10 Year Anniversary interview with Piter, Paul and Tom

In response to our upcoming ten year anniversary, we sat down with Paradigm’s three owners to talk about their ongoing journey. They opened up about some of the highlights, the low points, struggles and ambitions they’ve experienced throughout the past ten years. We take a look at Paradigm’s history and their vision for its future. Read all about it as a prelude to coming Saturday.

Ten years of Paradigm. How does that feel?
Paul: It doesn’t really feel like ten years as we’ve been at a standstill for two of them. That’s certainly how I feel. There weren’t really ten Paradigm years to speak of because of the Corona pandemic, more like 8,5. But we still started out ten years ago and that definitely feels like a lifetime ago!

About that starting point, the first club night at the Helsinkistraat. What’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Tom: Sweatiness and stickiness!
Piter: It was also cold, especially the Glazen Loods.
Paul: “Raw” is the first thing that comes to mind. What a raw club that was!
Piter: I remember that it was actually freezing during our first club event with Kollektiv Turmstrasse…
Paul: … Oh yeah! We placed a couple of petroleum heaters in the club to counter the cold. The night started out with everyone gathered around them. This problem didn’t persist when the dance floor filled up with a sizeable crowd and the cold made way for a comfortable warmth.

How did you guys prepare for the event?
Paul: We were awake for about three days straight to finish all of the preparations in time, with literal minutes to spare. It was such a make-do event. We honestly just made it up as we went along. We didn’t have any experience building a club in an old factory, you know?!
Tom: For me as a visitor, it was obvious that something special was happening there. There wasn’t anything like this in Groningen or in the whole northern Netherlands, really. It might’ve been a bit improvised but it was absolutely perfect from start to finish.
Piter: We immediately sold out and we received so many positive reactions. Bizarre.
Paul: It was the event we decided that it had to become an actual club. We signed a lease for the building and we started to invest in this space. How we were going to organize the program technically was still ways away, we just wanted to get started. The first party was a separate event, since we didn’t have a night time permit yet. We were forced to organize it during the day. Then Berlin came to mind with its Sunday events that were happening all over the city. We thought, why shouldn’t we follow suit? Which we did and that’s the origin story of our beloved Sunday Afternoon Collective.
Piter: At some point we conferred and agreed that we should get an official club permit because of all the awesome reactions and our own desire to organize events at night as well. That’s when we requested a meeting at the municipality. They permitted us to keep at it whilst we had to make some mandatory changes and adjustments to the building to meet the standard they set. This all came together when we finally got fully licensed by the end of 2012.

16-10-2011: The first Paradigm Event. Sunday After Collective with Kollektiv Turmstrasse

Your feelings the day after?
Paul: We felt so euphoric! I simply couldn’t stop thinking about it. We were all standing on top of the DJ booth when the closing track was playing. Paraformers included, even though they didn’t officially exist as of that moment. It all just came together organically.

What do you remember about that first period at the Helsinkistraat?
Paul: Mainly the afters. They took place after every event, upstairs in our offices.
Piter: The togetherness. But also the whole process of learning on the job, if you will. Not necessarily knowing what we were doing. For example, we had to write a report, assessing the strength of the tower connected to the building. We had to weld stuff left and right. We also had to install sinks for people to wash their hands, as stated in the permit. We had to work through several nights whilst supported by friends and volunteers to finish everything in time for the event. That was really special. We did it all ourselves…
… the events had such a raw and underground feeling. I remember having a couple friends over. They were searching for a way inside, being drawn by the heavy bass sounds coming from the premises. They simply couldn’t find the entrance. It took someone to go outside for them to finally find their way inside. Just really vague stuff, you know.
Paul: We did that on purpose! It was almost impossible to find the entrance. You had to make an effort to get inside.
Piter: Exactly! I loved things like that.
Paul: When you did find the entrance, you would enter something resembling a sluice. It was a corridor that was pitch black filled with pounding beats. Whenever you went past the doorman, it was like you just travelled ten floors down and ended up in a disheveled and grimy basement. It was such a particular effect, it didn’t really get more underground than that. An illusory experience. Together with one of our artists, we’re going to recreate this experience for our Future Club. Entering the club will be transformative. That’s going to be dope!
Tom: I still have a picture up in my bathroom originating from NYE 2011. I was playing as 380Volt and I was also puzzled about where to enter. The volume level went through the roof as well. I will never forget that.
Paul: Initially, when we arranged the sound system for that particular event, we noticed we underestimated the sound levels needed to match the space. So I panic-bought three times as much gear. Massive speaker towers were erected and the sound made the building shake to its foundations, which was insane! Then these guys from Ellendeling started to play pitched-down hardcore tracks at 115 BPM. They completely floored the whole crowd…. …it all was such a playful gathering. No direction at all. Everyone just fell into place and it still is one of my favourite memories.
Tom: Look, this is the picture I’m talking about. You can read it off people’s faces that it was incredibly loud in there.

Piter: One of the things I remember most about that event in 2011 was that it was our first NYE foray. This concluded in us getting a permit to host that particular event at the very last moment on the 31st of December at 5PM in the afternoon.
Paul: Pfoh, that was stressful.
Piter: The municipality didn’t know what to do with it. We already sold a lot of tickets at that point, close to 1500. Then they got wind of it and a permit process was quickly set up because we said: “We simply can’t go back now.” The event itself turned out to be an absolute banger.
Paul: Financially, however, it turned out to be a big loss. It was a very expensive production whilst people showed up late and hardly drank anything.

