Amsterdam hotspot AIR will celebrate its 5 year anniversary this weekend with a very special program made up of 5 quality events. Expect fives days full of stunning music provided by some of the scene’s heavyweights at one of Amsterdam’s biggest clubs. AIR is actually one of the only clubs in Amsterdam that is fully designed to be a nightclub, which is evident on every corner; exceptional audio-visual facilities and a state of the art sound system, electronic lockers and five bars make AIR a truly state of the art nightclub.
We sat down with two of the characters that make up the AIR family; Maartje Weijers is the PR & Marketing Manager and Michiel Tettero is Head of Programming. For the occasion of the anniversary, we talked to the the pair about the philosophy and history of the club and also got a chance to go over some of the difficulties in staying relevant in the ever changing Amsterdam nightlife.
To start off, what have been some AIR’s highlights in your 5 years in Amsterdam?
Maartje: For me it was ADE 2014. It was just perfect all around. One night hosted by Fat Kids Cake really stood out. They invited DJ EZ and it was amazing. I mean he really plays the music I like and he’s the coolest guy ever. The crowd went crazy that night!
Michiel: I remember people rattling the DJ booth like crazy!
Maartje: Yeah right! And he just kept on pushing the crowd. We where literally giving highfives backstage because it was so good.
Michiel: Yes ADE 2014 was really, really good. Another night that stood out was one of our All Gone Pete Tong nights. He was going b2b with The Martinez Brothers and it was just crazy.
Five years is quite a long time for a club in Amsterdam. How can you describe the evolution of AIR with regards to its events and lineups? Did the philosophy towards programming change over the years? Finally, where do you consider AIR to stand now?
Michiel: I think we try to offer the best of the big(ger) dance scenes there are. We always adapt to the nightlife and try to be a bit more innovative. You can come to AIR and experience hiphop or RnB but on another day it can be Techno.
You can see this in the programming for your anniversary too I think…
Michiel: The Friday, for example, is still the Hip Hop night and Saturday is the House night. Sunday is our fifth anniversary, so on Sunday and Monday the program is a bit different than normal, but all the other nights the program is how we usually do it.
Maartje: I would say even if you look at the change we made in the programming, the cool thing is that if you love Urban music, let’s say Hip Hop and RnB, and you stumble in on a Saturday night you would still have a good night, because our basic principles have not changed that much over the five years. AIR stands for diversity and we are an open-minded club, which means that everybody who wants to have a good time is welcome. That’s one of our strongholds and we didn’t change that policy even though Amsterdam nightlife is constantly changing. There are new clubs opening and closing every year. You can see this change happening in such a short period of time, which makes Amsterdam great for the people living in it, but for a club of our size sometimes it can be challenging.
Michiel: I think the difference is, also, that you have so many festivals and outside parties; raves in off locations. You used to have people that went to clubs because they liked the clubs. For an instance, you liked Studio 80, so you went there. Or you were an AIR-kid, and that was your hangout. Now people are looking for events more often. People don’t have that much affection with one venue anymore. They just go everywhere.
Maartje: Yes, that’s true. It’s way more event based than it used to be. You used to be fan of a certain club and you would go there. And the music might have even been secondary to the club because you’d just love the club.
“The building is designed to be a nightclub. And that’s the cool thing when you enter AIR. It’s a different kind of atmosphere.”
What would you say are some of the overwhelming positives about the AIR experience?
Michiel: The fun thing is that you can have really different kind of vibes in AIR. So you can come in to a Techno night where DVS1 is playing and it’s just black and all about the sound…like a black hole;a real a techno night. You can also have an R&B party which is about being seen and seeing the people. AIR can be a different kind of club every time you walk in.
Maartje: I always see the reaction when I have friends over that are not from Amsterdam. They come into the club and the first reaction when they open the door is like “wow, wait a minute. This is something different,” because AIR is build like an arena. I think the Amsterdam crowd is a little bit spoiled, because we have so many great events happening each week with stellar line ups. When friends come to Amsterdam, they have maybe 20 or 25 events to choose from every weekend but that first reaction when they’ve never been to AIR and they open the doors, see the lighting and the whole production being worked out, they realize they are in a nightclub and not dancing in a bar. That’s one of the coolest things.