Welcome 2021, a year many are hoping will be a departure from agoraphobia and a return to the shoulder-to-shoulder dancefloor. To commemorate the fateful occassion, EB presents an hour-plus-long mix cut from an eight hour session recorded live at daybreak one year ago at Berlin’s Paloma Bar, to manifest a return to club culture as we once knew it.
Presiding over the decks are Perko, the Scottish-born, Copenhagen-based affiliate of Numbers and Posh Isolation, and P Relief, the Berlin by-way-of-California expat and one-half of Amsterdam’s P&D Records. Unlike many of the B2Beats duos that have debuted in 2020, these two aren’t flat mates, childhood best friends, or cohabiting romantic partners by any means, but the buzzy magic of a shared set doesn’t predicate on an intertwined life—just overlapping tastes. There’s a perceptible chemistry that boomerangs between these two and their crowd. Listen up because it’s almost as if the swirling house cocktail of endorphins, dopamine, and convivial vibes from the venue flows out at fortissimo through the speakers. Not to mention, this mix is singular in capturing all the jacking joie de vivre of a night completely in denial of the next morning. “Gets a little crunchy at points, but I think it adds to the charm,” Perko annotates alongside the mp3 file.
For this edition, B2Beats switches up its tried and true format from a feature article on the DJs’ relationship to the two individuals in reflective dialogue, to better mirror the same synergy within their recording. Happy New Year.
Perko B2Beats P Relief - Live from Paloma Bar 10.01.2020 6:05 - 7:23 AM
Electronic Beats: How did you two first meet?
P Relief: I remember picking up “Rounded” in a record shop, maybe Hard Wax in Berlin, where I live now. The record was just really cool and felt a bit different, so I just reached out to say that I really liked it and it kind of just snowballed from there.
Perko: I think pretty soon we worked out that we had mutual friends like Special Guest DJ. I’d been going to Berlin a lot at that point, just because it’s so close to Copenhagen. But I think the first time we were supposed to meet, I ended up on this big party weekend and just lost track of all time and space so we didn’t end up meeting the first time.
P Relief: We had some friends who run this label Acting Press, and it was a joint night with the Trilogy Tapes, and that’s I think the first time we met in person. But yeah, we just went early and hung out most of the night. It was super mellow and normal and quite fun.
Perko: Yeah, that was a nice night. And then you came to Copenhagen last summer?
P Relief: I think it was in August, I was there on a trip with my family and you and I hung out for an entire day. And we’d also been hanging outside of a club and doing just normal stuff. I think the idea to DJ together was a natural progression. I think a lot of my really good friends that also make music and DJ, it’s just another component of their personality. I want to DJ with people that I get along with and can hang with.
Perko: Yup. It’s so much more comfortable when you just chill with the person. It doesn’t have to be this big stressful thing. So when we finally played together at Paloma Bar in Berlin, where this recording is from, we went out for dinner with a whole bunch of our friends, which was really nice. And it was right next to the club, so we just all went up. Even when it was opening, it was just full of people we knew, so it was really relaxed and calm and a nice vibe.
P Relief: But yeah, it’s crazy in this town because there’s no really long, ambient warm-up thing in our experience. Because at midnight, people are really ready to go. So, I don’t know. We just kind of played it slightly more mellow and stuff, but it wasn’t super deep or ambient, which was really cool also to play.
Perko: The first hour wasn’t chill, but it was low energy. Not really low energy, but we didn’t go in all guns blazing. I think especially when you have eight hours, you can really do a lot. You’re not really stressed about trying to set everything in that you want to play. I did the classic thing I do where I brought a lot of records and then they just sat at the back of the booth.
EB: This recording is from about 6 AM. You said that, at the time, you looked at each other and asked yourselves if you were going to wind it down, but people were still going at it on the dancefloor. How has your year been since that night?
Perko: I was just thinking it feels quite short, but I don’t know. I don’t usually consider myself particularly productive, but I feel like this year I’ve kind of got stuff done in a different way. I’ve moved apartment and rolled out music, and I’ve done a lot of mixes, which maybe wasn’t what I totally expected this year to be. Maybe I’m being a bit cryptic here.
