After Affair: "The only chance to make something big is to be different and unique"

Bonjasky & Ivan Z combined their solo DJ careers into a prolific duo After Affair who's slowly taking over the Balkan area. From their residency at Sarajevo's finest club Silver & Smoke and performing with world class names such as Dixon, Ame and Adriatique, to playing at regional festivals such as Exit, Labyrinth Open, Festival 84 and Sea Dance, After Affair is surely putting their name on the map.

Since the duo will perform their debut Slovenian gig at Klub K4 on 19th May, we've decided to invite them for a lovely chat about their starting days, residency, upcoming projects and summer plans.

Hi, guys. After Affair is a relatively fresh project. Can you guys tell us how it started in the first place? What made you continue your careers as a duo act?

Hi back! Well yes, we can say we’re fresh – relatively. :) But reality says it’s been more than two years now since we started After Affair. Our story begins in 2015 when we played warm-up for Dixon’s first gig in Sarajevo. It was the first time ever that we’ve played together B2B set and we connected instantly.

After that, we decided to continue as the duo and to see where it'll take us. All the things that we did, came naturally without pushing anything. We wanted to express what we feel and to connect with our soul mates on the other side of the DJ booth. And we did! That’s the most important thing; our audience fuels everything we do. We call it our dancing family. :)

You’re residents of one of the best small clubs in wider region, Silver & Smoke. Can you tell us a bit about this relationship and what does it mean to your career?

The relationship between us and the club started at the same time when we started our After Affair project. It was our window to the external world, an opportunity to show everyone what we actually want and lastly, it enabled us to book all the artists that we wanted to see and hear in our own town. Before that, clubbing in our city was an unknown term. We booked over 30 artists in last 30 months there and we started a new era with it because it's the first time in this region that you can hear world-class artists in an intimate surrounding of 150 people.

You guys are both coming from Bosnian capital city Sarajevo. What’s the clubbing scene over there?

Basically, we are from Banja Luka (Ivan) and Sarajevo (Bojan). We partly answered your question in the previous paragraph but generally, we are the clubbing scene here (as promotors). There are few other promoters who are organizing electronic music dance events but mainly in larger venues, as we occasionally do under Garden of Dreams theme. Besides that, there are no clubbing events at this scale.

Electronic music trends in the last couple of years tell us that DJ's also needs to produce their own music if they want to make a serious career. Do you guys produce or did you decided to take a different path?

For now, we decided to take a different path because of hyperproduction that took a place in the whole world. We want to grow as a DJ’s so people are able to feel us on that way before they hear something from our kitchen. Production is at “work in progress” stage for now and it will remain unreleased until we decide to go in that direction.

Looking at your past gig list, we can tell that you’ve had quite an intense 2017 and you’ve managed to keep the similar tempo this year. What were some of the highlights of the past year for After Affair?

We had almost 100 gigs last year (parties and after parties). This year we’ll go above that number. Last year, our mission was to perform on as many different places as possible and to host as many people as we can in Sarajevo through our bookings. Also, we had a mini USA tour in Atlanta, and we performed at several festivals, such as Sea Dance Festival, OK fest, Brodolom, Sabac Summer Fest, Mostar Summer fest etc.

We read a lot of times that artists from Ex-Yu areas have more difficulties to breakthrough on an international level. Would you agree with this? If so, why do you think this happens?

Basically, it’s the truth but you have a few artists from this region with noticeable international careers. Nowadays, you have to be truly unique to attract an international audience. There are so much talented local artists everywhere, but the only chance to make something big is to be different and unique. In our opinion, you can only achieve that by being honest with yourself about everything you do and do only what you feel is right and what reflects you, your emotions and your heart.

On 19th May you’ll have your debut performance in Slovenia, Klub K4 more specifically. How do you guys prepare your music for venues where you haven’t been before? Would you say that each city or country needs its own approach?

We don’t prepare anything, anytime. :) We bring loads of tracks with us, it's a mixture of newly discovered gems and music that we listened to last 10-15 years. So basically, we just start playing and try to feel the crowd and from then on, we go with the vibe. Of course, the crowd is different everywhere and we're trying to connect to all of them but in our own radius. We are looking forward to our performance in the K4 club because we heard a lot of good and positive things about the club and the crowd there.

Can you share with us what do you have in store for the summer? Where can we catch After Affair performing?

For us, this summer is already sold out. You can catch us in each and every Ex-Yu country. We'll perform at Sea Star Festival in Umag, Labyrinth Festival in Omis, Brodolom in Tuzla, Novi Sad, Ulcinj, Makarska, Split, Sibenik, Osijek, Zagreb etc.

Speaking of Labyrinth Open. You guys will be performing at this festival which is located at the beautiful location near Omiš in Croatia. What do you expect from such a festival? Do you guys prepare a different festival set compared to a club environment?

Our friends attended the festival last year and came back with a lot of positive comments about it. We expect a lot because it’s just as we like it – small, boutique festival for an experienced crowd. It’s always a pleasure to perform on the events/festivals like that. Regarding our set, as we said previously, we’ll try to connect to the crowd and give our best to them. We’re sure that all of us will have a great, great time together. 

Catch After Affair performing at Klub K4 in Ljubljana on 19th May at SOLVD x Labyrinth Open showcase. The Bosnian duo will be joined by SOLVD residents Alex Ranerro & Evident as well as Innocent Music's favourite duo, Luthia.

By Saša, edited on 15 June 2018