi-ar night, and then Saturday, Italy, Clorofilla. Little bit of traveling…"
And this summer….any special plans…did you hear about the new laws on daytime clubbing in Ibiza? Apparently DC10 won't be open until midday? Does that affect you?
"P: Ah. I didn't hear that. I didn't hear anything like that yet from Ibiza…"
It'll be a shame; I like DC10 in the morning.
"R: Yes, me too. But it seems that a lot of people like DC10 when it's not really crowded, but they don't make any effort to come earlier. I remember, of course, in the beginning we just used to play really early, and we would say to everybody, 'Oh it's so nice, because it's not really crowded, you should come', but then they come at 5 o'clock. I mean I think it's stupid, you come to DC10 for 4 months at 5 o'clock and you complain that it's not comfortable, but you don't come earlier. "
"P: But what's the rule? They can open from midday? I think it could be better, because people won't be so tired."
"R: But you still need somewhere to go when you finish in a club at 6 or 7 o'clock. The question is where do they go? In a way it's stupid to leave people on the street like this."
Yes. From midday. We'll see what happens in May….