“Pressure Nights” by Centrifug – a new space of exploration in the heart of Transylvania

“Pressure Nights” by Centrifug – a new space of exploration in the heart of Transylvania 1000 1000 Be Techno

Something Romania has been waiting for. Something rough, tough, and fresh as fuck. Something we fully support. Read about ‘Pressure Nights’ and the vision behind it in a conversation with the man and the artist who put all the pieces together, Centrifug.

What’s the vision of Pressure Nights?

First, I want to reach an alternative scene, I want to form it because I realize this thing is not only possible, but many people would actually like to find such a space. I feel that this scene would add more complexity to Cluj. 

How was it so far?

We’ve reached the 5th edition and it’s getting better and better. People are becoming more and more curious and we are trying to keep up. It’s easy to make a good event, but it’s harder to keep up, keep our identity, keep our level of commitment, because at some point people come and want to see something extra. There’s always the risk of it turning into something monotonous. I’ve seen many concepts that appeared and had a mega hype around them, but after a while the motivation of the organizing crew went down…that’s why I’m trying to keep the level up.

Can you give us more insights from the organizational point of view regarding Pressure Nights?

In Pressure Nights we have a few artists who contribute to the event, but I try to keep the team relatively small because at some point when you have a large leading team there will be many ideas, many different visions and the core vision we’ve began with will get fuzzy. That’s why I wanted to maintain a direction I’ve imagined from the beginning. I didn’t have a vision for each event necessarily, but rather a larger view, like where I would like to be in 1-2 years.

Unfortunately, there is no certainty that we will have this continuity over a year or two, because of the natural pressure of the city, because many industrial spaces will be demolished, blocks will replace them as in any large city nowadays. That’s why we also need to adapt to this constant flow of changes, to find these alternative spaces and use them. It is precisely the fact that we don’t have this certainty that makes us even more enthusiastic in investing time to find warehouses or any other alternative to continue our parties. Although we often have to make compromises because of the rents, owners, or other subtle details, we want to keep in mind a completely immersive audio-video scenery and of course the security of the space.

Can you go further with some in-depth examples of troubling situations you had to go through?

It often happens that we find just a week before the next party that we have organizational issues. The hall might be leased to someone else, so if someone wants to rent it for a longer time than us the location disappears and that’s why we always need back-up plans, especially when we have one or two artists from other countries or cities.

We always expect problems, but that’s what makes us gain experience and teaches us a great deal. We will not stop here, and we will continue to make bigger and bigger events, with greater and greater artists, but for the moment we are just beginning, and we want to shape an identity for ourselves.

We rely a lot on the fact that for every event we changed the location and I think this aspect inspired a lot of people to come, making them curious to find out what kind of scenario we’ve prepared. Thinking of past events…we’ve had a car wash place, which looks exactly how it sounds, but we’ve been taking care of the decor. One evening, we were lucky the temperature didn’t drop below -5 degrees (°C). We were relying on a very large heat gun, but with just half an hour to go, when we tested it, it didn’t work anymore. Still, a lot of people showed up, so we had to bring in many heaters.

Tell us a bit about what you want to achieve with these alternative sceneries and how do people perceive them?

We are trying to get the people out of their comfort zone, to get them away from the convenience of going to a bar, where everything is self-contained, everything is in place, everything is perfect. We want to bring them into a different space, where the reality is that there may be problems and they have to realize that we work very hard to keep the night as electric as possible. For example, we had once a big space inside some halls, and the people began to explore a bit too much and we had to quickly find them, bring them back and secure the spaces.

Or, in the morning of another event, when everyone started going to work even though it was Saturday, in a place quite crowded where people come and go with buses, there were ravers everywhere with alcohol bottles making a lot of noise. It was quite a thrilling experience for us, but that’s why we have to make sure that we find suitable spaces where people feel comfortable both inside and outside. We want to offer them an alternative space in which they can discover themselves, having the necessary freedom to do that, but they must learn not to abuse this freedom, otherwise they are jeopardizing our events. This is why we’re looking towards educating our audience and we trust in their understanding, but slowly, it’s getting better and better and people are getting used to the industrial settings and the relatively minimalistic comfort.

