This week we continue our 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 Kiev’s, Closer courtesy of one of their talented residents, Roman K. We were lucky enough to sit down with him to learn about his musical influences, nightlife in Kiev, and the impact of Closer and Strickha festival on the underground music scene in Ukraine
Hi Roma, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you grew up?
I was born in Yalta, Crimea. And grew up in a small village called Kaciveli on the south point of the peninsula. Later, me and my family moved to Kyiv.
Is music your full time career and if not, how do you balance your work with music?
I worked in office for about 8 years in different advertising agencies. And few years ago decided to quit my job and give all my free time to music. Now working in Closer Record Store and Closer club as a part of the team and as a resident DJ. I’m very happy about that decision! 🙂
How did growing up in Ukraine influence your taste in music and in particular this underground music scene?
Life near the sea and traveling formed my musical taste and gave me so much inspiration for sure. Still delivering
How long have you been in this music scene, either promoting or DJing, and what about it captured your interest?
Actually – for all my life…i bought my first cassette in school, when i was ten or eleven year’s old. After that, i was dj’ing on every party in school, summer camp, university, small party bars, clubs and festivals. I just enjoy the process from the start till the end in every moment.
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 Ukraine)? What venues did you regularly attend when growing up and discovering music and are they still around today?
It was mainly events in Ukraine when I started. Most of the places and clubs are already closed. Nowadays i try to travel regularly, especially to discover new record shops and enjoy inspiration with new music.
How did Closer as a club come to exist?
Closer started like a community of people that gathered to have some fun. First events where called “Party for friends”. Those parties where made every time in different locations of Kyiv. Later guys just got tired of searching every time for a new place to party and build their own club with their own hands.
What does it mean to yourself to be a resident of Closer and how has it aided your growth as a DJ?
For me, being a resident of Closer – it’s always a big responsibility and honor. It doesn’t matter if it is a resident’s night or a big party with your favorite idol dj’s sharing a dj booth with you. Every time like the first time. I always prepare and try to do all my best from the start till the end of the party. People on the dancefloor are feeling if you faking it. So I just try to be myself and have fun no matter what happens. Play your music and enjoy it – that’s the main rule for me.
Club residents are not as common in the UK which seems very different from the rest of Europe. Closer has a large crew of residents who are gaining acclaim across Europe. How vital is your role in helping shape the club identity?
Today we have 12 residents. All of them are traveling around the world already. For example, this weekend we have two parties in Berlins CDV on wednesday and saturday nights, where 7 of our residents are playing. And for sure, you will hear some of them in UK this year to.
Closer plays host to a lot of artists who are renowned for ‘digging deep’, i.e. Jane Fitz, Binh and Nicolas Lutz. Does this challenge yourselves to go the extra mile and find not necessarily expensive tracks, but tracks which are underappreciated or relatively undiscovered?
Of course, it’s always a challenge and a big honour to share dj-booth with true masters. But the main challenge is that every resident plays about 2 times a month. So we need to dig deeper every time and buy more records to play new music every time.
Parties in the garden at Closer are supposed to be an amazing experience over the summer months. In the UK it is either a club or a festival with little inbetween, please describe the experience for us. What makes it so special, especially during Strichka?
Lesnoy Prichal – is a very special place for all the people who visit Closer in summer. Parties can last for few days, until people are dancing. It’s just a very special atmosphere at night or daytime both. The main constituent of this – are people who visit us every weekend.
Strichka Festival turned 5 years old in 2018, and about 3500 people gathered across 6 dancefloors of the factory to celebrate it.
How would you view your sound and how does this fit with the sound of Closer? [if it has a defined sound!]
I’m still finding the answer on that question, always try to discover something new for myself and dancefloor. All our residents develop their taste in music and never stop on one sound. And in the same time, every resident has his own style and feeling. For me, house music – is the main answer.
Which DJs and artists are garnering your attention at the moment?
Every artist or resident is unique in his own style or technique. There are a lot of young talents in Ukraine today, the scene is growing very fast. You can check the line-ups of such festivals like Brave! Factory, Strichka, Rhythm Büro, CXEMA.
I have a lot of friends and DJs playing together every weekend. Most of them are playing Brave! Factory Festival 2018 this year.
What advice would you give someone who is considering visiting Kiev for Strichka/Closer?
Respect yourself and people around you, expect nothing and just have fun.
Thank you very much for putting a mix together for us. Can you tell us about the idea or theme behind it?
It’s just a simple compilation of my favourite summertime jams, that I listen at home or on the beach with my friends. It was recorded few weeks ago, when I got back from a trip to my homeland, from the first take and in one breath.
Recommended for special moments with your closest people.
What can we look forward to from you over the coming months and year?
Going to visit Berlin and London for the first time in my life during next two months. In London we will play b2b with James Priestley from Secret Sundaze and i am very happy and excited about this. Hope to see you on the dancefloor 😉
Words by: James Acquaye Nortey-Glover