DJing after the virus
As countries across the World ease their Coronavirus restrictions, music events are starting to return. Timbe, from Belgrade in Serbia and part of Funky Fresh DJs collective, tells us about his first DJ gig after lockdown.
Today is May 29th 2020, 82 days past since I take down the last record and turn off the turntables on the afterparty of Fred Wesley concert in Belgrade that my friend and fellow DJ Iron did together. We walk out of the club, said goodbye to each other and go home, that night we expect but did not know what exactly is going to happen.
I got booked gigs till June and I was feeling good since I have a disastrous start of the year. You know that feeling when you start to rethink everything. I live off my gigs and when the things start to turn shitty you gotta ask yourself some questions.
I was packing records for my Friday gig with my friends Soul Bader and DJ Slipmat from Zagreb, Croatia when I heard the news that all the public gatherings are forbidden. I heard all the stay at home things but I was hoping that will never going to happen to us, I want to work. I don’t want to sit at home but next thing you know I was sorting records for live stream. Man, I hate live stream. I do it a couple of times but those 45 minutes last like 5 hours in the club. I want to see the people, I need the reaction, I need energy.
In the beginning it was O.K. I feel like I’m going to practice and people will watch that, I practice my juggle. I was trying to do DJ Premier challenge but as the time pass I just quit everything, this is not the inspiring times.
The last couple of weeks was like an eternity as I heard the measures will be cancelled, the bars will be opened again. On the opening day my Facebook messenger was full of where do you work tonight messages. I heard some DJs spinning in some small bars and I was nervous waiting for the phone call, and then it finally happen. My friend Marko is the owner of Strogi Centar, a small club in the center of Belgrade, it’s the club with 2 turntables and the mixer setup. DJs playing Funk, Disco, Boogie, Hip Hop, Latin music and Funk bands playing live. He calls and asks “Can I spin on Friday?”, I almost cried.
If you ever come to Belgrade you got to visit 3 places. One is Strogi Centar (Strict Center). The other is Gajba (The Crib) which is located in the attic of the old building in Karadjordjeva Street. The 3rd place is Krafter in Strahinjica Bana Street. If you love to listen to the funky groove and drink Craft Beer you are going to love this place. All 3 places love Funk.
After I post the date and place my phone and all of my social networks started to blow up. After 2 months of lockdown people was ready to go out more than ever, people are tired of sitting home. The place is usually half empty till 1am but not tonight. I started at 10pm and the club was packed around 10:30 and it was packed like never before. It was the easiest gig ever, people were screaming on every song I put on people dancing, hugging each other like the virus thing never existed. I know some people think virus doesn’t exist, you know conspiracy theories and all that but I think the people were just hungry and they were hungry for the freedom.
I learned one thing that night, people don’t want to change their ways. They want to party like they used to and they will not accept the “nothing’s going to be the same” story. I know I’m not going to accept live stream as the way of partying, I DJ for the live people and I plan to do it for the rest of my life so I hope this shit won’t happen again.