Truancy Volume 188: Roi Perez

Whilst a fair percentage of Panorama Bar and Berghain residents customarily have more than a decade worth of history and experience playing at the two renowned clubs, Ostgut’s roster in recent years has since expanded to host a handful of newer DJs and producers. Kobosil, Somewhen and Etapp Kyle have all been added over the last five years as well as more recently, Roi Perez, an Israeli selector who’s called Berlin his home since moving to the city in 2013. Raised in southern Israel in the coastal city of Ashkelon, a move to Tel Aviv in his early twenties found him quickly immersed in the thriving queer party scene. Here he connected and found himself a residency at a party called PAG, a local night he’s described as a ‘special atmosphere’ akin to Glastonbury’s NYC Downlow.

A change on a personal level led him to Berlin, where small bar gigs led to invitations by nd_baumecker to play Lab.Oratory, which in turn led to invitations to play Panorama Bar. His first set at the club, called upon three hours in advance, was a 10 hour closing set. A rare oppurtunity that would see most DJs buckling from the nerves, Roi Perez was handed a residency soon after. His Truancy Volume, charting his way through Truant favourites by Hodge, Avalon Emerson and Helena Hauff, showcases is apt technical skill and knowledge as a Panorama Bar legend on the rise. We caught up with Perez to discuss his time in Tel Aviv, his move to Berlin and his now numerous residencies.

Hey Roi, thanks for taking time out to answer some questions. Mix is absolutely incredible. Just wanting to go way back and ask possibly about the rave scene in Tel Aviv as you spent a few years there in your twenties, dancing, meeting people and discovering yourself. Was there a thriving community of music lovers such as yourself? What places did you regularly visit? “Hey Riccardo, thanks, I’m glad you liked it! So yes, I’ve spent my early twenties in Tel Aviv. There’s lots of music lovers and party heads of course, I have no idea what I would have done there without them. To me it always felt like a very outgoing community. As you mentioned I’ve learned and absorbed the atmosphere there during that time. The real thing Tel Aviv gives you is super fun mid-week bars and mini clubs culture. There’s always something going on, you could casually step into a bar and there will be a disco or house nerd spinning amazing records all night long. You constantly meet new people, you chat and share over a drink. This mid-week scene is just thriving down there. Few clubs I would visit regularly are The Block, Breakfast Club and Alphabet (PAG) that used to (and still) host weekly queer nights, and booked some inspiring line ups. There were also some warehouse party series such as ‘Yod’, which almost no longer exist. The city today is pretty much gentrified and the nightlife culture is no exception.”

Did you get into dance music and DJing whilst in Tel Aviv or had you already been introduced and interested in partying from when you grew up in Ashkelon? I understand you had a SONY CD Stereo System which you got from your aunt. What sort of CDs were getting played on it? “Ashkelon is a small town of hardworking people and wasn’t really the place to party. One main reason I got my drivers license exactly at the day I turned 17 years-old, the legal age for driving in Israel, is to be able to go to Tel Aviv where I could listen to house music. Back then I still didn’t think about DJing and didn’t know much about it. Yes, my lovely SONY, you could put 3 CDs at once and skip between them, and it had two slots for tapes. I think it’s still in my parents’ attic somewhere. We are talking about my teenage years, so what I remember the most is Queen – A Night at the Opera, Tracey Chapman, Portishead, everything from The Smiths, Nina Simone and tons of Israeli music.”

Prior to heading over to Berlin what can you tell us about travelling around the US and Scandinavia? “I spent 3 months in the US and almost 2 months in Scandinavia. I travelled around different cities and trekked out in the nature. I was couch surfing, so that was a nice way to meet with locals. Some were super interesting, but that could also be a little weird situation, to meet a complete stranger and be able to communicate at their own place. It’s intimate. Well, at that time I thought it’s exciting but I’m not sure I’ll repeat this way of traveling today. Funny fact is that during all these journeys I carried my CD case with me. It was full of tracks that I used to play at the time, something like 100 CDs just in case I’ll have a chance to play. Very naive, but it actually worked! Once in New York I did play at my friend’s intimate birthday house party, and that experience made carrying my CD case around everywhere completely worth it. And yeah, to Berlin I arrived on a bus from Copenhagen, this was my last stop, and I’m still here. So I can say I’m still traveling.”

