Given the difficulties that Creamfields Buenos Aires 2009 has had over the past two months, it was sadly inevitable that the weather forecast for the electronic music festival would be “downpour”. Saturday’s storm contributed to the fest’s woes, bringing buckets of rain to the grassy Parque Roca venue, site of the Davis Cup, with 20mm of water cascading down in just 20 minutes.
The main problem emerged days before the event, which in previous years has attracted 60,000 revellers. Originally due to take place on November 7, the downsized event was postponed on October 28 by the Buenos Aires City government. The original line-up included Orbital, Armin van Buuren, David Guetta, Richie Hawtin, Hernán Cattáneo, 2 Many DJs and Danny Howells who had been booked to fly in and play alongside national artists such as Romina Cohn, Bad Boy Orange, Soundexile, DJ Paul and Deep Mariano.
The reason for its suspension? Apparently promoter 2NET did not submit the relevant paperwork therefore the City government could not authorise Creamfields taking place at GEBA.
SECOND DATE. Such issues can be resolved, however, and on November 4 2NET confirmed a new date, December 19, with a different headline act, but it was the promoter’s lack of communication that upset fans. In the week of silence that ensued (the promoter’s boss, Martín Gontad, told the Herald he had preferred not to comment until they had concluded all their inquiries), fans angrily posted messages on music web forums such as www.groovesite.com.ar and www.flowmi.com, saying “I only bought my ticket to see David Guetta”, “I am really indignant”, “why did they start to sell tickets if the paperwork wasn’t in order?” and “what an embarassment”.
So following all this fiasco, an alternative venue was eventually confirmed two weeks before the new December 19 date, and the one-dayer’s gates finally creaked open at 4pm Saturday afternoon.
Well, that was the theory, but it didn’t happen in practice. Tickets costing around $170 stipulated the afternoon kick-off, but further hiccups meant it was touch and go on the actual day, unbeknown to the hundreds queuing. Gontad said on Sunday: “We only received approval at 7.30pm to open doors from the City government’s Direccion de Habilitaciones. The event was almost about to be postponed again due to the rain consequences, and this was the only reason for gates opening later than announced.”
By 8pm the queue, which was worming its way round Parque Roca — and it was a grumpy worm at that, clapping and “oleing” its way along to the music in the distance — started to slither along. It was a substantial wait for hundreds in the damp weather and not an energising start for those already disillusioned with the date and line-up change — bear in mind only one of the international artists originally booked for the November festival, Richie Hawtin (besides Cattáneo who is a given at this annual event), made it to Creamfields Buenos Aires.
Although a silver lining was distinctly lacking on Saturday’s clouds, let’s look on the bright side. A new date means a new batch of artists coming to feed the 40,000 with their tunes at Parque Roca, and the trance DJ Tiesto was the star turn. The best of the rest included Jeff Mills, Tima Maas, Darren Emerson, Guy Gerber and M.A.N.D.Y.
OHHHHH. It was a welcome return for the German-Swiss duo M.A.N.D.Y., Philipp Jung and Patrick Bodmer, who were booked to play Alsina club in winter but their international tour was cancelled thanks to the circulating H1N1 flu virus. Talking to the Herald back in July, Philipp said the pair were just as disappointed as their fans about not making it to Buenos Aires.
“We tried everything and we were in constant contact the whole time. We waited until the last minute and in the end, along with our agent, we decided it didn’t make sense if people were scared to go out,” he said.
“Also the situation wasn’t clear whether clubs would be open. We are terribly sorry for us, and of course, for all the people who bought tickets and were looking forward to seeing our show. But due to swine flu we also had to cancel a show in Thailand.”
But that silver lining is starting to shine a bit brighter. In town for one of those “in-and-out” jobs DJs are renowned for, Patrick and Philipp had an exclusive chat with the Herald prior to their disco siestas and 11.30pm slot on the Main Stage about horse riding, New York City and art.
Friends since they were 15, when M.A.N.D.Y. got the call from promoter Gontad they freed themselves up for the Argentina gig. Having played the music festival twice before, they were keen to return and more so following their winter cancellation — fortunatley Philipp managed to rearrange some solo dates, says Patrick. “He was booked in Tokyo but he already had plans to be in South America, so he cancelled Tokyo and it was a good chance for me to jump in as well.”
This third date is all about Creamfields — arriving last Friday, the pair played Saturday then left on Sunday — but Patrick has fond memories of when they played Córdoba. “We stayed in an estancia for a week, sleeping in the swine’s cabin in the middle of nowhere…”
“The swine was me!” chips in Philipp.
