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(Beats & Frames) Interview with Eugenio Viñas

The name of Eugenio Viñas is linked to the direction of the cultural section of the Valencia Plaza digital newspaper.From his website, Eugenio has been shed every day the details of this complex and , often , conflictive world of culture in our community. But their concerns go beyond the daily news. For some time now, this journalist fromAlaquàs has been developing a project from different s formats and platforms (podcast serializado and a future documentary) makes a review of the golden age of the nightclubs that, throughout the decade of the 80’s and until its progressive decadence in the 90s, it marked the culture of music and the forms of entertainment and spreading of the Valencian youth. Barraca, Chocolate, ACTV,Spook are mythical names of locals that were the epicenter of several generations of young people They found their identity in them . And, long before its decline with what was known as ” the Bakalao route ” , Valencia hosted a movement that ranged from the performing arts to the visual arts and was to be a bridge to a way of understandingmusic and spaces where it was going to develop itself . On the occasion of the cycle that , under the title Beats & Frames , dedicates Cinema Jove to electronic music , Eugenio Viñas will hold a conference , enlivened with a selection of music live, that will make a chronology of this process. It will be today, Sunday , June 24, in the SalaGoerlich del Centro del Carmen.


Your conference is part of the Beats & Frames cycle that organizes Cinema Jove. What do you understand by electronic music?

Well, look I’m antagonizing your question because in my work, my series and cumental do I’m preparing with GabiOchoa and Nakamura Films called L Danced revolution, my goal is not so much electronic music as music dance. That is to say, if I talk about electronic music, my story starts in the middle. In fact, my lato re begins with rock music,lthough it is true that one will hab er s e rie important triggers from the explosion of electronic music. Pe ro, what enti e NDO for electronic music? For me it is the natural mirror of the industrial revolution that affects all the factors of life and that progressively becomes evident in society. To this day, if we say that the biggest consumer of music since the first third of the 20th century is always the youngest people, if our young people live connected to the machines all day, it is the most natural thing in the world that the lists of Successes are plagued with music that is made exclusively with electronic music. It is the representation of a technological revolution in this concrete aspect.


How does all this start?

The origin of electronic music is now a century or so. There are some experiments in Egypt and the Mediterranean basin in the decade of the 10 and the 20 as mechanical music. This responds again to the industrial revolution, to the arrival and extension of electricity. From there, there are people very linked to the world of the music that says, how do we translate this? And there, from the beginning , there will be the idea that , if we can translate this to music ,we can save the musicians. This practical idea is from the origin. But what I focus on is dance music , how discotheques become places of recreation, of social communion. And this has a specific date: Paris 1940. This is where my presentation will begin. And what happens? Well, there is a gentleman who in Germany has been given wings to mount a delirium called Nazism , which occupies Paris , the European cultural capital and the place where, at the musical level, the greatest number of things are being done. This musical explosion is contracted by the censor spirit of Nazism. But people are young and want to dance, and although they know that recorded music is worse thanlive music, they say: we can put records in vinyl suitcases and if the police knock on the door, we close the suitcase and it is already . This practical idea is established in one place, an underground cellar called La discotteque . And this is the origin of the disco . It is called like that because it was a place where there were many discs.


This modest revolution therefore spread to the United States.

Here the migratory flows are going to impose the decisive changes.American back to the US after the liberation of Paris, it s that they are going to import it , especially to the ports of New York and Miami. In these two cities, at the beginning of the 40s and until the 50s , there is already the concept of disco, that is, there are dishes and there is someone who plays music. You start to create that sense of club, which are whiskeries, to a large extent. Even so, even in the US, the thought is that live music is cool, but this is good for dancing. What is dancing in these places?In Paris, above all, jazz, bebop , etc. And in the transit to the USA, some elements of this jazz with what have been the first blues recordings are going to be conjugated in the twist , which is going to be the first hegemonic style of the clubs.


When does this change to the modern concept ?

