A multifaceted DJ, producer, promoter and club owner, Stefan Rončević aka Runy is someone who quite brilliantly epitomises the global reach of house and techno. Something of a figurehead in his native Serbia, he’s been involved in the local scene for some time, and is perhaps best known these days for his work at Novi Sad club Tunnel, which itself is fast earning a global reputation thanks to its killer decor and on-the-money bookings. The man himself also provided us with an assured b2b mix, with Runy facing off against none other than fabric’s very own Anna Wall. As you might imagine, the set (recorded live at Club Tunnel) encompasses many moods and sounds, with the intricate vibe of both DJs really coming to the fore. Check out Nightclubber 187 (Runy b2b Anna Wall from Club Tunnel) here and read on to learn more about Runy…
Hi Stefan, thanks for taking the time to talk to us today. Let’s start by talking about the summer. Looks like you’ve had a big one! What’s been the highlights?
Hello guys and thank you for having me! This summer was really dynamic, but truly I could say some of my biggest ideas have come true. The project – Days of Utopia (Dani Utopije) with Carbon Based LifeForms and other artists was the best thing this summer that happened in Serbia to many of us. We listened to different kinds of music, from ambient, downtempo, low tempo trance, industrial slow jazz to club music too. I’m happy we successfully created our small world with many quality artists/performers and shared it with all those good souls.
Can you tell us a bit about how you first got involved with music? What were some of your early influences?
It was around 10 years ago, we were a small group of dj’s, producer’s, photographer’s, music engineers, technicians, enthusiasts, lovers of electronic music, friends and that’s how CMOK happened, totally spontaneous and the moment was correct and good.
In August, 2011. I decided to make an unofficial event (in my hometown – Crvenka) at a picnic area called – Potok (The Brook). Every year, events were much better, with good productions, bookings, interest of the crowd and the parties got a lot of attention from many quality people.
Some of my early influences were mostly music from ex Yugoslavia. One of the greatest bands of all time that affected me here was EKV (Ekatarina Velika) and their amazing composer Mitar Subotić – Suba. I’m still impressed and finding new tapes by Suba’s works of ambient, sleep drone and electronic music. Anyway, there is one more strong influence on me – Dino Dvornik was one of my biggest heroes of yugoslavian funk and house dance music. Probably these early influences create my own taste today as a DJ.
We’ve been following your music as Runy for a while and have been impressed. Can you tell us a bit about your journey with electronic music?
I think it’s much easier for everyone to play instead of explaining his music by words. I like things which don’t have an obvious formula or pattern. I like to combine music from ‘90 with modern sounds, tunes which have micro quotations of trance, jazz, funky, blues, electro and ambient parts. Music is an individual thing, so everyone should respect their own feelings. It’s like you are going to shop to buy your underpants or sneakers.
Tell us a bit about Novi Sad as a city to run techno events. Is it a difficult place to work as a promoter? Or is the crowd generally open to DJs and producers that aren’t necessarily ‘superstars’?
Well, I think few of us in Serbia are still trying to keep this club scene alive. After-covid period affected people a lot. Some of them changed their way of life and habits too. The main purpose of clubbing was a healthy-alternative community which tends to break primitive mind-borders and open us up and make our lives more meaningful. We shouldn’t make idols from the artists and I don’t support modern ways of promotion. The real heroes are usually among us. Sometimes it’s hard to combine a business model with good music but that’s the challenge promoters face if they want to build a scene for themselves and future generations.
It seems to me that the Serbia’s government are pretty supportive of music events and understands that it brings a lot of tourists and value to the community. Do they promote it from a cultural point of view also? And have they been supportive of Tunnel from the start?
We were supported this year by the Foundation of the European Capital of Culture in Novi Sad. I’m grateful to people who believed in some of my ideas and this year we realised some beautiful manifestations called “Days of Utopia ” in Limanski Park & Club Tunnel too. Government never supported electronic music in Serbia and we don’t have any possibilities to grow up as some part of the cultural happenings for this society. Big commercial events are still supported by the government and that’s what they see as a big result.
What do you think the club stands for in your opinion? Is there one vibe you always try to ensure at your parties?
Yes, I’m still trying to keep events with a good vibe. Leading the club is a complex system including many things and the vibe is the final result if that many things works. My team are helping me to keep the quality standards and we are always trying to find a ways to teach people how to understand the experience that we could offer and represent to them – good sound-system, acoustics of the room, small and intimate club, good bookings and staff are some of my most important formulas.
Aside from the love of music, what else motivated the opening of Tunnel?
I really do love my job and the thing which motivated me is that I have the opportunity to create my own world with my rules and the chance to share it with like-minded people. It’s not easy by artist side to understand that Tunnel is not just my hobby, it has big responsibility by the business side too.
Can you tell us a bit about the Opening on the 1st October and your plans for that? And what’s the idea behind only opening the club in October?
Opening of the winter season with my dear Anna Wall was a wonderful experience. Anna is my friend and I’m always enjoying Anna’s company and quality selection of her tunes. We recognize we have something in common and this set we share with you is some kind of that result.
What record stores would you recommend in Serbia actually?
Bulevar Books in Novi Sad and YugoVinyl in Belgrade.
As a DJ/producer, label owner etc, do you make yourself goals? What is the ultimate aim with Tunnel for example?
It’s really hard to sit on both sides, but the last few months my focus has been on Club Tunnel. We are in the middle of the winter season and I’m happy with how things are going on. The ultimate aim with Tunnel is to create a healthy-alternative community which tends to share similar values and possibility to attract some creative people with different ideas, and of-course – to have fun. I hope we’ll keep this as a good story for many years.
Was there a point with your sound and productions where you’re truly confident? Are there areas of production you still feel as need to work on? And is a true producer ever really satisfied?
I’m not sure I have a good connection with this “instant” kind of music hyper-production. Tunes are used just for a few events and then they are going to trash. I prefer tunes which could live more than few parties and I’m still learning and trying to find a good way to make something which belongs to my own feelings and sensibility.
Check out the premiere of Runy’s Personal Joker here