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Meet Bala Club, the young collective who refuse to play by the rules

Kamixlo, Endgame and Uli K are sparking something different

  • Words: Seb Wheeler | Portraits: Vicky Grout
  • 14 June 2016
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As one comment left on the event’s Facebook page reads: “The line-up of the year might be on its first day!” But the opening of the Bala Club account was never meant to get so out of hand.

Kamixlo: “That party was literally just for us but it turned into something so much bigger, out of nowhere. It started off as us doing a cosy party…”

Uli-K “…We wanted to do something on New Year’s.”

Kamixlo: “We were initially going to book Dark0. It was friends and family. It wasn’t some thought-out thing. Legit, all of the guests were friends.”

Uli-K: “They wanted to do the party…”

Kamixlo: “There was literally no business shit. It was fucking crazy. I don’t remember much, but I see pictures back and there’s loads of bottles of champagne behind the decks, pictures of me on top of the booth, drinking.”

Uli-K: “There were multiple stage dives.”

The very definition of a turn up. Reason why? Bala Club is a wild break from London dancefloor tradition and people are revelling in the shockwaves. Kamixlo constructs industrial reggaeton (a product of his and Uli’s Chilean heritage) and his DJ sets often begin at 100bpm before switching suddenly to tempos of up to 150bpm; Endgame has been releasing a crystalline meld of kizomba, the Angolan music that’s also popular in Portugal (his debut EP dropped on Lisbon’s Golden Mist, before a second on New York's Purple Tape Pedigree) and grime, while his sets are a collision of frenetic club tracks, UK/US rap and noisy convulsions and Uli-K has perfected a heart-wrenching form of auto-tuned lyricism that sits gracefully on sensuous beats made by an international set of producers (his latest self-released mixtape has raked in over 100,000 plays).

This otherness is what made the trio start Bala Club in the first place. The label and parties are intended to carve out a space in which they feel comfortable. “When we’ve tried to work with people in the industry, it’s been hard for them to grasp what we’re trying to do,” Uli-K says. “We’re not about playing along with this scene or system that’s already going on right now. It’s about going against it and creating change. Why not? If you have the chance to make things better for people, then do it.”

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