The finance side wasn’t all that easy then, was it?
Paul: No, it wasn’t, especially the first years
Piter: We turned a small profit in 2011 but it only cost us money from 2012 until 2017.
Paul: We had to invest a lot of financial resources. We obviously had artists for every event and we also couldn’t open our doors as much as we wanted, even though we settled at the Helsinkistraat as our semi-permanent home.
Piter: We were also very inexperienced. It cost us a lot of money just to learn the basics of running a club!
Paul: We’ve given so much away as well. At the time, we would open up the bar at the end of an event for everyone that stuck around. For all of our friends, which would normally consist of half the crowd, really. That’s how those afters started.
Piter: We didn’t have any other options. Well, you always have options but that was just the nature of the work we did, which was incredibly fun. That’s how I used to think and that’s still the case. It led to numerous sleepless nights. But I always had faith that it would all come together in the end.
Tom: Yeah, an intrinsic drive was always there. It was tangible.
Paul: We really felt like we struck gold with this concept but we also lost a lot of money chasing this dream. This sometimes resulted in conflict with our suppliers, which wasn’t ideal to say the least. But they understood our vision, which was an ongoing process whilst striving for success. We just needed time to set it all up. That’s how we basically pulled through year after year. Our goal was to keep everyone happy, but that was a tough challenge with hardly any finances. It was a matter of dividing our financial resources left and right to keep going, sometimes going week by week. As this went on, some years were harder than others but in the end we all knew we had a recipe for success. We thought that if we kept going, we could include more people, streamline our processes and create a healthy growth for Paradigm. It really took a turn for the best after two years of settling ourselves at the Suikerunie terrain…
… those 5 years of investing plus moving our home towards the Suikerunie terrain almost did a number on us. However, this move enabled us to truly do things our way, which was sorely needed!

Paradigm Festival 2019. Photo by Knelis

The move from the Helsinkistraat to the Suikerunie terrain has saved Paradigm’s existence, then?
Paul: Oh for sure. The tension surrounding the whole thing was tangible. Everyone missed the Helsinkistraat, including ourselves. Nobody really wanted to leave but we knew we had to. The costs were becoming almost insurmountable through our landlord constantly increasing our rent. Combine this with the limited capacity the building had and we were basically forced to move out. However, this also signaled the fresh start we were aiming for.
Tom: I already caught some wind of the fact that Paradigm had to move out of the Helsinkistraat when I started supporting Hessel with the programming back in 2014.
Piter: Yeah, we were quite early with regards to brainstorming new ideas for a new location. We were talking about new concepts, how we would arrange everything in Het Zeefgebouw, the frequency of our events as well as down-scaling our organization. We wanted to create a little breathing room for ourselves to increase our ability to face future challenges. That’s why it was so great to experience our first intimate get-together in Het Zeefgebouw, spearheaded by Steve O’Sullivan and Awanto3, which sold out pretty much right away. That gave us a lot of confidence. So much so that we felt ready for bigger productions… and because I knew in advance that we would have to make this move one day. It gave me a chance to properly prepare myself mentally.
Tom: Yeah, you handled the whole thing the best out of everyone, I believe.
Piter: I think so too. It felt like the right call to make, so the desire to do so gripped me very quick.
Paul: That’s right, we were in need of a refresh as an organization: re-evaluate our organizational structure, increasing our control regarding our situation and a heavier focus on sustainable themes. These are the things that we believed would come to fruition whenever we’d find our own place. Both Piter and I also became dads right around that time, which caused a perspective shift in some ways. It was a bit touch-and-go with our first festival as we still were getting to know our terrain and what we could accomplish here. Same goes for Het Zeefgebouw. We had to build and complete different stages from scratch. Our funds were also depleting since we just moved, including the debts we built up over the years. So yeah, that first period after we moved was particularly challenging.
Piter: Agreed, especially the end of 2016 and the first few months of 2017 were tough to work with. We came really close to bankruptcy but we were able to pull through because of the undying support we received from everyone. That’s how we were able to keep going!
Paul: Exactly. Numerous rumours circulated about the health of our organization and people were wondering if we would make it. Despite this, we knew that if we were able to keep going for a little while longer, we would switch from trying to survive to slowly thrive under the circumstances. Our terrain took more and better shape with time, which laid the foundation for great productions and the ability to start cleaning up our debts.
Tom: It was an arduous time, indeed. But everyone knew this: Paradigm has the sickest Festival Terrain in the Netherlands. Our agency regarding our own situation started to increase more and more.
Paul: When we announced that Richie Hawtin would attend Paradigm Festival 2017, our ticket sales skyrocketed. This allowed us to settle with a lot of creditors and shift most of our focus towards our future.

Paradigm Festival 2017: Richie Hawtin playing at the BALL area. Photo by Knelis.

What are some of your proudest moments of the past 10 years?
For me it’s how similar our current terrain and the overall vibe is compared to the situation at the Helsinkistraat. I really feared we wouldn’t reach that level ever again. It’s the way the areas in Het Zeefgebouw are structured. The sweaty Basement area, for instance, feels like a colossal bunker whilst retaining a sense of organic intimacy at the same time.
Paul: The family feeling of our organization and everyone that’s closely connected. It’s a really tight knit and creative community. We create the most incredible shit. We book awesome artists. We host some of the most amazing events. This all comes straight from our hearts with lots of passion, love for everything, for our visitors, for the art and for the scene. The vibe we establish together with our team, our volunteers, suppliers and our visitors; that’s something I’m incredibly proud of.
Tom: So many great things spawn from this foundation. There are so many of us here that feel at home, who experience personal development and growth. It also means a great deal that we found our own home turf. That we’re able to do what we love, harmoniously and on our own terms.
Piter: I’m so, so proud that we’ve been able to keep going for ten years straight, which is a great accomplishment with regards to the challenges we faced doing this.

