Few events have made a lasting impact on contemporary minimal house and techno in the way Roots of Minimal did. After a successful series of nine years, this Ghent-based organization – also responsible for outstanding concepts like Hertz, Moodfamily and Waking Life – decided to put up one last party on November 11, after which they’ll throw in the towel. Over the years, the Roots of Minimal team (let’s call it ‘ROM’ from here on) has been responsible for showcasing the sonic art of acts like Nicolas Jaar, DJ Koze, Extrawelt, Sebastian Mullaert, Kollektiv Turmstrasse and hundreds of other artists that went on to become global tastemakers in the electronic music scene.
The first question that comes to mind is: why stop? “After starting the Waking Life adventure (a brand new electronic music festival that held its first edition in Portugal last August, ed.) this year, we realized it has become a lot harder to divide our energy for our other projects”, answers Jens Van Ruyskensvelde, one of the three co-owner of Roots of Minimal. “We had great moments with ROM, but the time has come for us to move on”. Before we could ask any further, he continues; “we’re very lucky to be supported by such a big group of friends who all helped us out whenever they could. In the end, that’s the team, not just the three of us. That’s what creates the good atmosphere, this team spirit - and that’s what we’ll always remember, above some good booking or a really good DJ-set”. Ok sure, but surely there has to be one set that’s indefinitely engraved in the collective ROM memory? The answer given came surprisingly quick; “without a doubt Nicolas Jaar’s DJ-set at the open air last year”. Of course, how could it not be
Whether you danced your shoes off at their parties in ArtCube (Galveston), Keizerpark, IJsbaan Kristallijn or Kompass Klub, we think all the tens of thousands of ravers that attended a ROM event at least once in their lives can agree on one thing: the quality of the production and the bookings were top notch. Van Ruyskensvelde elaborates; “our priority has always been offering the best possible quality, which is something people clearly appreciated”. But quality is not just about booking out a cool venue or renting a massive soundsystem. A lot more is required to build a brand that stands the test of time. “We have always tried to offer a harmonious musical story, only booking artists we really stand behind”. Sometimes the secret behind a good concept can be as simple as that, although the execution of this is definitely harder than it looks.
The impressive record of these ROM parties get even more impressive if you take into account that this team started its night years before the current wave of proper techno and house events that dominate our country’s current electronic music scene. Surely the steady rise of quality 4x4 events in our country made some kind of impact? “When we started out, the amount of like-minded events was mostly limited to a couple of club nights. In the meantime, things have changed for the better, arguably. But there is a flipside to this: the expanding market creates a fierce competition, pushing artist fees higher and higher as a result of a growing demand”, says Ellen De Nys, another part of the ROM core team. A bigger pallet of available nightlife options also results in a crowd that can be a little overwhelmed. “True. The crowds have become a lot more volatile, as you have much more options to go to. Unfortunately, that leads to greater financial risks for all the promoters”.
That said, which lessons can new promoters learn out of this? Van Ruyskensvelde – in his signature style - keeps it simple: “Make sure you really, like really, love what you’re doing. You need to be prepared to take a lot of risks, it’s by no means an easy ride” (laughs).
A good way to end this conversation is to look forward to what’s to come. Next weekend, the ArtCube in Ghent will be the scene of the very last ROM night ever, something extraordinary and unmissable for any raver that takes it techno and house seriously. With international big shots like Sonja Moonear, Sammy Dee and Volkan Akin on the bill, it will prove to be a night for the books. Upon asked if he has something to add to that, Van Ruyskensvelde remains serene; “expect to see a lot of energy, smiles and hugs. So yes, nothing extraordinary for a ROM night”! We couldn’t think of a better way to end nearly a decade of this iconic nightlife event.
The very last Roots of Minimal party will take place on Saturday, November 11, at ArtCube (Galveston) in Ghent. All information and tickets can be found after the click.