As far as the London scene is concerned it’s highly competitive nature due to an oversaturation of promoters means for most blending in is the norm. Fortunately for Fragments conformity is not an option. In their eyes, “we are all fragments. We are all broken pieces” but they look to create a space in which these broken pieces are reconstructed through music.
Their dedication to sound quality is matched by their ambitious booking policy. Preferring to champion artists that are masters of their trade rather than an impressive social media stat. As one of the cities most promising promoters, we decided to go behind the scenes as part of our ‘Meet the Promoter’ series,
Can you start by telling us who is behind Fragments, what is your experience & why you decided to start throwing parties under the Fragments moniker?
It pretty much all started the first time I (Dario) played B2B with Victor at a party in central London. When Victor first told me he always wanted to start a party, I was a little bit concerned because I thought it was going to be extremely complicated in such a busy city. Victor didn’t give up and after a while, we decided to give it a shot.
As we were looking for partners to collaborate on this project I got in touch with Madison. We had met a few months earlier at a Dixon All Night Long set in Fabric. She was just in love with the idea of curating our own lineups, bringing quality artists, managing the night and that’s how everything started.
In terms of experience, both Victor and I have been DJing and producing for a few years both here in London and in our home countries and have been working with a number of parties.
Madison has been collaborating with a number of events to help manage artist relationships and even if she is not (yet) a DJ, she has a massive passion for music. She always manages to surprise us with new artists we weren’t aware of.
You have been throwing the majority of your Fragments parties in London. How is the current climate for promoters in the UK capital and how does it compare to other European dance destinations?
Tricky question. On one side, London has literally thousands of people going out to party every day. On the flip side, there are hundreds of parties happening every week, creating a very competitive environment.
Competition also has a significant impact on how much some clubs and promoters focus on the commercial aspect of the party. This is usually not a good environment for nurturing quality.
Another important aspect is the relationship between clubs, party organisers and the government. I think London could do a little better. If I think of huge city-wide events happening in Amsterdam (ADE), Barcelona (Sonar) and other cities, I think London still has some work to do.
One final aspect is also the availability of venues. I think we are steadily losing more and more small to medium venues in favour of the massive, 3000 people spaces. I am dedicated to experience, music culture and quality, so this is detrimental for those organising events.
Nowadays parties are no longer just about the music. Do you agree with this statement?
I think now more than ever, parties are about freedom. People look for a place to feel safe, where they can share their true selves with like-minded people without feeling in danger or judged. I think parties are becoming more and more communities where people come to look not just for music, but for relief from society.
It’s also quite clear that electronic music is now very popular and “hot”. With the community becoming bigger and bigger, this has led to some parties shifting their focus on other aspects such as fashion, sexuality, spirituality and other elements that are part of the community.
Where does the inspiration for your parties come from? Are there any brands, artists or parties that have inspired Fragments?
I guess we can say that we are influenced by many different things rather than specific brands or artists. The key focus of our party is quality. We want to bring different artists, from different labels and genres, different Fragments of our music cultures.
The 3 of us all come from fairly different musical backgrounds and that obviously is reflected in our influences. Labels such as Innervisions, Life & Death, Correspondent or festivals like Dekmantel. These are all great inspirations for us and we try to keep these as references when we think about how we want our party to feel like.
How do you think technology has affected dance music and in particular promoters. Do you think it has been positive or negative?
I think technology is a tool, so the positive or negative effects are entirely dependent on how you use that tool. Personally, it had definitely a more positive effect rather than negative. It’s never 100% one or the other.
I love how technology can help to connect with people and share our passion for music. Sometimes it can make interactions a bit more superficial instead of truly enjoying the party. Technology helps us to communicate better. As well as discovering more music, but it can also lead to people focusing more on their phones and their Instagram stories.
Technology is an enabler, but it’s up to people to make good use of it.
Talk us through the process for each party. How do you programme the line ups, choose the venues etc?
We pretty much constantly exchange notes on the artists we like. Over time we have created a list of people that we would like to collaborate with.
A few months ago we drafted a rough calendar for the year with the artists we would like to book. Now we are in the process of discussing dates and availability with their respective booking agents. When we get to this stage we typically already have in mind the location for the party based on the vibe we are looking for. This is why we try to confirm everything roughly 6 months before so all the pieces fall into place.
We actually spend a lot of time visiting new venues. Critically listening to the sound system. Looking at how easy it is to get there. How do the staff behave? I guess we are still learning a lot. However, we work really hard to make sure that everything we do is centred on music quality.
Finally, What plans do you have for Fragments in the future?
Our next party is happening on November 9th at Cell 200 and featuring the amazing Theus Mago, DJ, Producer and Label Owner (Duro Label) from Mexico, and the super talented Alan Dixon, London based DJ and producer, who released one of my favourite EPs of the year on Running Back.
We are already in the process of confirming our 1st-year-anniversary party for February with something very special and a few more dates for the rest of the year, so keep an eye out.