Being alone, as a collective

Interview with William Kouam Djoko

Being alone, as a collective

03-04-2014 | 10.31

William Kouam Djoko is up next for the honorary title of ‘Resident of the Month’. To top it off, he’s also launching his own clubnight on the 4th of April: IKWIL. Alongside Karizma, William is taking over the Verdieping and hosting an extraordinary night. On a sunny winter's day, I spoke to William about his new clubnight.
Previously, you were hosting Late Night Society, along with Boris Werner. How come you’ve started on your own since this year? 
"Over the past years I’ve developed a different taste in music. I’ve always been very broad-minded when it comes to music. I did Late Night Society with Boris for three years. Those days are over now, though I’ve always done it with pleasure. Now that Trouw is entering its final year, I have a good talk with Olaf. The result of that conversation is that we both get our own clubnight."
Your new night is called IKWIL (I want), where did you get that name?
"My manager made it up, he said that ‘I want’ is the thing that I’ve said the most this year, haha. We live in an era in which ‘me’ is being cultivated to a new concept. Everybody is his own brand. It’s not mandatory to finish your school career; which I didn’t finish for example. I’m able to live through something I didn’t learn in school. Alongside me there are tons of others who are able to do the same, all with a different expression. The name ‘IKWIL’ stands for everybody's own will. Everybody wants something and they’re all able to do something as well. When you talk to people, they often have a story about their ambitions and how they are chasing them. This is eminently a time for just that."
Doesn’t it sound a bit selfish? It seems as if everybody stands alone in a club.
"That’s what we do, right? For example, if you look at the phenomenon partypics, which Trouw stopped taking. A friend of mine once noticed that when the website Partyflock was still going strong, you always saw pictures of people standing in groups and pulling faces. Nowadays, people are usually on their own in these pictures. We’re all alone, but as a collective. At least, that’s how I see it. We still do it together. Since it’s a new thing, I guess we all need to get used to it."
Trouw is coming to an end: how are you going to handle your clubnight afterwards? Are you going to continue IKWIL? 
"I don’t really know yet. For now, we are doing three or four clubnights, one of them being a William Kouam Djoko allnighter. IKWIL is a De Verdieping concept, with the booth on the side of the room. I think that’s the perfect arrangement. During the events, I’d like to create interaction with the artist, so the people are really focussed on the person I invite."
In my previous interview with Malawi, one of the guys told me that he regrets the fact that people in a club are always focussing on the DJ, even though the DJ doesn’t really do that much. At concerts, that’s a different story of course.
"That’s something I want to do differently, even though I’m aware of it. I’d like to make the night more of a concert. Being focussed on each other instead of the DJ is an idea that I like. But when the DJ is more of a performer, which I definitely am, it’s a different story.’"
Can you tell something about Karizma?
"Karizma is a great artist! I saw him at Dekmantel where he was substituting another artist last-minute. Have you seen his Boiler Room? It’s so quirky! He plays in a way that I’ve never seen before. I like to stretch a break every now and then, which he does in such an unexpected way. When I told Olaf I wanted to book Karizma, he agreed right away. Before I went on my holiday, it was already arranged. In January I took a month off to Colombia, just to relax for a few weeks."
Are you also a food freak, just like all the other residents?
"Definitely! For my Residency of the Month I’ve chosen an African dish, which kind of fits due to my Cameroon roots. I’ve invited my father as well. His girlfriend might want to cook, but that’s something we still need to figure out. First we have to check if Simo (the chef) agrees. It’s going to be my favourite dish from when I was still a kid. Something with baked banana and peanut sauce, so the Duchies will still like it, haha. Actually, I want everybody to eat it with their hands. Finger food, I’m a big fan of that."

Text: Ruben Leter