Monday is usually not the best day to party. The week already started, mostly there is still enough satisfaction or headache from the weekend, so you don´t find many people who go out, therefore as well not many places are open and offer long lasting venues. But this is not the case in Vilnius, on Mondays there is always a special program of high quality electronic music at the Minimal Mondays events of minimal.lt. In summer they take place at the Vasaros Terasa, in winter at the indoor Kablys Club. We joined an event and interviewed one of the DJs.
Our group arrived after the weekend and we thought we missed the best nightlife events, because it was Monday. But fortunately we found one of those Minimal Mondays and eventually it should become an amazing night with fantastic sound. The Vasaros Terasa is located in the center of Old Town, it´s a square in the big patio of the surrounded bureau buildings in old Lithuanian architecture. You get the feeling to be at an earl’s county house. They have fast food, cold beverages and fine local beer, as well on a little stage there are the DJs from minimal.lt mixing their sets.
The evening started quite relaxed with mellow electronic sounds and you could perfectly sit in this beautiful backyard having a drink. But later on during the night the music went louder and more pushing, the dance floor got crowded. We were a bit confused because the internet said the place would close at half past 1am. But it definitely didn´t look like it would close soon, even just more people arrived. After asking the bartender, we got the answer with a smile: “We open as long as the DJs want to play”. Very nice!
This evening was Filipas Rimkus aka KAMEU behind the turntables and offered an astonishing show. The music was great and just watching him being super motivated and completely in a mix of DJ-ing and dancing on the stage made everybody else dance even more. We met Filipas a few days later for an interview at the bar Saulės Jėgainė in the afternoon which is as well part of the club Kablys at night. He told us about the development of his DJ career, about the venues and crews of minimal.lt and the annually Supynes Festival. You can listen to the podcast, most of the conversation is as well written down in the following mixed with some more photos and tracks of KAMEU.
On Monday we have been to one of the Minimal Mondays events and we´ve seen you performing at the turntables with lot of energy and really nice music. Tell me a bit about what kind of music you are doing.
Most of the international DJs, they are not only DJs but as well producers. So I am not producing anything. I was only a DJ for the past more than ten years and I am into Techno music. If you want some subgenres, there is Deep and Hypnotic Techno and also sometimes I play Ambients and Drones, something more easy listening and not always like power stomping four by four and also with some rhythms.
On Monday you started very smooth, because the people were still sitting and later more and more people went to the dance floor. Then you played with the audience and your beats became stronger and more danceable.
I like to start in standard with something easy and built up to some combinations. I drop a little bit down then I go up again. You know, like waving to give them a break, because if there are always strong beats the crowd tends to get tired if you are always banging. That´s why you are going to have to see and feel if they are ready for some more easier music again. Because if you are doing this drop not in the right moment then you can lose some people from the dance floor.
So you have your set which you organize before, but as well you have to be flexible and perform together with the crowd. I am sure you have a list of tracks you want to play and there are moments when you just pick how you feel. Or how do you prepare?
Usually I have a playlist for the night. For example it´s Minimal Mondays and there is the day of the event. So there are like around 150 tracks which I select from. But all these tracks have more or less specific tones or feelings. It´s kind of hard to explain. I just get some idea of maybe where I want to go that night and I select those tracks from my music catalogue. But usually I play some of the tracks from that playlist and I have lots more on all the other USBs that I take with me. I have like four USBs and combined, I don´t know how many thousands of tracks there are. So yeah, but there is no concrete line, like “these twenty tracks”. I don´t play them before or put them in a line. Maybe two or three at the start of the sets just before I get into the night and into the audience. And then you go with the flow.
I think this shows as well the quality of a good DJ. Because if you just play one track after another it´s not the real skill. Like you said, you have to get on the stage, you have to feel the people and to check the moments when to play what and how to introduce it for getting a nice composition in the end.
Yes, sure. And about the choreography, because I like to dance quite a lot. Not only when I play. It´s possible and true if you are dancing with the crowd that they can feel and see when there is the moment. Maybe if they don´t feel it themselves to do something you can kind of show them as well. Because earlier on, like five or six years ago I wasn´t dancing so much. But for the past few years it was kind of not a revolution but an evolution in me. I found myself as a dancer and we have a group, a squad of friends. They are dancing their asses off like crazy at the Techno events. And then I started dancing more and more at the DJ gigs as well.
We spoke now a lot about the Minimal Mondays, so explain me: What is Minimal Mondays?
Minimal Mondays is going on since 2004. So it is now in 2019 for 15 years and I think almost without any breaks. Like there are two weeks break before winter and summer season. And then it goes on every Monday. Minimal Mondays is one of the events that the minimal.lt team does. They are like a company you could say, the name is minimal.lt. But it is not only about the name what we do. We do all kind of cultural events, as well Ambient, EBM, Techno, House and much more.
Do you have also Drum ‘n’ Bass?
