David Puente: ''Galerías Olimpia is Barcelona's best-kept secret''
This August the Rotterdam-Barcelona connection finally came to be. For four consecutive Tuesdays, Operator Radio broadcasted live from the venue 45/33, showcasing some of Barcelona’s finest DJs, artists and musicians.
We spoke to programmer David Puente and streaming technician Diego Menvielle about this special takeover at the bar/restaurant 45/33; the ever-evolving music scene in the Catalan capital, and the city's best record stores and parties.
Photo: David Puente
• Hello David and Diego! Could you both briefly introduce yourselves?
David: My name is David Puente. In Barcelona, I am mostly known for my work on a website called Clubbing Spain, which was active from the early 2000s until a couple of years ago. For 17 years I was a correspondent in Barcelona for the web and I wrote chronicles at a time when vital clubs like Razzmatazz and Nitsa were starting up. I also had the opportunity to write and discuss the club scene for more mainstream media such as La Vanguardia or Radio Nacional de España. Lately, I had a show on Dublab Radio here in Barcelona and this year I decided to take a break. All of a sudden I saw myself involved in these Operator Radio sessions at 45/33.
Diego: I’m Diego Menvielle. I know the guys from 45/33 through Ombra Festival and, of course, I was also a regular client of the bar. I have been a streaming technician in Barcelona for about 8 years. I am in charge of all the technical aspects and production for the 45/33 takeover at Operator.
• David, you made the program for the 45/33 takeover at Operator. Could you tell us a bit more about your approach when choosing artists?
David: I found out that the bar and art space 45/33 had set up a very cool radio booth. One day I spoke with Nacho (co-owner of 45/33) and offered to help. They told me about the Operator project and that they had to work on the program. We decided to schedule radio shows from Tuesdays to Fridays. We discussed this with the Operator team and they saw it as maybe too much work to start with. They then proposed we do four Tuesdays: five shows every Tuesday during the month of July and the first week of August. The selection of artists went from well-known names in Barcelona such as David Lost to international DJs such as Discos Paradiso. It has also been our goal to create a varied program including both boys and girls from the local scene. There were many artists who could unfortunately not be part of the program yet, but I explained to them that it is a pilot to see how the connection between Barcelona and Rotterdam flows. I think that the pilot has been a great success.
Photo: Ivet Barbero (Fantastic Acid)
• Could you tell us a bit more about the bar/restaurant 45/33?
Diego: 45/33 is the little brother of the venue 33/45. Both venues are in the El Raval neighbourhood. Both bars have always had a close connection with the DJ scene because the Partidas’ brothers (founders) have always been involved in the Barcelona music and club scene. They attract both tourists and local music fanatics. 45/33 opened just a few months ago. I really like the booth because it faces the street, so the DJ playing can see the people walking by. Customers come to 45/33 for a drink; to see a DJ and listen to music; to dine in the evening. The sound system is also very good
• Are you going to continue programming artists at 45/33?
David: I really want to, but of course, it also depends a bit on Operator. Without the streaming, the DJ sessions would only be heard by the restaurant's customers. Here in Barcelona, between the two years of the pandemic and the number of new DJs that are appearing, playing at a venue like 45/33 and being listened to internationally through Operator is really appealing for many artists. So, program-wise I believe we have enough DJs for the coming years.
• How is the music scene in Barcelona?
Diego: Barcelona's music scene is very eclectic. In Barcelona, you can go from more mainstream venues to the underground scene. Within the underground, there are many people involved and many exciting projects. Above all, people really want to contribute and be part of the evergrowing alternative scene: organizing events; deejaying; starting new venues; producing music. David: I have been following the scene in the city for over 20 years and every week I discover new artists and venues. Barcelona is a city that welcomes many international people. Some of them happen to also deejay or produce music. These internationals contribute a lot to the developing music community. You can never get bored of Barcelona. There are always new things to discover.
For example, now the Poble-sec neighbourhood has several underground venues, as well as one of the best-kept secrets in Barcelona: the Galerias Olimpia building. Here you will find small record stores and creative studios. I definitely recommend you to visit this magical place. It's like entering a time machine and arriving in 1970s Barcelona.
• Can you recommend some nice record stores in the city?
David and Diego: Crokan Mutant Store, Glove, Rhythm Control and Vinilarium Música.
• Can you recommend some interesting venues and events?
David: I'm going to recommend the venue Luv Bar. It has a varied program, from more established DJs to new and upcoming talent. The atmosphere at this place is difficult to find now in Barcelona. It is an older audience that comes to listen to music and to socialize and meet like-minded people. Luv’s crowd come quite regularly, so everyone kind of knows each other. And I really like this, usually, if you go to bigger venues you won't coincide with anyone that you know. Diego: I reccomend the venue LAUT in Poble-sec. It has a serious approach to its program. I also suggest the event House al Parc for those of you that want to discover new House music DJs.
• Is there anything else you would like to mention before ending the interview?
David: I wanted to say that the Netherlands has been a very important source of music for Barcelona. Thanks to The Hague’s I-F, we still have genres like Italo over here. Italo disco for our generation in the 80s was really important. Then in the 90s, Techno arrived and well, we were a little embarrassed to play or listen to Italo. Then I-F arrived and showed us all that Italo was indeed very cool music. We also discovered, thanks to him, new tracks and artists that had never reached Barcelona.
You can listen back to all of the 45|33 Takeover sets by clicking here.
Click here to watch (in Spanish) David Puente's video report about some of Barcelona's best record stores and the Galerias Olimpia building.
Words by Carlos Alan Eperon