A chat and a mix from Kike Mayor & Enzo Muro from YouKnowWhatLA… » nightclubber.ro
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When it comes to minimal sounds on the US’ west coast, few parties in the region can match up to YouknowwhatLA. Real titans of stripped back, intricate sounds, the label and party collective has been on a real mission lately, booking some of the scene’s most essential names, including Funk E, Felipe Valenzuela, Pheek, Sepp, Amo, Maher Daniel, Ohm Hourani, Cosmjn, Miss and literally dozens more. As you might expect from a roll call like that, theirs is a diverse and eclectic way of working. Needless to say however, a great party is nothing without a cast of great residents. Which of course, YouKnowWhatLA very much is. Hosting residents such as Enzo Muro and Kike Mayor, the duo have been heavily involved with electronic music for some time – Enzo for example, is a resident at Dialogue LA, whereas Kike has played in venues from the Europe to the US ro South America and has has put out some killer music recently, including an album last yeat on Maher Daniel’s label which was soon some come with a line-up of remixes from the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Cabanne, Mihigh, Audio Werner & Lowris. With support like that, it’s hardly surprising we wanted to hear more about their party and their story. What’s more, the guys also released a killer mix for us recently which you can listen to here. So here’s what want down when we caught up with the guys recently… 

Can you start by introducing yourself and telling us a bit about your respective backgrounds? Who does what at the party and what’s your history  like when it comes to involvement in electronic music? 

First off, thank you so much for having us onboard and sharing our story  with you. We’re really excited for what’s to come with “You Know What” not only as an event brand but as an upcoming record label, launching at the  end of this year 2022. There’s three of us involved with YKW.  My name is Eddie Vela, I’m the co-founder of Dialogue LA and co-founder of You Know What. I have been producing events here in Downtown LA for the past 14 years. I handle a lot of the logistics, promotions & marketing, sharing even input on the curation and placement of the party. This event brand was created 3.5 years ago as a sister brand to Dialogue, which Enzo is one of the residents also. The difference being You Know What has a  special focus to the minimal sound, geared towards more of the upcoming innovative artists, while having a less serious and more playful character as an underground event.  

Enzo Muro, is the other co-founder of YKW and has been a DJ for over 10 years, played around the globe, while being a LA resident for Dialogue LA. Together we curate the music for YKW. Meanwhile, he also focuses on the aesthetics and creative direction for the brand while always holding down the vibe in the DJ booth. 

Kike Mayor, is our main DJ resident for YKW. He moved to LA from New York in 2019. He has more than 20 years of experience and has played in places all around Europe, the US, Canada, Mexico and South America. We are glad to have him as our resident, and alongside with Enzo, they bring an always evolving sound to this city. Kike has been putting out a lot of vinyl only releases, including his album last year on Maher Daniel’s imprint which soon will have an stellar lineup of remixes including Ricardo Villalobos, Cabanne, Mihigh, Audio Werner & Lowris. Together, we have a very easy going relationship, which amounts to a genuine good time, and overall translates to our dancefloor. 

Where does the name – Youknowwhat – come from? 

Funny you ask, The “You Know What” event brand name actually came by accident. Enzo & I wanted to throw a party with very little time, maybe 3-4 days advance notice and we were pressed to give it a special identity. We were stuck in such a writer’s block and came up with the name and laughed so hard we gave it a go. It ended up working out and we couldn’t be happier with its playful tone. 

Tell us a bit about the parties and your motivation for starting them? 

Our parties started with LA locals but quickly moved towards the sound we appreciate most which is minimal. We noticed the Dialogue LA parties were getting a little too big, maybe at times losing a bit of intimacy and getting too serious. So we were motivated most by this and try our best to preserve the innovative lineups and focus on just having a fun party with amazing music. 

What other parties and collectives have influenced you over the years? What made them so great? 

Our biggest influence is the Sunwaves Festival in Romania. Enzo has been in attendance the last 6 instalments and I had the opportunity to go to the last 2. Sunwaves could be considered the Mecca of the minimal sound, showcasing the best international artists while playing the most innovative music (sometimes not being released for months on end or ever). There are a few party brands here in LA that we followed suit but most of our influence comes from Sunwaves. 

