In a new serial on our website, named The Unbreakable Progressive Triangle, we asked a few questions to the people who are conceptual creators of community called Progesivna Suza. The first one to answer these questions is Luka Grozdanic, and we are soon expecting a short review of the scene by Milos Zdero and Matija Ljubotina.
How do you remember meeting the progressive for the first time?
LG: The view to progressive and its phenomenon is pretty specific. If you put the things in that way and think about it, in a way, you meet the progressive a couple of times in your life, you experience it in different ways, depending on a location, and your maturity which is the most important. I think that the first meeting with the progressive comes later, when you mature, when you find the exact thing you liked long before. It sounds crazy, but I first met the progressive in 2005. Back then I was a lot younger and immature, and I received Nick Warren – Global Underground – Shanghai to listen to. It tickled my imagination and opened some new journeys which I could predict even back then. That is a CD which I always like to play again, and experience it in a different way. The specific thing about progressive is that, for me, it changes its forms, and it opens up to you through the years. For me, the first time does not exist, because each following time is more beautiful and different.
Which moment decided for you to end up in this world?
LG: It was definitely the concert of Underworld at Exit festival in 2005. My imagination was triggered after my elder acquaintances told me that this would be the night one must not miss. One would say that everything after that was a history, but there was a long way up after that. For me personally, that night was not only a game changer, but a life changer. The consciousness and the perception of everyday life was totally changed for me back then.
A party and a moment to remember?
LG: It is simply impossible for me to answer this question, because it would need a lot of strength for a reader to go through all the moments I want to talk about. I like to remember each party for its catchy moments of us grabbing our heads, the looks of performers intended to us, the first handshake with Nick Warren, screaming for some ID track, a generous welcome of Guy J in Amsterdam. It is simply impossible to make this list, even if there was a top 100. It is simply like that.
What is a current state of the scene in Serbia (performers, organization and the audience?
LG: I could only comment the progressive scene, although I am familiar the other genre as well. I see it all as a phenomenon which has been created for progressive, techno, EDM, and minimal. They are all different stories, with different audience. Talking about progressive, I am not going to be modest and say that our community did not push things to the positive side a little bit. A feeling of unity at venues, which is very important to me, arises from the desire that, at first place, I want to feel like I’m in the pleasant environment, surrounded by the real audience. That audience needs to be kept at the same place, to have them discuss about music, about performers and organizations which follow everything carefully. The collaboration among performers, the audience and organizations could happen easily. I think it’s very important to present our home performers and producers to people, and somehow give them a chance. Our scene could be very nice and interesting place if there were mutual understanding and unconditional support.
What do you think could be done in order to make the scene better? Is there any problem?
LG: This is an inexhaustible subject for me, definitely. I think there are a lot of things that are misplaced, but the problem is not only in the scene, but in the society, we live in. The audience at parties are mixed up together too much, and this results the loss of a real connection amongst people. There is no education and dissemination of new ideas. In Serbia, the clubbing is being promoted as entertainment for a wide range of audience, and it is not like that really. The promotion of ‘’cheap things’’ which portals and marketing agencies use took soul of the scene, unfortunately.
A surround system, prices of beverages, timelines, and locations come from how much money are people willing to pay for a certain event, and how much the organization is willing to resolve all the problems that might happen. We should explain to people that certain things are not like that because of the stubbornness of an organizer, narrowly profiled genres, or easy money. The issue is that there is a Force Majeure, and that is wide world’s competition which we cannot compete with. Our scene looks amazing if we consider a payment capability of organizers and their influence on performers and booking agencies. It is very easy to criticize a lack of All Day I Dream event, neglecting that Mykonos, Ibiza, and Miami financially and locational much more interesting than Belgrade. I would like to add that the centralization of events of the capital, four days of Exit and Love festivals results as a lack of clubbing scene in smaller towns, where is so much little to offer to the people living there. They do not have a chance to hear good music.
We as a group try to promote less familiar, but quality performers, including the big starts that shape the scene. I repeat, the education of the people and awaking the desire to learn new things is something that can change the situation. There is so much quality thongs, it is just the matter of a way a listener is being approached to in order to tickle their imagination. Whatever people might think, it is a fact that tickets are very cheap in Serbia, and that by mixing audience, we lose the vibe amongst people. I think that the real progressive people are ready to pay more money for an event that is worthy. Organizers are sometimes forced to send a great number of tickets for an event of something that is very popular at that time, but not very quality. The ambient of an event is also very important, and I think it is being neglected, and we could also refer that to low-cost tickets. One of the deficient is a lack of quality and more diverse clubbing scene, and this influences further development. That little space for home performers and making some new vibes could be felt at a smaller dance floor. The interconnection at places like those is inevitable, and that should be used in the right way.
How was Suza founded?
Technically, Progresivna Suza was founded spontaneously one morning, as the answer to a large number of Facebook groups where there was impossible to catch up with so many links people were constantly sending to inboxes. Suza is basically a place where people are able to share music. The nest aim was to make people spend less time looking for music and spending a lot of time on computers. Nobody expected any kind of discussions, organizing events, traveling or a production of t-shirts.