Paradigm is an established name. From small and intimate parties to mega productions. Which events are the most memorable?
Paul: You’re only as good as the last event you hosted. I feel this all the time. The first time Guy J on NYD: legendary. The first all nighter by Speedy J: legendary. Speedy J all night long in the Basement of Het Zeefgebouw three years ago: legendary. The first Paradigm Festival on a Sunday: legendary. Our first NYE: legendary. The most recent NYE with it’s deco, which was incredibly well organized down to the last detail: legendary. The most recent Paradigm Festival, which felt really complete: legendary. Planet Paradigm in our Forest with Zip among others: legendary. Our collab with ZeeZout and that enormous LED ring at the main stage: legendary. It’s always a challenge and a joy to keep raising the bar. Every event you host should be your best. We strive to reach that goal each time. One that really sticks out is the handwritten letter that Piter sent to Richie Hawtin which convinced him to come and play at Paradigm Festival. Or the time Speedy J said to Tom that Paradigm is the only place where he feels safe to postponing the first drop as much as he does sometimes. Those are the moments that stay with you.
Tom: Don’t forget the fact that we hardly compromised on who we are. I’m filled with pride thinking about that, too!

Paradigm x ZeeZout 2020. Photo by Knelis.

Tom, you became co-owner in 2018. What has been your experience since then?
Tom: I realized earlier in this conversation that I played my music for the first time at Paradigm in 2011. If you would’ve asked me then: would you like to take charge together with Paul and Piter? I would’ve simply said: tell me where to sign! Because, by then, I was already completely sold. I’m especially thankful to Hessel, who unequivocally put his faith in me in assisting him as a booker. Not to mention Paul and Piter who gave me this chance. I’m unable to do anything else anymore. This is my life. My trade and my business. It’s also personal. All of it is such a thrill! I still remember that Paul and Piter gave me 24 hours to make a decision and me calling them back within the hour to accept! The Paradigm feeling has settled within me and that’s never going to go away.

That Paradigm feeling, what does that mean?
Piter: It’s hard to put into words what it means exactly, you’d really have to come here to experience it. Visit the dance floor, talk to the people. Paradigm stands for freedom and respect towards one another.
Tom: I would say commitment, purity.
Paul: Love for everything and everyone around us.
Piter: When people come over for the first time, they’re usually a little overwhelmed with all the facets Paradigm has to offer. The extraordinary location, the deco, the vibe. But, in the end, they usually feel right at home real quick. They can be themselves and that puts most people at ease immediately. It’s a great feeling. You can find this energy all over the terrain.
Tom: This feeling also extends towards the numerous artists who played here over the years. They feel at home and like to stick around. Most often you can find them talking to various people whenever they come over.
Paul: I would like to reiterate that I’m so incredibly happy with our terrain and the way it looks right now! The way we collectively shape it. We’ve all got our own expertise with our own perspectives, which contribute to the development of all our stages and different areas. It’s the way this collab is going with regards to the terrain and everyone’s influence in its development. It makes us think about what it would look like after eight years?! Whenever I show anyone around I always say: nothing you see is final. Everything is in a constant state of development. It just keeps getting better!

Does Paradigm have a final shape or form?
Tom: I don’t think so. I always like what Piter says about it: “Paradigm is much bigger than we are. If Paradigm stays true to form, it will have a life way after we’re done with it.” We have a responsibility to keep Paradigm on track this way and that people stay involved.
Piter: We are representatives of the brand that Paradigm is. We’ve conjured it up and created it. But it’s something that belongs to everyone and it will stay alive because of everyone’s contribution to it. Especially those of us who put so much time and effort in Paradigm. This is our lifeline.
Tom: I was talking to a group of people last weekend (Intimate Forest Session #1). I asked them if they’ve been here before. They mentioned: “We were here for the first time last year, but we weren’t allowed to enter before.” That’s when I realized that these boys and girls were 9 years of age when Paradigm was founded. The involvement of the younger generation has always been seamless and is truly one of the main reasons we can keep going.

What else would you guys like to accomplish on this terrain?
Piter: We want to completely cover and close up some of our festival stages and make all of it ready to go for our events.
Paul: And, when our lease agreement comes to an end here, we want to set it all up in such a way that it can still be used in another shape or form by the next generation who’ll make this terrain their own. Maybe we can keep growing with our festival, who knows. Paradigm has become such a large brand that it’s impossible to make all of these decisions ourselves. We only try to guide it all in the way we think is best. Our successors will also be able to influence the direction of Paradigm.
Tom: We’re keeping an open mind and attitude with regards to changes and innovations. This is something that’s going to remain this way. We’re here right now, showing leadership and sharing a vision but that doesn’t mean great ideas and innovations may cross our path and we want to embrace this too. To respond adequately. For example, the realization that it’s important to take our environment into account when hosting our events is such a large part of Paradigm today. We’ve shown this more recently but it wasn’t that important to us when we first started.

Anything you’d like to add?
Paul: The world has “hardened” somewhat during the Corona-crisis. There’s more polarization than ever. That’s why I would like to give this message to anyone who reads this: stay true to yourself, don’t stray from your path in life and try not to get riled up by whatever forces that are at play. Let’s try and stay together as much as we can.

