Get Familiar: Famirie
Artwork by Sjon de Baron
Famirie touches down in London once again, five years after their last edition at Miranda in the Ace Hotel. They have spent the lockdown schemin’ and this time they are bringing Bao G, Passion Deez and Ray Fuego from the Netherlands and linking up with Fredwave and OK Williams in their hometown. DJ sets will be intertwined with live performances by the guests, powered by the weighty four-point soundsystem at Venue MOT Unit 18 and will be topped off by a special live guest from the UK. After such a long break we thought it was time to catch up with our family at Famirie and get familiar with their vision.
The latest project is Famirie in London, what can we expect from that?
Famirie is our cross-border party at Bureau Punt which touches down in Amsterdam only once a year during ADE. A concept born from the idea that we need to create a European network of creatives, cultural pushers and community builders from all walks of life. With the freedom of movement that we still have and no visas or bullshit between our neighbours we noticed that structures could be created between cities. Therefore maybe one day when the EU crumbles, we will still have these connections we have forged ourselves.
The concept came up 6 years ago when we felt that the EU might fall not all too soon and with that lose the freedom of movement without a visa and administrative bullshit. With the freedom of movement that we still have and no visas or bullshit between our neighbours, we noticed that structures could be created between cities. Therefore maybe one day when the EU crumbles, we will still have these connections we have forged ourselves. And unfortunately, it seems that our gut feeling was right seeing all the misery that’s currently and has taken place for some time now.
The concept focuses on a live act from the city we are visiting along with a dutch artist and DJ’s we know through our extended friends & family network. We also try to extend this inter-territory by inviting creatives such as a videographer and photographer from other cities. So for example, in London we have Jeffrey Roekens from Ghent joining us. We’d like our next steps to be; starting conferences, panel talks and workshops in the cities we visit to lay foundations outside of just the club night, something we can hopefully do when we take Famirie to Barcelona.
This is a very diverse line-up, can you talk us through it?
We want to embody different scenes and cities and reflect on a combination of what we listen to in the office and the different cultures and backgrounds who pass through the office. As a result the line up often bridges these different scenes together. With Famirie we also try to expand the barriers of what you can expect from a clubbing experience. We try to do this by taking the London energy of acts like Fredwave, Passion DEEZ, OK Williams and mixing it with that Amsterdam feeling through artists like Ray Fuego and Bao G.
Building bridges is something that you really seem to take pride in, how important is collaboration to your creative process?
At Bureau Punt we don’t believe in the statement that you are born alone and die alone. When you are born, two people bring you into this world so collaboration is at the root of everything. Travelling massively expands your creative threshold through meeting new people as well as the food, events and sounds you experience.
We are also conscious that when you go somewhere you have to contribute something to that space whilst also consuming all this new information. There has to be a healthy exchange of ideas! This is essentially what Famirie is built from, sharing these influences picked up in various cities.
What was the last London edition like?
We were still a very young concept at that point in time, we booked Lion Kojo and JD Reid among others for it. We organised it along with Walid, a good friend of ours and we built fruitful relationships and met people we still fuck with every time we visit London.
We didn’t have a dutch live performer on that lineup, which was a shame but we are making up for it this edition with Ray Fuego, in a big way. We also managed to miss our flight back to Schipol due to craving that Nando’s fix whilst we were in town, so we will be aiming to avoid the mistakes of our past this time.
How important is it to visit the cities in person before throwing a party there?
It is key! First and foremost, you need to know the laws of the land before you enter that city with an event. Making a real connection with the people is vital and knowing small things such as public transport, understanding the clubbing landscape and the North / South divide in London for example. As well as obviously knowing the city on a political and social level. All of these little bits of knowledge are something you build up over multiple visits and conversations you have with people every day from small business owners, creatives and taxi drivers.
Community building is in the DNA of Famirie, making real-life connections throughout Europe and fostering a scene between cities, where can we expect to see you and the fam as the year goes by?
At the end of March, we have a team trip to Barcelona where we will scout out locations for Famirie in Barcelona and get to know the scene there before Famirie touches down in early June. The plan is to do something in Belgium in the last quarter of the year, as well as the annual ADE party in October.
