Local Rockstars: Join Boris Werner and William Kouam Djoko's Late Night Society

Local Rockstars: Join Boris Werner and William Kouam Djoko’s Late Night Society

Dec 15, 2011 |  by  |  Music
Who wrote this?
Rob is 28 (but needs his beard to actually look like it), loves music, adventures and spontaneous people. His scribblings are about these things too, so if you share his interests, stay tuned!

Whether you went out last weekend to check out an über geeky beat magician or a depressingly awesome indie rock band, we all know there’s always some serious musical talents rocking around the Dam. You might not recognize them all yet, but don’t worry, you will soon. In this series of interviews we talk to remarkable artists about their music and their inspirations.

I met up with Trouw residents and local heroes Boris Werner and William Kouam Djoko for a short interview recently. The two men host their own night in Amsterdam’s most illustrious night club, and are on a mission to get everyone to dress up chic and act like trash. I spoke with them about music, creating an experience, and how Late Night Society propelled three DJs into the top five of Resident Advisor’s DJ top 100.

Late Night Society vol 2 by William Kouam Djoko by LATE NIGHT SOCIETY

Boris, who is William Kouam Djoko?
BW: “A good friend of mine since 2004. We met at a festival in the middle of nowhere, near Leiden, called Giga Groen Micro Festival. He was playing with Jason & the Argonauts for the first time and I was playing there with Lauhaus. We hit it off and when he came to live in Amsterdam we got more acquainted and developed our taste in music together. As a musician, he’s a good entertainer, always laughing a lot, and he gives the crowd an energy boost. He shares a good feeling with the crowd. I try to do that too, but he has more charisma than me, hahaha!”

William, who is Boris Werner?
WKD: “Boris has been playing for 11 years already, which he just celebrated with an eleven hour set at Studio80. We met over 7 years ago and I always knew him as one of the top DJs in Amsterdam. For me he’s still one of the best here, concerning house and techno. Very diverse, not afraid of playing around during a set, a cool friend to hang out with and a party monster.”

Together you host Late Night Society, a night in Trouw with the great tagline ‘dress up chic, act like trash’. How did this cooperation come to be and what does it stand for?
BW: “Around April 2010 there was an open spot in the agenda of the club, and Trouw co-owner Olaf Boswijk asked me if I was interested in hosting a new night. I never considered doing something like that all by myself and William was the first guy I thought of setting this up with at the time.”
WKD: “We also lived together at the time so that made it quite easy!”
BW: “That also, but William also adds something to the table that I don’t have. We’re a good yin and yang I think, literally black and white!” (both guys laugh)
WKD: “Just like the Late Night Society logo, also black and white. Perfect!”
BW: “Vanessa Vassallo also plays an important part in Late Night Society btw, our silent partner in crime!”

BW: “We thought of the dressing up theme because that’s something people don’t do very often when going to a club any more. I thought of the name and William suggested taking it a bit further, making it something more than just a party in a club that always looks the same.”
WKD: “We want to create more of an experience. The have audience actually dress up chic. Think bow-ties, Charleston, cigars, cigarettes on sticks. We also hand out shots of whiskey, Jägermeister, or whatever else works. We just try to create a fun atmosphere. Our good friends Jacco and Koos also made a huge 3 meter wide Late Night Society sign with lights on it to hang above the booth. All our DJs stand right below it and it works really well. We also asked the light engineer to create a warm red gentlemen’s club vibe.”

Late Night Society

WKD: “Musically Late Night Society just has to be forward thinking, experimental and open to the future. But also timeless.”
BW: “And the night has to be ‘gezellig’: fun and cosy. About having fun with the people around you.”
WKD: “Our first act ever was a band: Tom Trago and San Proper’s Dirt Machine. We got away from that for a while but we’re thinking about taking some bands back to the club scene again. They create a really good vibe and that’s what it’s all about.”

The next edition is with Jef K as headliner, can you introduce him? What can people expect?
WKD: “Jef K is a house music veteran, active since the very early nineties. The guy knows what he is doing, the sets I’ve heard of him are really groovy, warm house sets and also very forward-thinking and very experimental.”
BW: “He also plays a lot of records that we don’t know, which I really like as well. Hearing the same songs over and over is really boring, so I’m really looking forward to hearing some new music.”
WKD: “We will hand out a few mix CD from Jef K to the first people that come in!”

In the previous two editions you had Jamie Jones, recently voted #1 DJ of the world by Resident Advisor, and Maceo Plex, voted #5. Good foresight?
BW: “We didn’t see that one coming at all! I think it’s probably because of Late Night Society.”
WKD: “Yeah, because we also had Seth Troxler, RA’s #2, must be Late Night Society.”
BW: “If it wasn’t for us they would’ve never made the top 10, hahaha! But seriously, we just like the people and their music. We didn’t book them because their popularity would fill up the dance floor. We don’t care about status, we just like the music.”

You both had a lot of gigs around the world. Boris, you’ve played at Ibiza, in the United States and at many more interesting places. The same goes for William. When you compare all these gigs to playing in Amsterdam and in Trouw. How does it compare?
BW: “I think we are on par with cities such as Berlin or London. For such a small city there is so much to do here and a lot of young new DJs, producers and promoters have stepped up in recent years and made Amsterdam into the city that it is now. Together with all the guys that came before us of course. The scene is very healthy. Amsterdam Dance Event is the greatest indoor festival in the world for example.”
WKD: “People actually find it useful to attend. You always hear people say WMC Miami and Sonar are more about partying, but that they actually get some business done during ADE. That’s really cool for Amsterdam to have. I also think we’re very fortunate to have Late Night Society here in Amsterdam, in what I think is one of the best clubs we have here, and maybe in all of Holland. The venue is really cool and industrial and the guys behind the club really try hard to make something new out of it.”
BW: “Also, since the early nineties, all the good DJs in the world have been coming to Amsterdam.”

Anything happening in Amsterdam right now that is really exciting you guys? What is the next big thing in you’re opinion?
WKD: “For me, that’s really difficult to say. Because my own work, my music and my gigs take up almost all of my time it’s hard to keep track of everything that’s going on.”
BW: “Me, me, me, me!”
WKD: “Hahaha! That was actually the title of one of the first Jason and the Argonauts songs, written by me. But seriously, it’s really difficult to say for me. I think Tom Trago and San Proper are going to do something really nice in De Verdieping with The Fountain of Youth, but that is Trouw-related again. Around the city.. Maybe I’m too narrow-minded!”

William, you’re going to perform live at the next Late Night Society. Your first time live in Trouw. Looking forward to it?
WKD: “Yeah definitely! Most of the tracks I’ve made in the last couple years were actually made with Trouw in mind, either in the booth or standing on the dance floor, trying to feel how the music would sound there. Trouw is a place I’ve actually been looking forward to play for a long while, and to do it at my own party is actually amazing. Obviously I will use a microphone, and I’m looking forward to some really interesting interaction moments with the crowd as well. Hope to see you there!”

Portraits of Boris & William by Tamar Weenen

Late Night Society vol 1 by Boris Werner by LATE NIGHT SOCIETY

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