Paradigm for Lesbos

We all held our collective breath when we saw fires spreading all around camp Moria on Lesbos (Greece) this week. Thousands of people on the run for war and violence, only to become homeless again in the middle no nowhere without access to any basic necessities.

Almost 50% of the affected people are children who sleep unprotected under the night sky. The nights are cooling down rapidly as winter approaches. We have to act swift and quick as the chaos grows. 

We’re going to collect sleeping bags for Because we Carry. You can use a sleeping bag to simply sit on during the day, wrap it around yourself when it gets cold, it’s soft and clean to change your baby’s diaper and mostly to keep warm at night. At this very moment, 13.000 people sleep in the streets of Lesbos.

Hereby an appeal to all you lovely people. So much is necessary and we’re looking to do our part. Paradigm is going to be the collection hub for Groningen! We’re looking for quality sleeping bags, preferably thermo bags with an integrated hood if possible. Rolled up and secured with a sturdy rope or something similar, that’s it. No slip-cover or plastic bags around it. The need is high but we’re confident that we’re going to meet it!

You can reach the terrain by car, bicycle or by walking there on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to give your sleeping bag(s). Check out the ground plan below.

Opening hours for collection: 10AM – 8PM.

Address Paradigm: Suikerlaan 2, Groningen (take the second exit on the right at the roundabout).
Address Middelberterweg: Middelberterweg 22, 9723 EV Groningen

Please call: 0651588349

Park your car directly on the right of the main stage and deposit your sleeping bag(s) at the Romney Loods. All deposits will be transported to Amsterdam on Thursday. Because we Carry will collect all of it on a plane that’s due to Lesbos on Monday September 21.

Don’t have a sleeping bag but still want to make a difference?

Click here to donate and we’ll purchase a sleeping bag in your name! If the link doesn’t work, you can deposit a donation on the account number below:

NL46INGB0006676284, indicating: Paradigm for Moria

Ground plan:

Inland’s boredome-breakers

Inland provides you with some boredom-breakers in these quarantine times, including an otherworldly mix recorded at Paradigm in February and a new Davenport-household recipe: Pumpkin and Tofu Curry with Peanut-Coconut Sauce!

Hi Ed, we hope you and yours are safe and doing well.
I’m good, hope you’re good as well!

What are your days like in these quarantine times?
It’s been a strange mixture of worrying and relaxing, frustrating and productive moments! But to be honest we have been trying to enjoy the bonus family time – me, my fiancee and our daughter are a very tight unit at this point and we super grateful for that! 

I share a studio space with my long time buddy and techno wizard Patrik Skoog here in Berlin and, so long as the rules regarding leaving the house and going to work remain the same in Berlin (we are allowed too – I ride my bike) we have been lucky enough to continue using the studio. So we take it in turns each day to go in and work. I’ve been making a lot of new high-energy techno tracks, and also working on a bunch of new releases on Counterchange that will get released this year.

Your set has been in the forefront of our minds for months. How did you experience the night?
Ah, it was such a great night! The downstairs floor at Paradigm is such a perfect setting for a rave, with the DJ-booth surrounded by the crowd from all sides, and everything was primed for a great experience, from the insane sound to the top-notch staff and the open-minded, up-for-it ravers. I had played in London the night before at FOLD as part of the ’Stream State’ tour, celebrating the release of a 4 x 12’’ compilation and DJ mix on Counterchange, so I was pumped and excited to get out there and really show off all the contrasting styles of Techno that I like to play. Nuno Dos Santos banged it after my set too – legendary night!

Can you take us through your set?
I opened my set  with a few tracks from ‘Stream State’, which I edited out from the beginning of the recording as you should really go and listen the whole thingThen I went into a rolling section of new and old releases, just stuff I felt like would work in the room,  from the likes of P.Lopez, Headroom, Hector Oaks (an early deeper track of his), and then reached an early peak with Magna Pia’s stunning ‘Narcissist’ – that got the crowd ready for some heavier cuts as I pushed up the tempo and reached into my ‘vinyl rips’ folder to drop a couple of classic 90s Techno slammers. The 2 hrs flew by and I had a big smile on my face for most the set. Mixing in the booth was a breeze, which as most DJ’s will tell you is not at all common in a room as big as that, so I was super happy with the outcome!

Besides your set, is there something else you would like to share with us?
Indeed. We love cooking over here, so here’s a new Davenport household favourite meal we invented over the last few weeks, give it a try: Pumpkin and Tofu Curry with Peanut-Coconut Sauce.

For the Pumpkin and Tofu:

  • 1 Hokaido Pumpkin
  • 1 pack of  firm Tofu
  • A generous handful of Sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil (Rapeseed Oil)
  • 1 tablespoon Curry Powder

Pinch of Salt:

Peel and slice the Pumpkin into 1inch cubes, cut the tofu into small cubes and toss in a large bowl with the Oils, soy sauce, curry powder and sesame seeds till they are all coated. Pre-heat your oven to 200 C and when its ready bake the Pumpkin and Tofu on a baking tray (with grease-proof paper) for 20 minutes, or until golden and the pumpkin is cooked through. Meanwhile make the sauce.

For the Sauce:

  • 1 White Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • 3 tablespoons of pure Peanut Butter (100% peanut, no added sugar!)
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 1 can of Coconut Milk
  • 1 tablespoon Curry Powder
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash of Soy Sauce
  • Dash of Maple Sirup
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Finely dice the onion, garlic and ginger and fry in the coconut oil in a pot until golden brown and soft throughout. Add the Curry Powder and stir it through to release the flavours. Add the coconut milk, stir in the peanut butter, and add the other sauces to taste. Stir it till it’s smooth and allow the sauce to reduce slightly till it thickens a bit. If you need to you can add water at any time in case it gets too thick.

