Unpretentious, accessible to a wide audience and perhaps a little chaotic at times; this is the gist of the dynamic behind one of Amsterdam’s most popular event organizers, Verknipt (which can be translated as being mad or crazy). Starting barely two and a half years ago, the concept was clear from the start. Reza and Mer, the two guys running the outfit, wanted to host events where the feel of a party – in the frivolous sense of the word – should be present in every way, while paying close attention to the line-up. Their events have gained them a close circle of returning artists.
Pictures by Timo Steenvoorden Photography
We went for a walk on the tourist-flooded street behind Dam square to talk about things like Verknipt’s origins, the philosophy behind the project, how their musical differences play out in the line-up, and why it is that they sell out every event they host, seemingly without much effort.
“We came up with the idea of Verknipt when we realised there was a spot to be filled for events that focus both on creating the most insane party while not neglecting the musical aspect either” Mer explains. That party atmosphere is created through a wide array of light and laser shows, props and decoration, as could be seen at last weekend’s sold-out Wonderland Festival.
“Our first event we held at Sugarfactory, featuring Sandrien and Ferro on the line-up. Two artists perhaps not as known by that time but even so the party was a success” says Reza, “We immediately rolled out an extensive social media campaign to promote the event. At that time this kind of marketing was pretty new, but we learned along the way that the use of ‘ambassadors’ is an effective way of getting people to come to your party.” The Sugarfactory was packed and it left them hungry for more.
They followed their initial success with a line of events at the late club Barkode which a stepping-stone to Verknipt’s breakthrough a few months later in that same year. During Ascension Day (‘Hemelvaart’) they were able to get full house in Westerunie and Westerliefde.
When asked what sets them apart in their musical differences it becomes clear that Reza is into the rougher side of dance music, with a love for tech-house and techno. Mer on the other hand has a very broad taste, ranging from house to disco to R&B hits, something Mer purveys through a solo-projects of his like Lobi. This division in musical preferences allows them to book on a broader scale. For instance at Wonderland there was a techno stage, a house stage and a disco/classic hits stage. All three areas were equally crowded and full of energy. Mer goes on to say: “I think the success of Verknipt can be ascribed to this fact of musical diversity. It speaks to a lot of different people, so that everybody can find something he likes when they visit us”.
However, Creating a line-up that we both agree to can be quite hard sometimes. Reza: “At times we can bicker at each other like a couple of old women when we disagree on something, but it always ends up in the best choice nonetheless”. “Yes, mostly my choice” Mer follows jokingly. Reza wisely ignores him.
Someone who has grown into one of Verknipt’s residents by now is up-and-comer Sidney Charles. The heavy-hitting house DJ had his first gig in the Netherlands at Verknipt. Mer: “Sidney is definitely one of our favourite artists to book, he never fails to impress us and the crowd. Next to that he’s one of the kindest guys out there, so it’s always a pleasure to have him over”. They make it clear that they its their prime objective to balance the Dutch artists and those from abroad. “Whether they are selling tickets is of secondary importance” Mer explains, “it’s much more important for us that we fully support the artists we book and to go into a long-lasting relationship with them if we like their performance”.