The story of Arma17 began in 2008 when nascent Moscow DJs (Natasha) Abelle and BKPR started to throw parties inside a disused 19th century industrial gas holding complex. The venue, usually referred to as Arma, was located in building number 17, hence the name. “At the beginning of 2009 the original Arma17club was partially destroyed by fire,” says Jennie Sobol, who joined the team in the first year. “So we switched to another space within the gas holding facility, which we had been using for the Save festivals, and this became our home for the next five years.”
This second club, with its impressive industrial size, high ceilings and church-like windows, was often compared with Berlin’s Berghain (Berghain resident Marcel Dettmann said that it reminded him of Berlin’s legendary E-Werk), albeit a more “feminine” version in terms of the crowd and music policy, which favoured the more discerning end of the techno spectrum with residents like Nastia and Philipp Gorbachev and guests including Hessle Audio, Rhadoo, Maayan Nidam, DJ Qu and Morphosis.
In 2014 this club closed down too, due to property developments. In the meantime, the Arma17 crew had also been experimenting with outdoor formats, which resulted in the first Outline festival in 2009, at which Seth Troxler played, and which was “ organised on a small scale but with the same concept of several stages and a mix of art and outdoor activities.” By Outline 2014, Arma17 had partnered with the Stereotactic agency and the following year also joined forces with Sila Sveta, an interactive media company that had been in charge of the stage design for the epic, season-closing Arma event in 2014.
The Arma team are currently searching for a new club venue for 2017, and their Arma record label - started in 2012 - is also going strong with recent releases from Vakula and the recent ‘Et Focus’ EP by Andrey Zots, which features remixes by Margaret Dygas and Petre Inspirescu.