Love at first sight

Interview with Optimo

Love at first sight

19-04-2014 | 14.40

Our Residents of the Month March were extraordinary. In fact: Optimo is extraordinary and they’ve been so from the start. They’re not ‘just’ DJ’s: JD Twitch and Jonnie Wilkes are known for outstanding remixes, a few great labels and their noble musical vision. And all this makes that it’s sometimes a bit hard to track them down. That’s why are Resident of the Month interview is a little late this time. The advantage here is: we could already evaluate their special residency a bit. A mail conversation with Jonnie Wilkes about dark corners, disappearing and evolving together.

For a while you’re a Trouw resident now – how does deejaying as a resident differ from an ordinary gig?
"The strongest and warmest of friendships are those which stand the test of time and become something cherished by all involved: something you can really depend on. These can only grow out of respect for one another and you need to earn respect. This is how I like to look at the responsibility of a residency. A skilled DJ can and must bring the party: no matter what, no matter where, no matter who has played before them or who will play after and this is a requirement to be successful as a touring deejaying. But a resident - with time, intuition, observation and sensitivity - can find a whole other level of fulfilment for themselves and for the crowd. In the best cases (as is the case with Trouw), the resident can develop a total connection. A connection with the room, the sound (Jochem Blaauboer thank you! (Trouw’s soundguy ed.)), the dance floor, the lights, the dark corners of the room… This is very special and comes with a well nurtured residency. The party can become a community; a weekly or monthly or regular social club; a meeting point where literally anything goes, where both the DJ and the crowd are really letting go and putting trust in one another."

Tell us about your first gig in Trouw – was it love at first sight?
"It really was love at first sight. We immediately got a sense that we were working with like-minded people. There was a family atmosphere apparent between all the staff and a real sense that Trouw matters to them. Every aspect of creating a great space for late night music and escape was addressed. It seemed functional, considered and beautifully simple although extremely well executed in every aspect. It’s because the importance is placed on the key elements: sound, light and human interaction. Trouw doesn't shout as a venue or a brand; it just feels right and stands out because of it."

With the Optimo labels you’re releasing way more music nowadays than your used to – did this make deejaying easier? Was there a lack of a specific type of music that you wanted to play?
"No, they weren't lacking. In fact I was getting sent so much club orientated music that I didn't feel fitted on Optimo Music, that I started Optimo Trax to release that side of things. But, in general a lot more time and energy has been devoted to the labels this year, so the number of releases has gone up quite significantly - which in turn has led to even more great music coming my way."
You’re known to play almost every genre – which fits best in our basement, De Verdieping? 
"Raw Hypno Sleaze."

The tagline of the last party you played was: ‘how to disappear completely’ – what was it like to disappear?
"It was highly beneficial in all aspects. Total pleasure. Just like everyone should take a holiday now and then..."

Trouw only has a few more months to go – are there any records you haven’t played in Trouw yet, but really want to? 
"Of course there are: there is no end to the records that could work at De Verdieping / Trouw and we keep searching all the time for what we can bring through our experiences there. We're not trying to conquer the room and say "that's it, it's finished, it's done" - we are about evolving together, with the crowd, in the moment and adding new music all the time to take us a little further."