It is a bit of a shock for some DJs who break through so quickly: after all, the dynamics of the club are completely different from a festival field where you are playing in front of tens of thousands of people.
“I’m super aware of the difference, yes. In a club you are one of the people. We’re in this together, we’re going to see where we’re going together. I don’t really prepare such sets either. When you don’t have your day at a club? Then the public can help you get back on your feet. But not on a large stage. Then 1.5 hours can suddenly feel very long, bizarre how that sometimes works. But usually I get a huge adrenaline rush from the festivals, I’m never nervous for those big stages. No, I’m more nervous about the club shows because it’s much more personal. You make yourself vulnerable. I sometimes thought beforehand: I’m going to cancel, I’m not going.’
‘Of course I would never really cancel, but sometimes you just sleep for two hours in two nights. Then you lie in your bed, you try to sleep when that is actually not smart, then you really collapse. You can no longer think clearly, and you should really just not think and just do it. Once you are in the club, that feeling is ALWAYS gone. I played in Bassiani a few months ago [in Tblilisi, de hoofdstad van Georgië]† I had to shut down and ended up playing for 11 hours, really bizarre. The next night I had to play in the upstairs room of the same club at a queer party. I was already sick, then had another show and was not in my best energy. I didn’t know what it was, but I was so dreading it. “Either it gets super sick or I don’t feel it and people just want to hear happy house music that I don’t play.” You can end up in a negative spiral. But once I got there I knew exactly what to do.’
There is already a tense atmosphere on the streets in Georgia, says Kiki, it is super homophobic, there are many secret queer bars and Bassiani is a free haven during some parties for those who don’t dare to show themselves on the street. ‘I already felt that release when I played there before. But now everyone was really raving like it was the last time. It was very intense, the war had just started and a lot of people thought, “If it happens in Ukraine now, we’ll be next.” A guy in the front had typed something on his phone to show me, and that’s when I thought: this can go on forever. “Your music is making me feel that everything is going to be okay again.” Oh god…’ Immediately Kiki fills up again. ‘Just sweep me up. It was so special, I felt his pain. At one point I was asked: “Can you keep going a little longer?” Why, I had only just started? Oh, I’ve been at it for three hours already? I’ve also had it the other way around, that I didn’t feel it for a while, had little sleep and suddenly lost all self-confidence. That you try new things and feel like you can’t feel the space, that you can’t give people what they need. Okay, apparently I can’t do my job properly?!’
And then you are already in a shaky emotional state because of the lack of sleep.
‘Yes, it is very double. On the one hand, it’s a privilege to play anywhere in the world, it’s the most beautiful job imaginable. But especially now, with all the flights that don’t go, little sleep and the grueling travel? I had underestimated it a bit, touring again.’