P Relief: Well, I agree with you. It’s funny, because this year has gone by both incredibly fast and super slow because we’ve all been dealing with a global pandemic in many different ways. It’s very trippy because a lot of us don’t have clear demarcations to signify certain parts of the year. Weddings and birthday parties were postponed. It’s very strange, because I feel the same way you do. I’m kind of like, crazy it’s December, how did we get here? But then it’s also been the longest year ever. I don’t know, I’ve been going through real ups and downs with productivity, especially as it relates to music, but I’ve been trying to stay pretty active in running and biking and been doing a lot of reading recently. I think it’s just a manic year for everybody.
Perko: I guess it’s hard as well, because often, you know you’re going out and you’re meeting people and you’re playing these shows. That is kind of the signifier [of time] and it’s that kind of feedback, but there’s none of that. It often just feels like you’re firing stuff into this void of this social media wormhole. It’s kind of been weird to not meet people in the same way and have these conversations, which is odd. I don’t know, maybe it’s just—
EB: There’s not the same reaction now when you’re producing and posting one of your tracks as when you’re DJing it in front of a crowd. You can’t activate that relationship or receive strong real-time feedback. I get what you mean.
Perko: Yeah. I think in some ways that’s a good thing, because creatively speaking, this [lifestyle of] constantly being in the club and DJing every weekend can push you into a certain direction. It can be the most creative thing, but I think sometimes you end up doing a thing that is very [formulaic] because everyone’s playing in the same clubs, with the same people and you end up all going for a very similar thing, because that’s what’s getting a reaction. Whereas, I think for everyone to get removed from what has created this environment, allows for more freedom, instead of just getting swept along with everything that everyone else is doing.
EB: Has this introverted past year changed your production output or style?
P Relief: It’s a very intense time. I’ve thought about the future and what this all means. You’re over-analyzing everything because you’re stuck in a weird vacuum. As for my music, I just… I like rhythmic stuff with some airy pads, basically. So, in that regard, I haven’t really taken a full pause and reassessed anything that I’ve done, in terms of music, really.
Perko: Yeah. I think I feel the same way. I don’t think anything has particularly changed for me in terms of how I’m making stuff, how I want to do things. I guess maybe I’m a little bit more confident in just doing the stuff that I want to do and hoping that it will work out. I think when the focus is on getting booked, you tend to shy away from certain elements or certain types of music. I can see how it could be kind of confusing, but when you’re removed from that and you’re thinking, well, no one’s getting booked anyway, it’s like, whatever.
P Relief: Maybe it’s made me feel confident to be just like, you know what? I like this thing and I like this thing and to me it doesn’t matter if it’s confusing, because people will just get it. Or if they don’t get it, then whatever. I think that’s the positive from this year is I’ve not been quite so wrapped up in this rat race side of electronic music and culture. No matter what happens, I will always make music. I’ve been drumming since I was a really young kid and while the whole nightlife industry has obviously taken a pause and I do miss DJing, I’ve never done it super, super frequently. I don’t think I’m quite as taken aback as people [for whom it] is their main career, because it’s not my career.
Perko: Yeah, I’ve always been a bit wary of having music as my only income stream. I’ve thought about taking the leap and just going all in for a little bit. Now I’m kind of happy that I didn’t do that. I’ve done other kinds of sound work and music work this year, which has been nice.
EB: Do you have any resolutions or hopes for 2021, as we leave behind this year?
P Relief: My hope for the new year is that we can get it all under wraps and everybody can stay safe and healthy. I think we will be dealing with the effects of this virus for a long time. It’s especially hard for me, as an American, to watch from afar, because it’s so insane in the States. These vaccines won’t really roll out with a real quantity for a couple of months still. It’s really sad to see it, because America just has too much money for this to be happening. It’s the wealthiest nation on earth and its own people can’t stay home from work for two weeks. They’re getting a hundred and something dollars a month from unemployment.
Perko: [My resolution] is staying sane and just keeping at it.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Published December 31, 2020. Words by Whitney Wei.