In the first part of a mini-series that aims to showcase some of the world’s newest and most exciting clubs through the eyes of their residents we take you to Tbilisi’s, Bassiani courtesy of Kvanchi. We were lucky enough to sit down with the Horoom resident and Bassiani label manager to learn about his musical influences, nightlife in Tbilisi, and the impact of Bassiani in Georgia and himself.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you grew up and where you live now?
Hello there, thanks for having me, I grew up in Tbilisi, Georgia, i’m 26 years old.
Is music your full time career and if not, how do you balance your work with music?
At this moment, I’m spending my full time only on music. Besides being a DJ, i’m also running the label of Bassiani.
How did growing up in Georgia influence your taste in music and in particular this underground music scene?
I grew up in the suburbs of Tbilisi and was really into rock and metal music during my school years. I was collecting cassette tapes. When I got internet at home I was searching and discovering many different genres, i’ve listened to a lot of them.
Finally I discovered Aphex Twin and it changed my perception. I could not get back into rock music. After that I found out more about electronic and dance music, including the Detroit and Chicago scenes and got involved more involved with that type of music.
How long have you been in this music scene, either promoting or DJing, and what about it captured your interest?
My first gig was in 2012. I was playing at little pre-party venues during the beginning of my career and I learned a lot there. Then I had some gigs at Mtkvarze and at Vitamini Cubes with some of my favourite international artists – I had been lucky enough to get that experience before my residency at Horoom.
Did you travel to other parts of Europe to discover/gain more exposure to house/techno music when you first started to gain an interest in this scene (or was it mainly events in Georgia)? What venues did you regularly attend when growing up and discovering music and are they still around today?
I was interested in this music since my teenager years and I was going to party regularly at Mtkvarze before the Bassiani opened. However my first gig outside of Georgia was last year at Jaeger in Oslo.
We also host Bassiani Records showcases at several clubs around Europe.
Having read many features on Tbilisi’s nightlife over the past year it seems like the scene is growing extremely fast with international DJs playing every weekend in the likes of Bassiani or Mtkvarze. What reasons would you say are behind the affinity for techno and underground music in Tbilisi?
Going clubbing is not only entertainment thing here. The crowd of Bassiani is a movement and it has the idea to face up to issues which are ingrained in our society. You may see these guys fight against homophobia or any other injustice in the streets. So it is a more political dance and a fight for better future.
Many foreign artists say that they’ve found some similarities with what happened in Berlin 20 years ago. I think we missed this decade when the rave wave went over the west territories because of Soviet Union and wars after its collapse, now this wave finally reach over to us.
I found it incredible to hear that Bassiani is situated underneath the Georgian National Football Team Stadium. How does the setting influence the atmosphere of the club?
Yes, Dinamo Arena is the largest stadium in Georgia. There was huge abandoned swimming pool [where the club is now situated]. The guys from Bassiani did an incredible job when just in two month period they built that amazing venue. I don’t think that it has an influence on the club’s atmosphere but people who are visiting for first time are quite surprised.
It is clear that many of the clubs in Tbilisi provide a platform for young Georgia DJs to showcase their talents, Corsica is the only large club I can think of in London that provides similar opportunities. What does it mean to yourself to be a resident of Bassiani, and Horoom in particular? How has it aided your growth as a DJ?
Having a residency there means a lot of responsibility for me. It is really challenging because the crowd is very aware with current music and I have to bring something new and interesting for them. You can’t find the younger DJs at Bassiani, but there are lot of smaller clubs and pre-party bars where you can hear them.
From my understanding, the main room of Bassiani is techno influenced, how would you say the club has changed since you opened Horoom, and how would you say the vibe changes between the two rooms?
The club became much more diverse, Horoom is a lot smaller and brighter than Bassiani itself. It is always good when you have options like that in any venue.
The Funktion One soundsystem in the main room supposedly sounds amazing within the space it is situated. What led the club to go with a Void soundsystem for the Horoom room?
Yes, the Funktion One soundsystem sounds really amazing – one of the best I’ve ever heard. I don’t know why they go with Void but it sounds fantastic in that room, and the way it is set up is unique and they made huge sound threatement work for it.
You can feel the smooth middle range sound from the horns and the subwoofers kicking from the side. I think this soundsystem is perfectly matched with Horoom.
Who are some of the DJs garnering your attention at the moment?
I can make a long list but for that moment I’m really in love with house music scene in Denmark [Copenhagen Underground Posse and Regelbau].
Thank you very much for putting a mix together for us. Can you tell us about the idea or theme behind it?
I recorded this mix just the day after I played at Horoom last time and it is full of reminiscences from that night.
What can we look forward to from you over the coming months and year?
I’m spending most of my time on production for the moment, this is my main focus. I also have lot of plans for the record label. We are going to launch a new sub-label for Horoom as well.
Words by: James Acquaye Nortey-Glover