“The family showed us how to ride horses with nothing but a blanket,” adds Patrick. “It wasn’t very subtle and I left with a bloody butt. I got so excited about riding the horse that I didn’t think about the fact that I was wearing jeans. I didn’t have a mirror so I had to ask Philipp how it looked, and he was like ‘woah.’ It took some weeks to get over and it looked very weird, like I’d been involved in heavy gay stuff. I had to explain to my new girlfriend that it was only because I’d been riding horses in Argentina.
“And the next time we come here we want to go to Fireland,” he adds enthusiastically. Ah. Tierra del Fuego.
Holiday anecdotes aside, Philipp and Patrick are phenomenally popular as the DJs and producers M.A.N.D.Y. but also manage to stand tall separately, Patrick in particular, given that he’s the classic, leggy, blue-eyed Swiss blond. It’s been 17 years since they first started throwing techno parties in Frankfurt, seven years since they set up their Berlin-based record label Get Physical, home to 22 other artists including Booka Shade and Thomas Schumacher, and in October the duo released a mix album for Renaissance, a musical seal of approval from the British label denoting the electronic scene is theirs.
An additional sign of “having arrived” was Martín Gontad’s personal invitation to play the ninth Creamfields Buenos Aires so life seems pretty peachy for the duo, apart from the disastrous Buenos Aires weather. It’s tipping it down outside their Puerto Madero hotel. Patrick says: “We play the British festivals so our experience is that if it’s raining really heavily and you think no one is going to come, it will actually be quite busy. As long as it’s not cold, it’s often even more rock ‘n roll.”
Talking ahead of Saturday’s Buenos Aires experience, Philipp adds: “We’re really excited as it’s the first time we’ve played the Main Stage and we’re alongside Richie Hawtin and Tiesto. We want to see what Tiesto does and why he’s number one.”
The bad weather naturally affects their style, so with the clouds comes a darker sound, says Patrick. “Going from beautiful sunshine techno to heavy, dark electronic, rainforest techno — that’s what we’ll do.” Whatever the style, it’s got some stiff competition from the thunder…
WAY BACK WHEN. There’s plenty of banter between the friends, who met on the tennis courts 25 years ago, and although they have little time in BA they are keen to find out about the underground music scene and who they should be listening to. Taking them back to the astroturf, Patrick explains how it all began.
“I was interested in getting connected with Philipp as he had a bike, and I wasn’t allowed to ride one. I thought ‘he’s a very good contact, he’s got a nice bike’ and then when I was 18 I had a bike and he didn’t. And you crashed it,” he indicates to Philipp.
Despite this upset, they remained close with Patrick, grandson of an artist, treading that career path for several years to pay for his studies. Success came quickly for the teenage painter but one day he decided he liked music and it was all change. “I just can’t do both at the same time so I am very limited creatively,” he says. So should the former German judo champion (aged 10) who was awarded a medal by Frankfurt city for outstanding sporting achievement fancy a change, well, he can always invest in a new set of paintbrushes.
In fact art played an important role for the duo in the early days. Patrick’s studio was the venue for techno parties in the early 90s in Frankfurt. “My art studio was a brewery so we’d combine my painting with techno parties with Ricardo Villalobos playing there, for example. We mixed it all up a bit! We’d give everything away for free, let nice people in for free — we weren’t very good businessmen!”
Philipp adds: “When we were young, we had these underground arty guys behind us and they always supported us and helped us to find spaces. It was very natural, it was never about having to do something.
“We used to give out flyers personally so we could explain the concept to each person, and we’d walk around for three weeks before the party promoting it. You might only find one person all night who might be the right one for our party. It was very hand selected,” he adds.
RIGHT HERE. Back to the present. Philipp has recently transferred to the US, while Patrick remains in Berlin, so this means both are playing individually (although as M.A.N.D.Y.) more than ever. “We don’t have side projects but we do play separately,” clarifies Philipp, “and more so as I just moved to New York.” The change took place two months ago, because, he says: “I wanted the energy from new people and it’s nice to do that. There was a chance so now I’m living in Chelsea. I’ve got everything I need and all the galleries are there. If you’re lonely, there’s always something to see.”
In addition, the Renaissance mix album is out, and although it’s been a difficult year, according to Philipp (“it’s been hard for everyone in music and we’ve been trying to survive as well”), they’ve just completed two new tracks with label mate Booka Shade. With Philipp producing in New York and Patrick in Germany, the plan is to bring everything together to release an LP in April 2010.
“It’s been three or four years since we joined forces with Booka Shade so we want to do that again, and come back to the family idea. It’s time to write the next chapter,” says Patrick.