Behind one of the most exciting, upcoming underground music scenes is Closer, Kiev. The team behind Closer have helped create a community, describing it solely as a club would not do it justice. Beyond the nighttime, Closer has a Gallery, Record Store, Restaurant, and… a Sofa Store! In 2016, the team behind Closer started Brave! Factory, and in 2017 moved the event to METROBUD – a sprawling Soviet-era train depot, with music being hosted on upwards of five stages across the site.

As has been the case in past year’s the line-up is musically diverse, there are the minimal techno DJs who’s sound is synonymous with Closer, i.e. Rhadoo and Evan Baggs, the breaks-techno, Ilian Tape label-heads, Zenker Brothers, and OG meets new school electro from Model 500 and Detroit In Effect respectively. The cherry on the cake is Ghanaian hip-life artist, Ata Kak, who we simply cannot wait to see in this setting (his performance on the West Holts Stage at Glastonbury 2017 was one of our festival highlights).

Burried amongst the star studded line-up are Closer’s residents, who the regular attendees of the club will attest are a big part of what make the place so special. Many of the residents are now gaining recognition internationally and it come as no surprise if they were to ‘steal the show’. We recently caught up with some of the residents to learn about their relationship with the club, musical background and what we can expect from this year’s edition of Brave! Factory.

Igor Glushko

Glushko

How did you get into underground music?

That was long time ago, I think in late school years. I would spend hours on a shitty dial-up internet connection to download the latest BBC Essential Mix. Probably it all started when somebody introduced some (rather bullshit by today’s merits) club sounds to me: this might have been DJ Tonka or even early Paul Van Dyk productions. But my first real passion was progressive house which was quite popular in Kiev and globally in the early 2000s. That’s what I was looking for when I started going out in 2002. That and some techno…

How did you come to be a resident of Closer?

I just happened to know the guys behind the club, we had been acquainted even before they started doing their parties under the name ‘Party for Friends’ (this was the kind of predecessor to Closer.) But I did not become a resident up until a year or more after they opened their own club. As far as I remember, in October 2015 I was asked to warm up for Ryan Elliott and that was the test I had to pass in order to start playing more frequently. I think I did my homework well!

Can you give any recommendations of the best tracks you’ve heard in recent months?

Do you have any memorable stories from a particular night at Closer?

Lots of these, actually. On many occasions you would go to play a set with the clear plan in mind to go home right after. However, as you have some important stuff to do the next day, but in vast majority of these cases your master plan fails, and you end up staying there for many hours.

The night when a famous police raid took place was particularly memorable. That sparked some high-profile protests as a consequence (which on its own is a totally different story,) I think I’ll remember this forever.

To someone who’s never been, what makes Brave! Factory special and what can we expect in 2019?

In my opinion, what makes Brave! Factory special is the fact that it combines the high scale of a proper festival and the intimate vibe that Closer is famous for as a club. When you’re at any other festival, you are consciously compromising your comfort for the sake of checking out all these great high-profile artists who you would not necessarily be able to see at the club. But there is no compromise implied with Brave! Factory!

Roman K

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How did you get into underground music?

I’ve been listening to, and loving music all my life, starting in my school years. I was always interested in mixing different tracks together, so i just started learning and practising by myself on cassettes, CDs, computers, anything that I could afford at the time. A few years later, I tried CDJs and after that bought my first record and turntable…there was no way back!

How did you come to be a resident of Closer?

I was already playing parties at Closer when I became a resident – I quit my office job 3 years ago to become a full-time part of the team.

Can you give any recommendations of the best tracks you’ve heard in recent months?

I’m listening to this right now:

It’s a Susumu Yokota alias. A very deep, meditative track, and it’s still very cheap on Discogs by the way.

To someone who’s never been, what makes Brave! Factory special and what can we expect in 2019?

It is a young, but very brave festival with a strong lineup and full of open minded people. There are plenty of cheap flights to Ukraine, you can spend a nice weekend in Kyiv with as well as see many of your favourite artists at the festival.

Take a listen to Roman K’s Mantissa Mix full of “summertime jams”. Recorded at Closer in 2018 and perfect for “chilling at the beach or with friends”!

An Interview: Roman K

Pavel Plastikk

Plastikk

How did you get into underground music?

In the late 90s, one of my best friends was working at a small kiosk selling audio CDs in the city centre of Kharkiv (where I am from). He took me to my first night club, Zhivot, it was a downtempo night. I was so amazed by a completely new reality created through this music, and since then I cannot imagine my life without electronic music. In 2001 I’ve played my first public set.

How did you come to be a resident of Closer?

For the past 10 years I have been running my own ‘disco-not-disco’ night called LOW Party. We held our 5th anniversary at Closer and ever since, I have ended up playing roughly 10 sets a year at the club – including Closer parties & festivals.

In October 2018 I became an official resident of Closer, which came as a surprise to me at the time…I’m very happy about it, it has a real family vibe!

Can you give any recommendations of the best tracks you’ve heard in recent months?

A few more…

Erotic Dissidents – Move Your Ass & Feel The Beet (DJ City Edit)

Que Sakamoto – Uchuu (Apiento 4AM Mix)

Torolf Stendik – World Is A (Disko Dub II)

Mutant Beat Dance – Revival 80s

To someone who’s never been, what makes Brave! Factory special and what can we expect in 2019?

