Watergate, amongst other things, is a split-level, two-room club overlooking the River Spree in Berlin.
Located on the river’s edge with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, it offers a panoramic view of the Spree with curtains that can let the daylight in as the club night winds down, and an LED lighting panel that spans the entire length of the top floor of the club.
The renowned nightlife brand will descend on Barcelona over the upcoming Off Week, where it will be part of the FACT Pool Series on 17 June. Joining the club will be the likes of Andhim, Butch, D’Julz, Matthias Meyer, Pan-Pot, Tiefschwarz and more, as well as a second room hosted by the renowned Brazilian spot Warung. Anticipating the event, I spoke with Watergate’s CEO Ulrich Wombacher to get his impression son Barcelona, Warung, Off Week, and much more.
“I need to give the event some spice and invite different/new artists every year to keep it interesting.”
Describe your approach to curating this lineup? I’m sure all are friends of Watergate but, then again, there are probably many more friends as well. What made you decide on the lineup as such?
It’s always a tough one. The off week events are special for Watergate as we have a long tradition in Barcelona and always had great parties during that week. Therefore everybody from our residents wants to play and I try to somehow realize that. But also I need to give the event some spice and invite different/new artists every year to keep it interesting. This year with Andhim and Culoe De Song I am happy to have amazing talent on board. Both play Watergate frequently and I am happy to have them play for us. Not to forget Pan Pot, who will close the night again…these guys are family.
Describe the Hospitalet de Llobrega venue? Obviously it is poolside, but what else makes it special?
Watergate always chose very special locations when celebrating Off Week in Barcelona and so is the pool. This place is not like an average pool. Its got some magic to it. You feel it’s seen its best days already and its a bit rundown but that’s what makes it also special to us. Reviving old places with electronic music and putting them in a new context has some kind of tradition in techno, especially when you are from Berlin and come from that background.
Your event at FACT Pool (June 17) also features a second stage curated by renowned club Warung. Did you have a say in this collaboration? If so, can you describe a bit about your impressions on Warung?
We recently toured Brazil and had shows at Warung. Two times in a row we had amazing nights there. Marco Resmann just released on their label too. So there is a stronger link and that’s also why it’s a pleasure to have the guys on the other stage. Two of the world’s major clubs from two totally different corners of world the celebrating an event in the same location. I like that!
Describe how Watergate and the FACT brand coincide? How do they complement each other in philosophy and approach?
FACT are professional and reliable promoters. We made good experiences with them and it’s a nice workflow. Putting on an event like this can be stressful at times, therefore it’s nice to work with good people.
What is your favorite aspect of the Off Week/Sonar experience?
We started off back years ago throwing daytime parties during Sonar, invitation only, and always new locations. At the time this was still a new concept and daytime parties were still rare. So that was special and we’re still trying keep this vibe. A lot has changed now of course, daytime events are a standard these days, everyone does them, finding new and even more interesting locations is almost impossible, and more money is involved. But we still live from these early days and try to live the experience. Barcelona is already an amazing place by itself. Off week is then only the icing on the cake basically, everyone’s attending and you meet loads of people from all over the world gathering in this city for one week.
What is your favorite aspect of your position at Watergate, the club?
I have an amazing view on the river Spree and the Oberbaum bridge from my office above the club. Every morning when I come to the office I open the window, take a deep breath and relax for a minute or take a picture of the river or the Subway passing by crossing the bridge. That I feel is a privilege 😉 Plus I simply like my job
How did you personally get involved with Watergate in the first place? How did your life journey take you there?
I’ve been working in the music industry all my life basically. From working in a record shop to throwing parties or DJing – I have done all this and I know Steffen “Stoffel” Hack, the owner, way longer than Watergate exists. We threw drum & bass events in Berlin’s WMF club and when he decided to open Watergate in 2002 we moved the drum & bass events to Watergate. This is how it all started. Drum & Bass at Watergate became history and at some point I started programming the club completely. By now we have a great team of people working on the programming and booking, it’s no longer just me.
What would you describe is the primary responsibility of a promoter and booking agent?
Getting the balance right with your musical ego as a booker and what the club you work for needs to survive!