Cook some nice jasmine rice and serve everything in a big bowl topped with lots of chopped coriander, smashed peanuts, lime juice and a big spoonful of Sambal Oelek. Lekker! 🙂


A conversation with Ghost in the Machine

Visionary duo Ghost in the Machine is coming our way next week! We asked them a couple of questions recently and they laid themselves bare. Read all about it below!

Hey Nils and Frank! You first came to Paradigm at the festival back in 2017. What do you remember about that time?

Nils: What I mostly remember was the overall vibe and atmosphere and a very enthusiastic crowd!
Frank: Very different from other festivals, that’s for sure!

The crowd thought so too, seeing as we received numerous compliments about your set! How would you classify your sound?

Frank: We started out playing old school and acid sets. Acid was always a large part of the philosophy behind our work, at least for our first 10+ years as Ghost in the Machine. Nils insisted that we should start producing at some point. The subsequent sound we ended up creating turned out to be part acid (a solid sound with a lot of energy), but also very much techno (deep, hard and not too cheerful).
Nils: Indeed, our sound definitely evolved in the direction of techno over time.

And what do you find important to convey during your performances?
Frank: You can find that constant flow in our sets that is natural for techno, but there’s a lot more going on with us because we’ve often got four decks active all at once.
Nils: Agreed. I also feel like all of our sets contain some type of storytelling.
Frank: Yes. It seems to me that some artists click on the first track they see on the screen. Or just grab the first record they spot in their record case.
Nils: That’s one of the things we’re watch out for. Making sure our story stays coherent and consistent.

How do you make it work? Do you each have a specific role and what do you appreciate in each other when it comes to input during your sets?
Frank: I’ve basically got a clock in my brain and I closely guard our process.
Nils: We check each other’s cues and anticipate accordingly or quickly consult with each other. I do indeed really appreciate Franks feel for timing and the ability to keep track of everything. I also really appreciate our communication and flow during a set, which is practically effortless in my opinion. We’re hardly ever out of sync, which is great when standing behind the decks or working in the studio.
Frank: I actually own a watch, one of those with atomic clock synchronization and precision. So, whenever a stage manager tells me we only have five minutes left, I can retort by showing we have six and a half. You can do a lot in 90 seconds!

What does this look like in the studio?

Frank: Fortunately, Nils likes writing out track arrangements. I can do it, but Nils is way more proficient in that department.
Nils: Frank is very efficient. He’s able to completely focus on something, for instance a single part or element in one of our tracks. While he’s busy working on a short loop, I can already envision how I will create transitions or introduce additional sounds when arranging the loop into a track. And yes, I love doing the arrangement and creating a story. We feel it’s important to physically work together in the studio. This greatly benefits our creativity and speeds up the entire process. I can’t think of a single session where we had to call it quits because ‘it didn’t quite work out that day’. We always managed to create at least something useful we could and would want to continue working on, no matter how short or small. We do get stuck from time to time when we’re working on projects without each other.

Can you tell us something about the studio projects you’re currently working on?

Nils: We’re always working on new material for Perc Trax and our own label. We’ve also done two remixes for two amazing artists recently.
Frank: One of them is for Paula Temple, and should be out next month. The other one we can’t really talk about yet, but we’re very excited about it. We try to release around three records per year. After all, we want to play a lot of our own tracks during our sets!

How do you implement your tracks in your sets and how do you keep a balance between your own and other music? Which other artists do you like?
Frank: The idea is to use tracks from other artists to strengthen and complement our own music. This balance usually ends up being three or four tracks by others for every one of our own.
Nils: Off the top of my head: Perc, Ansome, Randomer, Scalameriya, KRTM, I Hate Models and stranger are artists we play a lot and draw inspiration from.
Frank: We also play a lot of stuff by JoeFarr, Dahryl and Ike Dusk. These are all producers we love.
Nils: We also don’t shy away from older tracks that inspired us back in the day. This results in a balance in our sets where we play a bunch of stuff we love right now and those inspirational tracks from way back when.
Frank: We stated in a past interview that we would play “Snake Eyes” by Ansome in every set. We do.

Why do you create music? Where are you going with your productions?
Frank: There isn’t much of a philosophy besides the storytelling and having fun in the studio. Essentially, I just like working together with Nils. I’d rather work on something together than going it alone.
Nils: Same here. Also, it’s hard to predict anything resulting from us working together. I think it’s an interesting quality that keeps things fresh. I mean, we thought we were going to make 150 BPM acid for a while, and we were wrong.
Frank: And I also really love making things sound enormous. That really gives me a head rush!

What does your cooperation with Perc mean to you?
Frank: Working together with Perc means so, so much for us. We lost interest in techno when it made a shift from energetic, tough and dark sounds towards minimal. However, many years later, we accidentally encountered several great techno tracks, one after the other. Positively speaking, we started to wonder who had approved pressing this insane noise on vinyl. This almost always turned out to be Perc. Take his track “Hyperlink” for example. It’s not really techno, but if someone like Perc releases it on a renowned techno label and plays it in techno sets, it ends up becoming techno! We’ve created a similarly odd track for Perc Trax recently. He’s really the only one who could actually release a track like this.

