Hybrid Kids are an underground Dutch collective who having been pushing the bass music sound in their local neighbourhood for the past two years.. Theirs is a small but intimate outfit – but one that has left a lasting impression on me since I first attended one of their events.
As one of the most significant seaports in Holland, located in a coastline region at one of the most southwest points in the country, the city of Vlissingen has served as a strategical point during numerous wars. Many tall embankments protect the city from being swallowed whole by the sea. As I arrive, the train tracks actually end at the station. A genuine feeling of being at the edge of the world overcomes me.
Although it’s known for its shipyards, large harbour and acres of warehouses, Vlissingen is a city with significant history and culture. The city also contains a unique atmosphere with the typical ‘oldskool’ Dutch vibe – a rarity in these modern days.
Hybrid Kids was the brainchild of a group of artists and music lovers. Since 2010, the crew has changed, evolving and reshaping their approach but two founding members remain; Jahua and Demian. Jahua has gradually reformed the crew, but is still an active DJ and programmer. Demian has been responsible for the artistic selection from the very start.
Since its inception, new members have joined Hybrid Kids bringing with them a variety of new talent. Ron, for example, is a veteran multi-genre producer and Ian is known for his dedication to the wheels of steel. DJ Nana is an active member, as is visual artist PixelCPR (who does the group’s lighting and visuals) and art designer Alain.
Their event is actually called Hybrid. As the name suggests, Hybrid is a synthesis – mainly a collaboration between various audio-visual and graffiti artists – that creates a platform which brings everyone together.
It’s clear that the crew continue to represent their roots in their shared passion. They all grew up in Vlissingen and threw their first events in the same location they use today. They all agree that by doing so, they’re able to give something back to their city. Vlissingen doesn’t have much in terms of events for the younger, more party-minded generation to attend. Whilst they’ve used one venue, De Piek (‘Peak’), for the past three years its future is less than certain. Vincent, who is a representative of the venue told me:
“It’s just a matter of time really, although the closing date seems to have shifted until 2016. They want build something new, something that is bigger and more commercial.”
Hybrid and their attendees have participated in a petition to save the venue – but are yet to know if their attempts to save their home have been successful in the long run.
When questioned about the future, the Hybrid Kids see many points for improvement. As Jahua explained,
“The current location closes at 1AM, which is somewhat of a disadvantage.”
In most cases, venues are allowed to stay open until 2AM in Holland. Clubs with a permit and hired security are able to stay open longer while culturally-oriented venues must close their doors at 1AM in most cases. Many promoters, including Hybrid Kids, get around this by hosting an after-party. Jahua and the collective hosted theirs in the ironically-titled ‘De Concurrent’ (‘The Competition’), who have since decided against any further events – apparently thanks to some noise complaints (which may or may not be be true). The area where the collective hold their events also has a rather rough reputation but Jahua prefers it to the other options they have: “Promoting in a large city like Rotterdam seems a lot tougher. There’s so much more competition there.”
As a regular attendee of Hybrid Kids events, the atmosphere is always open-minded and easygoing. As a testament to this, many different subcultures share their love of music under one roof. In my opinion, the intimacy of the worn and almost torn-down venue also adds a historical flavour to their parties.
Regarding their booking ethos, Jahua told me:
“We book people we really want to book. This doesn’t mean choosing something that is easy. My vision always has been to choose quality above quantity. It doesn’t have to sell, but it has to be musically correct.” This speaks for itself really, but to live by it more than often seems like a whole different story.
Demian agreed, saying,
“We like to think outside the box and focus on bringing something new and innovative. We also aim to make our own identity show through the work that we deliver.”
For their upcoming event, Jahua has booked the almighty Goth-Trad.
To give you an idea of the sounds Jahua and the crew support, this is just some of the artists who have performed with the collective in the coastal city of Vlissingen: Walsh, Clubroot, Proxima, ARtroniks, TMSV, Requake, JayRakka, Goli & Ashburner, The Illuminated, Korrupt, Franky Nuts and many, many more.
Even though it hasn’t been as practical as they initially hoped – the crew is eager to further combine music and art. Alain, the collective’s designer says, “We are regularly brainstorming for new ideas.”
As Demian told me;
“For our event in June, we are going to spray paint a caravan. It will tour all the festivals during this season.”
“At first we wanted to do live graffiti at the various locations we are to visit. This didn’t end up being very practical, as spraying would gass the visitors (and could get messy).”
So they eventually decided to take on a different approach and have decided to paint the car you can see.
Hardship, change and progress for an organisation in a industrially-driven city -themes that are unfortunately all too common. You may well know of similar examples, so remember where things started and give credit to those who made it possible. We’ve got to give a huge shoutout to Hybrid Kids, their cause and everyone else pushing the bass music sounds in their neighbourhoods. We salute you!
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