Close your eyes and get hedonic with Les Enfants Terribles

Close your eyes and get hedonic with Les Enfants Terribles

Jul 30, 2012 |  by  |  Event, Music
About the author
Caroline (25) is a writer, an expat enjoying life at its fullest in Amsterdam and a girl born to party. She makes her Friday night plans no later than Monday morning and enjoys drinking verse muntthee just as much as hot-people-watching in the city.

Amsterdam is home to plenty of passionate night owls, hedonistic crowds and collectives dedicated to organizing parties. Among them are Les Enfants Terribles (LET), a group known for hosting recurring parties at their favourite club Trouw. We caught up with LET member Kolja Verhage to learn about the philosophy behind Les Enfants Terribles, their everlasting belief in Amsterdam as a hub for uprising DJ talents and their reasons for avoiding 24-hour party marathons.

There’s a huge amount of collectives in Amsterdam that organize parties. What distinguishes Les Enfants Terribles from all the rest?
“The most important thing is to find a niche within all of these genres. Some organizations just import international concepts here, and with others you see that they’ve built up their residence. LET started like this a bit over two years ago by Daan Akse, Jan Pieter Kind, Dennis de Vogt and myself, inspired by GZG who really used to do their own thing.”

Our core philosophical principle is collectivism through individual hedonism.

What is the guiding principle behind LET?
“LET believes that people start enjoying themselves as a group once they stop thinking as individuals. That’s why our core philosophical principle is collectivism through individual hedonism. People suddenly begin to think, enjoy themselves as a collective and focus on the music only once they have a good time as individuals. To achieve this you need to guarantee quality in everything, from not having sticky floors to a crystal clear sound system. That’s why we focus on the venues and sound systems, we love to host parties at Trouw. This place is just perfect to let yourself go while still attaining high quality sound.”

What artists does LET identify with?
“As for international artists, we identify with labels like Ostgut and Fachwerk, but also house labels like Studio Barnhus and artists like Delano Smith who’s playing at our small ´in-between´ party on August 26th. However, we mainly try to support local artists. People put way too little faith in resident DJs in Amsterdam and the city is heavily overbooked with international acts. Berlin became so big simply because they invested a lot in local talent. Jan Pieter Kind* (*Jean Pierre Enfant) is our example of someone who is on his way out of a niche and developing into a well-known resident artist.”

Wave festival is the first major festival you are organizing. Can you tell us more about that?
“We started this initiative together with the Breakfast Club, an organization quite similar to ours. The festival will reflect our mutual belief in the collectivist spirit and high quality music and sound. We chose a special location north of Amsterdam, in the middle of a natural reserve called Het Twiske. We’ll be showcasing a number of musical acts, including a rare techno live set by Silent Servant and a groovy house set by Soundstream. Breakfast Club residents Tommy Kornuijt, Jaime Frias, Tom Liem and Brent Rozendaal will be on the decks, as well as our own resident Jean Pierre Enfant.”

Amsterdam has a lot of restrictions when it comes to its nightlife, such as limited opening hours of clubs. What does this mean to LET as a party collective that focuses on choosing the right venue?
“The restrictions on opening hours have been quite the issue here, but I truly think that Amsterdam is a great place and a fertile ground for young party organizers regardless. The city will soon permit 24 hour parties which is great, but we shouldn’t see this as the holy grail. We mustn’t make the mistake of trying to turn Amsterdam into Berlin with 24h+ marathon parties every weekend. This is something that´ll have to grow organically. We have to focus on our unique identity, since the city has a strong character of it’s own. LET wants to fully engage in making Amsterdam get recognized as such.”

Does LET make a good living with organizing parties?
“What we´re doing is very rewarding, but it’s difficult to make a decent living off it. The organizations that make a fortune are either commercial clubs or huge events. But this isn´t something we currently aspire. Besides organizing we also do DJ management for Aron Friedman, Mike Ravelli and Jean Pierre Enfant. So far this has been going well, and after finishing my studies I´ll definitely commit to turning LET and the DJs I manage into long-running successes. Hopefully this will allow me to personally make a decent living out of it. It’s just too much fun to stop.”

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