There is no doubt that Segovia has great nightlife: IE exclusive events, great music, and affordable prices.
Yet, it can be difficult to keep up with the ever-growing number of events organized by IE students.
Students start to get bored of the usual routine – and many branch out and start their party event organizations or pick up DJing as a hobby.
I have decided to speak to some organizers and DJs to get an inside look at what it takes to be in this role in a small college town like Segovia.
Here are the interviewees:
- Dara Akomolafe – Founder and Organizer of SENSE
- Nicolas Cajiao – Founder and Organizer of BACO
- DJ Mats
- DJ Leiser
- DJ Ross
- DJ Mika – Student of DJ Mats
First, I spoke with the party organizers…
Q1: Tell us about your party Organisation.
Dara – My party organization is Sense (Instagram @ sense.segovia). It was founded a year ago now, we created it in November last year. Now we have 3 members of the core team, and a bunch of other people helping with events like promoting, decorating, etc. That’s around 20 people.
Nicolas – We wanted a different name – we wanted people to ask what the name meant. Our first party was in October – the Pink Party. We are three founders – Nicolas, Domingos, and Pedro – but we also have our work team, which is 8 promoters that help us sell tickets and logistics.
Q2: What drives you to organize a party? Where are they held?
Dara – We felt that Segovia lacked diversity in music. We wanted to bring music people wouldn’t expect in Irish like the classic commercial, techno. Our first event was HIP-HOP, which was new in Segovia. All our parties are held in Irish.
Nicolas – We wanted to create an alternative way of partying through theme parties. [We are] inspired to find different ways to have fun, not just Thursdays at Irish. An alternative party, not for money, but to have a truly good time with friends and meet new people. [They were] originally held in Pub Bow, but [we] outgrew it and moved to Sabbat, with a capacity for 500 people.
Q3: What is the most difficult thing about organizing parties?
Dara – I’d probably say making the schedule, and choosing the dates, because obviously everyone is very busy in uni and there are a lot of other event pages, and more are created every week. There is a lot to consider when throwing an event.
Nicolas – The music. Choosing the appropriate music. IE is diverse (…) it’s difficult to satisfy everyone.
Q4: What do you think Segovia students look for when going out?
Dara – I think it’s very simple: to have a good time, and to have a good time for not that much money – this isn’t Madrid or Paris. We try to keep our ticket prices as low as possible while also making sure that we put on a lot of decorations, and that the music is good so that everyone can have a great time.
Nicolas – People look for something different – they like to dress up because it’s something different.
Q5: What is something you have learned along the way?
Dara – Planning, if you don’t plant everything crumbles.
Nicolas – How to be a better business partner and friend. I also learned all the possible different business areas.
Q6: Do you think there has been a greater demand for parties since the opening of Kotaho and La Mentira?
Dara – I don’t think there’s been a greater demand since the opening of Kotaho and La Mentira, regardless of new events and clubs, uni students will always go out.
Nicolas -There has always been a high demand – People in IE like to party. The opening of new places has not affected us – although we have thought about hosting in Kotaho and La Mentira, the capacity is too small for us. They are amazing places.
Then I spoke to the artists that entertain the event attendees…
Q1: What made you start DJing and how long have you been DJing?
DJ Ross – I started DJing because I watched “We Are Your Friends” – I liked it, and it made me want to become a DJ so I bought a small table and began mixing. This was approximately 4 years ago.
DJ Leiser – Since I was a child, I loved techno, and I had a famous DJ friend in Belgium. He was my teacher for a year. I have now been DJing for 3 years.
DJ Mats – When I started when I was 11 I called myself dB.; which is both the unit of sound volume, the decibel, and the initials of my last name, de Boer. I then developed this and included my middle name, ‘Alexander’, to create Alex Bell, also referencing the ‘inventor’ of the decibel, Alexander Graham Bell. I released a lot of music under Alex Bell and started careers in Mallorca and Germany using this name. When I moved to Madrid it was time for a fresh start, especially since people sometimes tended to call me Alex, while my day-to-day name is Mats.
To make myself more recognizable, and since people knew me best by my real name, I then decided to change it to MATS; creating a new profile strictly for music that I could play live in clubs, such as techno and tech house.
I started DJing, as I mentioned when I was about 11. In my middle school, there were these parties that the school hosted and they needed a DJ. I was already very involved in music and these sorts of things, so it happened quite naturally that I put myself in this role. It was out of passion and necessity! Since then, it has become much more than just a hobby.
It was only natural for me to continue DJing in Segovia/Madrid when I moved here. It was a passion that I could not miss, and it is very easy to practice here.
Q2: Are there any specific parties you DJ for?
