Journey with Odyssey
Reported by Agnes Klos
Submitted 08-12-09 21:27
Deft feats of aural skills, legendary journeys in trance and party loving creatures lurking in the dark, this could only be Odyssey helping bridge the gap between waking up and partying hard on Saturday afternoon. Agnes Klos joined up with the Odyssey team to learn more about their quest for your ears.
Cruising around clubland for years I thought that nothing could really enchant me anymore. Nothing did until I encountered a party called Odyssey which truly startled me. It was an unusual event, one-of-a-kind I could say, almost an extinct one on the London scene: a good underground party for free.
Yes, you heard me right. A free-of-charge almighty trance party with a thrilling line-up in the basement of a wicked venue called Ember in Farringdon. Kicking off at 3pm, it was supposed to finish at midnight but the crowd would not allow it. Carrying on till past 1am, shoes were well and truly danced off.
And no wonder as the DJs at the last party included Showdown, Adam Symbiosis, Dale Corderoy, Simon Bostock, ERC and Jurrane. Each of them entertained their followers and presented everything that quality trance music is about. It was only the second party for Odyssey but it’s already going from strength to strength. I sat down for a coffee with the four people behind Odyssey, Eve Whitlock, Frani Heyns, Dom Wysocki and Marco Lugari.
Eve, Frani, Dom, Marco: The Odyssey Team
Hi guys! Thank you for finding time to talk to me and answer a few questions about Odyssey. The first thing that I am dying to ask is, how did you come up with the whole concept of the party?
The Odyssey team happens to be best friends too. One evening after a few glasses of wine we were getting nostalgic about the 'good old days' of clubbing in London and the sad demise of the trance scene. We talked about the obvious and less obvious reasons for this and decided that most people of our generation now have responsible jobs, families etc. So an all-night clubbing event is less appealing than it was a few years ago. But even though these people can't do all-nighters anymore, they still love the music. Then we had the brainwave of hosting a day party where people can dance, have a few drinks and have enough time to catch the last train home. We also wanted to give our talented DJ friends the opportunity to play out (since there's hardly a club night left in London town).
Who makes up the Odyssey team? Who is the organisational brain, who decides about DJs, who creates the posters? Tell us everything.
The Odyssey team consists of Eve Whitlock, Dom Wysocki, Marco Lugari and Frani Heyns. We all play a different part and that is why Odyssey works like clockwork. The very talented Dom does all the illustrations for our posters. Eve is our superstar designer, Marco aka DJ ERC is our one and only resident and deals with all music and web matters and Frani does the writing. We have regular meetings over dinner and wine to brainstorm themes, line-ups, decoration ideas and more.
At the moment we are living in dark recession times. Why is Odyssey a free party then?
Odyssey is a complete labour of love. We're doing this because we love the music with all our hearts and you can't really put a price on passion. The four of us have been clubbing for over a decade and found the slow and painful disappearance of those hands-in-the-air trance nights very sad. And that is precisely why we brought Odyssey to life – we wanted to create a space for wonderful people who love trance and by keeping it free we don't exclude anyone.
Will you start charging for the entry in the future?
Money has never been the driving force behind Odyssey. We purely do it for the love of trance and we'd like to keep it free for as long as possible. We've just had our second party, so we're still small and can fit in a venue where they're happy with a minimum bar spend. But if we do grow and end up at a venue with hire fees, we'll have to charge to cover those costs.
How did you come up with the name? And is it symbolic in any way?
The four of us brainstormed names and wanted this party to symbolise a journey or an adventure where people can lose themselves in the music. Odyssey encapsulates it all really. Once we came up with the name, Dom used his amazing talents to create our very own Spartan that will have a different look for every party.
What would you say to someone planning to follow in your footsteps and host their own party?
First of all, test the market and make sure no-one is doing the same thing (especially if you're thinking of doing it in London). Draw up a profile of the crowd you want to attract and get into their heads. Know what they want. Find a catchy name that people will remember. Put a pair of comfortable trainers on and walk the city in search of a venue. There are loads of undiscovered treasures in the streets of this wonderful city. Advertise wisely. If you're charging, look at what the competition is doing before deciding on the price. Make lists of everything! It's easy to miss something. And most of all – have fun!
Tell us about the equipment that you use for the parties? Do you hire it out or is it your private one?
The venue owns two Technics 1210s, but no-one has requested them for their sets so far. So we use mostly our own equipment – two Pioneer CDJs 1000 and a Pioneer DMJ 800 Mixer.
What kind of atmosphere are you trying to achieve at the party?
We're trying to create a friendly, energetic and uplifting atmosphere with loads of happy, smiley faces. We want the music to speak to each and every heart and take people on a memorable journey through time.
How do you advertise yourself?