How do you react to the feedback you get?

We greatly appreciate the feedback from people, even if it is negative. We always take it into account, trying every time to improve something, although with each event new obstacles come our way, new situations arise.

Are you focusing only on techno sounds with Pressure Nights?

Pressure Nights is about musical diversity, about energies, about people who come to discover new music genres, that’s why I tried not to focus only on techno. Even though every artist we invite has a techno sound, each one has his/her own imprint.

We’ve seen that you’ve invited Andrew Red Hand for the next party…

For the next one we’ve prepared a special lineup. If you ask people in Romania who usually go to techno or more underground events, not many will be able to tell you about the artists we’ve invited, maybe very few.

Andrei came two or three times to Gazette, he played there, but Gazette is not the right place for his sound. Andrei needs an industrial space, more spaciousness, he has a big room sound that needs to manifest itself in a bigger space, has to go through the whole surface, needs bigger speakers, needs something a bit more special.

In general, at Pressure Nights I’ve been trying to bring activist artists that I’ve discovered.

We also observed that you didn’t focus on bringing big names, but more on artists that fit your vision, those who fit what you want the audience to sense…

Exactly! The artists I invite are shaping the identity of the event and I really liked every artist that came so far, although some people were not very fond of them. Some persons were maybe expecting a certain genre of music, others maybe didn’t come prepared for that specific genre, but over the course of our events people will adapt and will realize what this is all about.

You’ve been talking about creating an identity and about educating the audience. How do you see this process?

Here, in our country, though not only, I feel a rather limited curiosity from the public and that is why by educating it I think of raising its curiosity for trying new stuff, new locations, to discover new artists, which even though are quite small, have a powerful sound. That’s why I want this musical diversity at Pressure Nights, where the people don’t necessarily come for the music, but for the scenario we’re preparing, for the experience inside the event. Experience counts a lot and it is created by paying attention to details, even through some mirrors placed in a certain way. We focus a lot on these details, because we want the people who come to explore these spaces to have something to discover.

Who did you like to collaborate with most?

I liked a lot when I invited Salome, a nice DJ from Georgia, who had a fantastic sound, and besides we spent some time together with the team. She stayed for another day in Cluj and enjoyed it a lot. I liked that besides the fact that she came to play music, she also wanted to discover Cluj, the community here, and we got to explore a little bit the surroundings together.

She liked it a lot. She liked the scene and the energy of the event. She didn’t really expect it. She had gigs in Eastern Europe before, but didn’t know much about Romania. The hospitality of the people, the way they danced with her until the morning and especially the space where we’ve held the event impressed her.

I appreciate this a lot, that besides the professional collaborations I get to know how they got here, why they agreed to come to our events. She now lives in Berlin, but for the most part has been active in the scene in Tbilisi.

Upcoming gigs for you?

In Bucharest there will be Harder #9. It will be during the period of the pride walk and it is a queer event. I’ll play there alongside two other DJs. I’ve never attended such an event and I expect all kinds of costumes, a lot of interesting people, decors, hedonism and that’s why I want to prepare an exciting set, to turn everything upside down.

After that, it will be the last Pressure Nights before the summer, but not the last event I will be organizing here in Cluj.

Are you thinking of something outdoor?

Yes…I would like to make an event during the summer, during the day, it will happen for sure.  

Coming back to Pressure Nights…we will focus all the energy to gather everyone for this small boost before the holiday, to excite everyone, to make them eager to return to Cluj after the holiday and discover the small changes we’ll bring to our concept.

Then, there will be another event the next day, a rooftop charity party at Cluj Arena. All the funds will be donated to a good cause through Beard Brothers. I hope there will be plenty of people who want to help and raise the target amount, because what Beard Brothers are doing here in Cluj is very special. The artists will not be paid, but that’s a challenge to put all the energy to keep the people up till the morning and raise enough money to buy an ambulance…that’s the target, an ambulance.

Last, I’ll have an event in Gazette, their last for this season.

Thank you, Centrifug, the friend, the man, the artist.

The end

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