RoXY nightclub opened in 1987, closed tragically over a decade later, and left Amsterdam, its home city, with an epochal musical legacy. On June 21, 1999, RoXY would burn down during a commemoration service for its artist co-founder Peter Giele, the day of his burial. But as devastating a coincidence as that may be, the club had already propelled Amsterdam into a brave new sonic world.
The locals still speak fondly of RoXY - it gave their city dance music. But, they also excitedly talk up what’s happening now. For RoXY’s spirit well and truly lives on in a super-charged network of new and different clubs, events, studios and DJs. There’s a feeling, in fact, that things are better than ever.
Gert Van Veen, owner of influential Amsterdam club Studio 80, and co-founder of pioneering live techno act Quazar, believes his city is making history right now, rather than simply honouring it. “There’s something really special happening,” he enthuses. “I see plenty of similarities between the RoXY days and what’s going on now; but things are bigger this time round. It’s really exciting.”
Studio 80, with a specific remit to help break new, local talent, is just one of several joints doing well. Venues like Trouw, Sugar Factory and Melkweg en Paradiso are all reportedly booming, as well as city labels such as Intacto, Remote Area/Area Remote and the relaunched 100% Pure, a favourite with Carl Craig and Darren Emerson.
So what exactly can we attribute to Amsterdam’s recent meteoric rise? “The city has been lucky” laughs Van Veen, 55, “but it’s also down to timing and strong community. Promoters haven’t exclusively flown in overseas artists; they’ve nurtured young Dutch DJs and producers, who all seem to be rising through the ranks at the same time now.” So-called ‘new skool’ house and techno artists like Daniel Sanchez, Shinedoe and Amsterdam 661; artists sharing their city, coincidentally, with superstar residents Sander Kleinenberg and Sebastien Leger.
A string of annual summer festivals also makes the point of cultivating Amsterdam’s bright young things. Next month, Loveland (August 8) and Voltt (August 29) will serve up a heady mix of the rapidly emerging and long established. Both follow Welcome To The Future, August 1, a showcase of the hottest new Netherlands music-makers, and a magnet for deal-making industry execs and opinion formers the world over.
Much like the increasingly influential Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) which this year takes place October 21-24. ADE is fast becoming one of Europe’s leading electronic music events, mixing high-powered conference with high-spirited concert. This year’s DJ line-up includes Laurent Garnier, Armin van Buuren and Steve Lawler, and perhaps best reflects the prominent status Amsterdam is starting to enjoy on the global stage.
It’s a revolutionary, life-affirming vibe we’ve hopefully distilled into forthcoming, triple-disc comp Amsterdam In The House. Due for release August 24, the compilation, mixed by Hardsoul and Chocolate Puma, promises to represent the current, explosive house sound of Amsterdam.
Clubland is going Dutch, and on the double….