In the series of Unbreakable Progressive Triangle, we talked to the ideological creators of Progressive Tears, who gave answers to questions related to this community, as well as their view of the scene. After the first story in which Luka Grozdanić participated, we received the answers to the same questions by Matija Ljubotina, one of the main representatives of the progressive scene in Croatia.
How do you remember meeting the progressive for the first time?
MLJ: Oh, I have to dig my head around well in order to be the most honest with this one. My first contact with the progressive was my listening to Hernan Cattaneo’s 2003 performance at the famous Moonpark in Buenos Aires almost every day before bed. It all took place 6-7 years ago and then, of course, I had no idea it was progressive and what it represented. At the time, I was more trance and house oriented, by no means progressive.
I remember, it was 2015. I came home from work, sat down at the computer, and started digging through YouTube wondering what I could play today. And so, I dug, dug and stumbled upon a set of Sven Vath – Boiler Room Berlin, and said to myself, come on, let’s give it a chance. I was listening to the set, there were good tapes and it was lively, when suddenly THE TAPE (Guy J-Fixation) started.
I was buried, my body started shivering and giving me signals “come on come on let’s go find out who it is, who this Guy J is.” I start researching and come across a compilation of his tapes called Guy J – All the Way and in that moment, in that exact moment, I fell in love with that sound, the sound we call progressive.
What was the crucial moment for you to end up in this world?
MLJ: In addition to all the above I mentioned in the first answer, I would add a party in Belgrade with Cid Inc and Nick Warren. Today when I look at the pictures I laugh sweetly because I didn’t know half of the people who were at the party then and today, we are very good friends.
A party and a moment to remember?
MLJ: Oh man! I will give a political answer first, all the parties were special in their own way. But here, since I have to single out one, I will choose Nick Warren b2b Hernan Cattaneo Boat Party at the Amsterdam Dance Event.I will never forget that energy (I am literally shivering writing this) – the people, the smiles and disbelief on the faces of Luka and Miloš, then Warren pointing a finger at us when we raised the English flag. Really, it was a party that will remain deeply etched in my memory.
What is the state of the domestic scene in terms of performers, organizations, critical mass?
MLJ: Since I am from Zagreb, I will comment on the scene in Croatia. As for the progressive, unfortunately, there is no scene! I intentionally did not mention the festival season on the Adriatic, because that is something else.
In our country, Techno (Techno 2.0 as I call it), House and some Trance predominate to the greatest extent, just like in Serbia, EDM and Techno trends are followed. The same performers are repeated from year to year, but that is understandable on the one hand, because the organizers want to play safe. The age of people who come to such events is very low (16 to 25 years old) which again does not surprise me because when I was in that age, I could not understand Progressive or Deep House. I think you have to reach some personal, and thus, musical maturity to understand certain genres like Progressive.
What do you think needs to be done to give the scene an even better shape? Are there any problems?
MLJ: I will be brief here and I will talk about Croatia again. I think people need more courage, education and some boost of new ideas and directions. You know what they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained. 🙂
How was Suza founded?
MLJ: Suza was founded in 2018, after a series of banded circumstances. My first progressive party, as I already mentioned, was in Belgrade in 2017 (Cid Inc and Nick Warren). At that time, I only knew Miloš Ždero (and soon after that Luka Grozdanić) in comparison with the sea of people I know now, 2.5 years later.
From the first moment I came to the warm up in one of the Belgrade parks, until my return to Zagreb, I felt the warmth and the positive energy from the people I met that weekend, the welcome of unprecedented proportions. The beauty of that felling, plus that amazing progressive sound, the stage was ready for us.
I thought, I want to be here, I want to meet these wonderful people even more.The love for the whole story was growing and we kept in touch through social networks. When people of the same affinities, the same passion and views of life come together, then the emergence of Suza as a community is not such a surprise. After several events we visited together, in the fall of 2018, we went to Amsterdam for the famous ADE. One of the parties we visited was a boat party with Hernan and Nick and nothing was the same after that.
That party, in my opinion, was the final trigger for the emergence of the Progressive Tear.
Progresivna Suza – a year and a half later? Are the expectations met, and what are the plans for the future?
MLJ: I think that quite often we ourselves are not aware of how fast everything is happening around us, and around the Progresivna Suza. The group that was about to be a place for sharing tapes, in a very short time became the real music community with a clear goal and vision.
It is amazing how easily we supplement the ideas related to the work of Progresivna Suza. Sometimes I have a feeling that I just need to blink and puff, things will unfold on their own.
None of the above would be possible if we who run this are not all one big family. That’s where it all starts. If there is a quality foundation based on pure love for what you do, then everything else is much easier.
Plans for the future? Uh, we have a lot on our minds and we are full of ideas, but let’s take “Baby steps” 😉.
The thing that was the “trigger” for further events?
MLJ: I don’t think we’re talking about the exact situation here; everything went spontaneously, beyond nature. I saw that Luka mentioned ADE in his story. That event really was the glue that connected Luka, Miloš and me, and since then everything has started its natural course.
Why did Suza manage to gather these people?
MLJ: When we talk about the progressive and the people who listen to it, I think that the formation of this community was absolutely necessary. People recognized our enthusiasm and passion for this music and it attracted them.
You share your thoughts, your feelings and your passion on daily basis with people you might not have even met. It is something special and that is exactly what happens when it comes to Suza. Everything has somehow settled down as it should, and in the future, I think we can contribute a lot to electronic music in Serbia and in the region.
How can you describe the relationship with the team and group members?
MLJ: Uh, there’s everything! Everyone is unique in their own way but the most important thing that binds us is the love for progressive music. I go back to the word FOUNDATION again, because that love is the foundation for everything else.
In addition to our team of 6 members, there are many other people who directly and indirectly contribute to the functioning of the group. Talking about me personally, I think in the last 2 and a half years as long as this madness lasts, I have become a better person, learned a lot, and made a lot of friends.
I can’t help but get the impression that as time goes on, we are all becoming more and more attached to each other, and that’s the most important thing.
What moment do you remember?
MLJ: That is a very ungrateful question! I will somehow forever remember the moment Guy J spotted us in Amsterdam, at the We Are Lost festival. The man came down to us, hugged us, and talked to each of us individually. The man didn’t know who was more excited, him or us. During his set, we were positioned in the front rows by default, and Guy J observed our reactions at every drop, and that is something I will never forget.
What is Suza for you?
MLJ: The greater meaning in life.
What is progressive for you?
MLJ: For me, the Progressive is a tool through which I express my emotions.
You may expect the last part of the Unbreakable Progressive Triangle soon, and in it you will be introduced to the third pillar of this community, Miloš Ždero.