Access All Areas with Krush London

Words by: Stephen Flynn
Posted: 15/2/12 13:11

Access All Areas with Krush LondonBruno, Remi and Nikos are three mutual friends from Brazil, France and Greece, respectively. They all live in London, and they all share a fervent passion for electronic music and hosting parties.

With Remi and Bruno having introduced the notorious, vehemently underground Half Baked shindigs to the capital, they've since hooked up with Dj/promoter Nikos to establish Krush: a Saturday night event that - despite being all of one year old - has already catered to a diverse cast including Martinez, Petre Inspirescu, Ivan Smagghe and Roman Flugel.

With Detroit luminary Omar S touching down in London soon, I Voice figured it a good time to catch up with the cosmopolitan trio to discuss the story so far...

So, how did you all meet?
Remi: Myself and Bruno were working in a bar back in the day, a certain well known London spot that played great, underground music. We immediately clicked, and after about six months or so we put some money together and started Half Baked.

Nikos was a fan - it was basically the only party he went to in London at the time! - and when we met we had a meeting soon after and thrashed out some ideas. We established an early connection, and took it from there really...

And how did you influence one another with what you were doing party wise?
Bruno: Well, while Nikos loved Half Baked, we all agreed that we could do something a bit different too. With Half Baked, the emphasis was on almost on the day itself, as with the party being on Sundays we liked to create a more chilled out, intimate vibe that sort of represented the day itself, so it was never meant as a 'carry-on' or anything like that. I mean Saturdays at Krush are intimate too, but they're just entirely different parties.

And musically?
Bruno: Well I guess both are pretty liberal in that sense, although Half Baked is probably more suited to a house/deep house vibe, whereas Krush tends to lean towards more typically 'dancefloor' stuff.

You can book the best DJs, have the best line-ups, the best sound, the best visuals etc, but if you want people to like you, you have to be honest with them & not sell them bullshit...Nikos, to those who don't know, can you explain a bit about what you do and where you come into the fray?
Nikos: I think Remi is best to answer that so I'll keep this short...! I've been around music for a while now, and over time I've developed a certain liking towards certain things. As a resident at Krush as well as a promoter, I'm just trying to do my thing and I greatly appreciate what I do.

Do you consider yourself more a DJ or a promoter then?
Nikos: Well both roles are very specific to the party. But with the way things are, I think one needs to try promoting at least once in order to fully understand how to story goes. Having worked and talked to most of the underground’s most popular DJs, it seems they've all promoted their own parties in the past. That’s got to stand for something....

I guess it helps that promoting gives you an opportunity to work with artists you admire and respect too?
Nikos: Of course, that's part of the whole sprit of things - you can't have fun on your own...!
***

Do you produce at all?
Nikos: I've produced some music in the past including ambient tracks for Greek labels, and I’ve also sound-tracked art exhibitions in Greece and the UK, which were obviously on a completely different wavelength. I feel I'm more of a dj than a producer though. There are great producers out there whose music I'd gladly play and it makes my job so much easier. I don't feel I've much to say in the music-making field any more. Nonetheless, maybe one day...who knows!?

Did you have any previous experience in electronic music before moving to London then?
Nikos: I started out in pirate radio, with myself and a friend building a transmitter and hosting the 'Flat-Roof Disco' radio show at the age of 13: so named simply because we broadcast from my friends roof - which of course - happened to be flat.

At the turn of the millennium, together with Ison and Tasos Anthopoulos, I founded NON in Greece, the collective responsible for the Aesthetics, Kontakt and Polaroid parties. From there, I established the Reworks festival, which now (with Ison at the helm), is in its eighth year of existence....

So did Greece prepare you for London in a way?
Nikos: As a DJ it helped me shape my own style, and made me sure of what I don't like. It gave me a chance to play in front of bigger audiences, which taught me what I need to do [as a DJ] and how to be versatile. I think that's the most important skill - you gotta understand bigger audiences and all their variables.


             Krush closing Party 2011 w/Tiger & Woods,Martinez, Nikos & Guille
                                                     More Photo Here
What's the scene like in Greece nowadays?
Nikos: I've been away for so long I'm not sure if I'm the right person to speak for it. I left the country because I felt my job there was done. That circle was then closed for me, and I've only kept in touch with people I respect. I'm not all too sure about the rest.

Reworks has definitely evolved into a fully fledged festival nowadays, with great artists showcasing their skills. As far as the club scene goes though, it's almost extinct (at least in the big cities) and the parties that are taking place are mostly in bars which go till the wee hours of the morning.

Unfortunately for those involved with electronic music, Greek music is the most popular kind; and it's a world apart from anything else you know.

So is there any underground to speak of at all [in Greece]?
Nikos: I guess that depends on what you define as an 'underground' scene. 2000 people [at a gig] can be considered 'underground' in Greece. We've done parties (i.e. with guests including Miss Kittin and The Hacker) to a 4,500 people audience.

So I suppose underground music still has a place. Reworks carries the flag there and I'm very proud of my work with them. But words have been perverted nowadays and the term ‘underground’ has (in most places) lost its traditional sense. The real underground never dies though - what matters is who represents it!

When you live in a smaller country you can find yourself easily drawn into the vortex of your own thoughts, whereas in a cultural mosaic like London, you leave these things behind you...What are the other main differences between London and Greece then?
Nikos: The people are more open-minded here. When you live in a smaller country you can find yourself easily drawn into the vortex of your own thoughts, whereas in a cultural mosaic like London, you leave these things behind you.