If I look at the bigger picture, the feeling coming from my stomach is telling me that the group was founded in March of 2018 at the Tash Machine club, during the performance of Fernando Ferreyra and Frangellica. That was a moment when I came from one phase to another, after so much time. I changed the group of friends and headed into the unknown. It is interesting that we realized that the most people from the group attended that event, but we did not know each other personally at that moment., not even through comment on social networks. I remember that night after the incredible feeling of belonging amongst unfamiliar people – I was excepted although I could recognize only a few impressible faces on the dance floor. It will turn out later that exactly these people were the ones that were most important for the future development of acquaintances in the group and the group itself, and that they are still here – active members of this community.
Progresivna Suza – One year and a half later? Have the expectations been met and what are the plans for the future?
LG: In the beginning, the whole idea was an optional sharing of links, but soon everything grew into a gathering of like-minded people with whom you can share the emotion of listening to music. Seems simple, but amazing things happened and people fanatically stuck together and did crazy things for this community, in a way they only added strength and desire to develop the story towards what Suza is today, a year and a half later. There are endless complete and incomplete ideas, but we think that it is very important that even larger amount of people gather through social networks and this website as a generator of various events, who continue to wander between life stages, genres and everyday life. I think people need to be offered quality content, both musically in the form of podcasts and in the form of textual materials, as well as the history of the scene, performers, record labels, clubs and all other aspects of the scene.
By raising the site, we want to expand our story beyond the Facebook group. Knowing myself and most other progressive folks, I think we should aim at their curiosity, which we would deepen even more with quality content. I believe that we can attract more quality people and develop everything we have imagined.
Progresivna Suza’s ideas gravitate from a radio station, through a record store, daily boat parties, a small club, event organization, T-shirt sales, all the way to a travel agency that would organize trips for all these people. Creative chaos is the only expression that can define that.
I would like to add that the money we are trying to generate through voluntary donations is not enough to develop the story the way we would like, but with the effort and great people, I think we can carry on. Suza’s specific plans are that we want to organize several events during the fall season at the DOT club with foreign performers and give the opportunity to unrealized domestic talents to perform on the bigger stage. Certainly, the goal is to take the Progressive Tales Podcast to an even higher level. All other things will, as before, come spontaneously and instinctively. One of such moves was the introduction of the Antidepressant series, which managed to bring us all together in one place during the crisis situation in the world. I hope we have a lot of beautiful things ahead of us!
The thing that was the “trigger” for the upcoming events?
LG: During a usual day, unimaginable situations happen among the members of the group, and so does among us, the people who lead the whole story. Many times we agreed that this Big Bang happened when we went to the Amsterdam Dance Event, and saw that we primarily agree on basic human levels, as if we have known each other for years, there was no Suzain sight then, but even in the simplest things we made decisions very easily and enjoyed the same moments.
Something was in sight in front of us, but at that moment, in a completely blurred form. It is difficult, and almost impossible to determine the exact trigger for the future, because there were several of them during each day. I think a lot of small things contributed to the story rolling on. A nice word from strangers or some new friendships are what push you further and reveal new possibilities. The fact is that people are the ones who are the trigger for the future. An example is our first birthday, when we realized that we did a great and beautiful thing for us. Every next podcast, event, instinctive reaction, or a simple purchase of our T-shirt, will determine the future of Suza. Also, our mutual energy and honesty is one of the most important screws in this crazy machine.
Why did Suza manage to gather these people?
LG: I think people felt the honest and real affiliation I was talking about at the beginning. It is like when you are a kid, and you play with friends in the sand. We have created a kind of playground for these people who share the same passion, and enjoy interacting with each other. I remember the words of people, including the performers, who saw us for the first time, but also felt belonging, honesty and a kind of friendship between strangers. It sounds crazy, but it really is like that. Unknown people have now become friends and partners, which is actually a very common thing now. We like to unite kindred spirits, and the group is rising at astronomical speed.
How can you describe the relationship with the team and the members of the group?
LG: There has to be roles in every team or movie. It is natural that there is a leader, a regular entertainer, an energy vampire, and all the other pieces of the puzzle. Although the group consists of six completely different members in the administrative part, I think that everyone does their best. Everyone with their flaws and virtues contributes to the story and complements what we lack at that moment. As the group grew, these six people were not actually the only ones responsible, because many more people were involved in the organization, energy contribution, and even financial assistance. Everyday life between us, as in every family, is very specific. For the most part to have fun and an inexhaustible source of motivation, but there are also days when relationships are very tense and everybody feels that. There are bad moments that we try to get over together, and those are often private problems. Sure, each story is individual, but I think at the end of the day we are still one well organized team.
Which is the moment you remember?
LG: It is almost impossible to point out at something here and put it in the first place, as it is impossible to separate one party from another ones. One of the craziest moments was when the group managed to raise money for a plane ticket for one of the members, who was unable to make it to the Birthday party. The unknown members of the group raised money and enabled him to be a part of that event, which was very important for us. The tension, the flight delay and all the accompanying problems disappeared in a second when Matija showed up at the club, hugging us. It was completely hysterical. I can’t describe that feeling, it was beautiful in the most human sense that exists.
What is Suza for you?
LG: Let me try to be brief. It is a playground for the mind, a free territory where I can always go back and join the journey in an unlimited arrangement. An everyday life.
What is progressive for you?
LG: As stereotypical as it sounds, it is the way of life. My perception of everyday situations is different with and without music. Progressive is some kind of cure for both bad and good moments.