Mark your calendars, especially if you’re reading this somewhere amid Germany’s Rhein area. On Friday, January 10th, party promoter linchpin Baka Gaijin invites polyrhythmic composer Afrodeutsche to Salon des Amateurs for her Düsseldorf debut. Hit the event link here.
“Baka what?!” you ask. Alexis Fallias, the man behind the project, explains that his Japanese best friend from childhood would call him and his other German friends Baka Gaijin or “Foolish Foreigner” when he was teasing them. “I adopted the term for my parties also as a little tongue-in-cheek annotation to the fact that the first parties went down in Lieblings, an illegal venue within Düsseldorf’s Japanese district.”
True to its playful name, Baka Gaijin has been a standout project in various ways for the last almost eight years. Since the inception in 2012, his semi-legal off-location parties have filled a gap in Düsseldorf’s nightlife. All about a DIY approach, intimate setup, and an agenda that pushes a positive vibes to the forefront, their intimate gigs are small, but consistently host big room names. Avalon Emerson, Gerd Janson, Tama Sumo, Kassem Mosse, DJ Gigola, Galcher Lustwerk, Bicep, Peggy Gou, Italojohnson, and Ben UFO are among those who have taken up the helm at Baka Gaijin’s dancefloors.
With word of Düsseldorf’s finest underground party series spreading fast, the Baka Gaijin gospel has branched out to other cities in the area over the years such as Essen, Cologne, Dortmund and Wuppertal, and they now hold residencies for the coming months in Düsseldorf’s Salon des Amateurs and Jaki in Cologne.
Today, Baka Gaijin has diversified in many respects: it’s expanded as a regional events series, and it’s also become an interdisciplinary brand that’s crossed into club culture-coated gastronomy events. Fallias, an epicurean with a degree as restaurant specialist, organized a series of evenings to align food with music. Imagine a culinary delight of full four-course meals constructed from regional and seasonal ingredients, served up as DJs spin tempered sets of slow house, afro-jazz or space disco.
Then there is the Baka Gaijin record label that reflects the same stylistic variety and underground ethos of the club nights. Founded in 2014 with the same emphasis on open-minded curation and a particular eye for design, the vinyl-only imprint has released three EPs and one tape so far, with the next offering from Swedish producer Martinou, to be released in the spring of this year.
Although all of his undertakings seem to undergo an incorruptible quality control, Fallias ultimately relies on his heightened intuition and his urge to bring something missing to the table to form the core motives for all his intersecting projects.
To this end, Fallias recalls Düsseldorf’s rich cultural history in the late 70’s and early 80’s with the legendary venue Ratinger Hof and pioneering acts like Kraftwerk or DAF. “That scene was formative for electronic music back then, but the city just wasn’t capable of extending that legacy, although there is so much potential,” he explains. “You have the demand and we are within the heart of the Rhein area. When you’re building up a club with a good programme, people will be coming even from outside the city. Frankly, Düsseldorf didn’t offer what I was looking for, so I tried to provide it.”
Fallias is a rare breed of promoter: modest and in it for the right reasons. Rather than complaining about what is wrong with the state of current club culture, he tries to offer something that feels good for everyone involved.
After his recent relocation to Berlin, prospects of expansion are imminent in Baka Gaijin’s 2020 future: “I will continue to run it as a do-it-yourself operation, but maybe get some more people involved. And who knows, if the conditions fit maybe even bring Baka Gaijin to Berlin–anything is possible.”
Baka Gaijin x Electronic Beats with Afrodeutsche and Parlour Gang at Salon des Amateurs on Friday, January 10th will be the kickoff for this season with five more dates in association with EB to come this year.
Published January 09, 2020. Words by Andreas Richter, photos by Henri Vogt & Lukas Wenninger.