Local Rockstars: Reza Athar's dark club music with a sunny aftertaste

Local Rockstars: Reza Athar’s dark club music with a sunny aftertaste

Jun 4, 2015 |  by  |  Music
About the author
Born and raised in Amsterdam, lives to dance and dances to live on electronic music, has a small vinyl addiction, appreciates a little sarcasm now and then, thinks musicals are annoying and loves those moments where you lose track of time completely.

Whether you went out last weekend to check out an uber-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 took Reza Athar‘s interview virginity two years ago and talked to him about Horizon, I could immediately tell that this guy was going places. He’s a true selector and things went fast indeed. A party at Radion, a gig in Trouw, various podcasts later and with his first all-nighter coming up I felt it was time to have a chat again.

You still organize Horizon and started organizing Mind as well. What’s the difference between the two?
“Horzon is about booking artists that are skipped by Dutch promoters. The artists we have booked are now getting booked more often. It feels very satisfying to have contributed to that. Mind is about the trade of DJing. I invite artists that I can trust to surprise a crowd and are selectors. This can be smaller or bigger artists, it’s all about talent. I get to book artists that others might see are too risky with both parties and that’s what makes it fun.”

You’re hard to categorize into one style, which is a good thing in my opinion. Your sound has been described as Balearic and space disco, among others. How would you describe it yourself?
“I used to never really give an answer to that question, and just told people to listen to my stuff. Now I call it dark club music with a sunny aftertaste. It doesn’t really say anything but when you’re familiar with my sound you know what I mean. I like so many genres and don’t want to choose just one. I get bored so easily. When I would focus on one style I’d become very depressed.”

Your taste in music is one of the most impressive I know. I like how you play some new wave stuff sometimes.
“I think I’m the reincarnation of someone who lived in the ’80s. A lot of people are negative about this era because it was very commercial. What was made at the end of the ’70s, such as post punk and new wave, has had a lot of influence on electronic music. A lot of other DJs are pushing this sound as well. I like to experiment with how far I can go. Playing Pet Shop Boys in an ideal setting can totally make sense. I like to get away with playing stuff. I’ve come to the point that I can surprise a crowd instead of pushing people away.”

I think you might be the next Job Jobse.
“Job and I started playing at the same time and we were both groupies going to Club 11. I can only be proud of what he has accomplished. He became so big by only being himself, I hope I can do the same. Loyalty is one of the most beautiful and hardest things and I cherish it. It’s my main goal to stay true to my sound while not repeating myself and keep growing.”

Could you give me an example of an artist that people might not know yet and you think is awesome?
“Boot & Tax their music is so divers. They recently released an album on Optimo’s label. I’ve been a fan since their first EP. They both had a career apart from each other and when they joined forces something even better was created. Darker acid roots and disco and funk came together, which leads to lovely surprises.”

Do you see yourself as an educator teaching your audience?
“No, that’s not a role I want to take on. I’m a bit of a stubborn know it all. When I hear a track twice I don’t feel the need to play it any more. So I might come across like that but all I want to do with my sets is take people their stress away and share new music that I’ve discovered.”

You put such a big smile on my face when you played Kylie Minogue at Kaap. Tell me about your guilty pleasures.
“I listen to XITE and Slam sometimes to empty and stabilize head. I like the contrast. Secretly I love Boom Clap from Charli XCX. It’s a sort of rock ‘n roll. I like her attitude (although it might be acting) and the arrangement in the music.”

You’ve proven that you know a lot about music and you know your way around the turn table. Will you start producing as well?
“Not yet. I get to play more and more and starting to get recognition for playing. You hear a lot about people starting to produce to boost their career. I would never do something if I didn’t feel the need to do it just to force something else to happen.”

This Saturday you’ll play your first all-nighter in Canvasopde7e. You said that you wouldn’t feel ready to do this a year ago. How have you grown?
“I have the confidence now. I’ve a lot more experience and I know my records better. I feel like I’m ready, more than ever. I learned that I should never completely prepare though. You should be able to react to certain situations. Improvisation and spontaneity are very important. When you think about it too much you often end up choosing the wrong tracks.”

Horizon: Reza Athar | All Night Long

When: June 6, 22:00
Where: Canvasopde7e, Wibautstraat 150
Tickets: €10,-, here
More info: Facebook event

Feature illustration by ELLIS D.


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