DJsCan’tCook launched it’s latest format The Kitchen Club as part of the programming for Berlin Food Art Week 2017, taking a seat at the chef’s table for a discussion about food with Roland Leesker (Get Physical Music), Floyd Lavine (RISE), Pablo (Parages Music/Bunsmobile) and Nele Follin (I EAT YOU).
DJsCan’tCook Kitchen Club is a multicam live-streaming series where a DJ simultaneously mixes a vinyl set and cooks a recipe of his/her choosing. The simple recipe or “dish” is usually from his/her place of origin, family or a favourite cuisine. During the 40-60 minute Kitchen Club session the DJ takes you through a musical journey occasionally sharing, with the live video audience, tales and anecdotes about the records being selected, cooking tips for making the dish and commentary on whatever is on his/her mind.
The Food Art Week, curated by Tainá Guedes (Entretempo Kitchen Gallery) focuses on a wide range of contemporary art and dining experiences. Under this year’s theme “Vs. Meat”, the Food Art Week approaches topics such as human and animal rights, feminism, conscious consumption, environmental issues and sustainability. It calls attention to the political, social, and technological aspects of the meat industry. Food Art Week is initiating important conversations about contemporary issues using the power of art and sensory experiences with food. Their selected artists, activists, filmmakers, chefs and scientists present diverse perspectives which ask the viewer to reimagine a different and better world. Initiator of the FAW is Entretempo Kitchen Gallery, an interdisciplinary art space in Berlin, which researches and explores food in a cultural and social context.
Floyd Lavine: Born and raised in South Africa, exploring bridges between Africa and Europe through music. Floyd is a one of a kind person and DJ being influenced early on by the sounds of Wonder and Fassie until his introduction to house and techno. After several years in London he started Nomadiq Music, which immediately became one of Cape Town’s leading labels and music platforms. 2015 brought him to Berlin where he launched RISE together with friends Hyenah and Dede, the label he recently released his EP Masala on.
Roland Leesker: Roland lives for and has loved electronic music since 1989 – the year of his debut as a House DJ on the Frankfurt bar scene. In 1995 he left Frankfurt for New York City, where he founded the first international branch of Delirium Records. Returning to Berlin, he dedicated his heart to Get Physical. Lately he decided to return to where he loves most, the studio. In his words: “For me great house music is a way to reconnect with your soul. That’s the vibe I always seek to create when I’m playing out or producing.“
Pablo: Pablo does both. His passion for music is as outstanding as his passion for food. As co-owner of Parages-Music, a Montreal based label with the goal of creating a seedbed of local producers who share a common love for the electronic “groove” and surrealist sound landscapes. He also owns Bunsmobile, a Berlin based gourmet food truck. Since he moved to Berlin in 2013 he delivered their mouthwatering menu of burgers, grilled-cheese, pork belly sandwiches, veggie buns, homemade drinks and natural wine not only at the infamous Bite Club, but also at international film festivals and numerous music festivals.
Nele Follin: Nele is an allrounder when it comes to all things concerning lifestyle. She has one foot in the art scene and the other between music and food. Together, with her friend Tina Reisinger, she launched I EAT YOU – an infamous Berlin pop-up series offering a journey through dining and performances. She can be found marketing for Fashion Week as much as event producing and magazine editing.
Nele sat with the boys in the majestic surroundings of Musikbrauerei, a former brewery in the former East Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg, with the company of a live audience and asked them some questions…
Nele: Being a part of Food Art Week’s goal of saving our planet with a special focus on the relationship between food and our environment, people and animal’s lives, using art as tool to reach raise awareness. How conscious are you about your way of eating?
Roland: I stopped drinking milk and eating meat after having experienced various health concerns. Just two weeks after that, I felt my body in a different way. In an empowering and good way. But it is significant that DJ’s are highly conscious in regard to their need to balance their lifestyle. That is a fact on one hand. On the other – I still experience that numerous friends don’t care about what they eat at all. And the reason is mainly, that they don’t realise how important it is. Unfortunately only the minority of our society is aware of the enormous importance of sustainable and healthy eating. Based on that, I highly appreciate that there are projects like Food Art Week that educate and raise awareness of a more conscious way of behaving towards and with food.
