Earlier, we announced the Paradigm Festival 2023 line-up. A diverse program, packed with new faces and old friends alike. We speak with our bookers Chris and Tom about Chris’ role, the creation of the program and developments. They also give you 10 tips with artists you should not miss.
Tom, we know you as you been our booker for years, but Chris recently joined us as a booker. Would you like to introduce yourself, Chris?
Tom: “After the COVID-19 pandemic, we acquired a little breathing room to see how we wanted to re-arrange some aspects of our organization. My wish was to bring in a programming-partner, which we could now make a reality. Of course, I had known Chris a lot longer and after we spent a weekend together at Draaimolen Festival, we talked about this opportunity. Chris had another job at the time, but I asked him if he would be up for a new job as a booker.”
Chris: “I was very excited but had to think about it. This was going to be a pretty big change for me, coming from a steady 9 to 5 job. But I actually pretty quickly came to the conclusion that this seemed like a really fun challenge and I said yes. I’ve been coming to Paradigm since the beginning, first as a visitor, later as stage manager and DJ.”
Tom: “What I find interesting about Chris from a programmer’s perspective is a broad knowledge of music and sound design. That goes far beyond his own sound that he has as a DJ. He also thinks a bit about conceptualization, lights, deco and artwork. We feel very comfortable going back and forth on these topics. You can put us together for days where we’ll talk for hours on end.”
What is your vision when it comes to genres and sound? What is the emphasis on?
“The festival is still the place for us where we try to program in the broadest way possible within Paradigm signature. And we do that by respecting established names and familiar faces of Paradigm, offering a place for emerging names and new faces. This is the foundation on which we are building. Due to COVID, this is the first festival since 2020 where we have a fresh program lined up, allowing us to create space for certain sounds and artists again. For example, we can now offer Kalahari Oyster Cult a place as stage host, we can put down new names like Flo Massé and electro will play a prominent role once more; We are trying out new sounds at the Forest stage on Sunday as well.”
Which stages are arranged differently from previous years?
“We’re definitely doing things differently, like we do at the Main stage this year with Bashkka and Dr. Rubinstein b2b Ellen Allien. But also in the Romney Loods with Ignez, Blasha & Allatt, Setaoc Mass. And the day after with Tammo Hesselink, DJ Leoni, Quelza and Tafkamp. Or the opening act for Suvernuver Super Venus, which is on the more experimental side of things. There is a wide range in terms of sound in which we book and in which DJ’s want to move around.”
Is that a general trend?
“What you hear, in terms of sound, is that more artists are playing on a broader spectrum. We create more room for this in the programming. The broader sounds ensure that more artists, who you might not normally put together, can be put on one stage and that a nice line is created throughout the day. Then the first DJ might be able to spin very differently in the basic sound than another DJ who is playing later on. We also choose artists that we know feel this way.”
There are many established names as well as new talents, both national and international, featuring in the line-up. How does Paradigm ensure the perfect blend between the two?
“We always search for the right balance between different genders as well as international and national, and established names and upcoming talents. We strive to continue to book Dutch acts, which we believe that is very important. Eversines is a good example thereof. We both saw him play a live set at Draaimolen and we were very excited by what we saw and heard, so we put them down at NYE last year. Marie K and Human Space Machine were with him and as we got to chat we felt a connection. We went to check out Human Space Machine at LOFI and dove into exploring Marie K’s work, which both were so impressive that we consciously made an effort to create space for them to play. Nelly, Vandt, Bas Dobbelaer, Small Solar System Body and Shoal are names we support as well. These artists are rock solid, yet they get limited opportunities to play in the current climate. Usually we check out these artist at ADE. DJ Leoni is another such name and we saw her recently at De School, where she performed a sick techno opening set. We appreciate it when artists are serious and driven about their art. We don’t put them in our line-up because they live relatively close by, but because we appreciate what they do. We want to continue to support the national scene as we feel a responsibility to contribute to that.”
“In order to have space for regional talent, we have created the new Valhalla stage. We try to keep a close eye on the local scene. A good example is Former, who has always made music under the wings of Noisia. He once came by because Ghost in the Machine was playing at one of our events and Former knew Ghost in the Machine would play one of his records. Dither had once remixed one of Former’s records, so all this together made us want to put Former and Dither on the Convoi Exceptionnel stage. This way we unite worlds you would not expect to collide. We don’t just want to make obvious choices internationally either; look at Antony Rother and the widely acclaimed Om Unit. We remain a boutique festival, which is why we feel we should and can program differently. We may not be able to get the mega headliners, but the composition of the program should be special.”
