Loose Lips chats to Stella and Caleb about the launch of their new night, Oblako, which begins at Fold on the 17th of May.
Firstly, what does the name mean?
Stella: It means ‘cloud’ in Russian. We were trying to come up with a name for the night and we noticed one of caleb’s favorite modular units called clouds which intitially put the word into circulation. We liked the sound of the word in Russian too so ended up going for Oblako.
Caleb: I liked the idea of the representation of a cloud as well - a floating mass slowly moving and evolving through time.
You are originally from different areas of the globe. Can you tell us about your musical experiences in Russia and in Devon?
Stella: I’m half Russian - my dad is Norwegian and moved to Moscow in the early nineties. In Russia I didnd’t go out a lot in my city because there wasn’t much of a music or party scene that I felt connected to. It was after my time experiencing clubs in Mexico that I started to become really passionate about electronic dance music.
Over the time that I was working there I saw loads of really good Djs and started listening to this kind of music more and more - so this was a big moment for me really.
Caleb: I had been making music and DJing in Devon through a sound system I was involved with and helped build. This got me involved with lots of barn and field raves in the countryside. This was a starting point really. I went and studied a BA in Sound Engineering in Berlin for two years - this got me more into the kind of sounds for our night Oblako.
How did you two meet and end up in London?
Caleb: After Berlin, I wanted to travel around - I ended up going on a trip starting in Cuba and then taking a route up up to Mexico from Nicaragua. That’s where I met Stella: at a club in Mexico City in the early morning, almost two years ago now. We started seeing each other and we both ended up moving to London quite quickly after.
Why did you decide to start this project Oblako?
Stella: During this period after we moved to London, Caleb and I started going out a lot to different clubs and raves in lots of different spaces to get to know the scene here. We decided we needed a project that focused around our shared musical interests and that’s where the idea for the night came.
Caleb: We are quite spoilt for choice in London in terms of line ups but I also think that the freedom and expression - that feeling of being comfortable in your surroundings - is actually quite limited and hard to find here. There are amazing spaces but the scene itself can feel a little formatted. I find that nights in London have become quite standardised… its difficult to explain but things like closing times for example. And maybe this event, our first night, will not necessarily be able to break out of this pattern but that’s something we hope to change with our project in the future. it’s also about giving something back to the London nightlife as well.
What do you think of the venue Fold?
Caleb: One of our favourite nights there was for Northern Electronics in April. We have been following them for years. Korridor was the stand out set for us. We have seen him play before actually in Mexico City in an abandoned shop. That time, it was a live let for hours and it was insane really how he kept going for so long and kept the audience engaged. The Ilian Tape party which was 24 hours was also a favorite.
Stella: It’s a relatively new space but instantly became our favourite. Since this year it’s gained a strong following - every night they do there is amazing too. The scenery is great as well; in an industrial part of London, you feel a bit more free there. The crowd is also very friendly and a good place to meet some characters.
Caleb: It is one of the first clubs I’ve been to in London where I have really felt relaxed and free, it doesn’t feel pretentious at all, there’s no judgements or anything like that. The fact that it’s far from the centre is definitely an advantage for the crowd - everyone is either there for the venue or for the music. There are a lot of great spaces in London that are located in the centre. That can mean you have people there just to get fucked up and not for the music; that’s usually when there’s not as much feeling of unity in the club or the crowd.
Was there any particular challenges in terms of starting your own night?
Caleb: It was difficult in terms of being a new project. I think its really great how Fold, with such a great reputation, was interested because of the ethos of the night and what we wanted to create. They didn’t just reject us because we are a first time event, whereas a few other places did. Fold were really welcoming of the idea and the lineup - it instantly created a trusting relationship between us and them - all the people running the venue are really nice, they clearly care about what they are doing and its not just there to make money.
Can you tell us a bit more about the artists you have chosen for this night?
Caleb: I've seen Subjected play in Berlin a few times, but not for a while. Yan Cook, we haven’t seen him yet but we’ve been following him for years and he has a strong following in the UK. Dyad - both guys are London based - we are super excited to see them play - I know they have been fairly busy recently. James Newmarch is a friend of ours who I met through work, he’s also a resident at Fold - his sets are always really good so also very excited for him.
Stella: Subjected and Yan Cook both havn’t played in London for a few years so excited to bring them back. I know they’ve played together in the past – think they actually played on the same night last month in Berlin’s Griessmuehle.
All the artists were from a list we wrote out of people we wanted to book - we thought it would be good to go for some of the more established artists for the launch of our night. Later on in the process we plan to also curate some events that align with our more experimental tastes.
What other musical projects are you involved in?
Caleb: I’m still making music under Cindys Pearl and Chimes Vivien. Recently, I have started a band as well - we are looking for a drummer so get in touch if you know anyone! It’s early days so we don’t exactly have a genre but we are influenced by Yves Tumor, John Maus, kind of a post punk new wave style. I also sing in a choir called Musarc - it’s a mix of classical, contemporary and experimental works. I’m doing some sound and music for film and also working on some podcasts - recording for spoken word artists. So, it’s nice to bridge all of the influences in different projects… a big mix of audio related things!