All started for me with an Electrecord audio cassette featuring Angela Similea’s love songs. I was three. This is my oldest memory related to music in Romania. Apart from the black and white TV broadcasting the Romanian music festivals in the 80s and the several cassettes and records with Romanian pop music (what the French called “musique légère”), I had no other contact with the artists and their performance by the age of nine. The world of Romanian pop music was the world of shiny legends and divas. Still is, in a kind of way. Later, in high school, and after the Revolution, when the foreign music took the place of the Romanian pop at large, listening to the old pop hits from the 80s or the new disco hits of the 90s was always associated to this kind of nostalgia, when the colours and the sounds of the live music were to be created in our heads as rich images rejecting the strictness of the black and white pictures and the poor mono cassette player’s analog sound.
Discotecă made it all burst with magic. And colours. And sound. We got the chance to juxtapose the pictures in our head with real 3D pictures addressing to all senses. And it was right as we imagined. The fact that some of us lived this experience after 30 years, in our present and not in the past as a memory, that we lived it with all the props and settings which currently decorated our lives, right in the middle of our own contemporaneity, it is what Discotecă actually did.
The (DJ) collective behind Discotecă (Paul / Batiscaf, Vlad / Coughy and Catalin / Sillyconductor) started this project about a year ago and already became a classic of the Bucharest nightlife, their “pop-up” disco being followed everywhere by an (already) dedicated crowd. We followed them in several clubs and event venues (Modern, Control, Atelierul de Productie, Eden, Atelier Mecanic) and even on the Bucharest train station platform (!). Their DJ sets always bring the same colourful mood, no matter if it is the 70s, the 80’s or the 90s-00s, if it is the cult pop hits our mother used to listen day-dreaming, the folk-rock bands our fathers used to play loud on Sundays, the music of the gangs in Bucharest, the beginnings of the Romanian electro-pop, or any other piece of music ever made in Romania.
The questions for this interview with Discotecă were conceived almost a year ago; however it is surprising how they managed to trick the passage of time. Could it be due to some kind of magic transfer from the time machine Discotecă travels with?!
BT: Discotecă is a concept which goes beyond the act of bringing in a live set former pop stars from a period those who are now 20 years didn’t live it, and those who are 30+ remember it via their childhood or their adolescence nostalgia. There is also the idea of putting the new and the old together in a hat which is not too large, not too tight, not too wrong. What is behind organizing those concerts, what are the results of the experiment?
D: In the beginning, in the back room there was an oversized fetish for the music born out of the womb of Electrecord. Somewhere between the unconditioned and uncontroversial worship and the pathologic contempt towards the RomPop (we named it so in order to get to stack in our sets the music genres approached by the native music, from swing to eurodance, via schlager) we have discovered a place where we always felt good. When we first made Discotecă, on December 1st 2012, in Control, we took it with us. Without inventing criteria, without excluding certain periods of time. For us, the 60s follow right after the 90s, if you like. More precisely, T-Short and Trio Caban get along each other perfectly in the night sets of Discotecă. As do the laptops placed on the same desk as the turntables.
BT: Who are the people doing it? Anthropologists, entertainers, owners, militiamen? Could you do your self-criticism?
D: We are, as seen in the short description of our Facebook page, a rompop discollective of sound archeology and neuro-sociological experiment, whatever that means.
BT: Is your initiative part of a trend? Where, from whom and how came the inspiration for this project? Where would you see it? (in 5 years). Kiddin’. But not entirely.
D: If we think about the instant success of Discotecă, we could say we invented a product which was already trendy before even being born. And we won’t be much far from the truth. Discotecă takes many shapes when it comes to its psychological resorts and reverberations, being a creature also followed by those wrinkling their nose when encountering it.
We became Discotecă because we were playing all the three of us with this trip of tunes made in Romania for some time. Actually we became Discotecă because we wanted to send our trip (also) to the club. We sent it and the club enjoyed it. Still does.
BT: How did/does your audience receive your signals? Has the public already in place the necessary receivers to accommodate your neural impulse?
D: The audience is, in essence, the coolest part of Discotecă. We are still fascinated by the reaction of people to what happens then and there.
BT: What is the reaction of your guest stars? How do they see this story? Do the ladies understand the hipsters?
D: The reactions of our guests are obviously different, but there are also some commonplaces. Our fascination related to the audience reaction also transfers towards the invited performing ladies and gentlemen. Here comes also the effect of the space – the club – for artists generally used to sing in seated rooms, in cafes or bars, in front of an audience came to applaud without dancing. The club brings a different type of energy and builds a different reaction between the stage and the dance floor. Marina Florea (one of the guest stars) said in an interview for the Romanian edition of Vice Magazine following her performance within Discotecă, that she was “crazier than usually”. We believe the observation is valid for all those taking our stage.
We do not know how much the guests understand the hipsters (or the other way around), all we know is that they like each other a lot.
BT: Who came to Discotecă by far? Who’s coming next?
D: Silvia Dumitrescu, Marina Florea, Marina Voica (twice), Class, DJ Boroș, Corina Chiriac, Sorin Lupașcu (the DJ of Ring Disco in Costinești of the 80s and the famous Club CH in Iași) and Real B (for Discotecă’s first year anniversary). The others will come too.
BT: Does Bucharest have flair? Is it an easy prey? Whose is the underground?
D: Bucharest is a strange animal. It is not lacking the flair, or the cynicism, or the arrogance, or the hypocrisy. And it is never an easy prey as it has the capacity of infinitely dividing. We have no idea whose is the underground, probably belongs to the descendants of our descendants.
BT: What is your favourite singer? Who’d you choose in a childhood game of “best Romanian singer”?
D: It is such a long list we’d feel damn uncomfortable in choosing a single name instead of a hundred.
Are you curious about the places Discotecă collective likes in Bucharest? Read here about their favourite restaurant, day or night spots and more :)