07-03-2013 | 16.12
As organizers of the legendary Blk|Market events in New York, things are looking good for Taimur & Fahad. Their monthly illegal parties in the Big Apple have attracted the attention from people around the world whilst maintaining an mysterious vibe. With their Dutch debut at Ratio? this Saturday just around the corner, Melon contacted the New York men to unravel a part of this mystery.
Hi guys, thanks for having a moment to talk. First if all: how did you guys meet?
Taimur: Fahad blew me a kiss.
Fahad: That’s exactly what I did!
Taimur: All jokes aside, one night I came over to Fahad’s house with a friend of mine with some records. We had seen each other in New York and in clubs here and there, but we first went out for Halloween one night. I grew up in Abu Dhabi and he grew up in Karachi, Pakistan. We moved to New York around the same time, about 1999. I’d see Fahad at clubs, but at that time we didn’t know each other and we didn’t hang out.
Fahad: Yeah just like he said, my friend Taj got Taimur over to my house, but we met a bunch of times in clubs and then he just came over to my house and we had a little afterhours music sesson in my little room on the Upper East Side. And then we played for like 5 or 6 hours and my wife Madeeha and Taj were just chilling in the room, just two fans in the room and just listening to us playing records. I think that was also the first broadway experience I guess! Our 3rd partner Memo joined us 3 years later.
So that was actually our first crowd, cool to hear! How did you guys end up from Abu Dhabi and Pakistan to New York?
Fahad: I moved in 99 from back home, cause my siblings moved to New York and my mom has an entire family over here, so I made sense for me to come over here. I’m also really good with computers and I started working over here for Citibank and that was my initial move to come over here and do some work. I was into electronic music from back home such as trance as stuff.
Taimur: I moved to New York in 99, got accepted to Pratt university and came to do my graphic design bachelor's degree. I did that and when I was in town, a lot of my friends told me to visit the nightclubs here. Mainly to Twilo, Vinyl and Limelight. Back home, all the music at the clubs was your top 100 bullshit. This was my kind of first proper introduction to the nightlife which I fell in love with.
Is there actually a scene down there, or just big parties with big names?
Fahad: There’s no scene back home, there are a couple of kids doing it however. It’s a very private thing, it’s not promoted, invite only. They do some parties at the beach in Karachi or at someone’s house. People have really big houses over there and they often use their backyard. But I wouldn’t call it a healthy scene.
How were the first party you threw and where were they based?
Taimur: I did a few events with a group called Intuition in New York and was kind of over working of then. It didn’t feel like it was going anywhere after a certain period of time. So after we played at Fahad's house, I said ‘this might work’, seeing that we share alot of the same tastes in music and that this could be the start of something really good. I thought we could push this forward. So Fahad was not into it and I said to him, come on let’s do it....and so it began and here we are almost 7 years later.
Fahad: I was a bedroom DJ and did some gigs here and there: In the early days, I played Sullivan Room, Centro Fly and a bunch of small spaces throughout the city. But I was not really ready to throw a party, because the scene was not really that good. All the clubs were being shut down and it moved from big spaces to smaller spaces. I just thought throwing a party yourself and risking all this money just didn’t make any sense, but Taimur really pushed me to do it.
Taimur: So the first party we did was with our friend Andrew Grant from Circo-loco. We did that in May 2006 and we decided to do parties in the basement of a club called Element. This space used to be an actual bank vault with a nice sound system. We decided to do monthly parties. The manager of that place was a friend of mine, so he basically gave us the freedom to do the bookings and we did that for a year.
That's funny, I also started throwing parties in 2006! You throw parties all over the city and we hear crazy stories about rooftop parties. How do you deal with authorities being an illegal party?
Fahad: Let’s just say that there aren’t many venues left in New York. We were first doing our parties in small clubs, but we got pretty sick of dealing with them. So we decided to do underground nights where we would find a certain location, book DJ’s and not announce the location of the event. The way we promote these parties, it’s very hard to find out where to party is happening. It’s invite only, you have to RSVP to a certain email address which we change for every event.
Taimur: Fahad does all the background checks because it’s really important for us to know who’s at our parties.
Fahad: You know Melon, we’ve been doing this for 6 years and we’ve never have a single fight or incident at our parties, so you could say the crowd is really educated. We're also fortunate to have a really good security team.
Taimur: A lot of people don't get the address.
What would be the ultimate location to throw a party for you guys in New York?
Taimur: There have been so many locations where we’ve already done it. It always depends on the weather. In the summertime, you wanna do it on a rooftop or a parking lot. If it’s winter maybe in a giant warehouse where you don’t really need a AC because of the bodyheat of all the people. A cool space would be a big warehouse with lots of room for bars, bathrooms, door person and a coat check. Basically a big nice room which we found in Brooklyn. Brooklyn happens to be a very industrial area and the canvas is quite amazing.
If you could choose any location worldwide, where would you like to throw a party?
Fahad: I don't want to do it in Europe because the scene is so massive there. Definitely in the U.S or Mexico.
Taimur: Kho Phangan in Thailand for a full moon beach party.
How does the Amsterdam scene look for you and what do you know about it?
Taimur: The Dutch scene for me is quite a buzz. I always think of Amsterdam being the center of festivals, so you are definitely number 1 in that department. There are a lot of Dutch artists we listen to and work with. I deal with getting records for halcyon from Rush Hour and Clone shops. Those are two quite major labels of distributors that carry a lot of essential titles that we love to stock in the shop. So I think that seeing the Dutch culture moving from the disco days to this, is quite amazing.
Yeah, for a small country we have quite an impact! Last question: you guys are coming here tomorrow. What’s one thing you definitely want to see or do in Amsterdam?
Taimur & Fahad: The Red Light District. haha! No, we’re joking, we just want to see the city, ride bikes, hang around with the Don, walk through the city and visit as many record shops: see the real Amsterdam....and we are really looking forward to playing Trouw.