Pablo: I moved to Berlin four years ago and what I experienced, since then, is that the food scene has been developed into a lifestyle related topic and it evolved in the direction of dealing with food more carefully and mindfully.
Musicians and gastronomy are finally linked and thus benefit from each other. Part of being on tour, for me, means finding the best restaurants and wine bars to keep living a healthy way of life. I love the fact that music and food are merging together and raising the quality of life.
Floyd: When I arrived in Berlin I learned and understood suddenly what it means to be eating healthily. Berlin changed me by it’s experiences in regards to food… also to music. I realised that I had to change. South Africa is one of the biggest meat consuming countries. So that’s what I did, eat a lot of meat, hardly considering where it came from and what it’s impact on the environment was. Living here and adjusting to the lifestyle made me understand how necessary it was to reduce my meat consumption. I started to concentrate on treating my body better and became a vegetarian to balance the late nights. After two years I started eating fish and even meat again, but in a conscious way. That’s my relationship with food now. I learned to eat.
Nele: What always makes me curious is how you eat when you travel? Do you return to the same places you, by now, call your favourite? Are there hot spots you keep returning to? Or do you like to be surprised?
Roland: I am simple and love it basic. When you travel, you meet new people. That simplicity is one of the most beautiful things about it. Whatever it takes to spend time with them (locals) I do it. That’s how you also learn and understand their culture. Grandmother cooking is my absolute favourite.
Nele: Pablo. For you, being a chef yourself, does it happen you dislike caterings or the food being offered?
Pablo: When I get an invite, all I aim for is being grateful. Mostly the promoters share their idea of food as well as music and it’s seldom that this does not create lasting memories. It’s just as I would do it – bring them to my favourite places and make sure they have a good time.
Nele: Is food art?
Floyd: Clearly McDonald’s is food art (laughs).
Food, as much as art, is based on the ingredients. The more organic, the better the output. The closer to the source, the better the result. No matter what. If you eat an avocado from South Africa it tastes like an avocado should. If you import it to here, it doesn’t. Thinking of food reminds me of communication. When you get to a certain place they feed you and you get a feel for their culture. It is the source to communicate and express. Same as in music. An ingredient of life.
Nele: What is your best ingredient in life… or better, as a DJ?
Roland: (laughs) To me, speaking as a DJ, if you are on a dance floor you don’t think. You just play. They dance. The next day you become more aware of how incredible it is to be able to express yourself via music and make people simply enjoy to dance and listen. It is the best thing that can happen. What’s the ingredient? To be prepared. Not to think too much. To let go. Sure, you have to know your music but then it is also about being brave enough to not start overthinking and just feel the atmosphere. Getting inspired by a smile. Just react to it and play.
Nele: How long does it take to prepare a gig?
Floyd: It depends on the gig. You have to think of what atmosphere you want to create. But then again, once you arrive you have to be prepared enough to not think too much, observe and represent the vibe they have created. The more prepared you are, the easier it is to allow you to flow.
Nele: Lastly; In regards to the new format launched by DJsCan’tCook, THE KITCHEN CLUB, do you think it is complicated to mix food and music together? Since that is the main focus.
Pablo: Great question! I thought about it and was wondering what I would actually cook. Maybe a toast or a tomato salad. I would choose with the tracks in mind. Yes. I would do it based on the set.
Roland: I would do fried potatoes with a cucumber salad just like at home. That’s what I cook for my son who mainly eats fried potatoes. I listen and play music whilst preparing the food. But it does sound like a challenge!
Nele: I would do scrambled eggs. So one last word on tonight?
Floyd: Save the dolphins!
Pablo: Thank You.
Roland: Thank You.
Nele: Thank you and I look forward to trying your fried potatoes, cucumber and tomato salads.