A big part of what we intend Residents’ Hour to be about – brush up on the first instalment over here – is spotlighting scenes and talents that our cameras haven’t got a chance to reach (yet). Cairo’s VENT has been on our radar for a while now. Their mission to provide a safe, dependable haven in amongst a difficult political climate is, at heart, deeply commendable.
Also commendable – although in a very different way – is their ability to bring the likes of Mister Saturday Night, Ben UFO, our own Bradley Zero and a crop of other exciting international names to the Egyptian capital, in tandem with expanding their operations to semi-regular nights at London’s Dance Tunnel.
Their mix for Residents’ Hour is a journey through the more ethereal side of electronics, provided by resident $$$TAGS$$$. Hit play and scroll down for a full synopsis on their intercontinental operations from the guys themselves.
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Things always got a bit weird, totally spaced out, non-dancefloor oriented and shamelessly self indulgent. This mix here is no different.
“VENT was founded in 2013 by ZULI and myself ($$$TAG$$$), Bosaina joined the team in 2014. Additionally VENT has a VENT London Partner (Mohamed Salah) who also plays a huge role in international bookings for VENT Cairo.
We were based at a venue in Downtown Cairo for two seasons and we’re taking our third to a new location (and throwing one-off parties in the meantime).
Last year I found myself taking over resident Ahmed Samy’s duties temporarily, but it stretched out to be a good bulk of the season. Samy was on warm up and closing duties for most of the bigger club nights, on which people would naturally start showing up at 11, although the music always started at 10 sharp. So during that hour, playing to myself, the bar staff and occasionally an enthusiastic friend or 2, things always got a bit weird, totally spaced out, non-dancefloor oriented and shamelessly self indulgent. This mix here is no different.
Mohamed and I used to throw parties in Cairo under the banner of an old satirical pop culture magazine that me and ZULI ran. There was always this feeling that there was something we needed to do here, and for a while we tried to introduce a different brand of dance music to a very monotonous scene. It proved to be quite the task. Years later, ZULI and myself are at a live gig watching this guy belch out some really interesting, movement inducing stuff, to a stiff, unresponsive, sober crowd. We thought, these people really look like they need a drink. That’s basically how Vent started.”
“Being musicians ourselves, it was quite discouraging to be in a country with virtually no scene until recently. It was just a very risky thing to do to open up a venue with the main focus being counter-culture. Even as DJs, promoters in Cairo wouldn’t book you unless they were certain you could pull in a crowd and you almost always had to be a DJ, because people who are out to party don’t care about live, so live artists would perform at culture institutions or embassy-funded events; that was the scene for a long time. They wouldn’t even serve alcohol and you had to leave straight after the show.
Historically, scenes emerge from venues and club nights, so we decided to start VENT as a platform for independent artists to showcase their work (on our LIVE nights) and for like-minded music fans to meet and form communities. On weekends we put on our Club Nights and After-hours sessions for the party-goers. The programming leans heavily on local artists but we do also invite some of our international friends for label nights to expose our crowd to music cultures the VENT team is into.”
We don’t do the typical frilly stuff – we just wanna break down a lot of very annoying social boundaries between people.
It was always about having a place for the artists like us, and then our friends would come and that would be the scene and eventually the business. There’s not much tolerance for something different in Cairo and our crew is notorious for making a lot of people feel uncomfortable because the music we produce is reactionary and unfamiliar so that initially pushed people from the cracks who related to come through to VENT.
We don’t do the typical frilly stuff and people come knowing we’re more about the music than the entertainment, and that we just wanna break down a lot of very annoying social boundaries between people and be a sort of radical island for the artists, extending our ideas to other scenes and partnerships abroad so that it’s encouraging for people to get involved, so that there’s feedback and critique and the kind of things we really need to evolve here”
– Residents’ Hour continues in a fortnight. Our next instalment comes from a special spot on the river Elbe. Stay tuned. –
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