Without Aleksandar Gilic, Montenegro’s nightlife would be very different. As we described in two recent features on Montenegrin venues and DJs, Gilic pioneered the country’s dance music scene as DJ Gilerz and a brain behind one of the capital’s best clubs, District. This weekend we’re taking over the space with George FitzGerald, the Zenker Brothers and more for a two-day Electronic Beats Festival in Podgorica, so it seemed like a good time to reflect on our past endeavors in the Balkans. We set Gilerz up with a new talent, Fil Lavin, both of whom have played the Montenegrin Electronic Beats Festival in the past and will DJ tonight and tomorrow. Click here for more information and tickets to the festival.
FIL LAVIN: Hi Gilerz. I spent the last 12 hours at a festival in Tivat, a city in the south of Montenegro. We gathered some of most interesting DJs in the area, like Soft 85, Chevalier, Ilija Rudman and Raven TK and had a crazy party. What are you up to?
GILERZ: I’m preparing for the new season at District nightclub in Podgorica. At the beginning of the year we moved into a smaller space with capacity of 200 people, and I think we finally found the perfect place for those who truly want to enjoy good music. We have a successful year behind us, and now we’re preparing the lineup for the next clubbing season.
FL: I always prefer to play in a small clubs, because you have better communication with the audience. Unfortunately, I haven’t been to District yet because I moved to Belgrade [Serbia] a few years ago. But DJ Mili Sefic told me that he spent one of the best nights of his life at District.
G: That’s true—he had fantastic feedback from the audience and we’re going to host him this year, too. He’s from Chicago, but our main goal is to promote DJs from Montenegro and the surrounding region. I believe that Montenegro now has a new generation of very talented DJs and producers, and we want to give them a chance to show their knowledge to those who appreciate good music. I still can’t talk about the specifics of the lineup, but I can proudly can say that the Electronic Beats Festival is going to open our next clubbing season.
FL: Oh, that’s a good motivation to visit District. I’m so glad the organizers selected the cafe/bookstore Karver as one of the festival venues. That place is surrounded by the [Ribnica] river, and it’s just magic. I’m expecting a great lightshow and sound effects like in years past.
G: You performed at the first EB festival in Podgorica. Do you remember that night?
FL: Yeah. It was a a little weird because the festival was held in the Montenegrin National Theatre and everyone was sitting while I played dance music.
G: Well, now we have a place made for dancing and there’s an impressive lineup.
FL: That’s true, but you know, sometimes it’s hard to get Montenegrins to move their body. People from abroad used to ask me why people in Podgorica don’t like to dance. I started to think about our traditions and national dances, where people used to jump and climb on each others’ heads. So, maybe if we call [the Electronic Beats Festival parties] a “wedding,” everybody will to dance.
G: Hah! Well, I’m sure that things have changed. Titograd, which is the former name for Podgorica, used to be a rock ‘n’ roll and disco city. At some point our music scene was contaminated by so-called “turbo folk,” and I think that the media outlets are responsible for spreading such bad taste. Anyway, there’s still a lot of people who recognize good sound, and they dance. We’ll see it at the festival. What are you planning to play on Friday?
FL: For the opening night I’ve prepared two sets and I’ll probably present some new things I’m working on.
G: I heard that you’re working on a new project. I still remember when you started out; you expanded on a minimal template and brought fresh elements of nu-disco and organic sounds. Are your productions different now?
FL: Actually, I’m working on two projects. I would say that the music I’m working on right now is different compared to my previous work and the deep house and disco sounds I used to produce. There are techno elements in one of the projects I’m working on by myself. I’m working on a second project together with Belgrade DJ and producer Dusan Lolic, and I think that we’re going to present it soon. We’re experimenting with different genres by using live instruments. It’s ambient music with dub, deep and techno elements.
G: Do you consider music production a hobby or your primary job?
FL: Actually, I’ve never considered my musical career as a main job. I don’t live off my music, and maybe that’s why making it is still such a pleasure. It’s not easy to find a way to make good money and stay true to your style at the same time, and I don’t think that problem is unique to the Balkans.