DJ Ross – I started DJing in PubBow – then my reputation grew, now a resident of Liberty super club. In Segovia, DJ for events and private parties.
DJ Leiser – I am the resident DJ of Nambaka – a worldwide organization with events all around the world.
DJ Mats – I usually perform for events that are hosted targeting IE students, both in Madrid and Segovia. For now, I am trying to stay away from the Madrid market, as it is too much of a hassle to go back and forth, especially on weekdays. For now, my favorite organization to play at is UTOPIA, which is a hopeful vision of what going out could be like in Segovia. Beyond that, Segovia is a very limited market, with very few nice venues to perform at.
Q3: What do you think is the best part of DJing?
DJ Ross – Seeing people have fun. To see the satisfaction of everyone dancing is the best of DJing.
DJ Mats – The best part of DJing is that it is rewarding. You can watch yourself grow, slowly playing for larger and larger audiences, and once you finish the relief is great. But by far the best aspect is playing your musical creations live. It is the most beautiful thing to watch people dance or sing along to a song that you made, put your love and energy into it, and that people appreciate it.
Q4: What do you think is the most difficult part of DJing?
DJ Leiser – Making people enjoy techno and house music, most people from South America have not heard of techno before coming to Segovia. I try mixing commercials and techno so everyone can enjoy, that’s the most difficult part – making sure everyone can enjoy the club.
DJ Mats – The limited [aspect] of DJing, especially in Segovia. There are very few venues and a lot of DJs.
Q5: How do you handle people’s different tastes in music?
DJ Ross – In IE, there are people from all around the world – so I play a mix and re-mixes. For example, for every 2 songs of reggaeton, put some techno – I try to put a bit of everything.
DJ Leiser – I’m a techno DJ, but I add a lot of commercial songs – which people remember because they aren’t the usual versions. Most people end up loving it all – techno, commercial, and house.
DJ Mats – It is easy to play the music that everybody knows and likes, but it is hard to play the music that nobody knows, but everybody likes the first time they hear it. I’m trying to learn to do the latter and infuse my mixes with a bit of self-contributed uniqueness and style.
Q6: Is there any genre of music you feel has been particularly in demand lately?
DJ Ross – Depends on the club – in Madrid more reggaeton, here in n Segovia, mostly commercial and techno.
DJ Leiser – I play first for myself, then for the others. Of course, I want to see people enjoy my music but I try to put music that I like.
DJ Mats – Techno, and most specifically melodic techno, is growing immensely in the scene that we are in. It is becoming more popularised, approachable, and accepted by people that were never into techno.
Q7: When you play at events, how do you choose the music, especially if there is a certain theme, such as a Pink or Tropical party?
DJ Ross – The organizer of the event will usually tell me, for example, to put more reggaeton or techno (…) I adapt my type of music to what they think. I improvise and depending on the ambiance of the people I change the vibe of the music.
DJ Leiser – If there is a particular theme, I will try and listen to songs that fit it and then select my favorites. DJs need to be flexible.
DJ Mats – Commonly, I am asked to play a certain type of music, whether it be a throwback, commercial, reggaeton, techno, or whatever else. But I always mix my style and identity into this. It can be challenging, but very fun.
Then I thought: since there are so many DJs in Segovia, there must be a bunch up-and-coming. One of them is Mia Kaaki, or DJ Mika, a student of DJ Mats. I asked her a set of questions too.
Q1: What made you start DJing?
I have always wanted to DJ but I haven’t had the opportunity before. But then, all of my friends started encouraging me to, and I thought why not? I also got to meet DJ Mats so I took the opportunity and asked him if he could give me lessons, and from there it all started! I have been DJing for [around] a month, and I haven’t been a DJ in [any] official events [yet.] but hopefully, soon I will be.
Q2: Why did you start DJing in Segovia?
I decided to DJ in Segovia since nowadays lots of events are taking place and I found an opportunity in which I can grow. Plus, lots of pres happen in Segovia so, for a person like me who is just starting, it’s a good starting point.
Q3: What do you think is the most difficult part of learning to DJ?
I believe for each person that goes into DJing will face challenges, and for me, learning all the buttons on the set was a challenge at first but with practice, I got much better.
Q4: Why did you decide to take lessons with DJ Mats?
He is the first DJ to accept [teaching me] and I wanted to learn and get better. He is very serious about it (DJing) so I found an opportunity to grow in this area with someone committed. Until now it is going very well!
These exclusive and student-led events are a trademark of the IE Segovia experience. Party organizers and DJs are combining their passions with IE’s motto: Driving innovation. As the Segovian nightlife keeps expanding and growing, we should remember these are real people with their motivations and goals. Ultimately, they reflect the student body through their choices in music and themes – creating a greater sense of community.