It is a magical combination of; the METROBUD Factory and its industrial surroundings, a truly unique line-up with a wide variety of music hosted on amazing dancefloors (there are different spots every year). Of course there is a clean sense of spirit from the Closer family who run the whole thing, I will never feel uncomfortable. Welcome to Brave!

Check out the Brave! Line-Up in the video below:

Borys

Borys

How did you get into underground music?

When I was a kid, my knowledge was basically limited to pirate cassettes with more commercial dance music. Things changed when I discovered some proper local dance radio shows at the end of the 90s, and met older Kyiv DJs – Oleg Sokolov and Lapot in particular. They had relationships with British, German, Belgian DJs, and had really good records for the time. This led me to start collecting records myself – buying their records one by one, and also borrowing UK DJ magazines from them. Living in Ukraine pre-internet, they were like a window into another world haha.

Russian magazine Ptyuch was another huge inspiration. It showed another side of electronic music, not necessarily club stuff, but the genres I was not really aware of – ambient, nu jazz/broken beat, DnB, IDM.

How did you come to be a resident of Closer?

I joined Closer’s resident team in 2016 I think. Before, I was playing at other promoter’s parties there once in a while, most frequently on Noizar’s Wicked Bass nights and some others, just trying to do my best. Basically, the transition from club regular to my residency was very smooth. I am very proud to be a part of the club and member of such a talented collective of DJs.

Can you give any recommendations of the best tracks you’ve heard in recent months?

Not the newest, but tracks that get a lot of spins:

Mandate – Dig It’s Simple (Alphaville)

Top Banana – Rough Around The Edges (Surreal)

Do you have any memorable stories from a particular night at Closer?

There’s a lot of stories to tell. I loved one of our more recent parties when we had a glorious B2B with Nicholas Lutz and Craig Richards. Our crowd is not the most noisy, they are typically immersed in themselves but when the music stopped at 8pm on Sunday after 14(!) hours of music the crowd was very emotional, literally begging the DJs to play a few more tracks…each one was incredibly good!

To someone who’s never been, what makes Brave! Factory special and what can we expect in 2019?

Even with big names in the line-up, Brave! keeps the intimacy of a good party. As you may expect from the Closer team, a great attention is paid to the DJs on the line-up – you will not hear 1 hour DJ sets here as most DJs are given extended sets to tell their stories…

Kyiv is very nice in the summertime, and the location of previous editions has been unique – an old, post soviet factory, wide open spaces with some buildings and gardens, and plenty of spaces to dance, or hide and chill!

SE62

SE62

How did you get into underground music?

Thanks to my friends. I really appreciate that eventually I got where I got to be. I am surrounded by really talented people who were always looking for something unique.

How did you come to be a resident of Closer?

It was accident! I played at a few Closer’s parties and really enjoyed the atmosphere. I was visiting Closer more often since and also playing there from time to time, then one day I was staying next to the bar and someone from the team asked the bartender to pour a shot “for our resident Yura”.

Can you give any recommendations of the best tracks you’ve heard in recent months?

There are plenty, here’s one for you!

Do you have any memorable stories from a particular night at Closer?

One time during my set, one guy made a proposal to his girlfriend to become his wife. Everything was planned in ahead, it was so cool.

To someone who’s never been, what makes Brave! Factory special and what can we expect in 2019?

The location, it is huge and so interesting. I cannot imagine a better one, I love industrial locations.

Also, the variety of music. The choice of the dance floors is being thinking over so smartly that you have time to get everywhere and listen to everyone

Vova Klk

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How did you get into underground music?

I was about 15 years old (it was 1997-1998), I lived in Cherkassy at that time and went to school. At that time, we only had cassettes, there was no other option. Sometimes we managed to get hold of CDs, but there was nothing to listen to them with…so essentially everything was limited to cassettes. I listened to plenty of different music, my parents loved rock and pop, but at some point I got a tape from my friend. It was Aphex Twin – Come To Daddy – something irreversible happened here, and I was hooked!

At that time, the computer and internet were still a wonder and a fairy tale. In music stores, The Prodigy was the most leftfield music that could be bought, so each cassette that came across was very much appreciated and listened to a hundred times.

I was lucky that I met a group of guys who were connected to the Moscow and St Petersburg raves and a friend regularly bought the tapes of various radio stations, festivals and just different albums from Russia. I listened to everything from trip hop, acid jazz, drum and bass, heavy techno and all kinds of electronics like Muslimgauze. However, I was most attracted to dance music and thought I was mostly listening to Russian DJs. However as it, as a result of further research, it was DBX, Robert Hood, Jeff Mills, Cari Lekebusch and so on.

How did you become a resident of Closer?

I am among the first residents of Closer and was involved in the creation of this project

Can you give any recommendations of the best tracks you’ve heard in recent months?

To someone who’s never been, what makes Brave! Factory special and what can we expect in 2019?

These are the weekends that stay with you for life, no matter what year it happened…

Interview By: James Acquaye Nortey-Glover

Check out a few select photos below from last year’s Brave! Factory (Photo Credit: Sasha Zmiievets):

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