Numero talks with RUUD AND BORA ABOUT The next step for no art

Being called crazy is not something that holds the NO ART team back; in fact, it may fuel them even more. After mastering the art of selling out multiple events at unique locations in Amsterdam, London, and Manchester, NO ART takes up the challenge of organizing its first festival at the ‘NDSM Werf’ on July 30. As if that wasn’t enough, they complete the circle by hosting the art exhibition SYNERGY the day before. On top of that, they decided to launch their own clothing line the same day. Numéro had the pleasure of speaking with two of the organizers, Bora and Ruud, to learn where their boundless energy and inspiration come from.
Let’s go back to the beginning: how did you meet and decide to start No Art and, what is the story behind the name?

B:
It all started when my brother, Oos (Oguzhan), and I, together with Jesse, chilled out in containers at the NDSM Werf. There we could be found, blowing, making music, and daydreaming about the future. We imagined that one day they would become artists and that I, as the brother, would organize events around them.

Later my brother and Jesse merged into a music duo and named themselves ANOTR, which is a  combination of their names (“AN” out of Oguzhan and “OTR” out of Jesse’s second name Piotr). When the daydreaming evolved from making music together as friends to something bigger we established the NO ART label in 2017. This allowed them to release their songs whenever they wanted.

I met Ruud along the way, and we became friends, and together with Omid, we began to turn all the dreams into reality. In 2018 we brought everything together into our first NO ART event, which attracted 700 people. From there we have grown rapidly.

R:
Our name is not only the letters of our music duo, our name is rooted out from where it started. Going all the way back to just making fun, not knowing what the future would hold. But also NO ART is a contradiction to what we actually stand for.

You’re well-known for throwing unforgettable parties/events in Amsterdam, London, and Manchester. How does it feel to return after recent years of silence (covid) and create something you’ve never done before, a music festival, an art festival, and a clothing brand all at once? Why was it important to you to bring these pillars together?
R:
Creating something as big as this is crazy. We put a lot of passion into this project. This project is very important to us, we work day and night, and take many risks during the process. Music is the first more obvious pillar, and art is also always present in our events, but actually, we want to take NO ART further, because we believe in NO ART being a lifestyle, a culture. This is where the third pillar comes in: Fashion. We want to express that feeling of culture through a clothing line.

B:
You have to know that it is never easy to start organizing a festival. Organizing anything so big forces you to rely on factors outside your control. There has to be an opportunity and location for the event to take place, which is not easy in Amsterdam. During the process of brainstorming about events this large, a unique possibility of a location in Amsterdam presented itself. If that opportunity comes, the question is whether you want to take it or not. We took the change. People called us crazy, but we have heard that before. With ticket sales, we’ve already proven the opposite; we’re currently 91 percent sold out.

What is the most important aspect of each event you host, and what ties them all together?
R:
The most important thing to us is equality; we don’t believe in hierarchy, which is why the DJ is always on the floor, never above the crowd. There is never a VIP, everyone can go around the booth, so there is a real connection, and eye contact creates energy altogether. We bring unique locations, our signifying red light, art, music but most of all: the freedom to broaden your mind.

What kind of art inspired you to involve in the art scene. What does the art we will see at the festival revolve around?
B:
No art is all about expressing ourselves through creativity. When we were brainstorming ideas, the greater question we faced was, “What is art?” Being an artist is also art, something we strive to encapsulate in our festival is embracing art with a broad view. We started with art performances at our events, now we are growing it is also an increasing part, opera singer, strings, poets, painters and so on.

R:
Because we are growing so rapidly, we wanted to integrate art on a larger scale, in the form of an exhibition that goes by the name “SYNERGY”. Which will take place on July 29th, the day before the music festival. The word synergy comes from the Greek sun “together” and ergon “work”: “when one element magnifies the effect of the other, they have synergy together.” Synergy bridges the gap between club culture and art. There is a wide variety of art to be seen there. Boris Acket, Heleen Blanken, Frouke ten Velden, Ernest Bessems, and others. People from all walks of life are welcome, for example, children under the age of 12, as well people with a stadspass and refugees. Art is all about bringing people together, and that is exactly what we are going to do.

Freedom and equality are high on your agenda. This time you take equality even further by connecting with the Homebass Foundation; why is this important to you, and why this foundation?
B:

As we said, equality is very important to us, but we aim to make an actual impact. Homebass is also involved in the music industry, they organize events where the proceeds go to the homeless. In the Netherlands, there is often a misconception about the homeless. Some say that in the Netherlands you can only be homeless by choice. But that’s not true at all, there can be many reasons why people end up there. We wanted to link this initiative to our festival to put our words into action. All the people on the guest list pay and the proceeds go entirely to the Homebase foundation.

We are very curious about the No Art clothing line; why was it time to bring a clothing line now?

R:
We want NO ART to become a lifestyle, therefore including a fashion line feels almost natural. We are more than simply music; we are also art, and fashion, amongst other things. With our clothing, we want to radiate what NO ART is about. We had brainstorming sessions with the team and the outcome we gave to Poyan Rahimzadeh – known from Dear Vanessa, PAL SPORTING GOODS & Streim – he has a great eye for detailed design. He has evolved our ideas into high-quality designs.

How do art and music manifest themselves in design?
R:
With NO ART we want to open people to new energy and let people evolve into something else. BROADEN YOUR MIND the most important message from our festival. The clothing line will also revolve around this. The butterfly will be a symbol for this, it stands for transition, growing into something even more beautiful. Amongst designs with this butterfly, we also have other designs, which all connect to the same energy.

What is the most exciting aspect of the festival for each of you?
B:
Until our boys – ANOTR – start spinning. When the MainStage is completely packed and the weather is nice. We could even shed a tear as we watch everything come together, that ultimate proud sensation that we achieved it again together.

R:
To the moment that we are at the festival – after all the hard work – and to see that we have done it all again! At every event, we host the feeling is incredible, but with this one, I’m guessing it will be even more euphoric.

Be quick to find your tickets here. For more information regarding NO ART find the link here and see the website of Stichting SYNERGY. To prepare yourself for the biggest event of this year check out their clothing line here.

words AICHA PILMEYER

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