In partnership with Identification of Music's (IOM) new podcast IOM Recommends, each week we'll be giving you a travel guide that you can't pick up at your local bookshop — as your favourite artists give us the lowdown on their hometowns.
This week we catch up with Albanian-born and Thessaloniki-raised John Dimas. A digger at heart, John taught himself how to mix vinyl using belt-driven decks and a DIY mixer when he was still in high school. Having carved out a name for himself with his eclectic mix of fluttering minimal and woozy deep house — John first started DJing in his hometown in 2001. Since then he's headed up slots at huge international stages such as fabric, Caprices, Unum, Tresor, Sunwaves and DC10 — as well as being a regular face at Half Baked and ReSolute parties. He even made his Lab LDN debut back in 2016! More recently John has turned label boss - already heading up Elephant Moon Records, he began a new label SYNQ in 2020 alongside Intermission Records with long-time collaborator Voigtmann to release a joint record under their collaborative project VOIGT.MAS.
Read this next: Recommendations: Mincy shows us what's what in Sydney
To give us a real taste of Greece's second city, we've enlisted John to give us some handy tips on how to enjoy his home city of Thessaloniki — from day tripping in the forest to the best place for your mornin g coffee.
Where's great to listen to some music?
Thermiakos Bar is a great spot to have a coffee and enjoy a beautiful sunset. Occasionally they also do some cool events in the evenings too.
Kitchen Bar is a scenic spot right on the harbour to enjoy dinner with some nice wine/cocktails or Ypsilon Bar in Valaoritou, it’s a creative space hidden down a laneway with a hip crowd and they always have parties on Friday evenings.
Read this next: See inside John Dimas's tech-filled studio
Where should we go to buy some records?
Pikap Cafe-Bar has a lot of variety, Father Coffee & Vinyls caters more to Funk, Soul, Jazz and Hip Hop lovers and you can’t go past Music Kitchen without buying something — it has the best selection of second-hand gems.
What about a place to grab a drink?
Gorillas is an award-winning bar creating seasonal menus with signature cocktails and twists on the classics plus they have a quality selection of over 200 spirits.
A place that tourists don't know about?
Read this next: The best music of 2021, according to 50+ global DJs
Somewhere to get lost?
Kedrinos Lofos (Seih Sou forest) is a place to find solace and the perfect place for day tripping - there's many surprises to discover. The amphitheatre that is located there!
What musicians should we check out?
What's the best way to see Thessaloniki?
From above. Le Coq Tail Mix Bar is the best place for a morning coffee on a sunny day with a view over the whole of Thessaloniki.
What's a Thessaloniki party we should check out?
PRISM throws the best underground parties at the moment in Thessaloniki.
What time of year should we visit?
Either April/May or September/October.
Read this next: Recommendations: Ciel gives us the inside track on Toronto
Can you give us a piece of advice for anyone new to your city?
Take a walk through the Byzantine ruins to the centre and then all the way along the port to Theirmaikos, ending at the Concert Hall of Thessaloniki. It is also an absolute must to discover the the Chalkidiki Peninsula, it’s only one hour’s drive from the city and in my opinion, the most magical place in Greece with beaches that look like you could be in the Caribbean.
Sum up your city in five words?
Historic, Vibrant, Warm, Panoramic, Inviting.
You can listen to the newest episode of IOM Recommends featuring John Dimas below.
Megan Townsend is Mixmag's Deputy Digital Editor, follow her on Twitter