Some have asked me if I've a problem with Turkish people, presuming I might just because Greek and Turkish people are “supposed” to be rivals. Maybe when you live in Greece there's some tension between the two (on a politicians level mostly), but in London everyone's a lot more liberal, and politics, religion etc. aren't an issue. This city gives you a new spirit: it urges you to be liberated!

Regarding open-minded people, you place a great emphasis on the quality of your crowds at Krush...
Nikos: We do, but not in a racist or judgmental sort of way. We've all been involved with parties for a while now, so we can tell who's there for the party and who's there to stand still. We don't want 'show-offs' or people who won't get involved. We want people who – like us – are there because they want to enjoy themselves.


                              Krush with Petre Inspirescu B2B Praslea + Nikos
                                                     More Photo Here
I guess in the ultra competitive London market establishing a loyal following is pretty important too?
Bruno: That's massive for us, and the Half Baked crowd definitely helped when we started Krush in that way, as it meant much of our loyal crowd have been with us from the start.

Nikos: Yeah, you can book the best DJs, have the best line-ups, the best sound, the best visuals etc, but if you want people to like you, you have to be honest with them and not sell them bullshit.

What else do you think a promoter needs to succeed in London?
Nikos: These two *points towards Bruno and Remi*. Especially these too: I couldn't do any of this on my own.

Are you responsible for the music programming too?
Nikos: Bruno and I make the decisions music wise. We're predominately focused on 'happy' music; I won't bother with tagging it with a certain genre, because we've had techno, house and disco at Krush before so I don't see the point.

Besides, I'm not really into pigeonholing music. I still remember that Playhouse Records t-shirt that read: 'Good music, I dance; No good music, I don't dance’ and I guess that captures perfectly the essence of what we do.

It's the London “warehouse” thing. If we were to do it in the same venue all the time, it loses a part of its spontaneity and it defies the point really...Music aside, why else do you think Krush has succeeded so far?
Nikos: I don't think we're anywhere near success yet. We've just started.

So what is the ultimate aim? When will you succeed?
Nikos: You can never reach success. Nobody's perfect. Times change, people change. Only the rolling stone catches no moss.

You gotta stay ahead of the game then?
Nikos: When I ran that Miss Kittin and The Hacker gig I mentioned earlier, people wanted me to retire then. I could have... but I didn't. I've defaulted and started all over again twice so far. That's what keeps me sane. Provided the brain stays vital there's always gonna be new ideas. Some wise man said 'I'll stop when I'll die'

One aspect of Krush that really struck me is how often you change location. Is there a reason for this?
Remi: It's the London “warehouse” thing. If we were to do it in the same venue all the time, it loses a part of its spontaneity and it defies the point really. The problem now is that there are more and more promoters and less and less warehouse spaces available. It's a legal thing too, and a lot of it is out of our control. We've got to keep everything above board, and we’re always looking to do things differently. Personally, I'd like to move into our own venue – and we're always looking!

Make yourselves at home!Does the timing of your gigs (i.e. every one or two months) help to create an added element of intrigue for Krush? Are people more excited and interested as a result?
Nikos: Maybe, but with basically just the three of us on board there's so much work to put into each and every one. I guess we could do a party every week, but then we'd simply wear ourselves out quickly and then we won't have much to demonstrate a year or two later. At the same time, we put great effort into what we do and when we think we've something to say we'll show it through our work. That speaks louder than a million words.

Can you see why some are claiming the 'warehouse party' has lost its appeal a bit in London?
Remi: Yes, absolutely, because they've become over promoted and less about the quality of the night. That's why we're always trying to – and why we have to - go the extra mile. For Krush as Nikos said earlier, it's more than just the sound system and the music - it's the atmosphere too.

For example, we have a great light guy, Stuart Alexander, who looks after all the unique lamps you see at a Krush night, and we're working closely with him to take that further. We realise that out décor is part of our identity, and in ways it's what makes us unique, and the idea behind the lamps was to create a sort of 'home away from home' for our guests: a place where they can comfortably relax and enjoy themselves. We dim the light a bit, but not so much that you can't see the person beside you, and the main vibe is generated by the music, the people, and the interaction between both.

You have Omar S booked in for the 25th February, what should we expect?
Nikos: Well he's definitely a mainly-vinyl Dj, and I'd expect him to play almost 100% an ‘Omar-S sound’. He's a man who's loyal to what he does; he has that charming motor-city mentality he is very proud of. I'd gladly take my hat off to him as he reminds me in ways of a more modern Juan Atkins. He [Juan] could have gone more overground but he stayed true what he's been good at. I played with Juan a few years back and at the time I didn't know what to expect from him, and I'd say the same for Omar S in a way. That's the charm of certain dj's, and Omar falls into that category. It could easily be the real highlight for us.

So what's been the highlight so far?
Bruno: We're all in this together, and we're all doing our best in different ways. The people, us, our friends: there are a lot of people loving the music. At the end of the day, we do this so people can have a good time, and when they let us know they've done exactly that, that's when it all pays off.

Next One
Krush with Omar S, Nikos, Saoirse at TBA - East London - Saturday, 25 February 2012
East London - Saturday, 25 February 2012
11:00pm until 6:00am
Line-up:

Omar S (FHXE Records, Detroit)
Nikos (Krush)
SAOirse (Art of Dark, Down Under)

Krush London Online
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