Thank you for your time! Anything you want to add?
Frank: Well, we’re very much looking forward to play at an indoor Paradigm event! We’ve experienced it from the sidelines a couple of times, which left us hungry.
Nils: The Paradigm Festival was a great first time and we can’t wait to get together again!

The end of Malbetrieb, the start of something new

It’s 6.30pm. Niels is calling us. “I think I’m going to stop using my Malbetrieb alias. No, I’m actually sure of it.” Our Niels, one of the original residents, has made a clear choice for himself. His sets have captivated many souls over the years and this isn’t the end of his music career; it’s actually a fresh start!

Tell us, Niels! How did you come to this decision?
I completely collapsed during ADE three years ago because I had the feeling that I wasn’t in control of myself anymore. I was no longer doing what I set out to do when I first started DJ-ing and worked so hard for over the years. Musically I had received a label to my name, something that I found very difficult to deal with.

How did that label come about?
I received it because I used to do a lot of opening sets, usually because no one else wanted to do these. I played a lot of melodic music and tracks with lots of vocals, which I still think is an ideal entry point for any club night (including our own!). As this style of music began to become more popular, my career grew with it. I even closed an evening like that during an event (even though I already opened, but Paul and Piter insisted) with Kollektiv Turmstrasse. That moment still feels like the starting point of my career – Malbetrieb became a household name after this. However, this “career” only magnified a small part of my musical taste. After all, I’ve always played and listened to ambient, techno and everything in between.

What changed?
I’ve started working with different aliases during the past three years, so I could feel free again in my studio. With Joannes on one side of the spectrum and Sad Girl at the other, I could express my musical vision once more and really bring everything to light between Ambient and Techno. It’s because of these aliases that I completely lost interest in my original Malbetrieb alias, going as far as having no more interest whatsoever in melodic techno of any shape or size. I felt reborn with my new aliases, so playing and creating music became exciting again!

Can you share some of your highlights as Malbetrieb with us?
The best moments have got to be those in Paradigm, especially those solo nights and closing sets. I still experience goose bumps when I think about those times I played ‘Turn Around’ (Âme) and everyone fell into each other’s arms, started kissing each other and was even shedding a tear or two… But that’s all in the past, as I never want to play like again. I’ve re-discovered myself with Joannes and Sad Girl. I can finally play and create what I want without compromise or a limited framework to work with, which feels amazing. Moreover, Sad Girl originated as a joke during a time of my life when I felt really depressed. Now that I’m my happy-go-lucky self again, my Sad Girl alias doesn’t really fit anymore either.

So you want to continue on as Joannes?
I’m able to focus on my entire music spectrum with Joannes, ranging from ambient to techno. I’ve got releases coming up at Sluwe Vos’s label Patron, Munich-based RFR (label with releases by Skee Mask, DJ Hell, Zenker Brothers and others) and Nuno dos Santos’s SoHaSo. I’m choosing quality over quantity with playing in front of a crowd. I want those moments to become special again, both for my audience and myself, and I plan on taking a lot more time preparing for a dj set. So, when you see my name on the line up, you can expect me to completely demolish the place. ‘Joannes de Sloper’, like Nuno says from time to time.

Introducing our new hard cups and payment system

Like we’ve mentioned a while back, we’re going to say goodbye to our plastic tokens! We don’t want to waste mountains of plastic any longer. APOE, as mentioned, was the last opportunity to purchase and use tokens. Planet Paradigm will be the first event where we’ll employ our new payment system. We’re also going to implement hard cups. More on that below:

Pin + Paradigm Card

  • From Planet Paradigm onwards, you can use your pin/debit card at the bar.
  • You can also deposit cash on a special Paradigm prepaid card, which will be available at the cash decks. 
  • Each prepaid card has a unique QR code. You’re able to check your balance by scanning the QR code from your card. 
  • Gather all (!) old Paradigm tokens, put them in an envelope with your name and email address on it, and deposit them at the letterbox at the cash registers near the Da Vinci Dome stage. You’ll then be eligible for our give-aways!

Hard cups
We throw away 200.000 plastic cups each year. That’s something we don’t want to do anymore. From now on, we’ll only serve drinks in hard cups. We’ll also be getting rid of the Spa Blauw water bottles, starting at Paradigm Festival 2019.

Here’s some information on how this will work during Planet Paradigm 2019:

  • The first time you order something at the bar, you’ll be required to pay a one-time €1,-  deposit fee for your hard cup or Spa Blauw bottle.
  • Don’t want to keep your cup or bottle with you all the time? You can hand it in at the bar and receive a green cup token (old Paradigm tokens we used as food-tokens in the past).
  • You can hand in the green cup token whenever you order next. You will then receive your drink in a fresh and clean hard cup or a new Spa Blauw bottle!
  • Did you lose your cup or bottle? Then you have to pay another €1,- deposit fee for a new one.
  •  You can take either the hard cup or green cup token with you when the event is finished, or leave it at the nearest bar.
  • The green cup token may be handed in for a hard cup during the next event!
  • You may collect cups and bottles, hand them in and receive a €1,- discount for each one on your order! The discounted amount can never exceed the order amount, which means you can’t get a cash-back.
  • You can take the hard cup or bottle with you to the Afterhours.

Thank you for keeping our planet clean and healthy!

A conversation with De Sluwe Vos

In anticipation of The Backyard Project, we wanted to shine a light on the inner workings of De Sluwe Vos! He shares his previous experiences with Paradigm, how his relationship with Ryan Elliott came to be and a little of what we can expect coming Saturday.