Do you have 10 tips for our visitors of acts not to miss?
Sure! Here they come in no particular order:
1.) Super Venus
We were looking for the perfect opening act for Saturday’s festival in our forest. Suvernuver hosts the stage and Gerrit, co-founder and colleague, came up with this tip. We truly were pleasantly surprised by her set, especially the build-up. From stripped-down trip hop, to breaks, to edgy minimalistic house. That fits right in with what Suvernuver stands for and with the other artists on the stage that day; Inner Lakes, Christian AB and Gerrit himself.
2.) Human Space Machine
He’s both making a name for himself and living up to his name: organic, spacey yet also machine-like. In our eyes, he perfectly fits into the picture for Sunday on the Forest Stage where we will be working towards Dasha Rush, Sandrien and Marco Shuttle. His releases on the De Lichting label and on Nowehere, a sub-label of SoHaSo, are very much to our liking.
3.) Speedy J & Steve *live
Both Speedy J and Steve Rachmad are frequent and beloved guests of Paradigm. Speedy’s all-nighters at our old club are iconic. Steve was one of the Main stage performers at Paradigm Festival last year. We had already seen them work together live through the Stoor channels, but when it was announced that they were going to do this live set together, we knew one thing for sure: if we would get the chance to book them in this capacity, we should go for it 100%. We are going to position them centrally in the Basement on Sunday night, where their sounds fits best. Two icons facing each other in the middle of the Basement, with a hardware only live set. Do we need to say more?!
4.) Ellen Allien b2b Dr. Rubinstein
Recently we had Dr. Rubinstein play in the Forest, which was a-ma-zing. During the Vinylism x Clone Pop Up Store at ADE in the Radio Radio we saw them play together for the first time. A very special and interesting combo. Both highly respected names and with a lot of experience, but from different generations. That makes it very fascinating. They will close the Main stage together, and it will be a very exciting journey through all genres!
5.) Flo Massé
We are hugely impressed with Flo Massé’s selection, skills and energy behind the turntables. Her Boiler Room set is one of our most listened to DJ sets of the year; you can hardly stand still. Infectious energy and high performance value. She is having a real international break-through and we are super happy to have this Brazilian woman playing with us this edition.
6.) Rey Colino b2b Moopie
We are extremely happy to have Kalahari Oyster Cult hosting the Sun Stage during the Sunday of the Festival. Head honcho Rey Colino has been working hard for years to promote his label, one of the most progressive labels of recent years. We collaborated with them on the program, which consists of friends of the label and artists who have released on it. Rey specifically requested closing the stage with the Australian super-selector Moopie.
7.) Elias Mazian b2b ISAbella
This b2b wasn’t specific on the line-up, but this is one of the surprises for Sunday. After Elias and Isabella spin individually they will do b2b as well. Elias needs no introduction since he is one of the key figures of the Dutch scene. Barcelona-based ISAbella is co-founder of the celebrated LGBTQ+ party, platform, label, AND collective MARICAS. Two super talents, so a 100% guarantee on the closing of the stage being a real party.
8.) Anthony Rother
What more can we say?! Electro legend. Has been making music for over 20 years. He eats, lives and breathes electro. We wanted give electro a more prominent place again, and to do so it was a big wish to book on this legend. This man is an inspiration and still is as relevant as 20 years ago. Check out other clips on his YouTube channel for ultimate inspiration.
9.) Marc Acardipane aka Pilldriver
Convoi Exceptionnel hosts the Club on Saturday. We asked living legend Marc Acardipane aka Pilldriver to do a set. He has played at Paradigm under various aliases, which are just a few of his total of more than 50, yet it hits every time. He never disappoints. Check out his outstanding Pitch-Hiker track to get in the mood:
10.) Tammo Hesselink
A typical name to fit our vision: he knows how to make crossovers between genres like no other. Due to this talent, our fellow Northerner has rightfully gained a lot of national and international allure. Though he plays on techno stage, make no mistake: techno is far too small a box to cram his artistry in.