Annie Fabricant on 14/6/12
Whilst New York’s offering of clubs and artists within the electronic music scene is as rich and diverse as ever, if you want a true cutting-edge underground party experience - with stamina - go to ReSolute. Almost as soon as the brand, with its distinctive personality, was conceived five years ago, it commanded a unique niche in the city’s electronic music landscape. Forget table service, flashy clubs and big mainstream names. ReSolute is about quality up-and-coming international artists, unusual ‘off-location’ venues, and a cool open-minded crowd who really know about electronic music.
At the moment ReSolute are mid-way through their biggest tour of Europe yet, with three showcases in Paris, Brussels and Berlin under their belt, and more dates on the horizon at Sonar, Berlin, Munich and London. Having also launched the ReSolute label at the beginning of last year, which features prominent international artists such as Kiki, Dario Zenker, Maceo Plex and label owner himself, Elon, the brand is steadily expanding and building up its global fan-base.
What’s particularly interesting about Resolute is the duo behind it. Nektarios, the founder, and Elon, the co-founder and resident DJ, are two strong - and kind of quirky - characters, who bring very different backstories to the table. Like all great brands, the ReSolute personality perfectly embodies its leadership. I caught up with the pair just before they hopped on a plane to Berlin...
Nektarios: a 35 year-old Greek-born architect come party-addict. Big hair, big eyebrows, big ideas. Astute, and with an extraordinary knack for making friends and acquaintances, he’s a formidable Connector. Nektarios has one foot firmly planted in Neverland, but Reality is still a friend of his.
Elon: a 35 year-old Israeli-born talented DJ, even better producer, small in stature but big in passion and determination. He’s both romantic and silly, soulful and spontaneous. His motto is: ‘do what you love and love what you do.”
Nek left Greece for New York in 1999 to study architecture. He threw the occasional house party, but his dedication to his studies earned him the name ‘architecture bitch’ and within a few years he had even launched his own company. But he became increasingly frustrated and disillusioned with the lack of creative freedom in the professional architecture world of New York. Pretty soon Nek’s parties in his sunny spacious apartment in Long Island City-an 8th floor walk-up with spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline-started gaining momentum. “It was getting so busy, every time there were more and more people, and I thought I have to stop as I really like my apartment, and didn’t want to lose it...Then a friend of mine who had just opened a little lounge/club/resto in East village [Kion Lounge] heard that I was doing a lot of parties and had a lot of friends so he asked me to help him.”
Through doing parties at Kion Lounge he met Elon and Connie, who has also been resident DJ at Resolute since its inception. At that time the two DJs were running a collective called EJC Collective, along with fellow DJ Justin R. Up until this point, Elon had been resolutely plugging away at his DJ career. Back in 2000, fresh off the boat from Israel, 23 year-old Elon had no money, no English, no friends and no real idea of what he could or would do. All that was certain was that he had feverish impulse to place his stamp onto the world. Born in Tel Aviv, he could barely tie his shoelaces when he decided to become very religious. About the time he sprouted facial hair he began to question the meaning of life, became agnostic and swiftly channeled his heated emotions into creative outlets (despite having won the Math Genius accolade at his school).
Playing the bass guitar, singing, and painting all came easily to him. He particularly enjoyed writing poetry and used to go to open stages to read out his poems. “I would read them over a soundtrack that I used to create beforehand on a tape cassette or a mini disc. I had a four-channel mixer where I was recording all kinds of effects and creating a soundtrack that would fit the meaning of the poem. And it was usually really provocative. People reacted pretty strongly.” A stint at sound engineering school lead to his first DJing hook-up and his first forays into electronic music. Before long he got stuck into production - initially making soundtracks and sound effects on a drum machine and four-track mixer with a few instruments like guitar and bass.
ReSolute was born not long after Nektarios, bored with the monotony of Kion Lounge, stopped doing parties there, and met ‘Thea’, an art curator. “She would invite me to all the shows she was putting on, and I would go see these amazing spaces. I immediately thought these would be amazing spaces for parties. But at same time I was inspired by the Minimoo parties.” Nek wanted to find spaces with ‘attitude’ rather than just regular venues. At this point his Serbian friend Nikola Nedeljkovic moved to New York from Vermont and they decided to do a party together. The first ReSolute party was in November 2007 in a loft in the Meatpacking district. Nikola booked Elon and a decent headliner who had couple of records on a pretty successful label.
N: I used all my crowd as the early crowd, and then making it an afterhours event brought people from all the small circles of techno events: Sullivan Room, Bar 13 etc. So all these places which closed at 4 knew there was something going on in the Meatpacking district.”
