Madezh - a forward thinker and advocate for raw talent as well as producer and party promoter from Split. Now that the summer has drawn to a close in his hometown of Split, Croatia, we were lucky enough to catch up with him for a chat about his home, recent travels and what's coming up next for him and his other projects.
You began your career in Croatia in 2002. How do you feel the scene has developed since then?
First of all I have to mention that the scene in Croatia was pretty big from 97/98 when I started to visit parties, then it reached it’s boom in 2004/5. We had big local festivals back then, really big parties and all the events were packed. It was a movement for sure. You could really listen to anything you wanted from techno, trance to house, drum’n bass etc..Also almost every club, bar, forest, beach, underground place was involved into the scene.
Afterwards things have changed, clubs started to close, and in Split you could hear only few international dj’s that were loved by the crowd. They were booked by the promoters as the names who bring the money in. So for us that was the point when everything started to go downhill, as we didn’t have eclectic scene any more. The musical knowledge and education was really low at that moment, and since then everything became quieter.
The scene was still there. We were throwing illegal rave’s around the city from 2006 with “Underground Control” crew and those events were a success as in one moment that was the one of few places where you could go and listen to electronic music.
Since 2013, the situation turned in a better direction and I hope the scene will continue to evolve on that path.
You can find lots of teams, individuals and enthusiasts who are coming up with new ideas and are trying to realise them, and they are doing a great job. In the city at this moment you have Judino Drvo, Kocka & Zenta club where you can go and dance to different genres of electronic music, but also some nice concerts too.
You also have smaller places like Adriatic Social Club where you can listen to some really great local, but sometimes international djs on weekends. Then there is Galerija Bar that is situated in the city centre, it’s a hot spot for years now, also with some nice local djs on the weekends.
Last but not least you have 'Soba', one of the best kept secrets in Split! For this one, you'll need to ask local ravers where is it.
In the last 6-7 years, Croatia has become the go-to place. During the summer it's dominated by large festivals like Sonus, Hideout, Dimensions etc.. so you can basically party every day for months here.
All in all, we had our up and downs, and the situation now is way better. Cities like Split, Zagreb & Rijeka are on fire and hopefully it will continue on this path.
Can you tell us a bit more about the reasons behind you starting the ‘Cruise Split’ collective?
Cruise was formed spontaneously in 2012 by Mariano Mateljan & myself with bunch of friends around us. It was basically an old idea directed to refresh the scene in Split and get parties to a higher standard. We wanted to bring some new artists/producers to the table, promote, listen and dance to music that we liked.
Frankly speaking we didn’t have a lot of problems to deal with, because we prepare the season a year in advance, so we have a lot of time to think how and what will do.
What can people expect when attending a Cruise Split party or boat party?
How do you go about finding new underground talent?
For Cruise we are booking djs who have the same passion for music as we do, people who are not here just for money & fame. We are trying to bring like-minded fresh djs/producers, but also people who have inspired us in the past, and who are our friends or soon to become one.
We’re proud of our accomplishments and the fact that we managed to host names like Dana Ruh, Valentino Kanzyani, Ferro, Cesar Merveille, Federico Molinari, Alexis Cabrera, Julie Marghilano, Fernando Costantini, Rossko, Enzo Siragusa, Archie Hamilton, Tobi Neumann, Lorenzo Chiabotti, Rich Nxt, Miss Jools and the list goes on. People have recognised our intentions and we have a big support which motivates us to keep on working.
'Madezh Invites' is a new project focusing to showcase upcoming artists, but also established djs from Croatia.
I want to show people in Split that there are some crazy good selectors in our back yard, just waiting to be discovered- djs who are giving everything in the booth. This project is close to my heart, as in my beginnings you didn’t have a platform like this to present yourself to the crowd. I want to support newcomers as much as I can.
You were recently in Lisbon. What did you get up to whilst you were there?
Lisbon is beautiful, I like the city so much, full of culture and super nice people that welcomes you everywhere you go.
I played a live stream at a one of a kind place called 'Collect'. On the first floor there's a cafe & bar, and the second one is a record store with a nice dj booth, where they showcase people from Lisbon and abroad. I would highly recommend it, not just because of an amazing vinyl selection, but also amazing food.
Another vinyl shop is 'Carpet & Snares', that is also a well known label. It's a smaller shop but with nice record collection and stuff. I found couple of gems there. Also in the same building on second floor you will find another shop don’t remember the name, but it has special music inside..this is a tip.
LX Factory is also the place to visit while you're there. It’s a creative hub fuelled by companies and industry professionals, but it has also been brought to life by an array of different events in fields such as fashion, advertising, communication, multimedia, art, architecture and music. It's an experience factory where it's possible to intervene, think, create and present ideas and products in a space that belongs to everyone.
Where are your favourite hangouts in Split?
I'm a coffee lover, so always looking for a place who have the best coffee. You can find me at several places like D16, Galerija Bar that are situated inside Diocletian's palace or ASC on the border of the city centre drinking my favourite potion.
A restaurant that I really like to go is “Ćiba”, because I'm more into domestic well cooked food, like my mother is doing at home. They have a big daily menu to choose from, and it's a place where locals go.
I'm also excited about a new place called 'Ko’Doma'. It means 'Like home' , so you already know I will be a regular there, as i'm into that feel like home vibe. The owner is one of the best chefs in the city so i'm looking forward to trying everything on the menu. Yes, Im a foodie junkie too - just to mention.
To be honest, i don’t usually visit beaches in Split, but there are few worth a visit. You can choose from sandy to rocky beaches. Baćvice beach is most famous beach in Split, it’s a sandy beach with load of restaurants and bars around it.
Marjan hill is surrounded with rocky beaches, you can walk around the hill by the sea and choose where you want to cool off. Some of the most popular beaches in that area are Kašjuni and Obojena.
Other than Split, where are your favourite places to DJ in Croatia?
Definitely Zagreb, it’s always great to play there, open minded crowd, nice clubs, strong scene. I'm looking forward to being back there this December to play in Podmornica club for Namaz crew.
What’s next for you and the Cruise Split crew?
I’ve just came back from Istanbul where I had the best time ever, playing a live stream for Noh Radio and after that a party with 'Put Out' crew. I've also recently finished podcast for a label called Sol Asylum from Berlin.
Looking forward to my future gigs and releases and all the good things in the future, that I will keep for myself for now.
Next for Cruise is an event that will take place in Kocka club, to be specific in the hall of the club Kocka. It’s one of my favourite venues in the city. It has that proper underground vibe! We are bringing Titonton Duvante from the States to play with MJ Suddani and myself. Titonton is a legend, and one of my biggest influences. His label “Residual” had a big impact on me, and it’s been an inspiration for all these years. It’s a wish come true to present him to our crowd and to share the decks with him.
See you on the dance floor.
You can keep up to date with Madezh and Cruise Split on the socials below.