How integral are residents to a party do you feel?

We definitely take pride in our residents, we believe it helps establish the musical direction while keeping a certain social presence. As Kike continues to release amazing music and Enzo taking reputable gigs in the US and abroad, we can have the YKW brand attached as affiliations to get further recognized not only domestically but internationally as well. While Kike & Enzo are our only residents at this time, we’re always keeping our ear to the ground for more talent to represent us, meanwhile having the Dialogue LA residents playing with us on the regular. 

From the outside looking in, it seems like the LA scene is having a real moment of late, with numerous new parties, collectives and labels cropping up all the time. How would you best describe where it’s at right now? 

I think LA is having quite the time right now, specifically since after strict COVID restrictions were lifted last year in April. Seems that a majority of party goers did their part to help curb the pandemic and since then have been celebrating. Celebrating hard at that. We’re extremely proud of our scene right now, it’s been safe, respectful and also there hasn’t been any internal conflict between brands within the same genres. It’s definitely heading in the right direction slow and steady. 

In terms of the label you’ve just started, was this always the plan? Or something that came about quite organically as a result of the party being  successful? 

As far as the label goes, this is something we wanted to do artistically while getting our name out there permanently. We are very highly influenced by our favorite labels but also really just wanting to do things our own way with our own special curation. We are focused on artists that represent the sound we push and that we’d definitely book for our parties. So far we have our first Record coming out soon, Funk E in the originals with a massive remix by Melchior Productions LTD. We have also lined up Ohm Hourani and G76 for the next one. We are working hard to keep the amazing balance between party & label. We are very stoked to see artists wanting to come to play to LA, where they always will have a home in YKW… More reasons to throw a party, with who’s part of the label sounds like more fun to be had too… 

Incidentally, what’s been your favourite party to date? What made it so great? And what do you think are the ingredients of a great party? 

Our best party to date must’ve been the show we did after COVID restrictions were lifted. We had Gescu (Sunrise, RO) and AMO Live (Vatos Locos, Miami) alongside Kike & Enzo. The energy was special for this one, the production and sound were super on point and we were celebrating a couple of birthdays. All add up to a great recipe for a great party. 

Do you have one memory in particular that sticks out for you over the past while you realised you’d made the right call (in terms of running parties)? 

Specifically it’s hard to look back and think about the right move. A lot of the time, it’s a culmination of a lot of right moves that keep your brand going. In reality it’s the overall curation and direction of everything put together that makes for the right move: the right talent, the right location, sound, lighting and vibes. 

Similarly, has there been a difficult time too? Is this something you can expect as a promoter do you think? 

Actually yes the most difficult time was around last December 2021 when there was a third huge wave of COVID cases. We had the show booked months ahead of time for our anniversary party, and when all these cases were coming up we were in a position to either cancel the party or keep it going with limitations. Thank goodness we weren’t forced in another lock down but I can say that was a stressful time for many. But the show must go on they say. 

Can you tell us a bit about your future plans for the party? Who have you got booked in for the next while? And do you have any interesting spaces in mind? 

We decided to slow down on events this year partly so we can put some energy in the label, secondly being able to not overdo ourselves. This is a marathon not a race. “Quality over quantity” makes a lot more sense in a “less is more” time. That being said, the shows we do produce will have cool factors into play, maybe more OPEN AIR spaces, more past curfew show endings (like 9am+), constant improvements with our equipment and sound are important to us. Also considering a few super intimate weekday bar nights we shall see what is possible. 

Finally, can you please tell me three tracks that best sum up the story of Youknowwhat so far? 

1. Petre Vali – High Emotions (it’s a classic YKW morning track.. once the sun is up, that record is played) 

2. Funk E – Out of the Blues (coming out on the label soon! 

And after seeing Petre Inspirescu playing it we knew we are in the right path) 

3. Ricardo Villalobos – Hansup (definitely a regular around us, works at any moment)

Keep up with YouKnowWhatLA on Instagram and Facebook, and keep up with Kike Mayor on Instagram and Resident Advisor. You can also follow Enzo Muro on Resident Advisor and Instagram. 

You can also listen the mix recorded by Enzo & Kike for us on our Soundcloud.

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