Amsterdam has once again become one of the European capitals of clubbing. Not only this due to the city’s beautiful geography and architecture, its nocturnal liveliness, its coffee shops and its superb club culture, but also the scene’s dedicated figures.
One of those is Boris Werner, who has been DJing since the late 1990s in spots such as Studio 80, Club 11 and Trouw. At the latter, he also hosted his own evenings together with William Kouam Djoko called Late Night Society. Internationally, Boris Werner established himself firstly with two 12inches on Remote Area, coproduced with Lauhaus, after which a string of classy deep house EPs followed. Moreover, he became a part of Ibiza’s DC-10 crew for three consecutive years.
Werner will soon play at Valhalla – an indoor festival at Amsterdam’s venue RAI – but first we caught up with him for a few questions.
Since you are a protagonist of Amsterdam’s nightlife scene, it’s inevitable we should talk about your hometown. So first, what are your earliest memories of going out in the city and how did the nightlife lure you in? The first times I went out I was around 14 or 15 years old. Those were the times we went to the bad spots in the city, always ending up in bar fights. Luckily some friends of mine took me to this club called Mazzo (RIP) and I was sold instantly. Looking back on it, that changed my life completely…
You’ve played at most of the important clubs and venues in the city. Several are now closed, such as Club 11, and soon Trouw will stop its activities as well. From an outsider perspective, one may get the impression that Amsterdam’s club scene is in constant flux and that things easily change over a small course of time. What is your view on this, as an insider? I don't consider it that way but think its logical people would see it like that. In my opinion a city like Amsterdam needs change to progress, ‘cause we are safe to say quite musically spoiled here in Amsterdam. So in that way change is a good thing. The fact that clubs like 11 and Trouw played a big role as temporary clubs also has its charms – why? Because the main reason clubs close their doors is simply because of one reason – people stop going to them. In that perspective it’s cool to stop at the peak-time of the club instead of letting it bleed to death slowly over the years.
You have often played very long DJ sets, some even of more than twenty hours. What is it that you like about such experiences, other than that they provide the opportunity ‘to tell a story’? It’s all about you and the people – see how far we can go together. Loosing control of time and space, that’s it!
Who are the people in Amsterdam that played (or still play) a fundamental role in your career? One of the persons who still plays a fundamental role in my career is Vanessa Vassallo, my booker and manager. We have been working already together for quite some years now and if it wasn’t for her I still would play for a bottle of wodka, haha. Thanks babe. Also Lauhaus was really important for me in the beginning, he taught me the tricks and gave me the confidence to push this as far as I could.
Not only does Amsterdam have a very lively club scene, the city is also host to several festivals. You will be playing at Valhalla soon, an indoor event organized by several main players in the local scene. What attracted you to play this festival, and do you have certain types of festivals you will or will not play? I don't play a lot of indoor festivals, not sure why though. So I took this opportunity to see what Valhalla is all about. I heard good stories from last year.
But if I can choose between indoor or outdoor festivals, I would definitely choose the outdoor ones, simply because of the contrast that it has next to normal clubbing experiences.
Do you have any releases coming up you can tell us about? I'm working on several remixes, just finished one for Son Of Sun, a group of friends from London, which will be coming out somewhere next month and this moment I’m remixing an old track from Astrophunk, a moniker from Eric de Man, which will be released on Rejected in the new year.
And what’s next for you in the New Year? After dwelling upon past memories of Trouw in the beginning of January I will be taking some time off to go on vacation for 3 weeks and reboot myself for the New Year!
Boris Werner plays Amsterdam's Valhalla Festival on December 20th, 2014.