Drum ‘n’ Bass not so much I think. There is a group of guys who does Drum ‘n’ Bass events at Kablys. Well we are not into that. But we do and play a lot more than just Minimal. It was also created like in 2004 when Minimal was on the wave and had its time. But now we do Minimal Mondays events. We also have the Black Wave Crew that does Hypnotic and Deep Techno events here at Kablys. And we also do the Supynes Festival.
Can you say something about the Kablys. It is the place where we are sitting at the moment and here are as well some of these venues.
In English it would mean “The Hook” and on the front you can see the metal hook attached to the roof. So that´s what it´s called actually: Kablys – The Hook. This building was actually a railway workers cultural center for a long time. For around 40 or 50 years. Now for the past years since 2012 it is a club. They have usually one dance floor, but sometimes there are even two or four dance floors for different events. They have all kinds of music and stuff going on. From Ambient and live concerts to Electro and Techno and Drum ‘n’ Bass as well.
The Minimal Mondays event was at a really nice location at this indoor terrace and the sound is very good there. Where else do you play? Do you have the events at different places or is it during the summer always there?
Yes, the Vasaros Terasa is very nice. For the last several years, since around 2014 Minimal Mondays resides in winter season in Kablys. Because you know, it´s cold. And in the summer we stay at this summer terrace. In the beginning when it started every summer and winter season the venue changed, but I think at some point we realized that there is no reason anymore for any other venue places. Because in Vilnius it is usually some bar where you can take your event to. But if you want to do it properly either you do it in the club. Like in Kablys in the winter for example. And in summer on the biggest terrace that we have in Vilnius. And that´s the summer terrace at Vasaros Terasa.
How does it work with the venue at Vasaros Terasa? You organize the event and the music, but are the people at the bar and the staff as well part of the team?
We have a crew at minimal.lt who is working to do the events. Our main guy is Nerijus Damasevicius. He is also a DJ and he is responsible for all the musical program for the Minimal Mondays and the Supynes Festival as well. So Nerijus is kind of the godfather of all what we do. We come to the venue and we propose what we want to do. At Kablys it is also the same. Actually for almost all the events there are some promoters. A group of friends or a crew who proposes to the venue where we want to do this and that. Either the venue gives the money or you bring the money and try to do the event. Because elsewhere usually the club is the main promoter who does all the events but not some little crews who come from around.
Before you mentioned the Supynes Festival. So you are doing as well festivals outside of town which go for several days?
Yes, the Supynes Festival is our main event every year. And it is actually in 2019 the 13th edition. We are bringing thirteen international acts and also more than 50 local artists. So what is the Supynes Festival? We try to educate people and want to show them new stuff and new music. And many of my friends say or you can read similar comments in the internet, they say: “I come to Supynes to find something new”. And yeah, I think we are having around 2000 people who are coming since the last years. It is the second year at the new location at an old summer camp from the Soviet era at Tolieja. There are some rooms you can rent and stay there during the festival. And also you can live in a tent. Whatever you prefer. So you can have nice comfort or you can be somewhere completely in the wilderness and the forest of Lithuania, also the lake is nearby. Actually some of the guys from abroad told me: “You don´t understand that you have such a beautiful nature!” And it´s one of the main things that can bring people from elsewhere. Yeah, we see this every day and you forget that not everybody has the same nature. I think it´s going to be great as always and as well challenging.
Of course, festivals like these are at first a lot of work, effort and stress, but then you do it and say afterwards it was awesome. In the end mostly it´s worth it.
Yes. I read somewhere that the job of a festival organizer is one of the five most stressful professions in the world actually. So yes, I can relate to that.
Are there good record and vinyl stores here in Vilnius you can recommend?
In Vilnius we have a few places where you can buy vinyls. I know one that I am interested in. It´s Discotag and it´s located almost at the city center. They have all kinds of different electronic music genres. There are some other shops, but it´s more Jazz or Blues or Soul and R&B. I am not very into that. I listen to Jazz sometimes but I don´t buy the records. So I don´t see the need to go to these shops. I am not against of any of the music, I am just too dedicated to what I do and what I listen to.
When did you start listening to your music and beginning with DJ-ing?
I´ve listened to music throughout all my childhood and in the younger years, because my parents had a turntable and all kinds of vinyls. Also from the Soviet era like Melodia but as well Queen and Michael Jackson and Elton John, some Jazz and even some opera. But I got into the electronic music through one of my friends maybe when I was 16. He was DJ-ing already at that time, but we both are from a little town in the east of Lithuania. I think around 6000 people live there. There is nothing to do for the young people and somehow he got into the cultural center and started playing DJ-ing there. And I thought maybe it´s interesting and he could show me what he is doing and how it works. So I got hooked up and I started doing that. Like I said, it was a small town and we began doing events like once or twice a year for our friends. I started playing and learning the skill. So yes, my career started then but it actually took off when I went to Vilnius to study at the university.
What did you study?
