Local love, Dirk Schmidt from Rotterdam, is featured in our documentary series Blitzkickers Undisclosed. The filming took place on his own grounds — the underground social club Bahn and studio place where he produces as Pop on Acid.
They find me as an extrovert person, but actually they are the crazy ones. I chose happiness. And they chose every day the same; going grumpy to work, leaving at the same time, every day eating potatoes and watching exactly the same TV show, going to bed and they're loving it. Ok, I'm exaggerating, but It is crazy how things can go, and sad how people trade their happiness for the comfort of living.
Manal: If those people ask you what do you do? What do you say?
Dirk: I say I am an entrepreneur, but not the kind that seeks gaps in the market to earn money. I am the kind that creates places I'd like to go myself. And I do it with love.
I am a DJ, I have my own record label, a club and an advertising agency — sounds like fun, right, like another creative guy is messing around. But I am serious about my work. When I have to set my priorities, I have a chance to let go of the least fun jobs — I see this as a privilege. Some people can stay focused on one thing, but I just like to mix and match, keep things exciting.
We had a couple of exciting nights at your club — the underground social club Bahn — quite a unique atmosphere, impossible to label the crowd and the genre of music, the only thing we could remember that it was real fun.
A place like Bahn never existed in Rotterdam, it is exactly the location where I'd want to go out — at my age of 36, but also younger kids of house music. My generation is getting older, but there is always a bunch who never stopped going out and are still connected to the scene. Bahn is a club where the vibe is always good and people come as Liefhebbers [devoted enthusiastic admirers]. It's there not to make money, it's really out of love.
Yes, it's pretty underground, because of the choices we make. We don't communicate DJs — we only post the date on Facebook. People come and they know there will be a good DJ, but there is no line up on a poster or a flyer. We put music back in the centre, as music is the most important thing, and not the name of the DJ. We also don't let other promoters organize events in our club; we can maintain the integrity of the brand Bahn.
What also works really well is that we are not open every weekend, only every once in a while. People have to follow to know when Bahn is open - like that the anticipation escalates quickly, people are excited to come and party with us.
Is the crowd in Rotterdam comparable to crowds in other big cities?
I'd say yes. The fact that it's so busy here means that there is a need for a real underground feel. Not in a shabby way, but there should be more places that aesthetically represent the underground art and electronic dance scenes.
But again, underground is maybe not the right word. De Liefhebbers is the crowds we attract, the crowd that comes to party not to stare at their telephones. People who do not expect to be entertained, but who participate in the happening, creating the feeling of unity, the one I still remember from my 1994. Of course back then the house music was taking its grounds, everything was new, the pills were good, flowers everywhere (laughing).
It is kinda how things go, eventually more people get involved and subcultures are formed — electronic dance scene is not an exception, there are endless genres now and we have commercial and underground scenes...
Dirk: I can't say I am into techno on any specific house genre. For me it is the entire spectrum of house music, though giving a special place to the electronic music of the 80s, with my Pop on Acid act — both as DJ and producer, I try to make a small detour to the 80 th with some weird synthesiser thing or a vocal that you totally don't expect, something exciting.
I love working together with people — I am mostly successful in collaborations, of all sorts, also with music. When you are in a studio working together, you inspire each other with ideas you could not come up with when working solo. It makes the process more exciting, and challenging too — you mostly learn working together, right? Just recently I had lots of fun making a new gabber track with a friend of mine, Taras van de Voorde, a known DJ and producer from Rotterdam.
There is lots of talent in Rotterdam. Currently it is more visible than ever before.
Agree, for quite a while Rotterdam was this gloomy city with a bit of an aggressive atmosphere and perceivably unfriendly people, on a contrary to always cheerful Amsterdam. I have to say that is changing in the past few years. There are more students, now even more tourists come to visit the city. There is more to do for business and creative people, more to see, for hipsters and older audience, like Markthal, haha..
But do you know what the problem of Rotterdam in my opinion is? We still think of ourselves as underdogs. We are sometimes overly proud to be Rotterdammers; 010 everywhere, rivalry with Amsterdam, and not only with football. Of course there are historical reasons for it, the city had to rise after war — we were the city of hard working people, we did not have a lovely centre in Amsterdam to be cheerful after the hard working day.
Real Amsterdammers are fun and simple people and there are those who react like; "Rotterdam? Bleh.." And then I know enough; "Where do you come from? Be honest? Heerhugowaard..." (a small Dutch city).
City people are totally normal towards each other, but the people who moved to Amsterdam can be snobbish.
I am from the wealthier part of Rotterdam, Kralingen, old money. I call it "les nouveau pauvre"— meaning the new poor. I from a family that had money, but they spent it all! Instead of being the "nouveau riche" I am "les nouveau pauvre"— the new poor. Though I had a decent upbringing, I still was a difficult kid; gabber, coming home at 11am, eyes on pills. My dad didn't know what to do with me….being a professor. He must have thought, gosh what a silly kid I raised! But I kind of turned out ok — doing things out of passion, always busy, but never feel like working — no complaints.
And here is another fun treat — a short bloopers reel Lachen Met Dirk
Director Anna Bogomolova
Camera & edit Dammes Kieft
Interview Manal Aziz
With assistance of Wiebe Kuipers and Michael Rabbers