All this is evolving from 50 to 80. They are thirty years of progression. For me that step of door is the year 1977 in which they happen two excellent things : that Giorgio Moro der , with Donna Summer , they open the 12-inch / maxi single format , which will dominate everything, and Kraftwerk publishes Radioactivity . A current that came from the dance music, pastosa, massive , which was Giorgio Moroder who, suddenly, takes a diva like Donna Summer and she decides that instead of the bass line and drums, will sequence the blows of the clapper to turn it on the basis of bomb or I feel love. The funky music , which is the hegemonic style at that time, gives that spin to the base with electronic music. At the same time, Kraftwerk publishes Radioactivity , which is that pop step of someone who was doing experimentation. These two ideas come together and begin to create a pattern of music at the stroke of a beat.Although it is not very canonical, I also include that, at the beginning of ’78 , Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall was published , which has a huge melodic vocation, but is interpreting the electronic music that is happening at that moment thanks to Qu incy Jones , your producer.


What is the step from rock music to electronic music?

For me, the change has a lot to do with Giorgio Moroder’s idea of raising the clapper … That is, when the musicians record in the studio, they record with a clapper. For what? So that everyone can record your part and then theseempasten at times. Is recorded qu e n a tac, tac, tac … By raising that track to the level of the predominant drum, you are unknowingly marking the future of electronic music. What will generate that hype that does not decompose in time? That the songs can be mixed easily. That you find a rhythmic pattern that will match. He does not know it, but he will generate an unrepeatable tool for continuous music . On the other hand, the evolution of synthesizers has been generating very interesting things for several decades. To greater devices and greater sounds, more possibilities.


You present one of the documentaries of the cycle, High tech soul the creation of techno music , puts the origin of electronic music as we understand it today in the city of Detroit and the 80s. I do not know if you share this chronology.

Yes, I put it there, what happens is that I focused on Europe. For me, who is going to be influential in Valencia is going to be Europe. There are two parallel movements to electronic music that are nto re gg religion move to e and hip-hop. The reggae movement is going to be the first to create the idea of ​​continuous music played and this already happens at the end of the 70s. And the hip-hop that is going to evolve the electronic music in the sense of using the bases, which are already enough music for us to be thinking about arpegating a guitar or whatever. And it is curious because there is no link between these foundational movements and Valencia or Europe. Throughout the 8 0 there are two cities that are going to make the leap , Detroit, towards techno, and Chicago towards acid house. And the most horrid thing of all is that none of those two cities is going to be the capital of all that, but it’s going to be in Europe where it’s going to explode. In Berlin with techno and in London with acid house connected with Ibiza.


How is that European takeoff and in Valencia ?

Let’s see, the most important thing is that, as I told you, I do not talk about electronic music, but about dance music.And dance music happens in discos. Then, the wonderful story of what happens in Valencia is not transcendent in the history of electronic music, it is not transcendent in the history of music, but it is more than an anecdote, an unexpected and unrepeatable scenario that combines a lot of situations social and economic in a relatively isolatedsite that is Valencia . This happens because this is the young post-Francoist Spain that needs to explore its freedoms.That restlessness is added to a hedonistic movement that occurs with the change of a generation of older brothers to small ones who decide that it is already good of the song and the protest music with which they have been living all their lives because they are already free. We are at the end of the 70s. It is a generation that can already take things, that can travel, that can watch movies, that can already buy import discs, although they are worth an eye, etc. All this freedom coincides with the appearance of the urban tribes that will occur in Spain at the same time. This explosion,together with the music will generate the creation of a kind of unexpected temples , for me pagan libraries, which are discotheques. Why? P ecause there’s all the music you can not buy. You can buy a disc, and if you have a lot of money, four discs a month, what you can not buy is the disco of Barraca with which , for example, in 89 the group HappyMondays will be broken in the head because he does not understand how a site that almost do not know has a disco as if it were a Local of London. That is what generates, little by little, people find their own personal and collective identity.


There are some proper names in this process. Tell us.

The father of everything is Juan Santam aría, who is a gentleman of Castella r, a pedanía of Valencia. Juan Santamaríashe has personal concerns almost of DNA and, when she is 14 years old, she convinces her parents so that relatives in France will welcome her to do the bachelor’s degree. From there he goes to Granada to work in a hotel because he wants to be with foreign people because he sees that there is another mental rhythm. This is happening at the beginning of the transition. He works in Granada, in Benidorm, in Ibiza, in Sitges, he goes to live in Amsterdam , in London, in Glasgow, and back in London. É mpieza you talk to Americans, give records, lives in Ibiza, works as awaiter, he went to parties in houses where the sun sets and the music keeps playing. Accidentally they will stay in Valencia. Here begins to have money and people paid well for DJing. At that time , arrives at the OGGI booth which is the discotheque where all this movement begins. Oggi was in Master SHIPMENT, 32. hí Juan will apply a couple of changes that will be fundacio nal. The first is to decide you no longer click slower, which, in the year 78, was a revolution. And more revolutionary is still loading the rumbas. Even if you play relatively modern music in a disco , there comes a time when you have to go to rumbas because they asked for it and because the owners of the clubs wanted to generate money. These changes they generate a continuous session. The music he brings is what he likes, whose influence is radical British. Music that begins to impose a modern rhythm that nobody was doing in Spain. No one was clicking as six hor British underground music in which sound could n S ex Pistols or, later, other things.What’s going on? That the most restless minds of his generation begin to see in this a messiah.


