Photo: Press (Eva Porating)
„You can always rely on the residents. They know the club, the crowd, the sound system, and they are a pillar of the musical identity of a club, just as important as the architecture, the acoustics or the interior design,” Nick Höppner once said in Groove. Our monthly Resident Podcast aims to give them the attention and respect they deserve.
Ankali describes itself as a “gently crafted club space for open minded heads”. Housed in a former soap factory in the South-East of Prague, it has become a meeting point for DJs and ravers who like their dance music at least a little bit unconventional. This approach has been greeted with success: currently preparing an entire weekend to celebrate its fifth birthday, the club has recently launched a spin-off location called Planeta Za and is also part of the Gravity Network along Berlin’s Revier Südost and Warsaw’s Jasna 1.
Eva Porating first visited Ankali before it had been officially opened and immediately fell in love. Having already been an active participant in the Czech underground scene, she became a resident roughly four years ago and is also involved in the more experimental programming of Planeta Za. Her mix for our Resident Podcast is both raw and bright, as she puts it – a blend of big beat, mutant (italo) disco and other midtempo styles that seems to perfectly reflect Ankali’s motto: “happy and sad”.
You grew up in Slovakia and cut your teeth as a hardcore and musician before falling in love with electronic dance music in London. How exactly did that happen?
That’s right, I come from a small town in the north of Slovakia, from a block of flats surrounded by mountains. I have been keen on music since I can remember. As a teenager, I started playing bass guitar and had several different projects. One of them was Superapes – a band in which I was singing. We were travelling and playing a lot around Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland, so as a 17-year-old I had the chance to experience touring and recording an album. The punk scene had a big influence on me not only musically, but also ideologically in terms of antifascism, the appreciation of individuality or vegetarianism. There was a small but very powerful music scene in Čadca – some of my friends played techno, others did rap, and we were all coming to each other’s gigs. After a failed attempt to study at the faculty of education in Brno, I was in the UK for six months and I had a chance to visit fabric, the Jam club in Brixton, Rough Trade, and Black Market in Soho. That showed me electronic music from a very new perspective. I was amazed and ready for more.
How did it come about that you started DJing?
It started when I left Slovakia and moved to Brno for my studies. I would go to the Maximum Underground record store and buy my first records instead of food. A friend of mine invited me to play at his event in Fleda and that was my first gig in 2008. I couldn’t beatmatch or even use the mixer properly, but I loved it so much. I would bring a microphone with me and sing over B-sides and instrumentals. I had a lot of fun with it and felt like this is what I want to do.
In Brno, you became involved in a record store and also the event series MUAH!. What was the philosophy behind those parties?
In 2010, inspired by my trip to London, I heard some guys are about opening a record store in Brno. I got Pepi Møreti’s number and went to see him in Sklenick, a café which he ran at that time. He was sweeping the floor there and he listened to my story. He agreed to me joining them alongside PSJ and that’s how our friendship and MUAH! started. The idea was to bring people together, dance, and have loads of fun. It was a very pure and enthusiastic phase.
Do you remember your first visit to Ankali?
Yes, I was there at the unofficial opening party, when everything smelled like paint and many things were unfinished, but it had such a magical atmosphere. Everyone was super excited as we all felt something big was about to happen.
When and how exactly did you become a resident there?
That was after I finished my set for Boiler Room in November 2018. The guys came to me with a bouquet of white lilies and asked me if I wanted to join them as a resident. I was overwhelmed and very happy.
Is there a specifically memorable night that you had at Ankali during your time as a resident so far?
I remember the first time playing there. It was a closing set, which is a big thing and might be scary, but I felt so ready and confident. I took my shoes off and had the best time.
How do you approach your DJ sets at Ankali as opposed to one-off gigs in other clubs where you are faced with a crowd that you don’t know?
I would say knowing the place makes me feel more relaxed and free, I can be more adventurous and have fun because there is a feeling that anything will work. People will forgive you all the imperfections and they will dance and support you no matter what. It’s really about the open-minded approach of all the people involved.
You are also a resident at Planeta Za, which has been described as Ankali’s “younger sibling.” What is Planeta Za all about and what exactly is your role there?
Planeta brought a new perspective not only by having natural daylight, bright colours, and more cozy atmosphere, but also slowing the music down and getting more experimental. For me it’s a place where you can play hip-hop or something very random in the middle of the night and it will go well. You don’t have to think too much. The collective that emerged around it is awesome, everyone has a slightly different approach to things and a different taste in music, so we inspire each other a lot. I’m super grateful that I can participate in the programming with my event series Three of Cups for which I invite my friends from Palestine and Israel to play together while also providing a more personal experience through tarot readings, discussions with them or a movie screening before the party starts.
You host a bi-monthly show at Prague’s Radio Punctum, Anemone. How do you go about programming the individual episodes?
Anemone started in March 2018 thanks to my dear friend Tono. It allowed me to showcase the ambient and balearic side of my selection, basically tracks which I listen to at home or I play at ambient stages. It’s a nice opportunity to have a recording of a moment that is usually intimate and personal.
What was the idea behind your contribution to our Groove Resident Podcast?
The mix I recorded is raw and bright, coming to you straight from the Ankali booth, where I recorded it one afternoon after work.
Ankali is part of the Gravity Network along with Warszawa’s Jasna 1 and Berlin’s Revier Südost. What’s the concept behind the event series?
The concept is all about the cooperation between these three venues and to connect people from different backgrounds who basically do the same, but probably differently. They can enhance and inspire each other on their way. One of its parts is Temporary Pleasure, a collective and workshop which focuses on new ways to building a club. I really love this idea.
Last but not least: What are your plans for the future and what can we expect from Ankali in the coming months?
For the last year I’ve been putting together a set up for my ambient live performance, which I’ve recently been spending a lot of time with. The premiere is planned for Transforma festival in the beginning of July, and if it goes well I would like to bring it to Olganitz a few weeks later. With the upcoming summer I’m excited to play outside, among the trees and under the stars – that’s what I really enjoy. And the next exciting event is Ankali’s fifth birthday party, which is happening from the 17th to the 19th of June. More info and an outstanding line-up will be announced soon, so keep your eye on that! It’ll definitely be something not to be missed.
Stream: Eva Porating – Groove Resident Podcast 30
01. Heidenreich & ObenOhni – The Opposite Of Everything
02. Avanti – Moon Bound
03. Aron Ottignon feat IFE – Ore Yeye O (Lucas Croon remix)
04. Franz Scala – Mondo Della Notte
05. Sofian Rouge – Starglazer (Fabrizio Mammarella remix)
06. DJ Rocca – Illusion
07. Plazmot – Orot Levanim
08. General P.D.C – Amazon Dub (Beesmunt Soundsystem Version)
09. Fringe Society – I Have A Heart For Stray Dogs
10. Fringe Society – Glenn Danzig, It’s Not Your Fault (K-Effect remix)
11. Kolago Kult – Curse Go Back (Colossio Dembow Mix)
12. Zillas On Acid – We Greet You
13. Anatolian Weapons – 2020 Acid Jam
14. Thomass Jackson – La Campana
15. Francisco and Cosmo – System 3
16. Funk Riot Band – What Funk Is It (Alejandro Molinari remix)
17. Roza Terenzi – Freak N Tweak