What similarities do you see between the cities that you champion?
The similarities we often see is that the current cities we target such as London and Amsterdam are metropolitan cities. What you tend to see is that they have healthy scenes through radio and media or strong club cultures, promoters and/or festivals. Even down to the infrastructure with similarities in the transportation system and good city links which enable creativity outside of the immediate city centre. There is also an organised DIY mentality in these cities which makes visiting the city and getting in contact with the right circles who are doing good things for the area much smoother.
What are the differences you see between scenes in Europe and beyond?
We see many differences between Amsterdam and London in particular and that is often where Famirie’s strength lies. We strive to identify these differences and bring the best aspects from each city to our parties through our values but also the artists and creatives we invite to join us at each edition.
One of the differences we noticed is that the transition from pirate radio to ‘mainstream’ and independent radio has been much more successful in the UK, with stations such as Rinse FM and NTS still maintaining that independent spirit. In the Netherlands I feel perhaps we haven’t been as successful with this in the past. Although now it’s great to see all the independent stations springing up now!
However, the transition of venues and bars into mainstays in the Amsterdam scene (such as the Paradiso, De Duivel and the Melkweg) has gone way better in the Netherlands. Even down to clubs and their various names but same location like The Sugar Factory / Lovelee or Trouw / De School.
We also noticed that this is mainly due to licensing restrictions and it seems in London it’s easier to get a licence but also much easier to have it taken away, so you get lots of clubs popping up in different spaces. In Amsterdam the paperwork to get a licence is crazy but once you have it, it is difficult to get it revoked so the venue name or owners may change but the location stays the same which creates a heritage around that space.
Then there’s also this trickle down effect each difference has to the journey of DJ’s making a name for themselves in that city. So in Amsterdam you earn a reputation through playing in clubs. However in London, you can have a dope radio show and your name will spread on the ‘underground’ that way.
There are very few black-owned venues, labels and clubs, how do we move past the hangovers of colonialism through ownership?
Perseverance, gaining knowledge and aligning yourself with a network that shares this knowledge so we can create and build together whilst holding onto your principles and being unapologetic in doing so. This results in having more control of our own narrative and allows your network to grow together! It’s also something which we want to improve on as Bureau Punt through sharing our office space with people and doing more workshops and serving as a grassroots library focused on music and cultures through our events and platform as a whole.
Taking local artists beyond the Dutch borders seems to be a key part of what Famirie wishes to achieve, how did you come across Bao G?
I met Bao for the first time some years ago with DJ Abstract when I was going to Den Haag and we linked up through her brother (who knew Abstract) at a party. The party was called Daghap actually!
She went to New York and played an event called ‘City of Gods’ and word got back through some friends that she played a killer set and I was programming Live at the BBQ at that time. Eventually we got to talking and she joined the Bureau Punt family, Live at the BBQ residents with Jerrau and Lion Kojo! For which we actually have a new home at Parallel in Noord where Live at the BBQ will be on the 15th April.
Speaking of Bao, we caught up with her briefly to find out more about the role she plays in these projects.
Your selection is always at forefront of where hip-hop and trap are heading, how do you stay so clued up?
I'm always keeping my ear to the streets! Consistency is really key when you're digging so it's super important to stay listening and searching for new artists. That way you never get too comfortable and you will always find something new!
As a woman of colour, how important is the representation of people like yourself to the scene?
What can we expect from you at the London event?
At this London show, we're gonna bring not only cities together through the Amsterdam and London connection but also people and cultures together through hip-hop and trap.
We also caught up with Ray Fuego to find out what's going on through his mind at the moment.
How is the new album coming along?
The album is coming along fine! I'm just a bit stressed out because I am also working on some other albums at the moment too
You have played a key role in the contemporary hip-hop and punk landscape in the Netherlands over the past few years, what is it about these sounds that attracted you to them?
I guess the sounds attracted me! Music is my god and I do everything in the name of music. In a way, its like how sheep follow religions, It doesn’t have to make sense all the time.
What can we expect from you at the London event?
You can expect orderly chaos!