Croatia is undoubtedly one of the most alluring of party destinations Europe can currently boast. Whilst the likes of Hideout and Ultra have showcased the more accessible strains of dance music, where it's really managed to excel is via the intimate and more relaxed festival environments, the charge led by The Garden Festival and its myriad of affiliated events.
One is Electric Elephant (whose boat parties sold out in a matter of minutes), the offspring of legendary Manchester clubnight Electric Chair, which this year will see the likes of Francois K, Simian Mobile Disco, Derrick May, Prosumer and others deliver musical goodness on the Adriatic shores (check out the full line up here).
Ahead of the gathering in Tisno we caught up with one of the brains behind the operation Chris Massey, who also manages to promote another infamous Mancunian den of inequity El Diablos Social Club with Neil Scott and manage the A&R for Paper Recordings (check our mix from one of their artists here).
Hi Chris, thanks for speaking to us. To start off, for someone who knows nothing of the magic Electric Elephant brings to Croatia every year, can you quickly explain what the festival is about?
It's a gathering of like minded souls in a real magical destination of The Garden Tisno where we have a selection of some of the finest DJ's & artists to play music they love (and in some cases don't always get to play) in the sun, under the stars and right through until sunrise.
What are you looking forward to most this year?
So much to choose from but off the top of my head I can't wait to see Tom Findlay of Groove Armada play at the outdoor Barbarellas nightclub. The Groove Armada 6mixes have been amazing and is one of the things that prompted us to book Tom for the festival.
Awesome Tapes From Africa is going to be pretty special, not only does he play all this amazing (and mostly unheard) African music but he also dj's off cassette decks! Of course we also have Francois K who at his own request is coming to play a massive six hour Balearic set on the Sunday at the Beach Bar.
What is it about Croatia as a region that sets it apart form other destinations for music lovers?
I think personally the appeal of Croatia (and certainly Tisno) is that it feels so untouched and real rustic which resonates throughout the whole vibe & atmosphere of EE.
How did you personally get involved with the festivals?
I started at Electriks as part of my college course which was "Popular Music & Music Production" and had a work experience module. I started doing half a day or a day a week making brews and doing online promotion for the other areas of business we're involved with as well as EE.
Then as time went on more work became available and more stuff got passed my way… fast forward about five years and I'm still making brews but have been promoted to booking DJs now :)
As well as July shindig, there's a few similar ventures in Manchester that expand out of the Electriks family. Can you tell us some more about each of those?
Well we always do the annual End of Year Riot on Dec 27th which is a call of arms as sort for all the old Electric Chair mob and Elephantees. But stepping slightly away from club land we also have a bar in Chorlton titled Electrik which serves a great selection of bottled craft beers, cocktails, cask ales (including some of our very own award winning ones!).
Most recently we have opened a "neighbourhood eatery & bar" called Volta in West Didsbury which now doubles up as our office/central hub/the brain department (delete as necessary).
Are you DJing at this year's event? Where else can we catch you spinning in the upcoming months?
Yes I certainly am! I'll be on the closing night at Barbarellas alongside Sean Johnston and Justin Robertson which I'm really looking forward to - I went back to back with Sean in 2012 and also more recently I warmed up and finished off for Justin at Homoelectric.
Away from Elephant I will be playing the official after party for Sounds From The Other City as part of El Diablos Social Club (which I run with Neil Scott) where we have Pete Herbert as special guest… I also play the third Saturday of each month down at Kosmonaut in the Northern Quarter in Manchester and will also be at the upcoming Paper Disco party at Kraak Gallery.
What upcoming production news can you reveal?
Do you mean of my own? I'm currently working hard with Neil as El Diablos Social Club on remixes as well as our own original productions too which will hopefully be dropping on vinyl soon. Always plenty on the burner, it just a case of getting some time aside to fish them off! Also got some more straight up house to come for Paper Recordings…
Also, completely hypothetical question to end things, but if you could curate your dream EE days line up from artists dead or alive, who would you pick? For a daytime party, main stage festival headliner and then Baraberllas after party?
This is a tough one! My musical taste can depend on the particular mood of that day! ha ha!
It would be a miss mash of King Tubby, ACDC, Ewan Pearson, Kindness, El Diablos Social Club, The Unabombers, The Who (original line up), Crazy P, Andrew Weatherall doing a rockabilly set, Little Richard and Doc Martin. Not all necessarily in that order…i'd probably just let them all slug it out and see who emerges the most triumphant
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