How does this grow until the popularity it will reach later?

Well, there are three steps from the door. The first is Carlos Simón, who is an unnamed disciple of Juan. When he goes to see Juan to Oggi , he will be 16 or 17 years old. And when he is 17 or 19 he gets into the cabin of Barraca, which is a room of bile open in 1965 for tourists where he plays rumba almost all the time , still a barrack, that’s why it’s called that . But Carlos thinks he can take people and puncture the music played by John. What is the door step with respect to Oggi ? There are several. The first, that Oggi will work only for the city. In contrast, Barraca works for the regions. Then , the advanced rural public, who are anxious to go to London, etc., decide that they have a place next to the house that works as a motherfucker. The other gateway is the anti myth of the Bakalao route . Carlos decides that in there people can not stick, that it has q u e be a safe space and to be hedonistic as could be. This will generate a movement really care about is that of the gay community, which over the week has a life Superembittered in their villages, but on Saturday night, for several hours, no one hits it, nobody judge by going dressed as you want, etc. This seed will generate that people start dressing very strong, that they feel free to express themselves artistically from their individuality and , later , col ectively.


This element will open the doors to other artistic proposals.

Carlos is a man who stands at the Teatro Principal and convinces Els Joglars to act for two weeks in Barraca. It is taking performance groups that take there and that starts to become a meeting point of many things: draftsmen, posters, etc. And music begins to become the common thread. There’s an act by Carlos that I think means a lot of that cultural aggressiveness that is when something is fashionable, when a Simple Minds song is in fashion, he starts the vinyl. It is an act that may seem silly, but that It gives the measure of that ambition of mod ernity. This is getting bigger and at the beginning there are 20 people, it becomes 400 or 600. In Barranca the fat days were the days ofconcerts. The rock music live It is still very important. The great contribution of Carlos is that he likes syncopated music. It’s white music, rock music, but always danceable.


Chocolate will be another of the big names in this journey.

At the same time, a group of businessmen, with Jua n Santamaría At the front, he decides to make a relatively large posh disco in the shape of a chocolate cake called Chocolate. But Juan is a fundamentalist and tries to apply what he does in Oggi in Chocolate. But the owners are desperate because they want a disco for posh people and what they want is funky , they want them to drink a lot, not like in Barraca, they are going to be modern. Juan holds little and Chocolate abandons himself. Then, at the end of 82, Toni Vidal Batiste, aka Toni Gypsy, a relatively large mus icalpromoter, conv ENCE owners Chocolate couple to stay with her. If B arraca is like the bright side of the underground,with its pop that soon will move towards the new romantics, with glamor, mode or Alaska and Dinarama, Toni is the dark side: The damned , The Clash , Permanent Paralysis, Total Loss, Low Blows, etc. Gypsy realizes if, when you close Barraca, é l remains open, he goes all people. Toni Gitano begins to make a series of marketing activities very effective in bringing to supporting and unannounced international groups very im. He signs contracts to act at two and seven in the morning. A first l s performance of only two are 40 or 50 people because all the cool people are in Barraca. Closes Barrraca , the habitual movement to Chocolate takes place and at seven acts Killing Joke. And do the same again on the night of kings of ’83 with Flesh For Lulu . In just one year, Chocolate is at the same level as Barraca with the dark side. And why is this important? Because it will generate the first power pole of both clubs. Carlos Simón and Toni Vidal, with their competence , have just generated a route.


There is still one more step.

