Now that everyone’s well-rested after the holidays, we can get back to our Meet the People of Zagreb series – meet Marko Ješovnik – Yesh, a DJ, and a radio host, who’s organising a great event tonight, so you know how you can spend your Friday night.
1) Hi Yesh, tell us something about yourself.
Hi, guys. My name is Marko also known as Yesh and I’m born and raised in Zagreb. I’m an event organizer, radio host and a DJ. I’m into music since early age so I really love what I do at the moment and hopefully I’ll do it till the day machines kill us all.
2) Congrats on surviving the (in)famous Ilica Marathon 10 years ago, what’s your secret?
Hahaha, well my secret at that time was years of training before the big event + very good teammates that kept me alive. At this point, I’m not even close to repeating anything like that so it’s always nice to remember those days of glory. Big shout out to Venom, Ribafish and Vatro. The legend of Ilica will obviously never die.
3) How did you decide to become a DJ? Does your personal taste in music affect the kind of music you play or do you adapt to the venue?
It was a pretty natural decision. As I said before, I was into music since early age since I attended a primary music school, but I also loved going to raves by the end of my high school days so at some point I wanted to move from the dancefloor to the decks. I had years of experience performing in a classical orchestra so stage performance wasn’t a new thing for me, but this kind of stage was a totally different vibe. Both are great but not comparable.
Of course, as a DJ you should always be guided by your own personal taste in music, but you also have to adapt to the venue sometimes. Not every gig and every venue are the same. Every single situation is specific so you always have to have an eye on the dancefloor and adjust a bit. Of course, inside the margins you’re comfortable.
4) What do you think about night life in Zagreb, are there some things you think could be better?
Well, I have bitter sweet emotions about night life in Zagreb. It’s better than it was 10 years ago but still, there is a big gap when it comes to quality clubs. I was just having a conversation with a colleague DJ about it a few days ago and the reason why I think it’s like that is that it’s not a profitable market in Croatia so to be a club owner in Zagreb, and when I speak about clubs I mean non-commercial and non-turbofolk clubs, you have to be a crazy passionate guy with a lot of money to invest and not expecting much in return. So there is a lot of space to push the quality level up but when will it happen, really can’t tell. Standard in Croatia is low so it’s hard to make an underground culture profitable here.
5) Do you like living in Zagreb, what are some good and some bad sides about living here?
I like Zagreb and I think it’s getting better and better every year. There is a lot of new cool restaurants, bars, hostels and other places that make the spirit of a city. Many tourists coming in past few years, it’s getting lively but it also has its bad sides. Maybe the biggest one is the public transportation. Buses and trams packed, late, not that comfortable to use still. While in some other European countries you don’t even need a car in bigger cities because everything is functioning so well, in Zagreb I still prefer to use my car to get somewhere. Another thing is a big problem with parking in the city. Neighbourhoods are built when there was maybe one car per family, these days there are 2-3 or more and it’s getting worse. So maybe these are the two practical things I can think of now that aren’t that good at the moment. But then again we have many fountains.
6) What’s the toughest crowd you’ve DJ-ed for?
Well, it’s always at events with a mixed crowd. When there are many people with different opinion what kind of track is danceable, what should you play next etc. As a DJ, you find yourself in many different situations, for instance I played just 2 weddings in my life, both for friends so it was easier to handle, but I think that’s the toughest crowd because at weddings you’ll find a rocker, a raver, a turbofolker, a punker, a posh girl, rnb queen etc. So try to satisfy them all.
7) Where do you go out in Zagreb when you’re not working?
I don’t have a regular place, I go to club events and concerts that I find interesting no matter where they are. I’m not a coffee guy so you won’t see me at bars much, mostly night clubs dancing.
8) I hear you have a new project, Footwork, what can you tell us about it?