It has already been 5 years since you first played at Paradigm and we’ve seen each other a couple of times since then. Anything you want to share about those experiences?
I’ve played at Paradigm multiple times and it was a home run every single time. I can really relate with the programming, aesthetics and overall vibe at the new location! Usually I perform a couple of times a year in Groningen and, when I think about it, every performance has had something special. It also happened – more than once – that people ask me when I’ll be playing at Paradigm again. This is a very strong indicator for me on how vibrant this place is.

We dropped by when you played your new live set during the last edition of ESNS. We really enjoyed it! What are your own thoughts on it?
ESNS is a special week every time I visit it. The expectations were pretty high after my gig in 2016. I found myself heading several top 10’s in multiple industry-leading magazines for ESNS that year. Also, playing live for a crowd for the first time is always suspenseful. Keeping that in mind, it was just great to see that the venue was filling up quite nicely way before I even had to start. I also spotted a lot of friends and colleagues in the audience, which boosted my confidence! The whole thing felt only 10 minutes long, which speaks volumes on how much I enjoyed doing it. And even though I didn’t perform a sound check, it was going really well. It always gives me a lot of energy to see the crowd dancing as they did that night, which made me feel at ease even faster. 

About your live set, can you tell us something about the formation of your set-up and your workflow?
I’ve worked on it for more than a year. The whole idea was to push myself to actually perform live revolving my modular setup. It took a long time at first to even find the right setup to get the most out of it. The hardest part definitely was finding a way to play existing records without the use of a laptop. After half a year of trial and error, I finally found a set-up that worked for me and I’ve been playing with it a lot ever since. I was mostly finding my way around the system. My goal was to feel completely at home with it, to jam and play without thinking. Even though I didn’t do a sound check, the set went admirably. It was really great to see everyone dancing the night away, which made me feel at ease pretty fast.

You’ll be playing a special 5 hour b2b set with Ryan Elliott during The Backyard Project. How did this come to fruition?
A couple of years ago I invited Ryan Elliott during a Patron Record label night in Arnhem. We were both playing extended sets and we noticed that we share lots of common ground regarding our music and personalities. We continued to run into each other from then on, followed by me inviting him in 2018 for De Sluwe Vos and Friends at Thuishaven in Amsterdam. We really enjoyed ourselves and afterwards he asked me to see if we could do an actual b2b session in the future. We’ve set things in motion every since and decided that Paradigm was the right place for the job.

What about this common ground you speak of?
This sounds cliché – we share some great chemistry musically as well as personally.

What can we expect for your b2b set?
Lots of energy, new records and two DJ’s who will definitely challenge each other!

Are you gonna prepare for it?
We’ll contact each other beforehand for sure, but I like to step into a b2b with an open mind. Maybe I learned that a little from Benny Rodrigues. Preparation and practice is in my blood but I learned throughout the years that you can hardly plan for everything. I don’t really know what Ryan’s going to do, what kind of crowd we’re going to get and how the acoustics will be. These are all important factors which can make or break your set, even though you can’t really anticipate these things. I combat this by going in without any expectations. After all, the moments that last and stay with you are the ones you never really see coming!

Which record are you definitely going to play?
I really want to test the waters on this track I’ve been editing, which is a really old track by Speedy J. I’ve also rediscovered the Plink Plonk label last week, so you’re definitely going to hear some of their releases.

Konvooi Exceptioneel about creating NYE-objects and donating funds to charity

NYE is almost upon us and we’re eager to show you how we dressed up the place! We specifically had a quick chat with the visionary creator of our mainstage: Jeroen. Read and find out about why this project is so special!

Hey Jeroen! Can you tell us something about yourself and Konvooi Exceptioneel?
We are Konvooi Exceptioneel and we provide various rental services, such as stages, bars and tents with a creative twist for events. Check out for more information about who we are and what we do.

And you had an amazing idea, right? Can you share that with us?
Some time ago, I got the wish from Paradigm to dress up NYE for a certain amount of money. Then an idea started to take root. It was to donate the funds to charity, specifically for (children) refugees out of Lesbos. The project’s name is “Keep Dreaming” and, together with our schoolchildren, they create “dream blankets” for the children in the refugee camps. They have a facebook page and a website for more information. 

What are you guys creating for NYE? 
We’re building several large constructs with a group of about 15 people. Lots of friends also signed up to help for this charity purpose, together with numerous others from unexpected places. We can’t wait to show it!

Mark Fischer reveals the NYE-Trilogy performances

The Paradigm NYE-Trilogy is right around the corner. There will be performances like last year and there’ll also be a small, intimate theatre. In light of this, let’s ask some questions to its programmer, Mark Fischer.

Hi Mark! We’ve been working together for some time now. However, can you tell something about yourself to everyone who doesn’t know you?
Of course! I’m a born ‘Stadjer’, and after leaving the city for a couple of years and living in Amsterdam and Berlin, I returned to this wonderful city almost two years ago. I have a background in theatre, previously worked for the City Theatre in Amsterdam, and now working for the Grand Theatre and Station Noord (a talent-development network for starting dance- and theatre artists in the north). I’ve always been in love with the club-scene (especially with disco and house music) and interested in the cross-overs between theatre, dance and rave-culture. No wonder I fell in love with Paradigm. I love the vibe of the place and the people, and think it’s something very special. You don’t find anywhere else. My heart burns for a more social and green society, and I’m willing to put as much effort as possible in making the world a little bit fairer and more sustainable. That’s why I joined the board of Stichting EMS (Electronic Music Society) about a year ago, a foundation closely related to Paradigm. With the foundation we organize and facilitate activities on the terrain and events of Paradigm around three main themes: sustainability, inclusivity & arts and culture. It’s great to see already so many results after a year, and it has been a great pleasure working with the wonderful people of EMS, Paradigm and everyone around, who all seem to share the same passion and values. For NYE, Paradigm and EMS put their strengths together once more and made a performance programme for the chill out area.