You moved to Berlin in 2013, how were your first couple of years there? Did you move with an incentive in mind? Also what was the process in meeting and eventually joining Ostgut Ton’s roster? “I decided to move, mainly because I needed a change on the personal level. I thought it would be good to live in a different city where I visited a few times already, knew and pretty much loved. I had no real or materialistic incentive to do it. When I moved, I tried not to expect anything in particular, but of course I had my hopes that I could play music here. So when I got a bar gig or a small gig at a club I took it very seriously and practiced a lot at home. After a few months of living here I got invited to play at Lab.Oratory for Snax and had a great time. Then I got invited to play at Panorama Bar and that was simply an insane experience for me. My first set was a closing set. Today I know that it’s maybe the hardest but most rewarding slot to have. They trusted me fully from the beginning, and that gave me a lot of confidence. It ended up being a long set that I will always remember.”

You have a few different residencies spread across a few different cities now from what I gather? How do you go about playing for each club and crowd? Anything different you need to take in mind? “Yes, at Mtkvarze club in Tbilisi, Blitz in Munich and Panorama Bar in Berlin. Really glad for the opportunity to have these residencies, it’s so nice when you get to know the crowd, and trying to do something really special for them every time. It also changed my approach to a set, I can be much more experimental and try new stuff on a regular basis. I don’t like to repeat sets anyway, so that keeps me on my toes in the music research field. Just had two gigs at Berghain’s garden in two weeks, in the first one over gay pride weekend it was a closing slot and I played lots of acid house, breaks, new beat, some disco, but all with lots of air and groove. Two weeks after it was the opening slot of Ostgut Ton’s birthday, the energy was high, the garden got packed after ten minutes, and I found myself playing very differently than just two weeks before. It was much more rave like. And it was interesting to witness how the same space can transform so radically and contain two amazing but yet so different experiences.”

What can you tell us about the mix you’ve done for us today? “I think it’s a bit different from mixes I’ve recorded in the past. It’s more of a mix for a club environment. I recorded it at my home setup in one take, no additional edits. I dived so deep into recording it, so deep that one of the neighbours came to knock on my door and I had to explain things and apologise in my broken German. His wife couldn’t sleep. I said I know and I’m sorry. The next day I met him in the stairwell and apologised again and brought his wife some flowers. It’s important to maintain good relationships with your neighbours. I hope you enjoy listening!”

What else can we expect from you for the rest of the year? Any particular gigs you’re excited about? “Basically I’m going to keep on touring. Some exciting plans I’m looking forward to are gigs in Manila, the Philippines, Taipei, Taiwan and Hanoi, Vietnam. I’ve never been to any of these places – I’m really curious and excited.”

Tracklist:

Carli – Lights & Strobes (Pedrodollar Remix) / Studio Barnhus
The Emperor Machine –  Africa (Wolf Müller Remix) / Internasjonal
Octo Octa – Adrift (Avalon Emerson Furiously Awake Version) / Honey Sound System
Hodge – No Single Thing / Livity Sound
The Pilotwings – Christrance / BFDM
Odori – Movements 1-4 / Outer Limits
Noleian Reusse – Cahokia (Paul West Mutant Jack Dub) / Bio Rhythm
Mido – Yak / Version
Tornado Wallace – Zorn Gottes / Animal Dancing
Bunkr – Juno’s Revenge (Igor Tipura Remix) / LOTR
Jonny 5 – Voices / Power Station
Fuel – Rigid / Optimo
Yello – Wearhouse (Andrew Weatherall remix) / Blank Media
Helena Hauff – A Tape – 01 c45p / Dark Entries
S.O.N.S – A New Life (Planet Earth mix) / S.O.N.S

Roi Perez: Facebook, Soundcloud, Booking Agency

Photo credit Matthew Billings

Riccardo Villella
Riccardo Villella

OG at Truants / Graphic Designer / DJ as Melmoth Twitter Soundcloud

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