E: People were just jumping on the turntable… It was very loose.
N: But at least we created this great vibe...People were hungry first and foremost for afterhours. Everyone was talking about this amazing party ‘ReSolute’, from the very first party.
Elon and Connie promptly became the ReSolute residents, and soon after the impressive Alexi Delano was welcomed into the family as the third resident. Elon straight away became very involved in the collective (initially because “Nek and Nikola didn’t even know how to hook up the mixer to the speaker”).
N: Elon loved this project as his baby. He was my mentor basically - I learned a lot musically from him, and how to judge things. And he taught me a lot about doing parties. Even though I’ve become better than him now…
E: Better at partying than me that’s for sure! Since I was travelling a lot, meeting a lot of DJs, working with many labels I could make good contacts for most of the bookings. But now I think that Nek is the networker, more of the party boy and getting to meet tons of people in the industry, so it doesn’t really make much difference [these days].
N: Elon brought a lot of organization to the brand, which I didn’t have. I had the ideas. I had the balls...but I was not good in detailing stuff. Elon is good with planning, financially, and stuff like that. He didn’t used to agree with my ideas about taking risks, but now he’s getting there..."
The second party got shut down 20 minutes in, and the third was a disaster. They were so paranoid about being shut down that they made the access to the party extremely complicated and very few people showed as a result. So they tightened things up, introducing a ‘members only’ system where people had to both approach them and rsvp before they made it onto the event list. “This way, we ensured the nicest crowd possible. All of them sophisticated, switched on, you know...people who aren’t going to cause fights or anything,” says Nek. They hired top tier security and protection, and this meticulousness has paid off with a long stretch of successful parties. The only incident occurred in fall 2010 when Bloomberg instructed the whole NY police unit to shut down all the parties. “That was right before the election, just to kind of prove that it’s a safer city,” Elon points out.
E: It’s really the security of the people, the residents and citizens of New York [that we’re concerned about]. Sometimes we’re doing really risky things and we actually think twice if we really want to go for something like that. Not because we think we might get shut down, but rather: is someone in our party going to get hurt? Anything is possible.
N: ReSolute in one sense started evolving by just going with the flow. We have a flexible approach.
E: And we’re spontaneous.
The love of music however, is what sits at the core of ReSolute, and what drives it.
E: If it wasn’t for music, ReSolute wouldn’t exist. We’re not just a business concerned with making a profit...we love to do this for the love of music.
That Elon is a globe-trotting DJ, a prominent producer - having released a bunch of successful EPs and remixes on imprints such as Get Physical and Dumb Unit, - and now the ReSolute label- head, inevitably brings a dynamic and authentic edge to the ReSolute brand.
E: Of course as a working DJ I have to keep up to date with what’s going on in the industry. I’m not interested so much in ‘what’s hot’, but, What’s going on? Who is the next artist that’s on brink of breaking through?
This approach distinguishes ReSolute from other promoters who tend to book ‘what’s hype right now’. ReSolute endeavor to predict who is going to be hot, before he or she gets hot.
E: For the longest time I have really believed in just a few artists that I really wanted to get into the Resolute family. Eric for example [Maetrik/ Maceo Plex] played at our fourth party, and he was one of those kinda underdog artists. I always saw that at some point he’s going to get a break, but we were mainly interested in him because we really liked and respected his music.’
N: A lot of our artists offer to come play for less money than their initial fee, just because they enjoyed it so much.
The success of ReSolute cannot be accounted for without also acknowledging the brilliant team of loyal supporters and friends who have made generous contributions with visuals, lighting, chauffeuring the artists, T-shirt design, brand graphics and much more. Lauren Ritter came on board as the ReSolute Label manager last September and has been invaluable to the growth of the brand - as well as to the organization and promotion of the events
Through actively picking up the phone, and word of mouth, Nektarios keeps finding great spaces. From dramatic vaulted warehouses in Bushwick to barges on the East River, to The Boat Without A Captain nestled in some forgotten creeks somewhere between Queens and Brooklyn, there’s a real energy of adventure at the heart of ReSolute.
Outside New York the collective have thrown some legendary parties at DEMF, Arma 13 in Moscow, Weekend Club in Berlin, Rex Club in Paris and WMC. Currently mid-way through their Europe tour, and with plans to bring their franchise to San Francisco and Los Angeles later this year, as well as continuing to develop their promising record label, the ReSolute team, and the rest of us, have plenty to look forward to.
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