Our next installment ( + first international addition) to FROCKUP's mix n' chat series comes from Berlin based DJ and Riot Resident, Victor Kubin. Delivering an hour of classic Belgian sound combined with slowed down trance, it takes FROCKUP’s series in a new and exciting direction. Some of the team at FROCKUP were very lucky to catch Victor’s set at the Renate NYE event back in 2018/19, a simpler time where unrestricted 39-hour parties were commonplace. Ever since hearing Victor’s unique take on New Beat and house from the TrashEra toilet floor, we‘ve been dying to host him in some capacity.
Although Berlin faced tough restrictions for the better half of 2020, Victor still had a very successful year; completing a sensational mix for HÖR aswell as playing at a handful of Riot parties alongside fellow residents Ady Toledano, Borusiade, Charlotte Bendiks and Mauro Feola before the lockdown ensued. But we’re certain that if it weren’t for the awful year that was 2020, Victor would’ve continued to play at iconic venues such as Tresor’s Aurora Bar, Ipse and Schwuz + many more.
We also had a brief chat with Victor about his upcoming debut release, his experience playing at the hedonistic Riot parties and the Clandestine environments of the contemporary rave.
Hi Victor, Thanks so much for being a part of the FROCKUP mix series. How’ve you been during this wild year?
Thank you guys, my pleasure! This last year was… well, you said it, pretty wild. It started the best way it could for me and our collective. Our last parties before March 2020 were packed and so much fun, and we had many exciting plans ahead in Berlin and in other cities… but then the pandemic hit, gigs got cancelled, and everything is in standby since. The first months were very tough, but then as we all adjusted to the situation the best we could, I decided it was time for me to focus on producing new music, and the rest will arrive whenever we're all allowed to organise events again.
Could you please tell us a bit about the mix? You’ve mentioned that you have a “particular taste for an acid & sci-fi oriented aesthetic”; were there any sci-fi concepts, ideas or even stories that inspired the direction you took in this mix? For this set I played with some classic belgian sound mixed with slowed down trancey & trippy stuff, with some variations to make it more dynamic. I hope you enjoy it! I had a few ideas in mind. I believe music is an expression and also a catalyst, and given the situation we're all living I wanted to make a set that could resonate with people in these weird times, specially with other queers regardless of the place. To do it I wanted to throw a bit of a dystopian future feel to the music based on my own impressions of how weird our lives became lately, but I also wanted to keep the fun factor in the music, going for a more groovy direction rather than something too dark or obscure. I feel that's not what I wanna put out in the world right now. There’s actually one recent story that probably hooked me in this idea of digging a particular kind of sound in relation to this new reality we’ve lived in the last year. It has to do with the clandestine queer outdoor raves that took place in several parks and forests of Berlin last summer. To see first hand the massive law enforcement demonstration that the Berlin police department showed was impressive and very surreal. Dozens of policemen would show up with their vans in the middle of the night, get out of them forming brigades, turning their flashlights on and start running after the ravers in-between the woods. It's hard to explain the feeling of sneaking away through the bushes in the night, knowing that your friends are somewhere around but not being sure where they are, while a lot of policemen try to chase you all in the darkness, right after having been dancing to techno somewhere in the forest. It was totally cinematic and a bit scary sometimes, a bit like in Metal Gear Solid when the guards saw you! I imagine that this whole situation made me think of those old psychedelic goa trance raves in the forest, the libertarian feel of getting together in total clandestinity… but I guess that the addition of the policemen chasing us around because of world pandemic security reasons gave it a whole new dystopian sci-fi movie dimension. All of this makes me wonder about the future of live electronic music… for now we can only be resilient and keep up.
We’re all longing for the days where we can be back at our favourite events and venues, sharing those experiences we did pre-COVID. As one of the residents of the infamous Berlin based queer party, Riot, what are some of the most memorable moments from your sets there?
I don't know if I'm ready to answer this… too soon. Hahaha just kidding. We're all missing our beloved friends and spaces so much! There's so many… the Main Floor closings were memorable, but my favourite moments were always while playing downstairs in the Basement. That place is a dream and I can't wait to be able to play there again. The floor is just like an old garage with a pretty low ceiling and a couple of columns, not fancy at all: concrete floor, concrete ceiling, concrete walls and a metallic staircase in the corner to go back upstairs, a bit like a bunker. The dj booth is at the same level than the dancefloor, most people danced shirtless right in front of it, and the energy exchange between dancers and dj was crazy. It's the only place where I've played for 7 or 8 hours on my own the whole night… more than once!
What parties in Berlin are you looking forward to go once everything properly opens up again? Are there any other particular cities/scenes you're interested in that you’d like to visit?
I'm not sure if all the parties are gonna be back once this is over, but if they do I'd love to be back at Cocktail d'Amore, Brenn, Same Bitches, Ceremony, Whole Festival… so many! When it comes to other cities I've always been interested in the scenes of Amsterdam and Copenhagen, some people are doing great stuff up there and I'd love to go see it closer. Same goes for Barcelona, my hometown. Right before Covid there were great new parties and small clubs starting in the city, but I didn't have the chance to go to any. There's a big potential for growth when it comes to the queer underground scene in there, and I hope I will get to see it sometime soon, and hopefully be able to contribute. I also wonder how the scene in Australia is! A few friends from Berlin moved there, but I've never been. I gotta go visit them! If I ever visit we should go have a drink :)
Thanks for taking the time to chat to us. But before you go, what’s next for you?
Thank you again! At the moment I'm finishing the arrangements of my first release. I produced the music mostly during the first and the second lockdown, and now the tracks are almost ready. As you will understand, I can't say more details about it yet :) Apart of that, there's not many plans in sight… hopefully be allowed to play at live shows soon!