G: I never took on producing because I realized that I can’t be fully dedicated to that job. I’ve never felt ready to start that adventure. That’s why I prefer to be a digger and to make a good party atmosphere on the dance floor.
For tickets and more information about the EB Festival in Podgorica, click here.
Electronic Beats is kicking off its fall 2015 festival season with a two-day blowout in Podgorica, Montenegro. Over the weekend of September 4 and 5, we’ll host a combination of day events, concerts and club nights around the city. Doors open at 20:00 on both nights, and our after-hours parties kick off around midnight. The proceedings begin on Friday at 13:00 on Bokeska Street, one of the liveliest spots in town, where we’re hosting a street fair. DJ AudioStorm (one of Montenegro’s 10 best DJs) and Mr. Jools will play all day while fashion designers Milena Djurdjic and Boris Calic will create an EB-themed dress and show their wares alongside jewelry maker Katarina Zlajic at Sejdefa Bar.
The concerts begin at 20:00 with local DJ Fil Lavin, who will open at Karver ahead of performances by the Copenhagen-based electronic trio AV AV AV, Greco-Roman’s Cologne-based singer/producer Roosevelt and Swedish singer/rapper Elliphant (AKA Ellinor Olovsdotter). The latter made waves with a 2014 single featuring Skrillex, “Only Getting Younger,” and her two albums, A Good Idea and One More, saw releases on Universal Music/TEN Records. Starting at midnight, we switch to club mode at District with Podgorica’s own DJ Gilerz. He’ll warm up for pop-house producer George FitzGerald, whose debut album Fading Love dropped via Domino earlier this year. His earworm melodies and big-room percussion have drawn audiences of all stripes, but he’s kept a foot in the electronic music underground with releases on labels like Hotflush and Aus. Closing sounds will come courtesy of Belgrade’s DJ Tijana T.
On Saturday, we’re hosting another street fair at 13:00 on Novaka Miloseva outside the Blues Bar, where homemade beer will be served all day while DJs Igor Stanovnik (the “father of Montenegrin house music”) and Sensible Seed play tunes. We’ll also have a number of local craftspeople at work: Adin Rastoder will sculpt, Dejan Batricevic will illustrate and Nemanja Bojanovic will paint. We’re also partnering with Festival Internacionalnog Alternativnog Teatra for the opening of the play “Where’s The Revolution, Scum?” Entrance is free and more information is here. At 22:00 Bosnian band Zoster will perform on the rooftop of KIC Budo Tomovic; entrance is 5 euro. By then our 20:00 concert at Karver will be underway with Fil Lavin and TMTS indie darlings Ten Fé. The UK duo won us over with their combination of washed-out electronics and updated Britpop, and they have an album in the works with Ewan Pearson.
Norwegian-born newcomer AURORA will share the bill. Her moody, ethereal pop reminds us a bit of Sia and recently appeared via the 2015 EP Running with the Wolves. To close out the night, DJ Gilerz and the Zenker Brothers get behind the decks at District starting at midnight. Dario and Marco Zenker head up the Munich-based Ilian Tape label, and their recent debut LP, Immersion, earned a recommendation from techno figurehead Marcel Dettmann.
Sharing duties on Saturday night at Alan Ford are Tijana T and FJAAK, the Berlin techno trio and recent Slices New Faces stars signed to Modeselektor’s soon-to-be defunct 50Weapons label.
Friday, September 4
13:00 – EB street fair on Bokeksa Street with DJ AudioStorm & Mr. Jools, fashion and jewelry designers at Sejdefa Bar
DJ Fil Lavin
AV AV AV
DJ Tijana T
Saturday, September 5
13:00-20:00 @ Blues Bar on Novaka Miloseva Street: Street fair with DJ Igor Stanovnik & DJ Sensible Seed, sculptures, illustrations and more.
20:00 @ Festival Internacionalnog Alternativnog Teatra: “Where’s The Revolution, Scum?”
DJ Fil Lavin
The Zenker Brothers
Alan Ford, 00:00
Tickets and entry will be limited based on the capacity of the venues, so there will be 200 tickets available for events at District, 350 for events at Alan Ford and 650 for events at Karver.