When I arrived to visit people behind the best underground party in Barcelona, I found myself standing in the main room of the venue, that has been on the lips of the coolest kids in town for a short while but long enough to make an ever changing music scene impact. On the walls I noticed hanged plants, among neons, in the corners old antique furniture, mirrors, sofas and huge wooden bar. This is a good introduction to understanding the work and life of artists and people behind the new and fresh movement of the underground scene. They are creative using music as a material for most of their artistic expression. The top floor serves as creative studio and we gather there to talk, but not before long Juan insists on showing me the terrace, and that breathtaking view overlooking La Pau, Badalona and neighbouring hipster town of Poble Nou. I couldn’t help myself thinking how wanting me to show the place where all the guts of the studio are located was like a manifestation of their city tremble – a way to distil something to its vital parts.
They, that is Fernanda and her boyfriend Juan from Buenos Aires, tall and beautiful Molly, Juani and Freddy, made quite a noise in the city by joining forces in a suburb of La Pau, which through their underground parties changed it, into architectural extravaganza. I met them on a cold winter day to talk about the flow of life, the many influences they’ve experienced, the odds and ends of artistic practice, and everything in between.
Marta: Nobody ever made a difference being normal.’ Do you agree?
JuanKid: If you keep doing normal things nothing changes. If you wanna change and make a difference you have to do something abnormal.
Juan: I really think you can have a normal life, doing average things but if you want to enjoy life as a really intensive experience and explore all the capacities that your mind has, you have to try to break the things up, because everything can be completely different if you focus on experiencing them in a different way.
It’s not about breaking the rules as a goal but sometimes you need to break them as they are made to limit ourselves.
Marta: As a participant of your, I think that EIGHTSQUARE is undoubtedly one of the Barcelona’s underground scene biggest success . What do you think makes it so unique? How would you say its success has been possible in sucha a short period of time ?
Juan: I think there are some particular things that are complementing and that are working all together. It’s super difficult to create a product that is successful in sucha short period of time. For sure the venue is one of the things that are really important because you have a chance to meet the people and create a unique concept. Personally with Juani we had an amazing bond, before even being here. We never talked about specific thing we would love to do but we just really knew that we needed to do something together. We are very complimentary team that really wants to do this because of LOVE and not because of making money. This is not the party that we make for the money. And because we have different priorities then others we always think about how can we provide public with better experience. So then, the creative process starts growing and within we explore new ideas in the team and then the difference between each other also makes a bond between us even stronger.
JUANKID: The details are also very important. We make the neon, we paint the walls and windows or give water for free. And of course the vibes that we have between ourselves, asking people if they need something, not just the artist but also all the people that come to the party. It’s just being kind and taking care of all the little detail that is really making the difference. So, in general I’d say team work and eye for detail.
MARTA: What about creating the social scene ?
JUANKID: When we started to create this project and concept, we said we have to create a party and experience to which people come to, not because of the place or music but because of the vibe. And then we started to do things. It’s not like we call super famous DJs and then all the people come. No, we want to make our own thing. And people come even if it’s just me and him playing. Just that ! And that’s what I think is one of the reasons.
JUAN: For sure it’s thanks to how we are dealing with human aspect of it.
JUANKID: We make the tickets hand made as well. And we sell the tickets to the people we know or are friends of friends. We really select people that we want here because we can have people here that we don’t know but when it’s a friend of a friend, that’s creating a certain vibe and atmosphere. Like it’s your family and everyone is super hyped, dancing and just having fun. It’s crazy.
JUAN: We are also clubbers, so we really know what disturbs you, when we go dancing because we have that experience ourselves so at the end is not repeating the mistakes of others, like paying 4 euros for the water. You feel robbed and then what do you do ? You don’t want to be in the club like that again. We are not trying to fuck people and instead give them our best service with the capacity and the budget we have.
MARTA : What do you personally consider the profoundest moments of our artistic career as DJs?
