10 QUESTIONS WITH
On the heels of his fabric 78 mix and just in time for RPR Soundsystem’s return to the club this Saturday, DJB had a chance to connect with the famously press-shy Romanian artist and ask a few questions about the recent presidential election and current creative culture in his home country.
What’s it like in Romania? Where are you living now?
I have lived in Bucharest for 10 years now. It is not that bad: still a country of many contrasts, but taken as a whole, it is a very beautiful country.
Do you have any memories from the communist period? Looking to the present, do you think that Romania is well-integrated with the rest of the EU, or is there still a ways to go?
I don’t have so many memories from the communist period as I was a little too young to realise the political climate. If you compare it now to other countries in the EU, for sure, it is not fully integrated yet, but slowly and surely it is getting there. I mean, the reforms are starting to take shape, but there is still a long, long way to go, from economic to social and political aspects.
“…It did cross my mind some years
ago but I don’t want to move
I understand that current PM Victor Ponta was defeated in the recent presidential election. Did you vote? How do you feel about Klaus Iohannis, the more right-leaning candidate, winning the presidency?
Yes, that’s right, the Social Democratic party was defeated in the elections a few weeks ago and Klaus Iohannis won. There was quite a happiness boom in some areas of the country and for sure abroad, where a lot of Romanians in diaspora voted for him despite having to endure immense queues at various embassies.
I voted for sure but I don’t like politics at all and I try to stay out of it as much as possible. Many people see Iohannis as a needed change for the political reform in this country.
What impact do you think this change in leadership will have on the creative culture?
I believe the creative climate here is not that bad and that it will continue to flourish. There is a lot of movement in every corner of culture. I believe that creative culture should not interfere so much with the political climate, as long as politics will not mess with culture either.
With the arrival of the new president, I hope for more investment into music halls, athenaeums, libraries, and art galleries.
And are there any particular reforms that you’d like to see – socially, politically, economically, or otherwise?
First of all, I would like to see improvements in the quality of life for poor people. Then for sure less corruption on all levels. Last but not least, highways, like in any European country.
I read in a recent Al Jazeera article that one in 5 employees in Romania cannot earn enough to make a living. What do you think the solution is here?
I am not a political person but I think the problem is for sure not only in Romania. With austerity measures come these big problems. I think a solution could be for the government to help more people in need, with scholarships for poor kids and far more investment into education, but many times this seems a utopian option.
There is a sizeable diaspora given Romania’s population. Not to dismiss the importance of family and friends, but have you ever thought about moving?
It did cross my mind some years ago but I don’t want to move from Romania. This is a wonderful country with all her bittersweet contrasts. I guess there are many other worse places in the world where life is more difficult.
I realise that I am very lucky that I am able to do what I love and get paid for it. I am very fortunate that I can sustain my family with what I do, therefore I am super grateful.
“…I realise that I am very lucky that
I am able to do what I love
and get paid for it…”
Is the minimal house and techno sound which you helped popularise elsewhere still massively in-demand in Romania?
There is a lot happening here in the electronic music scene. A lot of people are making music and clubbing is really nice. The enthusiasm is quite high and the people are having a great time almost all the time.
It wasn’t until the [a:rpia:r] crew started getting attention in the mid-2000s that Romania became known for its electronic music scene. Has the global dance music community’s collective interest died down at all since then?
We are still here doing our thing with the same passion and commitment, so yes, I guess the flame is still burning.
Through your work on the label, you’ve done a bang-up job of providing local talent with a platform to be discovered. Is there anything else going on artistically that you think people in other parts of the world should know about too?
I don’t go out of my musical world so much, but there are a lot of things going on. There’s the classical music festival, George Enescu, which takes place every year in September. Also the SoNoRo Festival. Then we have RAWW (Romanian Artists Worldwide), a platform set up to discover artists from all areas: painters, photographers, sculptors, and others.
photo credits: ourown.ro