I actually studied publishing and graduated at the university. But I am not working in publishing, I am with the Apple retail store at their online shop. But you know it´s the thing what I do to get money and what lets me do my hobby. So the career took off in around 2011 and 2012 when I first met with the guys from minimal.lt. They asked if I and my friend could play at Minimal Mondays events and I played for the first time in Vilnius. Then gradually I started hanging out more and more with these guys. Then I joined the crew. Then I joined doing the festival and the events. And so on.
And now you are part of the family.
Yes! And then more and more gigs occurred and it developed.
When you start doing and you keep on doing things will happen.
Sure. And you have to be patient. Because sometimes you can play four or five events in a month, and sometimes you play only once or twice. But if you don´t stop you get somewhere eventually. So yeah, I´ve played as well around in the neighboring countries. I guess there will be some events more. But now if you are not a producer, usually you are not going to be booked internationally.
Are you connected with producers who give you tracks for playing at events?
Usually if they are producers and produce music they start DJ-ing at one point or another by themselves. Because with producing music you are not going to earn a lot of money. Usually when you go international the part of the DJ-ing there, that´s where you get the income with all the bookings.
Where have you been already for gigs? In which countries outside of Lithuania?
So far it was Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Belarus and Ukraine. All these surrounding countries. And I am going to Ukraine next month again and maybe then to Poland at some point in autumn.
We spoke about a good party-work-life-balance before.
Yes. Me and my friends talk sometimes about that there always should be a balance in life. There are a lot of people who differentiate between ‘this is my normal life’ and ‘there is my party life’. And usually what I see is that these people are going like crazy on the party life and afterwards they feel guilty and say: “What am I doing with my life?” They have some depressive thoughts after the weekend. They think: “Why did I stay longer?” or “Why did I go there?” or “Why did I drink so much or take some drugs or whatever?” So afterwards, after the weekends there are no thoughts like: “Wow, that was a great weekend and I had so many many great dances or talked to such great people and had such a good time”. Usually they have thoughts like: “Oh, man, why?”
They feel more guilty and exhausted instead of happy and satisfied.
Yes, yes. But they look at life like: “This is my normal life and this is my freedom life, where I can be myself and on the weekdays I am not myself”. At some point in life I think I had some of that differentiation myself, but as I am a DJ for the last ten years or more, I am into that nightlife almost all the time. I think two years or a little less ago I started to change my thinking about all that. There is only one life and you cannot differentiate that. If you can´t live with yourself after the weekend, maybe you shouldn´t party at all.
Or maybe you shouldn´t party that hard.
Yes, or you have to learn to party responsibly. Because there are times when you don´t sleep for the whole weekend and you sleep for some time before the week starts. But for me actually, I wake up and yes, maybe I might be exhausted physically but mentally never.
I think this is something everybody has to learn for him or herself how to keep it in a balance.
Yes, and you should always work out. Because when your body is stronger it regenerates faster. Actually I started working out a little more than half a year ago. And I started to work out because I wanted to dance for longer periods of time. It was one of the goals. Not to look better or something like that. The main reason was to dance longer because two years ago I met a girl and her friends and they were dancing like crazy at the events. I just started seeing how they dance, what they are doing, what their moves are. Because most of the people in the crowd they move somehow, they do something with their feet but there is not a real free expression you might say.
It´s some moving with the music, but not real dancing.
Yes. And these guys are completely the opposite. We started to hang out with them more and more and at some point I started dating that girl and now she is my girlfriend. She is into Techno, I am into Techno. She is into dancing, I am now into dancing as well. Our worldviews are quite similar, it´s very nice. I am at a very happy place now and it is getting better and better by the time. We are going on the trips to Berlin or wherever for dancing together.
Thanks Filipas a lot for this interesting conversation, thank you for the interview! And I hope you keep on partying and organizing the nice events, because I am coming back for the next Supynes Festival and for the Minimal Mondays events!
Thanks a lot! Actually it was a nice surprise when I stopped playing on Monday that you want to do an interview. I was like: “What? Somebody wants to take an interview with me and talk about what I am doing?” I was very happy. I slept maybe for two hours before the work, but like I said before, I don´t differentiate my life. I felt exhausted, but I was really happy to meet somebody and we talk about what I am doing. So thank you for inviting for the interview!
A week after the recording the incredible Supynes Festival took place and just one week later Filipas was already in Berlin for another festival and the week after he was back again in Kablys with the Black Wave crew and the weekend later…. and so on and so on… He is just living it with full enjoyment and brings this positive and motivating energy to the fabulous stage occurs he does. Check out the links to the music, the places and the crews in the Infothek below.
DJ KAMEU – Filipas Rimkus
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/kameuu/
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/filipas.rimkus
Email: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Kablys Club / Saulės Jėgainė
Record Store Discotag
Adress: Aušros vartų g. 5, Vilnius, Lithuania (inside of Bar Amadeus, upstairs)
Open: Mon + Wed: 13 – 19, Tue + Thu till Sun: 13 – 19:30
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