Tucked away in an old brothel window within the deliriously winding streets of the Red Light District, sits one of the most influential musical cornerstones in Amsterdam.
Red Light Radio has been reaching into the most distant peripherals of underground music to showcase up and coming DJs on their well respected radio show for seven years. The station broadcasts live to over 150 countries around the world and has evolved into a revered record label and record shop.
We caught up with Hugo Van Heijningen, who helps manage the store, to chat all things Red Light and get some recommendations for visitors to the city.
Ibiza Voice: What have you got planned for ADE this year?
Hugo Van Heijningen: ADE is a heavy week as we have a full four days of broadcasting live from the studio. It’s intense work, but we always manage to hit some parties with friends after the shows.
I tend not to make too many plans, because we never stick to them. My favourite venues in the city usually book the stuff I'm into so I don’t really need to plan too much, because it will be something that I like for sure.
Who will be playing for you on Red Light Radio over the week?
During ADE we'll have special programming with mostly international guests.
Honey Sound System, Bloody Mary, Fabio Monesi, and DJ Stingray will all be here. We have Virginia from Ostgut Ton coming too. We'll be doing a special Red Light showcase in store in the record shop and we have so much to be confirmed so check out the full running order on our website.
Where are your favourite venues?
I tend to go for more intimate clubs with a small group of people and not your classic big clubs. De School is definitely one of my favourites and it’s doing a three day party so it’s going to be interesting to drop in and out. I love the Garden and the Club Room at De School.
The Cinetol club has great programming for ADE week every year. It's an intimate 250 capacity venue with a great sound system. I had a great time listening to Vladimir Ivkovic & Alexis Le Tan there last year. This year the Framework promoters will be doing two parties at Cinetol. There’s also a Swedish crew there this year called Born Free, doing a night at Garage Noord, so be sure to check that out too. De Marktkantine does a great night as well. I definitely recommend visiting their Hivern Discs showcase with John Talabot.
How do you normally select DJs for the shows?
We try to look for people that fit with the station. It will usually start with a one-off show, and then depending on how that goes, we can make it a regular thing. It helps if they live in Amsterdam in order to become a resident.
There are so many artists who come to Amsterdam on tour, we can usually cherry pick from a great selection of artists to invite into the store. We usually have a busy schedule because of this. We are very central and it's a different context to playing in a club. Its very diverse. We have so many other genres but electronic [music] is the focus during ADE.
Can you tell us something about Red Light Radio we may not know?
At the moment Red Light is more than just a radio station. We actually have three buildings and five recording studios on site.
There are three shops here, two record shops and one brand new store focusses on merchandise. This one's called RLR AMS SHOP, next to the radio station. If you're at ADE, supporting the local clubs & drug dealers, you should also support the local radio station by getting some RLR merchandise and we'll have have some beers too.
Also this year we’ve expanded all over the world to places like Colombia, Thailand and Israel. It's pretty cool that, despite that success, the radio room is still a small dingy room! That will never change.
Where are your other favourite places to look for records?
There are so many interesting record shops in Amsterdam like Rush Hour or Vintage Voudou, but a new shop called Bordello A Pargigi opened just under a year ago that’s close by to us. They have such a great selection.
I also always recommend Distortion Records to people too. Its a huge shop with piles of records stacked all around you but somehow if you ask the staff they know exactly where to find anything.
Where do you go to chill and eat away from the crowds?
Amsterdam is busy all the time now. There aren't a lot of places to chill where we are situated as it's a big tourist hot spot. I recommend to everyone to take the boat from behind Central Station To Amsterdam Noord. There are bigger events here but the main focus is small bars and restaurants. It's much quieter but also has small venues which are also associated with ADE.
Whats your favourite low key restaurant or bar?
Garage Noord is a new venue which is next door to a Skate Cafe. Both are really great and both have really good food in the evening, before the party. There is also a taco place on the same street which has the best Mexican food in Amsterdam. There is a beer brewery and burger joint on this street also and it's one of my favourite places to chill.