How did you come up with the composition of the program? 
Traditionally NYE has always been a moment for reflection. Upon your own life in the past year, but also upon important events in reality. I’ve noticed that my generation, more and more, are trying to escape that reality. And although I’m personally also very familiar with that kind of escapism, I would like to create a moment of reflection during the NYE Trilogy with this program. A moment where people can sit back, relax and where reality and imagination can collide. I’ve chosen some, in form very accessible, but content-wise still interesting and challenging performances.

What does the program look like?
NNTWEE, the youth platform of NNT and Club Guy & Roni, will present their successful container performance from Noorderzon: ‘Life is a Rave’. A pop-up spectacle inspired on the burn-out society and constant desire to party.

“Ex dance company” Teddy’s Last Ride will show an excerpt of their new show ‘The Others’. The Others is an immersive pop-spectacle that features three misfit aliens and their cautionary tale of the future. Having shed themselves free from their mortal coils, and having conquered every inch of time & space, they have returned to the present upon the discovery that there was never any frontier to conquer but the one inside themselves. Also known as: “welcome to my thirties”.

Lester Arias is a charismatic performer who is able to seamlessly mix concert and performance. He pilots his audience into his world with his winning gaze and soft, clear voice. A world where reality and imagination are not rigidly delineated and where one reality merges, almost unnoticeably, with another. Arias’ voice is also constantly transforming – from nasal and sing-song to soft-spoken, like the narrator of an old-fashioned scary story. A story that suddenly turns out to be all about you…

In between the performances there will be projections on the very big back wall of the performance space by Jakub Valtar, a promising young VJ and artist, who just graduated the Frank Mohr Institute. Beatboxer Haydar Corky, a newcomer from Syria, will close off the night at the chill out area with his loop station.

Who are you looking forward to the most?
Oh, difficult question! It’s always hard to pick a favorite… But if I have to choose, I’d pick the Teddy’s. I have a special connection with them. They are a dance-collective of very nice and ambitious young people, based in Groningen. I met them a couple of years ago, when I was organizing a small festival in an abandoned shop in the city centre of Groningen (together with Tom van Ulsen, who is now programmer of Paradigm – what a small world we live in, here in Groningen). We connected them to Dither, a hardcore DJ and producer and they did an amazing show together. Over the last couple of years, they’ve grown amazingly. First under the wings of Club Guy & Roni and now on their own. They made some very interesting shows already, always on the brink of theatre, dance and club/rave culture. So that’s a recipe for success in a Paradigm context. They will show also return with the full performance of ‘The Others’ on Paradigm Festival this summer.

Photos by Pieter Postma

Paradigm Festival, breeding ground for artistic talent

Paradigm Festival (music and arts) is constantly looking for creative minds and talented performers. Paradigms vision and theme in 2018 is freedom in arts and expression. We invite you to create an amazing work of art and/or performance, by working on an area, object, or idea. Our terrain is very big so we can offer you lots of space for you to freely express your creativity.

Send in a plan for your own art/performance project

If you want to create your own piece of art, decorate your own stage, to perform, please send us your plan. If your plan is approved, you will get a budget agreed upon with the organization and full freedom to execute your idea. This means you will be responsible for everything regarding your own project as well. Responsibilities include: finding volunteers, making a realistic budget, creating a planning, and providing a list of necessary materials and tools. Important: most of the materials you’ll be working with (70%-80%) have to be recycled and repurposed materials. The realization of your plans will take place during the festival_build_up_manifestation, from Monday 09-07 till Friday 09-08. Please send an email with a detailed description of your plan to [email protected] before 01-07-2018.

You need a couple of things to qualify for applying:

  • Creative mind
  • Able to work on a project basis
  • Ability to keep an overview
  • Skilled with tools and materials
  • Responsible
  • Ability to lead (if you are working with your own group of volunteers)
  • Safety comes first, we expect everyone to work safely and sober

Sign up to volunteer

If you want to help out during the festival_build_up_manifestation from Monday 09-07 till Friday 09-08, please send an email to [email protected] or sign up at Any of you who has helped us before knows how much fun it can be to work on festival construction at Paradigm. The vibe on the terrain is great every year because of all the love, creativity, passion, humor, innovation, and inspiration that’s being channelled by everyone. We will be providing meals and drinks during these weeks, as well as capable team leaders, professionals, plenty of construction materials, relevant tools and very detailed plans. These are a couple of the projects we’ve got queued up for this year’s festival:

  • Decorating the outdoor stages
  • Helping out art/performance project leaders
  • Cooking for the volunteers daily
  • Maintaining the garden
  • Constructing a community kitchen/pavilion
  • Making the camping area festival-ready
  • Building the new chill out stage
  • Constructing new bars on the terrain
  • Building an eco-dome
  • Signing on the terrain

We’ve got the following rewards lined up for anyone who wants to help out for one or multiple days:

  • ½ token per hour
  • Work shifts that are flexible in nature. You can make your own hours and pick the days that work best for you!
  • Anyone who helps out 5 days or more will get 1 personal ticket for one of the following events: Paradigm Festival Friday, Saturday, Sunday, NYE, or NYD