JUAN: For me playing music is like trying to send a message that is inside me and transmitting what I feel at particular moment of my life. For sure my best moment was when I played at this party with all the people because I could experience really, the intensity of the vibe the party is generating. I’m being super respectful of every party, I couldn’t feel it in any other one. It’s only about the human connection you have and all the data you receive, in those moments. Music gives you a lot of human connections that you can learn a lot from. I focus on learning, listening, and not trying to be the protagonist of the moment. Because you have the capacity of knowing a lot of people that you would never know otherwise. They need their place also to share their things , because they have a lot of things to share. And sharing will always give you much more happiness and opportunities. It’s about LOVE, and sharing information and trying to say things that you say and you need to say. And music is always a better way to show what you have inside and your sensibility and sensitivity.
MARTA: When did you start DJing and what or who were you early passions or influences ?
JUANKID: Generally, in music I like TECHNO, HOUSE – where music is the question but also the answer. I feel it’s as simple as that.
JAUN: You realise that your brain can work in the completely different way as it worked before as it really happened to me, in that moment and I flipped out. I was like what the fuck my brain is analysing the world from a completely different perspective and I told myself: Ok, this is the answer for all your happiness in life.
MARTA: DJ’S that just press play on their laptop may have given technology a bad name. But without technology there’s been no DJing in the first place. Whats your perspective on the relationship and the balance between technological advances in music and the art of djing. How here particularly technologies change your style of DJing ?
JUANKID: With the digital you can just press play. It’s already synced and then it’s like already mixing. It’s easy. When you are on the decks with the vinyl it’s super sensorial. You touch it and it moves.
MARTA: To me it almost feels like a language. When you speak to someone in their own native language, it goes to your heart.
JUANKID: Because you don’t have to think about it.
JUANKID: It seems like it for sure. When you are playing vinyls you don’t have to think about anything, you just have to listen and be sensorial with your movement. When you playing with a computer or something that is already synced, you just have to think about what you are going to do next.
MARTA: Eightsquare brings very fashionable crowd, you can see people really making effort in what they wear. Is fashion important part ?
JUANKID: I don’t think fashion is important. Most of the people who like us, we enjoy being part of the venue. They are creative so they dress very interesting. When they come here, the vibe of the party is like super colourful, with neons and house music. I think it's making people like, ok I’m going to this party and I’m going to dress like this. I think it’s more about fun and fashion is a medium for being more creative and expressive through clothes.
MARTA: Do you think, it’s important to read your audience.
JUAN: If you don’t read the audience you are dead. The audience tells you what’s the vibe and what they need. For me that’s the biggest mistake that DJs can make. That’s why our party is going well, because as a DJ we have a good understanding of that. That’s why they come here and it makes sense for the people to dance. They don’t want to be taught about things that maybe they don’t know because they do other things in their lives. Like, a designer comes here and he wants to come and dance. He has super capacities in his things. They don’t need to be and be taught about super picky sounds and trying to understand how to dance to the track that doesn’t have so much groove. They come here to have an amazing moment and chill.
MARTA: How do you pick your DJs ? What is it based on ? Personality ? Style ?
JUAN: It’s super important, the booking. We’re being very clear on music and concept, we are bringing. If I bring one type of artist, for next party we need another type of artist. This is the concept and the concept brings the public. Each party brings new artists and different public. We renew the public. Music is one of the most important things.
MARTA: What makes you decide to play a particular record during one of your sets ? Is there any criteria other then pure subjectivity for selecting what do you play at the gig ?
JUAN: If I’m warming up for sure I’m thinking about who is coming because my goal is to start putting the vibe to what I think the other one is going to like when he has the opportunity to make people dance. I always try not to change the vibe. Although I try to select records, I always go to the dance floor with the idea of what I want to do or what I think the people will like.
JUANKID: When you know the records you know what they are about so it’s like telling the story. We’re learning all the time but the key is to be believing in yourself and what you want to do and just keep on doing this. If you believe in yourself and your team and you treat people with respect when working or not, you share LOVE and that’s all you need to make anything successful.