Maintaining the atmosphere mentioned above is really important for us, so we don't advertise to the masses. Odyssey is dedicated to trance, our friends and friends of friends, so word-of-mouth is probably our strongest marketing tool. We also have a cool website, a group on Facebook and we're on Twitter. We advertise our parties on here and hand out flyers to familiar faces when we get the chance.
What type of clubbers are you trying to attract?
We would like to see friendly, happy people on our dance floor who love trance as much as we do.
If I'd just heard about Odyssey and decided to go, what could I expect from the party?
First of all a stunning venue. Then a carefully worked out musical journey starting at 15:00 and ending at 24:00. Each party has a slightly different flavour, so we pick the DJs we feel are right for what we want to achieve. We also buy decorations for every party – just for that extra finer touch – and we have a healthy stock of Haribo sweets for everyone. And finally, we'll always have a CD giveaway for the first people through the door so they can take the Odyssey experience home with them.
Was the last party on 14th November in Ember a success? Did it exceed your expectations?
It was great fun! We had amazing feedback from clubbers, friends and management, so yes – it definitely went well. We did expect slightly more people, but I think the weather kept people indoors. We almost blew away that day!
What improvements would you make to the party in the future?
We've just started, so it's hard to say. I guess we're still finding our feet at the moment. Moving from the Charterhouse to Ember was a huge improvement – people love the new venue. We would like to negotiate drinks specials at some point in the future though.
You also gave away two CDs as a present to each participant at the last event. Odyssey Voyage 002 – DJ ERC and Simon Bostock - Guestmix. Why are you being so generous?
As mentioned before, we'll always have a CD giveaway for the first people through the door. We want people to take the Odyssey experience home with them. Our theme for our last party was 'Odyssey presents Trance Generation'. So we had many of the Trance Generation guys down to play – including Simon Bostock. He kindly offered to do a guest mix especially for Odyssey.
Are you planning to have your own website?
We already have one! You can visit us at www.odysseylondon.com. Our website has in-depth info about us, the next party, all our photos and podcasts. We'd like to thank our dear friend and photographer, Stuart McGinty-Lowe for taking the most amazing photos at our parties.
When is the next Odyssey and is it going to take place in the same venue as the last one?
The next Odyssey will be on the 6th of February next year and it will be at Ember again. We have planned a very special one and let's just say, without revealing too much, people will be able to party like it was 1999 again!
Now let’s jump to DJs. I know that Ercole Marco Lugari aka ERC was not only a DJ at the party but also the co-creator of Odyssey. A question for you: how did your journey with DJing start?
I've been interested in electronic dance music since I was a child. I remember playing a STUDIO 54 tape cassette on my Sony Walkman in the 80's. I grew up in Italy where house music was very popular, so I started appreciating that genre later on.
In 1998 I heard For An Angel by Paul van Dyk and loved it so much. I was introduced to trance and never looked back - I was hooked! In 2005 I bought my first very basic Gemini CDJs and two very patient teachers – Simon Bostock and Chris Giunta – taught me the art of mixing.
In your opinion what distinguishes your style from others?
I love energetic, hands-in-air, bouncy trance, not too techy or dark, but plain soulful trance with dreamy breakdowns.
How did you come up with your DJing name: ERC?
ERC comes from my clubbing days in Dublin. My friend's Rachel and Jane couldn't properly pronounce my Italian name so they shortened it to ERC. ERC brings me back to my honeymoon of clubbing, to my first clubbing friends!
What has been the biggest crowd that you played for?
Last year I played at Ministry of Sound in the main room. What a feeling!
Where in the world would you like to DJ?
Ibiza, because there isn't a better place in the sun! Berlin, because it is the best underground music city in Europe.
Do you remember the first club you went to? What influence did the experience have on you life as a clubber and DJ?
My first club experience was a techno night, in a very underground club in the old part of Milan. The club was called "Segreta" which means Dungeon. The club was based in an underground space and all the deco represented a castle dungeon.
My first trance club experience was in Dublin, in 1998, in a club called POD. There were only 150 people, so it was very intimate affair with an amazing atmosphere - Danny Rampling was the main DJ. I remember he played an amazing three hour set, a proper journey. He made everybody dance their shoes off and nobody left the dance floor until he finished his set! As a DJ, that night taught me a lot. The most important skill a DJ can have is to read the crowd accurately.
Every DJ has a defining moment in their career. So far, what has been yours and why?
I finished a set at the Factory in Vauxhall with my friend Steve. Lots of people then gathered around to congratulate us. It was an amazing feeling. I said to myself that I would love to DJ more often!
What goals would you still like to achieve?
Odyssey is definitely one of my main goals for 2010. I’d love to help the trance scene in London to regain the popularity it used to have before.
Where can we hear you play next?
catch me at Spangulation at Club 414 on the 22nd of January 2010.
Thank’s for your time, guys.
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Photos courtesy of Odyssey and Stuart McGinty-Lowe. Not to be reproduced without permission.
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The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.