Playful Magazines Editor-in-chief Amanda spent a day together with Berghain resident DJ Roi Perez at a museum and talks about inspiration, how he ended up in Berlin and why he has no plan of leaving the city.
We meet outside Gropius-Bau, Roi’s favorite museum in Berlin which is currently showcasing the exhibition Garden of Earthly Delights until December. Being a handsome and talented DJ is in his favor, but in his own words, things ”just happen”. There's nothing pretentious about Roi, he even offers to pay for our entrance fees. Today the Israeli-born DJ has performed in Berghain regularly since 2014.
"My first booking was for SNAX party in Lab.Oratory, a men only sex party that happens twice a year. It was for the sport-festish edition, so it was quite a special occasion. This was like half a year after I moved to Berlin and I was not playing much back then, almost not at all. I was nervous as fuck! Later I realized they booked me after listening to my SoundCloud page, which back then, was comprised of a few living room mixes I recorded in my Friedrichshain apartment."
A couple of weeks later he was invited to play at a regular Sunday Klubnacht for the closing slot. The Dj who was supposed to play, had to cancel last minute.
"That ended up being probably my favourite and most memorable night in Berlin. It felt very pure to me, kind of spiritual. I got a lot of loving energy from the people in the room and I was just channeling all my music. I literally brought all my records and played for ten hours.No wonder his first gig at Panorama Bar raised much attention, with everyone having lost all sense of time."
The vibrating energy from the booth and Roi’s way of creating a musical sensation. Dancing is part of how he makes his show something extraordinary. He's not just making the party - but being part of it. The result was that Panorama Bar couldn't let go of Roi. They decided to keep him.
Today Berghain is my home
Being told "Heute leider nicht” one day, only to refer to the very same place as your home the next day. Roi himself says that a lot has happened by accident, but some might say that it probably happened for a reason.
"Today Berghain is my home. I play there on a monthly basis and both Berghain and Panorama Bar are inspirational to me. It's probably my favourite place to play in the whole world", he says and continues;
"After touring, I sometimes go there just to get the instant connection with the city. Most of my friends are partying there, so it's like a meeting point on a high level of energy. Meanwhile you often hear people complain about touring life. Watching Roi’s busy schedule, I was curious about how he catches his breath when he gets back to the city after being on tour every weekend."
"It's actually not like that to me, it's probably the opposite. I like touring because I can be in my own head space. I am preparing mentally for each show and I experience myself while traveling. While on the way, It's just me and my thoughts. At home there are so many distractions and stimulations, which makes it hard to take time for yourself. But of course, it's a lot about balance and it can be mega tiring. Many times I only wanna go home, relax between my four walls and be the happiest girl."
Rather than from other musicians, Roi prefers to get his inspiration from nature and other art forms.
"I never had any big idols. I was always a nerd when it came to music. I would read lots of music magazines, collect CDs and records when I was a teenager, but I did not have this way of idolizing, excluding maybe The Knife. I was listening to all of their records like thousand of times. I would say most of the music I have been exposed to came from conversations with friends", he says and continues;
"Then my first DJ experience was at a friends house, I learned to mix there for the first time and there was actually a dance floor. Whether you believe in coincidences or not, Roi did not actually plan his move here either. I guess that the ease of life comes to people who are open for change as well as welcoming what is.
"I like surprises. I fell in love with the city when I traveled here alone just by the time I came out as gay and experienced the queer scene. My first rave parties experiences were here."
I guess areas in which where people feel oppressed due to political circumstances, often develop great rave cultures.
But it's always love and hate since the city vibe can turn dark at times. Just like Berlin, Tel Aviv is a thriving city and a scene for techno and rave.
"I guess areas in which where people feel oppressed due to political circumstances, often develop great rave cultures. People in Tel Aviv are partying hard. But I do not know exactly how it's today, I guess a lot has changed, I have not lived there for a while now."
A couple of years later, Roi needed a change from his life in his hometown and returned to Berlin after traveling around The US and Scandinavia for six months.
"You know how you feel after spending time in nature, the urge to go wild! I actually came to Berlin by bus from Denmark, he laughs."
I love that the city is so spacious. Not only in the streets, but people respect private space.
This was six years ago today, and now, Berlin is his home.
"I love that the city is so spacious. Not only in the streets, but people respect private space. There's also a lot of greenery and parks. So you feel as if you're living in a village when in reality, you're living in a big metropolitan city."
The old German bars with curtains are a part of this city, even though they don't have a good reputation amongst most club kids in Berlin, Roi enjoys the variety.
"I love bars too. There's one not far from where I live called Kumpelnest 3000. It’s a trashy gay bar but the scenarios you see there are always funny." He says and continues;
"There's also this one club in Kreuzberg that is a former public toilet called Zur Klappe. Last month, along with three friends from Sound Metaphors records in Kreuzberg, I threw a party there on a Thursday night called ’Come ⌁ Come’. All of our friends were there basically, It's such tiny fun space. We will do this again in December, so let me know if you would like to come."