The next step is the arrival of Spook . A group of fairly young businessmen decides to turn the San Francisco Room, totally funky , into Spook . And who could take this? Well, an uncle who has been playing in pubs, bars and where they ask him since he was 15, Fran Lenaers , who is Hispanic-Belgian, but lives in Valencia since adolescence. Fran is going to elevate this to another level. Let’s say that Carlos and Toni is very naive and live music is very important. But now, all that baggage of electronic music that had been going on behind, Fran is going to catch it and it combines everything with the idea that this rides on the basis of techno . There the social movement uncovered by Carlos and Toni is synchronized with the electronic movement that Fran has for his Belgian relationship and his musical restlessness. The route would not have happened without Fran and without Spook , which is the disco that turns this into massive. Now , where there were 500, 800 people in Barraca and Chocolate, in Spook there are going to be 2500. It’s another level. This is no longer underground , it is hegemonic.


The change will not be merely musical style.

It should be said that Fran takes many months for people to understand what they are doing and entrepreneurs have doubts. Fran clicks mixing and people complain that they do not let the songs end. People are used to Carlos and Toni or Quique Serrano that what they do is formula radio. But do you mix half of the song? That idea is not happening in London, it’s not happening in Berlin, it’s not happening in other places. Fran has a very melodic style. So, I did not like him to cut the songs, but it was not unpleasant and since Spook is the place for posture because people were no longer interested in the music, they started to mix everything to be massive. Chocolate is born as the after of Barraca,Spook will be born as the after of Chocolate and so we could continue . NOD opens on Sunday morning until noon.All s are the after of the previous one.


In your story , Valencia is presented as an unknown link with what will happen later in Europe.

What is happening here is not happening anywhere. If one is undoing the links of clu bbing , the first movement of the club in Europe is Valencia because, at the beginning or middle of the 80s, there are clubs like Spook that can gather many people, in the UK this is not happening. It happens for concerts, but will I be dancing for eight or tenhours at night? E sto we can connect with 24h party people (projected in the cycle) . Winterbottom he narrates it wonderfully in that moment he goes in slow motion and says: “See? They are not looking at the creator, they applaud the medium, which is the dj “. That description if it had been done with Carlos Simón would have been perfect, but five years before. Why does not the general narrative of the great students of electronics place us there? There are many reasons. And here is not produced music, or electronics, or another. This is dental action . This happens suddenly and ends suddenly. Why are the movements of London, Ibiza, Detroit, Chicago important? Because music emerges there. That creates a scene , a professional environment. Now, there are people who are coming from Paris and Brussels for many years to see Fran Lenaers. All these people find in Fran things that they have not seen elsewhere. Why are not we in the story? Well, honestly, and this is a total opinion, because the wickers are very weak. What capitality is that? The capital of the party? Nobody takes us into account .


How do we close this?

Well, I would talk about sunset. There is no consequence of this. The present that there is now is a journalistic revisionism, but not academic, which bothers me, which makes sense if what is reviewed is interesting. If the machine music is revised or what happens after year 92, it has no interest. He has no musical interest, he has no social interest, he does not contribute anything, there are no consequences. It matters sociologically as a decline.


Maybe because of the image that ends up having this whole story?

Right. Why does the decline happen? Well, for economic realities that are very simple. This becomes a massive movement and the owners of the clubs realize that they have the goose that lays the golden eggs and, obviously, for that faller management that is done in Valencia, nobody knows how to interpret this well . Entrepreneurs are very closed, in institutions they never understand that this can generate industry. The collapse is that this happens at a time of several confluence lines. The first, a decade of socialist government in RNO mode is to be an institutional mandate d uring those years are proving ground for positive freedom. What ‘s up? Because the Socialist government, as it is the government of the old political school , is going to face a series of very serious ghosts in a final decrepitude of their mandate that are Filesa , Gal, Roldán, etc. And the right , which has the discourse of fear as a capitalized good, says: hey, you have been too modern, there is no order, there is insecurity in the streets, that people are killed with the car. This coincides with a number of factors are that in 91 is there more traffic accidents. Is the number of traffic accidents in Valencia higher? It is not. Anyway, Valencia is the icon. This will generate two waves. Laying aside the gene er ation of 80 who is not interested in this. And then, an effect called still more harmful when the private media, which have just been born , turn this into the forbidden. What we lacked. There is a fork of three or four years, from92 to 96 , in which everyone has to come to Valencia at least once to stick it. What’s up with that? That the most lost of all Spanish territory remain here. Entrepreneurs that they come from outside and do not l squeamish. Open arms , lowering the bar of music to make it as accessible as possible, etc. Everything is amalgam , it is going to turn into a big fucking skyscraper after which , once it has been consumed, there is no story.