The average temperature in Vilnius has raised by a few degrees since the “Isla” event series have emerged in the local underground music scene back in December, 2017. Curated by three mates Gediminas Jakubka (Patricia Kokett) , Benas Trakimas (Hildå) and Aleksej Sokolov (su-y) Isla has found its home in the cellar of XI20, one of the oldest underground clubs to date in Vilnius.
Even though all of the guys have been artistically active in the scene for years, this is the first time they unite under a single name to gather melomaniac weirdos from various backgrounds to celebrate freedom of music, intoxication and life in general. High spirited and festive, the event series explore exotic music, not bounded by any genres, and invite people to spend a night by going out of the conventional rules of clubbing. Call it some sort of a fresh air for many choked ones by the monotonic nature of general clubbing scene.
Even though Isla has been around for a relatively short time, it has managed to introduce several unique performances by artists such as Vladas Dieninis, Mark Knekelhuis and Saulk Regurk, following their latest gem Zaliva-D, a duo that will be coming to perform in late May this time.
For those, not familiar with the project, it is a Beijing-based electronic music and visual group that has been breeding oriental dark electronic sounds for over a decade having their latest LP “Forsaken” released on Knekelhuis. This also won’t be the last time we are speaking about them.
Join us for a further conversation with the organisers to explore what has been happening behind the leafy scenes of Isla.
Q: Let’s start with an introduction – tell us a little about the meaning of Isla event series, the history of it and what did you do before it.
Firstly, three of us are friends who know each other for quite some time. Individually we were active in different vaguely overlapping areas of Lithuanian music and art scene. Over the time we realised that we developed a lot of close friendships and creative relationships, so eventually an urge crystalized to implement something specific to share with friends and like-minded people. This emotion turned into Patricia Kokett’s Artefakt cassette’s live presentation which took place in 2017 June in Rupert art space. It all went super well and that was the validation we needed to start our own music event series. Thus Isla came into light. The meaning itself and the concept is really simple – you dive into one particular island for one night. The venue – XI20 – contributes immensely to Isla’s identity. Zero pose, gritty, raw and unpolished, the long standing heart of Vilnius underground.
On one hand it has a more than decade of punk, hardcore and noise sound imprinted into the walls. On the other, it resembles our vision of how electronic music came to be – in industrial warehouses, abandoned concrete holes in dim lit non-gentrified districts.
Adding to that heritage we do put an extra mile to transform some interior elements to make it more vivid. Speaking about the music that we propagate – there definitely are no borders, the music has just to be adventurous and emotional. We do not care about the BMPS and kick/snare proportions and correlations, the key thing is to be alive.
“Speaking about the music that we propagate – there definitely are no borders, the music has just to be adventurous and emotional.
Q: Every Isla event has a different name, you go with a dynamic identity that every time creates a new intrigue. Is there any particular purpose for this kind of approach, like preparing the audience for a different experience to live trough every time?
Yes, we are preparing our audience for different combination of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Isla island’s locations and names implicate what natural phenomenon to expect, so they can get ready and take enough water and life vests, respirators and defibrillators (smiles). Napuka is a pool-shaped atoll formation, hence the dreamy underwater live performance from Vladas Dieninis, and the upcoming Krakatoa produced the largest volcano eruption of the modern times, and the loudest known 310 dB sound, so we got some extra subwoofers from Kala Sound System for the occasion.
Q: Even though there have already happened a handful of Isla events, it still feels as if it is the first time coming there, what is the general feedback from people that you get regarding the event series? How do you feel about it?
Thanks, that’s a beautiful insight. Our top sources of feedback are the body density (it’s DENSE) and air humidity (it’s HUMID). And of course, we feel very pleased and truly honoured that people enjoy being in Isla so much and can be themselves and freak out like there’s no tomorrow (there isn’t). To be honest, the audience plays the centre role of the wilderness of the party, they gather and emit the energy. We feel very grateful we can induce that state in our intelligent and beautiful audience.
Q: Do you plan on exporting Isla out of Lithuania? I believe, the event series are quite unique and would be welcomed abroad with its great content.
To be honest, we haven’t thought about this opportunity yet. For now, Isla’s mythology has launched its first steps in Vilnius underground, so there are myriads of different possible ways to shape the party and its myth here in Lithuania.
“Isla island’s locations and names implicate what natural phenomenon to expect, so they can get ready and take enough water and life vests, respirators and defibrillators.
Q: The artists you invite are bringing with them unique sounds and characters, so that one can hear a lot through a single night. How do you choose the artists you invite?
Basically, the artists we invite are real music connoisseurs, they are not tied to one particular genre or only dance music or whatever, they are free and wild in their expression and they bring uniqueness. For us it is very exciting to bring different artists into one night and not to be stuck in one genre or sound. Nothing could be more boring than one flaccid waveform of genre oscillating for 8 hours.
Q: For the next Isla event you will have Zaliva-D on the lineup. Please introduce them before you will set off the decadence.
We discovered them when their album Sky Singing was released. As this happened, they released Forsaken on Knekelhuis and we have a good relationship with Mark (Knekelhuis is Patricia Kokett’s mother label). So he is curating their European tour and we expanded our hospitality to them on behalf of Vilnius’. Zaliva-D produce unique sound filled with neo-oriental darkish adventures which is one of a kind. They conceptually match Isla Krakatoa’s concept like volcano explosions match massive pyroclastic flows resulting from the gravitational collapse of the eruption columns.
Isla Krakatoa is happening on 31st May in XI20, make sure to bring your life vests and dehumidifiers – Isla Krakatoa.