"We are Drugstore and we dig the music thingy since we were kids"
Drugstore is an authentic club in Belgrade, which, from its existence, represents the central zone of the highest quality electronic music and various artistic events. The unique oasis organizes various exhibitions and different settings of atypical content in its regular repertoire of events. We had a chance to talk to them about their upcoming projects.
Introduce yourself and tell us how long you have been involved with music and how and where and when you first got involved?
Hi! We are Drugstore and we dig the music thingy since we were kids. All of us.
Who is involved in Drugstore, how did you all come together?
The entire team as it is now was formed in the past nine years. People came and people went but we can proudly say that this now is a pretty strong core with a pretty elastic web of collaborators. Too many people to mention by name but let’s say some of us work in the office, others at the bar, then some are involved in tech and security stuff and that is not the end. We have fellow collaborator art curators and people who work with us on projects etc. etc. Of course all the promoters who are regularly hosting their parties at Drugstore. From friendship to friendship.
What was the original idea – where did it come from, what inspired or influenced it?
There was no idea idea or like a fixed vision we’re chasing but more of a need and a feeling of what we don’t want for sure. The program was influenced mostly by our own tastes and tastes of people around us which naturally led to more people who feel the same, other DJs, artists, promoters and club/gallery owners from abroad.
Who does the musical programming and what is the aim? What sort of acts do you want to represent?
Our program manager is Bane Jovančević. You might know him under his artistic moniker, Kӣr. Bane is the main booker since day one. Of course there are many brilliant promoters, collectives and party nights in the city and we are lucky that some of the best see Drugstore as their only or one of their nests. We were always curious about cutting-edge artists of the now, as well as timeless legends who carry that label for a reason.
How would you define the concept of Drugstore?
Dance, meet, intertwine, do something. Not sure it’s a concept.
What are the key ingredients to make a good club, do you think?
Like a cocktail? Good DJs, better dancers, booze, fashion, music and a distinctive space. Sensitized (is that how you would say this) security, friendly bartenders and a smashing cleaning team are a must.
Have you had many occasions where you’ve had to either fight with other promoter or had someone step on your toes? Have you had much friction with other clubs or has it been pretty smooth?
It’s really not like that in Belgrade. At least in the underground scene, cannot really tell for commercial venues. So we all know each other and if there are any arrows fired they are sorted out pretty quickly. There is no rivalry even, because all of the underground clubs nourish a healthy difference in programming and a lucky difference in capacity and scale.
Where do you see things going? There have been quite a few ups and down particularly over the last few years. I just wanted to gauge from your perspective where you might imagine things might be going? Is there room for new clubs/venues to pop up? What’s your take?
I guess we are used to the ups and downs and staying in the downs for some time here. We have no idea where any of this is going but have a strong drive to step up our game as we learn more each season. All of this is made from scratch. Even if though Belgrade is packed there is always room for new venues and we would love to see more people engaging in the scene from the owner’s point.
What was your first foray into the world of electronic music?
Elementary school. Early nineties. Cassettes.
When did the idea of starting a club begin to take shape? Has it always been something you’ve wanted to do?
Back in 2012 we had this urge to start something and quickly we improvised and made Bivši bar. Drugstore was already there. The founders came to us, asked if we want to engage in programming and soon after left us the torch.
What is missing from the dance music scene nowadays?
All we brought to it is still in our pockets.
Do you think that after the Covid-19 event, the music industry will change?
Have no idea but if you really want the answer you could knock on some analyst’s door. There are plenty of people writing and working on stuff like that. We really have no idea what all of this is in the end so cannot really stand behind any forecast.
What lesson should we learn from this paralysis?
It’s our fault, whether this or that, and, if we really want, we can go through it and hopefully change. You know, stuff like plastic. Fuck that.
What tracks would you recommend us to liven up the confinement?
Check out the streams we are working on at the moment. As we’re writing this, four of Drugstore’s resident DJs are preparing for their ARTEConcert sets on United We Stream platform. It’s 33.10.3402 (you should always keep your eyes on his productions and sets), Tijana T, Stevie Whisper and AASKA. Tijana started the whole streaming fuss at Drugstore with a marathon 12-hour set you can listen to on our website drugstorebeograd.com. On Friday May 1st, we will be listening to Filip Xavi, Lag and Matej Rusmir via our Twitch profile, Facebook page and website.
What’s your favourite “save the dancefloor” song?
Don’t wanna sound like we don’t wanna collaborate but rrrrreally depends on the dance floor hahaha.
What are your future plans?
To save the club, collect cash for the staff members and keep this incredible venue in our hands. You are more than welcome to help by choosing one of the valuable donation packs from our website drugstorebeograd.com.