MEOKO talks to Nightclubber.ro

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It’s a mere two weeks before Romania’s latest trend, Nightclubber, hops across to London for their debut UK showcase. Having built themselves a reputation for being fiercely loyal to quality and utterly dedicated to promoting electronic music in its purest form;  the term ‘trend’ couldn’t be further from the truth as their strict ethos purposefully (and admirably) steers clear of anything other than downright honest talent. Publishing a concoction of news and journalism, event promotion, artist support and their recent addition of a booking agency; Nightclubber’s independent platform knows what it likes, likes what it knows, and won’t settle for anything less. MEOKO caught up with the brains behind the project (dubbed Soundcloud’s new R_co by some) to ask about his musical Romanian revolution…

First of all, thank you for taking the time to talk to us at Meoko.

Thank you for the invite.

Nightclubber have really sprung to our attention lately as being a portal that spreads really prestigious underground music in various forms – advertised as an online music magazine and underground music platform but also artist bookings and events– what exactly is nightclubber.ro all about?

Nightclubber is focused on quality electronic music, it’s about artists that deserve to be appreciated and promoted because of the work which first started in the studio, before it was ranked as “hot” on a large scale. The beauty of the music doesn’t have a boundary from where we stand at Nightclubber. So, any innovative concept with good taste becomes the source of an article for the readers and followers.

How and when did the concept come about?

It all started almost four years ago in 2008, as a music platform that allowed music lovers to listen or download podcasts and live-recordings, because at that time all the live sets were only available on online storage services.

You seem to have gained a loyal following of really dedicated muso’s for such a young company – why do you think that is?

Since we begun all the work that has been done was for the dedicated followers. Nightclubber didn’t make a goal to gain so many followers, but the feedback and support helped our crew to evolve, dig deeper and find the most appreciated artists or new talents. Along with the followers we somehow managed to connect and to build what Nightclubber is today.

Over 50 podcasts in just a short space of time amongst lots of other news, a chic looking website and a host of events - is this a full time venture for yourself?

Well we have our constraints. I like to be involved in new projects, and this way the website and the concept behind will evolves and the fans of everything is shaping up in a good way, musically speaking.

Who else is part of the Nightclubber team?

This is a tricky one because the crew is always dynamic, people can freelance or volunteer for the Nightclubber website. I am doing the planning of the content in general, podcast invites, events that Nightclubber develops, selecting the live recordings that are published. We have the writing team and a good friend that helps us with the design activities, named Flo’…I’m going to use this occasion to express my appreciation for his work until now.

What line of work were you in and what experience did you have before launching?

I am a software engineer and I had no background in the music promotion domain. In that time it was only the passion which I felt for music in general, but even then I knew that electronic music made me smile in any moment of in any day or night. 

Strong relationships appear to have been built with acts ranging from the unknown to world wide successes – how have you gone about building and nurturing those relationships?

I never thought about building relationships, I always kept things simple and focused only on the music that has something emotional to share.

What is it about Nightclubber that you believe has made so many artists want to be a part of such a young project?

Once we received direct support from the artists, Nightclubber became part of this domain, so it was trusted to share good content for the people out there. Music in general connected us all without having to know one another, without having to speak the same language. We had just to smile and feel the motivation of doing a well done collaboration.

What criteria are you looking for in the artists you support?

When you say that you like a DJ it means you like what he plays, same for the producer, you like his new releases. After a lot of digging for the sound that fits you get to make the difference between the DJ’s that always come up with something new or the ones that just copy other music styles, tracks or even samples of music. 

And the same within the magazines, clubs and promoters and help to promote? You seem to have a lot of love and time for a lot of people!

A lot of people are saying that, but in fact it’s just about good content that needs to be published and everything that counts from all the activity that’s happening.

I’ve noticed there’s no advertising at all on your site? It’s totally refreshing to see but I can’t help wondering how you afford to keep this business going?

I never wanted advertising as part of the website, and if I did, I would like something that really fits and I find that hard to get. Maybe banners for events or festivals, one day.

You’re ‘partnered’ with various other music outlets – what exactly does that partnership entail?

In general it’s all about media partnership, but there also good projects from our friends.

Let’s talk a bit about the agency – which artists are you representing?

This is the newest part of Nightclubber. For the moment we have Dragosh, No Hype, Ztrl, Suburbs and Francesco Del Garda.

What qualities are essential for you in an artist for them to be considered for your roster?  

Art defines a person’s creativity and devotion for music while character defines standing outside the booth or studio. I need both the artist and the man to work with.

Being a firm believer in the music, the passion and promoting a strong vibe of the underground – are you very selective in accepting bookings for your artists?

Receiving bookings it’s still a big step because the projects aren’t always familiar, but I believe in the ones we choose and want to help the artists in every possible way from promotion until bookings.

You’re based in Romania and obviously show massive support for Romanian artists - what’s the scene like now there at the moment?

From my point of view the scene keeps growing with each [a:rpia:r] signed vinyl release, a lot of DJ’s and music lovers from around the world are awaiting for their music to be released.

From a Londoner’s perspective, Romanian artists seemed to have absolutely stormed into the spotlight in the last six months here – why do you think that has happened?

Everything that is happening now is because of what [a:rpia:r] or RPR Sound created long time ago, without them none of this could be witnessed. Raresh, Pedro and Rhadoo are the pride of what Romania has to offer, as they were founded as the 1st underground project that reached such a high level.

There was actually even some backlash on it on social networking sites – people saying that if an artist had ‘Romania’ under his name he was getting booked as part of a trend and not necessarily on talent – did you see any of that backlash and what’s your opinion on that?

It’s a pity when a lot of foreigners confuse the true artists with simple DJ names, just because they heard a rumor about Romanian people playing house music, for example. But in fact, same goes for our dear Romanians that simply copy, sample and pretend to be eager to release on vinyl. Actually, whilst we’re speaking of trends, currently a new one can be seen, sharing unreleased tracks on Skype, showing no respect for those that spent time in studio. These aspects are all about fame and how to reach a certain level as fast as possible without any real work.

I’m in love with your ‘Unknown Session’s’ idea – for those that don’t know how does it work and how successful has the concept been?

It all started when I noticed that everyone now hosts a Podcast, from labels to fictive promoters. Seems like the copy of the copy for the next copy. So I wanted to create a unique mix series where the artist’s name isn’t revealed until a certain number of plays and from there, we get the 500 counter. Also the download link isn’t enabled, so the mix has to be streamed and once it reaches 500 plays, we update the name of the artist and enable the download link. How successful has it been?…Well, there’s usually less than 10 hours for us to reveal the artist name.

What does the future hold for Nightclubber?

Nightclubber will continue as an independent open-minded team, and fully dedicated to music. Since I started this for the music lovers, this will be the mail role of the website, connecting the artists and their music with the people that are anxious to hear and know about it.

Hannah Briley