CONVERSATIONS | FILAMENT
For the past 2 years, Filament is making noise in Amsterdam. Having played various locations throughout the city, Bart Mooren, Bart Meijer (yes, two Barts) and Christiaan Dijkstra are bringing their signature sound to more and more ears. Friday March 9th they're hosting our Bovenkamer and have invited Illum Sphere & Møzaika to tear the room up. We dove into a deep conversation with Bart Mooren and Christiaan (Bart Meijer unfortunately couldn't be there) to find out how Filament came to be, what it stands for & what their 'signature sound' is.
R(adion): Hey guys, could you tell us a bit about your background and how it helped you start Filament?
B(art): When Christiaan & I met and started talking about music, the idea of organizing events came up very quick, as we shared the same thoughts. The ideas were still some rough drafts, but we polished it over time during meetings and the concept of Filament became the outcome of those meetings.
C(hristiaan): Yeah, it was good to come up with a concrete plan before actually throwing the parties. What also helped was me handling the audio at the frist venues we played, Ruig & Oosterbar. We started at Cafe Ruig, and thereafter Oosterbar 4 times, Claire, A'dam Noord Roest, Canvas and late last year RADION, with Woody, Dazion & Bordello a Parigi Soundsystem. This one exceeded all expectations.
R: Alright! Sounds like you played the right cards in order to create Filament. Where does the name come from?
C: A Filament is the tungsten wiring inside a light bulb. To us, it represents warmth & the analog. This is reflected in various ways. We use filament light bulbs and warm colors for the lighting at the events. Similarly, the music we play is warm and analog in the sense that we're spinning with vinyl, ever since the first event at Ruig. We cultivated these elements and made them our own. It's also reflected in our wire-like logo and artwork design. A big shoutout to our creative designer Jip for keeping these fresh from the start!
B: These elements are key to what we find most important: the atmosphere during a Filament night.
C: Right, starting carte blanche and brushing things in with the warmth of the people, the music, the lights & the sound as our color palette.
B: When we're opening the night ourselves, we aim to make people feel the right vibe. We often keep this in mind: "What do I want to hear if I'm just about to enter the room?"
R: So these other elements, aside from the music, play a more important role at Filament?
B: They're actually crucial for creating the right atmosphere, yeah. Another thing we prefer is keeping the booth and the dancefloor leveled. This also contributes to the Filament atmosphere and keeps the DJ grounded (both figuratively as literally) and approachable.
C: The DJs we book fit that sentiment too, aside from their skills and track selections.
B: Above all it's someone who can spin in any direction; a rough-edged Techno records into a curveball edit, back to an Italo track. Which'll leave your head spinning on the dancefloor: "What the hell is he gonna do next?!". I think Illum Sphere is a perfect example of a DJ who can do this. You don't really know what to expect, that's why we ourselves have to adapt during our opening set in RADION next week.
R: You've already touched on the Filament sound. If there would be a track called 'Filament', who would produce it & what would it sound like?
C & B [in unison]: Hysteric! A musically diverse producer, would emulate our sound well, no doubt.
B: He's a true Italo-queen.
C: Together with Jonny Rock. I think that'd be very dope!
B: Really? Why Jonny?
C: He'd give the track a hard-grained vibe. You know his edits bang, Bart!
B: That is true...
C: But still, it's hard to define what a Filament anthem would sound like, because we've had different seasons of musical influences over the past few years and they came, but never really left.
R: What kind of musical seasons? We recall an Italo-themed evening last year.
C: Yeah, we started during Disco season. This was mainly because we we're spinning in at Ruig, where other styles wouldn't really make sense. Thereafter the Italo season came upon us.
B: We've had some Nu-Disco/Tribal-ish vibes too. And a couple of weeks ago we got booked and played a 2 hours rave set, right after Lövestad.
R: With the Filament event next week in mind, which season are you in right now?
C: Something like proto-House. So in the direction of New-Beat & Synth-Pop.
B: I'm not sure... Different seasons...? Can we really call it that? I think every event brings something new to the table. It's not just now that we're spinning New-Beat , Wave and stuff.
C: That's true, but you can only define the seasons after the fact. And some past events just were more Disco or Italo than others.
B: It also has to do with adapting to the crowd, venue and other DJs we book, which creates different atmospheres. Or yeah, as Chris likes to call it 'seasons' ha-ha.
C: We've added a playlist [below] with the seasonal Filament anthem for readers to grasp what we're talking about ;).
R: But getting back to the Filament track. Is the warmth you guys talked about the defining element?
B: Yeah, but how would 'warm' sound? There are like 1.000 ways to create that. I'm drawing blanks... Too many elements to include in one track...
C: A sustaining chord-loop and a sustaining bassline, that's what I'm imagining right now. Kind of Synth-Pop-ish, like John Carpenter. But on the other hand, it could also easily be an energetic house track.
B: Right, around 135 BPM, that could fit too. In other words: the variety and variables are at the moment to broad to define a Filament anthem. By the time we've got it figured out, we'll press it and you'll see the release coming on the Filament label!
R: With all you've mentioned so far, how do Illum Sphere & Møzaika fit the Filament concept?
B: Møzaika is on the same label (Public Possession) as Bell Towers, who we booked last year. We love his productions on the label and had our eyes on him for quite some time. We like to challenge the DJs we book, too. For example, we're letting Møzaika close the night off, something he's not (yet!) known for.
C: Illum Sphere is different than Møzaika. He's a bit more established. But we have no doubt their styles will blend well together during the night.
B: The sets he plays, holy shit, they're quite something.
C: He can mix various styles in one set. The records he produces are more a combination of dub techno and ambient, but the ones he plays during a set are individually different.
B: That's what we're looking forward to!
Catch Illum Sphere, Møzaika & Filament Deejays (Christiaan, Bart & Bart) this Friday at Radion.