Yes, a few friend DJs and I talked for some time to find a place where we’d do our own thing, a nice club to push our nights and music we love so we decided to make it happen in Podmornica (Katran complex) and established a new collective made of 4 different crews / club nights; Burek, Casa, Cycle and Imogen. We all share a similar taste in music, based on house and disco with some other genres on top, and we’re all very good friends inside and outside the club. So it was an ideal situation to make it happen this season. The name of the collective is Footwork since it’s what we like, dancing. And we like to make people dance in the club. Our 4 club nights will be on every Friday in Podmornica, so every crew will do one Friday a month. We think Zagreb was lacking a place with a regular program that brings this kind of music to our crowd so we have it now. It’s a very nice club with sick interior, looks like a real submarine, it has a brand new KV2 audio sound system which is a top quality brand, and it’s very cosy all in all. The guys included in the project are Antonio Zuza, Ilija Rudman, Jan Kinčl, Matija Duić, Mislav, Pytzek, Pips, Hibou and myself.
Our first night is on this Friday 8th of September, and we’re kicking it all together, so from this Friday on you can come without thinking too much where to go Friday night.
Hope to see you all there and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the place and the music.
9) Do you think Zagreb has changed in the past 10 years and how?
Zagreb is cleaner, it maybe has a bit less of that old socialist spirit, and a bit more of western European regarding the architecture and everyday offer for a visitor or a resident.
It has a lot more to offer culturally but also it could and should be even better in many ways.
It has lost a bit of its old “purger” spirit, the things some of the old Zagreb residents remember as a standard which is probably normal since many people moved to Zagreb from all the different places. It’s a natural thing for a “metropolis” but you will often hear them say: „It’s not the Zagreb we remember.“ But hey, it’s life. Everything changes.
But all in al, I love Zagreb and I think it’s a nice city to live in if you can afford it.
10) What’s your absolute favourite place in the city?
I love Maksimir, it’s an oasis of peace almost in the centre of the city, same as Botanical garden. But I also love the upper town and the “green horse shoe“ – the central part of the city with a lot of parks. The older I get, the more peaceful places I like.
11) Who’s your favourite DJ?
A good question. I saw many guys at work and maybe my all-time favourite is DJ Craze, a true magician at turntables. A five-time world DMC champion and a great guy. If we’re talking about the skill and the ability to make people dance, it’s him.
12) Do you still play Mate Mišo as your last tune?
Haha, well… Sometimes I do. Not every single time, but when I see the moment is right I always spin my spiritual guru Mišo. He is a divine figure of Croatian pop culture, a true musical legend and apostle of love and I think my mission as a DJ is to share his word with the flock of music lovers. Amen.
13) Do you prefer DJ-ing at festivals or in clubs?
I’d say clubs but just a bit more. It gets more personal, you can play a more diverse set and you can feel the vibe better because you get closer to the people. But then again, summer festivals, open air arenas and that morning light have their own romantic appeal that you can’t dismiss.
14) You have your own show on the radio – tell us something about that. What’s it like working on a radio?
Yup, Friday evenings, Radio 101, Contrast Radio show… Put it in your schedule 😉
It’s very nice, I love radio because it has a special vibe. You can either be totally concentrated listening to it and put off all your other senses, or you can have it as a background coulisse when doing something else. Even though we have the Internet these days I still love the connection you make with a certain radio station and its hosts. It kind of becomes a part of your family. Regarding my show, I think it’s nice that a listener can get to know some of the people he sees at clubs playing music, but maybe doesn’t know anything about them further then their musical taste. So this is a nice opportunity to meet them a bit more personal. That is what I loved about radio when I was growing up with it.
And one magical thing more about the radio and being the host is that you can really affect people regarding their present emotions, either with music, with their favourite tune or just with saying something funny. If you’re a very good host, what I’m still trying to become, you have a real power of changing the mood of the listeners and even changing their feel of that day in the end. It’s a nice power to have.
15) If you could bring back a legendary Zagreb club or party back to life, which one would it be?
I’d bring back Lapidarij and SKUC, but I wouldn’t bring back any parties back because even the legendary ones are legendary because of the time they existed at. I doubt that anyone could bring back the vibe in different circumstances. Time goes on, things change, it’s all good. There are new parties on now that people can really enjoy, and the music is better than ever because you can combine all the good old stuff with fresh new stuff. But yeah, some venues would be very nice if we could bring them back. Milan, can you hear me, bro? Do something sensible.
All photos by Joanna Paciorek.